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Mike Rispoli's picture

The revelations of the US government's massive and indiscriminate surveillance program are absolutely frightening, putting before the public's eyes the breadth of a secret, dragnet spying regime which casts every US citizen as a suspect.

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Carly Nyst's picture

In a landmark report, the United Nations today has broken its long-held silence about the threat that State surveillance poses to the enjoyment of the right to privacy.

The report is clear: State surveillance of communications is ubiquitous, and such surveillance severely undermines citizens’ ability to enjoy a private life, freely express themselves and enjoy their other fundamental human rights. Presented today at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, the report marks the first time the UN has emphasised the centrality of the right to privacy to democratic principles and the free flow of speech and ideas.

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Sam Smith's picture

Compulsory data on every state school pupil in the country can now be used for research “promoting the education or well-being of children in England”, according to UK Department for Education.

The Department’s response to the highly worrying National Pupil Database (NPD), released in late May, is far narrower than previously suggested late last year, with none of the deeply troubling aspects being included in the final proposals, and existing definitions of terms remaining unchanged.

The Database tracks children's attainment and characteristics from nursery school starting at age 4, through and across schools, up to University at 18. The narrow scope of the use was made clear when PI attended a meeting at the DfE's request, but will be become more so in the update of the application process which will follow the change in rules.

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Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan's picture

A longer version of this article was previously published in Wired on 10 May 2013.

We all know surveillance is big in Putin’s Russia. What you may not know is that Russia’s surveillance tech is being used all over the world, even in the U.S.

The Kremlin is up to its domes in spy technology. One reason is fear, provoked by the Arab Spring, of a growing and diffuse protest movement that uses social media to organize. Notably, the authorities have taken an interest in DPI (deep packet inspection) tools, which are essential to monitoring the internet Russia-wide. The largest voice-recognition company in Russia, has likewise developed close ties with the authorities.

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Sam Smith's picture

Privacy International welcomes the absence of a Communications Data Bill in the Queen's Speech. The Communications Data bill was originally set to significantly expand the powers of communications surveillance in the UK and set another bad standard globally.  Because of the work by Parliamentarians, a concerted effort by civil society groups and some within industry, this expansion was avoided, for now.  However the Queen's Speech did include a mention of new proposals:

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Sam Smith's picture

We very much welcome today's announcement by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that people will be allowed to opt out of having their medical records shared in the NHS England centralised information bank.

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Sam Smith's picture

The current iteration of the UK's "Communications Data Bill" is now dead. 

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Anna Fielder's picture

Today, a coalition of civil rights groups, including Privacy International, launched a report and campaign website, http://nakedcitizens.eu, which calls on EU Members of Parliament (MEPs) to protect fundamental rights to privacy in a crucial vote next month. Concerned citizens and consumers are able to contact their MEPs directly via the website.

The story so far: early last year the European Commission published proposed revisions to the Union’s outdated legal framework on data protection. The proposals strengthen existing rights and attempt to ensure that legislation is more effectively enforced.  For the past year however, as previously reported on this blog, the proposals have been systematically eroded in their passage through the various committees of the European Parliament. 

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Alinda Vermeer's picture

After a successful investigation by the US government into the illegal reselling of over a million dollars worth of surveillance equipment to the Syrian regime, Dubai distribution company Computerlinks FZCO has agreed to pay the maximum civil penalty of $2.8 million.

Computerlinks, in three separate transactions between October 2010 and May 2011, sold $1.4 million worth of devices developed by California-based Blue Coat to the state-run Syrian Telecommunications Establishment, which controls the country's access to the Internet, according to the US Bureau of Industry and and Security, the US agency in charge of export controls. Computerlinks also provided support "to help the end user of the devices to monitor the web activities of individual internet users and prevent users from navigating around censorship controls". 

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Sam Smith's picture

Out of concern for the potential international ramifications of the Communications Data Bill, fifteen of Privacy International's partner activists and organisations have signed a joint letter urging the UK to consider the detrimental impact this law will have around the world.

The letter reads:

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