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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? 

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In response to a consultation being undertaken by the UN in accordance with December’s General Assembly resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age, Privacy International today called on the United Nations to recognise that mass surveillance is incompatible with human rights.

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In the same week that the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice labelled the retention of electronic communications data throughout Europe as a “serious interference with the right to privacy”, the French National Assembly has 

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Australia’s intelligence agencies have been conducting mass surveillance for more than half a century, routinely sharing the fruits of such labours with their Five Eyes allies in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

Opinion piece
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The following was a speech given by Carly Nyst, Head International Adovacy, at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, Geneva on 3 December

The internet and innovations in technologies have opened up previously unimagined possibilities for communication, expression, and empowerment. New technologies have become essential enablers of the enjoyment of human rights, from the right to education, to participation, to access to information. Today, the internet is not only a place where rights are exercised, it is in itself a guarantor of human rights.

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Privacy International is proud to announce our new project, Eyes Wide Open, which aims to pry open the Five Eyes arrangement and bring it under the rule of law. Read our Special Report "Eyes Wide Open" and learn more about the project below.

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With the launch of the "Eyes Wide Open" project, Privacy International has put together a fact sheet about the secretive Five Eyes alliance. Consider this a guide to the secret surveillance alliance that has infiltrated every aspect of the modern global communications system.

Press release
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General Assembly Should Pass Strong Resolution on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

(New York, November 21, 2013) – The United Nations General Assembly should approve a new resolution and make clear that indiscriminate surveillance is never consistent with the right to privacy, five human rights organizations said in a November 21, 2013 letter to members of the United Nations General Assembly.

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The following is an excerpt from a blog post that originally was published by EJIL: Talk!, and is written by Carly Nyst, Head of International Advocacy at Privacy International:

Opinion piece
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The following is an excerpt from a Comment originally publihsed by The Guardian, written by Privacy International's Head of Advocacy, Carly Nyst:

From databases to mobile phone apps and SMS systems, GPS tracking and humanitarian drones to biometric registration, new technologies are rapidly becoming central to the delivery of humanitarian and development aid.

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For the first time since the Snowden revelations exposed the vast reach and scope of Britain's surveillance and intelligence activities, Parliament will openly debate the need for greater oversight of the intelligence and security services.

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At the first major discussions on internet governance since the Snowden leaks began in June 2013, Sweden’s Foreign Minister has called for the establishment of principles to define the application of existing human rights obligations to the digital realm.

Opinion piece
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The following is an excerpt from an article written that originally was published by IFEX, and is written by Carly Nyst, Head of International Advocacy at Privacy International:

The reality of the modern world is that governments – both of our own countries, and of foreign states – have greater capabilities to carry out invasive surveillance of citizens, no matter where they reside or what flag they pledge to. And caught in the cross-fire of the expanding surveillance state is freedom of expression, which is underpinned by the right to privacy.

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As if those in Pakistan did not have enough to worry about when it came to the security of their communications, recent changes to Pakistan’s anti-terror law could see people convicted for terrorism solely on the basis of incriminating text messages, phone calls, or email.

Opinion piece
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The following is an English version of an article in the September issue of Cuestión de Derechos, written by Privacy International's Head of International Advocacy, Carly Nyst.

Opinion piece
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The following is an excerpt from a guest article which appeared on openDemocracy, written by Privacy International's Head of Advocacy, Carly Nyst:

Forget blood diamonds. There's a new resource being mined and exploited in the developing world: data.

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What a difference a few months, and some intelligence agency leaks, make.

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The Zimbabwean government extended its reach into the private lives of its citizens this week by promulgating a new law establishing a central database of information about all mobile telephone users in the country.

Press release
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Civil society organisations today called upon the members of the Human Rights Council to assess whether national surveillance laws and activities are in line with their international human rights obligations.

The Snowden revelations have confirmed that governments worldwide continue to expand their spying capabilities, at home and abroad. Widespread surveillance is being conducted in violation of individuals’ rights to privacy and free expression, and is seldom regulated by strong legal frameworks that respect human rights.

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Privacy International will soon be launching a research and advocacy project entitled Aiding Surveillance that will focus on the role of international development, humanitarian and funding organisations in promoting privacy and data protection. Click here to join our mailing list to find out more about this project and all of PI's activities.

The development agenda is heralding a new cure-all for humanitarian and development challenges – data.

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For some time now there has been a need to update understandings of existing human rights law to reflect modern surveillance technologies and techniques.

Opinion piece
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The following excerpt is from a posting in the Guardian's Comment is Free by Carly Nyst, Privacy International's Head of International Advocacy.

"In order to challenge a secret surveillance system, and to demand the government explains why it is spying on British citizens, one must apply to a secret tribunal that does not make public its proceedings or the reasons for its decision. It may seem like an Orwellian fantasy, but this is the stark reality of the British legal system.

Blast
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A committee of Australian MPs reviewing a package of proposals by the Attorney General have raised serious concerns about their potential implications for privacy and civil liberties.

Opinion piece
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Below is an excerpt of an article that recently appeared in Melbourne, Australia's The Age, written by Carly Nyst, Head of International Advocacy at Privacy International:

"Mass surveillance of a country's citizens by its government can no longer be said to be the preserve of authoritarian and dictatorial states.

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This post originally appeared on the blog for Association for Progessive Communications, written by Shawna Finnegan and Carly Nyst, for APCNews and Privacy International:

In the media
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The latest attempt by the British government to control and monitor online communications is arguably the most frightening to date and could be copied by authoritarian regimes - warns Privacy International.

In the media
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Anna Fielder, a trustee at Privacy International, a group based in London that supports strong data protection laws, said the existing legal regimes in Europe and much of the world were ill equipped to meet the challenges of protecting personal information.

“Germany has the strongest data protection laws in Europe, and this is all they could do,” Ms. Fielder said. “Most businesses are not complying with data protection laws because the costs of noncompliance — I mean these tiny penalties — are so low.”

 

Blast
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Are you looking to join a small charity that punches above its weight in holding governments and corporations to account? We're seeking a Research Officer to play a key role in the Privacy in the Developing World programme, and in PI's regional and international human rights advocacy.

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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.

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