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Caroline Wilson Palow's picture

The calculated detention, interrogation, and search of David Miranda brings into sharp relief the draconian legal frameworks that define security and policing in the United Kingdom. These events highlight not only the imperilled state of privacy rights and free expression in Britain, but the breakdown of the democratic institutions that should be protecting individuals not only from terrorists, but from unrestrained government power.

Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained at Heathrow Airport on Sunday. He was subjected to almost nine hours of questioning for being associated with a writer and newspaper that has blown the lid off of the overreaching activities of Western intelligence agencies. Miranda also had several of his electronic devices seized, including his laptop, USB thumbdrives, mobile phone, camera, and gaming consoles.

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Carly Nyst's picture

For some time now there has been a need to update understandings of existing human rights law to reflect modern surveillance technologies and techniques. Nothing could demonstrate the urgency of this situation more than the recent revelations confirming the mass surveillance of innocent individuals around the world.

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Sam Smith's picture

Barclays recently announced that they were looking to sell "aggregated" customer data to third parties. While the news sparked concern among the UK public, the practice, unfortunately, is becoming common among many industries.

A few months ago, it was revealed that Everything Everywhere appeared to be selling location and de-identified data to Ipsos MORI, who in turn made it available to third parties, which included offering it to the Police. Despite another outcry from the public, this type of sale doesn't appear to be stopping.

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Shannon Kisch's picture

Since mid-2012 the Hebrew University International Human Rights Clinic has been collaborating with Privacy International to produce research about the state of privacy laws and protections in Israel and worldwide.

Last week marked the launch of a long-anticipated pilot of a controversial Israeli biometric database, a project that has been the target of civil society protest and the subject of a challenge in the Israeli Supreme Court.

While there is no shortage of institutions maintaining databases containing personal information of large sections of Israeli society – Israel’s Defense Force, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and the Election Authorities, to name just a few – this latest effort raises particular concerns about privacy and the protections of civil liberties.

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Alinda Vermeer's picture

Following reports that the Mexican prosecution authority appears to be not only using FinFisher, but also to be involved in a corruption scandal surrounding the purchase of this intrusive surveillance technology, the Mexican Permanent Commission (composed of members of the Mexican Senate and Congress) has urged Mexico's Federal Institute for Access to Public Information and Data Protection (IFAI) to investigate the use of spyware in Mexico.

Blog
Sam Smith's picture

It is a long-standing privacy principle that an individual should have access to their personal information. This is particularly necessary in healthcare - after all there is nothing more personal than health information.

As the mass digitisation of health records increases, many issues arise about this access right.  The right of 'subject access' comes with its own complexities. One challenge is that individuals can sometimes be compelled to conduct subject access requests in order to share their sensitive information with other institutions who wouldn't normally be able to access this information. Another challenge is around the issue of parental access to the health information of adolescents.

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Dr Richard Tynan's picture

All across the U.S. on 4 July, thousands of Americans gathered at Restore the Fourth rallies, in support of restoring the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and to protest the recently-disclosed information regarding NSA spying on American citizens. Demonstrations took place in over 100 cities, calling on the U.S. government to respect the privacy rights of citizens in America and individuals around the world.

Blog
Philippe M. Frowd's picture

In the wake of recent revelations about the NSA’s extensive surveillance powers over foreigners and American citizens, an ever-fuller picture of mass surveillance is being drawn in the US, the UK, and across the Western world. But what about clandestine surveillance practices in African states? How do they approximate or differ from those we’ve heard so much about in the last few weeks? A recent case from West Africa can help us begin to answer these questions.

In March, Benin saw its own wiretapping scandal involving familiar elements: accusations of executive overreach and a telecoms company accused of collaborating with state surveillance. 

Blog
Alinda Vermeer's picture

In an encouraging first response to our complaint against surveillance company Gamma International (Gamma), the UK National Contact Point (NCP) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced that it will further investigate our claim against Gamma, as the evidence submitted appears to substantiate our allegations.

Blog
Mike Rispoli's picture

Britain's spy agency, GCHQ, is secretly conducting mass surveillance by tapping fibre optic cables, giving it access to huge amounts of data on both innocent citizens and targeted suspects, according to a report in the Guardian.

Mass, indiscriminate surveillance of this kind goes against an individual's fundamental human right to privacy. The scope and scale of this program, which monitors the entire British public and much of the world, is neither necessary nor proportionate and thus, unjustifiable.

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