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In Geneva this week, an expert seminar will be held at the Human Rights Council on the right to privacy. To inform these discussions and debates, Privacy International is releasing our report, The State of Privacy 2014, which identifies recent accomplishments from around the world, and highlights significant challenges ahead for this right.

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Want to work for a small charity that holds governments and companies to account on surveillance? We are excited to announce three new openings at Privacy International.

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Just search for the term "surveillance state" and you’ll pull up various uses of the term or news articles citing the phrase.

In some respects, this newfound concern can’t be a surprise; given vast new amounts of information in the public sphere since the Edward Snowden leaks began in June. However, it is critical to nail down the exact meaning of the term, so as the public and governments have the debate over State spying, we can actually know what we're talking about. Most importantly, this will help us push back against it.

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Twelve years after the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) was passed by the UK Parliament, permitting the interception of communications without a judicial warrant and allowing the police to self-authorise access to communications metadata, some parts of this dangerous law are finally being properly scrutinised. This isn't an intentional review, but rather a by-product of a joint parliamentary committee's interrogation of the draft Communications Data Bill, the Home Office's latest scheme for mass retention of communications and online activity in the UK.

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Communications surveillance is one of the most significant threats to personal privacy posed by the state. This is why many statements of fundamental rights across the world give special regard to the privacy of communications. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 12:

No one should be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks on his honour or reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interferences or attacks.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in India. It was produced under the 'Privacy in the Developing World' project, funded by the International Development Research Centre in Canada. 

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Greek newspaper To Vima reported late last night that Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros has requested the exact data of "foreign infants and young children, by country of origin, who are in nursery schools" in Greece from the Greek Ministry of Interior (the equivalent of the British Home Office or US State Department). To Vima’s headline read 'Taking a leaf out of Herod’s book'.

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Governments have no automatic right of access to our communications. This will sound highly controversial to some, even downright radical. But the demands of national security and crime prevention do not, in fact, immediately trump every other right and responsibility in the complex relationship between citizen and state. 

Blast
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Update: The request was refusedI confirm that the Cabinet Office holds information relevant to your request. I must inform you that the Cabinet Office is withholding this information because it is exempt under the exemption at section 23(1) (Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters and national security) of the Freedom of Information Act.

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The Home Office has been planning a grab for new communications surveillance powers since 2006; today, the Draft Communications Data Bill established in legislative language their ambitions.

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It is an increasingly common tactic of governments to say very little about a proposed policy, wait for opponents to start speaking publicly about it and then seize gleefully upon any error, accusing their opponents of peddling 'myths'. This allows officials to spend more time talking about what the policy isn't, and less time explaining what the policy actually is.

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What do we know?

Very little. The Communication Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) is going to be included the Queen's Speech next month and we still haven't had public confirmation of the details. What we do know is that there have been secret briefings to MPs designed to scare them into compliance, and secret briefings to industry that were originally designed to calm their fears (but in fact have only served to increase their outrage).

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Privacy International, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Media and Communications Studies (CMCS), are pleased to present the study "European Privacy and Human Rights (EPHR) 2010", funded by the European Commission's Special Programme "Fundamental Rights and Citizenship," 2007-2013.

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The Council of Europe

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This report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in the European Union. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013. Updates to the 2010 report have been provided by Gloria González Fuster at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Maria Grazia Porcedda at the European University Institute and Matteo E. Bonfanti, at the Centre for Media and Communication Studies, Central European University. 

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Cyprus. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in France. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013.  In 2010 the report was updated by Pascale Gelly and Caroline Doulcet of Cabinet Gelly.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Spain. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Slovakia. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013. Updates to the 2010 report have been provided by Marian Lauko and Michal Marhefka of Weinhold Legal.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Germany. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013. The report was updated in October 2010 by Werner Hülsmann at Datenschutz Consulting and completed by Kristina Irion and Cédric Laurant.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Ireland. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013. The latest version of this report was updated by Colin Irwin at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), in July 2010 by Rossa McMahon of Patrick G.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in the United Kingdom. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Turkey.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Switzerland.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Sweden. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013. Updates to the 2010 report have been provided by Ola Svenonius, Ph.D student at Södertörn University.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Estonia. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013. Updates to the 2010 report have been provided by Matej Kovačič of the University of Ljubljana and Andrej Tomsic at the Office of the Information Commissioner, Slovenia.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Romania. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013. Updates to the Romanian Report published in the 2010 edition have been provided by Ioana Avadani of the Centrul pentru Jurnalism Independent and Bogdan Manolea of the Asociația pentru Tehnologie și Internet

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Portugal. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013.

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This country report is an evaluation of privacy and surveillance laws, policies and practices in Poland. The 2010 report was updated with the support of the European Commission's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme 2007-2013.

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