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Carly Nyst's picture

As privacy and free expression advocates hail the demise of the Data Retention Directive at the hands of the European Court of Justice, one large question is looming in the midst of celebration.

Now what? 

More specifically, what will be its impact of the national laws of the European Union countries? What steps should EU governments be taking to ensure the Court’s decision is given effect? What are the implications for communications service providers who have been collecting and storing data in accordance with the Directive for many years? How can we ensure that this harmful practice is ceased immediately?

In the media
Publisher: 
NetzPolitik
Publication date: 
25-Mar-2014
Author(s): 
Killian Froitzhuber
Original story link: 

Tim Maurer, Edin Omanovic und Ben Wagner haben für den Digitale Gesellschaft e. V., Privacy International, das Open Technology Institute und die New America Foundation eine Studie zur Problematik (englisch) verfasst, die sich mit den existierenden Regularien ebenso auseinandersetzt wie mit dem technologischen Wettrüsten auf diesem Gebiet und den Wechselwirkungen dieser Bereiche. Im Fokus stehen die Exportkontrollen in den USA, in Großbritannien, Deutschland und der EU sowie das multilaterale Wassenaar-Abkommen.

Report
26-Nov-2013

Our special report shining a light on the secretive Five Eyes alliance, where we lay out how the laws around which the Five Eyes are constructed violate human rights law, and argue the Five Eyes States owe a general duty not to interfere with communications that pass through their territorial borders.

In the media
Publisher: 
The Scotsman
Publication date: 
28-Mar-2014
Author(s): 
Alistair Duff
Original story link: 

We need to act as well as think. Civil society organisations such as Privacy International and Ethical Census are dedicated to campaigning on privacy-related issues, and are always on the lookout for new recruits and donors. Pressure groups may not be most people’s cup of tea, but we can surely all make little Custer-esque stands of our own, questioning that cheeky new system at work, networking where possible with companies which pursue “privacy-friendly” policies, or writing to the papers when the next spying revelation breaks or CCTV cameras suddenly pop up in the public lavatory (if any such establishments remain).

Countries: 
Blog
Kenneth Page's picture

Surveillance companies selling mass and intrusive spy technologies to human rights-abusing governments often are benefitting from the financial and institutional support from their home government, revealing a more closely-linked relationship between the sector and the State than previously believed.

Recent revelations concerning the funding of Hacking Team's surveillance technology with public money highlights the role of states in funding the development of surveillance technologies and companies. This discovery was preceded by the discovery that the South African Government funded the development of the mass surveillance system Zebra, made by VASTech. And with State supporting of national business abroad, including the UK promoting cyber-security exports, we are seeing a variety of ways the state is enabling the commercial surveillance market.

In the media
Publisher: 
Channel 4 News
Publication date: 
25-Mar-2014
Author(s): 
Geoff White
Original story link: 

Privacy International's Mike Rispoli speaks with Channel 4 News about how shopping centres can track where shoppers go and what shops they visit, through their phones.

Countries: 
Blog
Edin Omanovic's picture

The market for surveillance technologies has expanded so much in recent years that oversight has been totally unable to keep up, which has led to devastating consequences in the lives of human rights defenders in repressive regimes around the world.

According to a new study released today by Privacy International, the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation, and Digitale Gesellschaft, international efforts to oversee the trade in surveillance technologies are out-dated and urgently need to be updated in order to keep up in the digital age. Ensuring that export regulations are fit for purpose is a vital part of an overall strategy to ensure the surveillance industry does not continue to trample upon human rights and facilitate internal repression.

In the media
Publisher: 
The Hill
Publication date: 
24-Mar-2014
Author(s): 
Kate Tummarello and Julian Hattem
Original story link: 

Democratic governments could impose limits on the exports of surveillance technology to prevent the tools from being used to suppress the media and violate human rights, according to a new report. The analysis from the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, Britain’s Privacy International and Germany’s Digitale Gesellschaft found that existing export control regulations are out of date and unsuited for modern technology.

Blog
Edin Omanovic's picture

UPDATE: The past few days have seen more movement in Switzerland. The Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs responded swiftly to our request for official clarification. The SECO confirmed to PI that "all licence requests for the export of technologies for internet monitoring were withdrawn" by the applicants themselves, and that some of the requests for mobile phone monitoring technology have also been withdrawn.

A further follow-up by Swiss media has revealed that the Government has now approved four licences for mobile phone monitoring technologies, which would be largely destined for countries that have been supplied comparable goods since 2010. Speaking with the media, the Swiss Government said they did take human rights concerns into account, but viewed that the risk for misuse was low for these particular exports.

In the media
Publisher: 
The New Yorker
Publication date: 
12-Mar-2014
Author(s): 
Joshua Kopstein
Original story link: 

The other week, Privacy International, a U.K.-based human-rights organization, filed a criminal complaint on Kersmo’s behalf, making him the first U.K. resident to challenge the use of hacking tools by a foreign power. “This case would be important to all refugees who end up in countries where they think they are safe,” Alinda Vermeer, a lawyer with Privacy International, who filed Kersmo’s complaint, told me in a phone interview. That sense of safety is illusory, she said, because countries armed with tools like FinSpy insure that refugees “can be spied on in an equally intrusive way as they were back at home.” Worse, the surveillance also reveals with whom the victims have been communicating, potentially endangering the lives of contacts and relatives still residing in their home country.

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