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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:

Blog
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.

Blog
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The story so far: early last year the European Commission published proposed revisions to the Union’s outdated legal framework on data protection.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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Sam Smith's picture

Privacy International welcomes the news that the UK NHS Data Spine is being replaced. We have fundamental privacy concerns about the existing infrastructure, and the proposed changes have the potential to enable the necessary privacy protections to be implemented in a meaningful way. 

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Carolin Moeller's picture

 

“This judgment exposes the widespread and sinister nature of police surveillance of ordinary members of the public in this country. It also acts as a safeguard against the creeping criminalisation of peaceful protest. The Association of Police Officers and Metropolitan Police Commissioner have sanctioned this unlawful conduct for almost a decade and must be made accountable”. 1

Last week three of the country’s most senior judges in the Court of Appeal found that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner violated John Catt's human rights.

The case concerns the 88-year old activist John Catt, a frequent participant in protests and public demonstrations, including most recently that organized by a group called “Smash EDO” which campaigns against the weapon manufacturer EDO Defence Systems. 

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Carly Nyst's picture

The long-awaited release by Microsoft today of data about the number of law enforcement requests received and complied with by the company represents an important step forward in the ongoing challenge of understanding the scale of government access to communications information.

The data, the first set released by Microsoft, reveals that it received 70,665 requests for communications content and data in 2012, pertaining to 122,015 users or accounts. Communciations data was disclosed in 56,388 cases - 79.8% of the time. This is slightly higher than the rate at which Google produced communications data in 2012 - around 67% of the time. Unlike Google, Microsoft also published the amount of incidences in which they provided communications content in response to government requests - in 1,558 instances, or 2.2% of the overall requests.

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Carolin Moeller's picture

In November 2012 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in M.M v. the United Kingdom that retention and disclosure of a job applicant’s police records to potential employers was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court ruled that the practice cannot be regarded as being in accordance with the law. This judgment is a key step in establishing privacy rights over data held by the police, and comes at an important time when governments are rewriting the rules around data retention and disclosure practices in the criminal sphere. 

The case concerns M.M (the applicant) who abducted her grandson for three days in 2000 in order to prevent the girlfriend of her son from going back to Australia with the applicant’s grandson. The UK Director of Public Prosecutions considered the case as a family issue and a minor offence. He therefore administered a caution, instead of pursuing court proceedings. 

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