Gus has worked at the intersection of technology and human rights for over fifteen years. He has acted as an external evaluator for UNHCR, advised the UN Special Rapporteur on Terrorism and Human Rights, and has advised a number of other international organisations. He has held visiting fellowships at Columbia University and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was previously a Visiting Scholar at the American Civil Liberties Union. He holds a B.Math from the University of Waterloo in Canada and a PhD from the London School of Economics. Gus is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA).
Two months ago, the UK Borders Agency began fingerprinting foreign children over six years old, from outside the European Economic Area and resident in Britain. At the time Jacqui Smith was congratulated for her tough line on issuing identity cards to foreign residents and no one, not even parliament, noticed that the biometric requirements applied to children of six. And parliament didn't know because it was never asked to approve the policy.
Under the Terrorism Act 2000, police agencies in the UK have the power to stop and search within ‘security zones’ as established under order by the Home Secretary. Since February 2001, London has been designated as a security zone.
Privacy International has briefed the UK House of Commons Treasury subcommittee on the risks to UK census data if a company with a US data centre is called on to run the census. Under weak US laws on safeguarding personal information, the UK census data could be abused without any knowledge of the UK government.
Since 1997, the US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center and the UK-based Privacy International have undertaken what has now become the most comprehensive survey of global privacy ever published. The Privacy & Human Rights Report surveys developments in 70 countries, assessing the state of surveillance and privacy protection.
Extracted from Gus Hosein's "International Co-operation as a Promise and a Threat", in Cybercrime and Jurisdiction: A Global Survey, Bert-Japp Koops and Susan W. Brenner, TMC Asser Press, The Hague, 2006.
3.3.2. Case: Maher Arar and the International Co-operation in Intelligence
The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the legality of the DNA database, including the retroactive collection of profiles. This decision supports the DNA Identification Act of 1998 and sees the taking of DNA from those who are convicted of serious offences not so much as a search but more as an act that enables identification.
In the case R v Rodgers (2006), decided 4-3, the Court was asked to consider, amongst numerous other issues:
‘Indymedia’ (IMC) describes itself as ‘a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues.’ According to Indymedia, its content is widely read, with the transfer of over 3.2 terabytes of information a month, serving over 18 million page views a month.
The UK Presidency's first formal report, entitled 'Liberty and Security: Striking the Right Balance', was released today. It argues the case for new and expansive policies on communications surveillance, biometrics, travel surveillance, and CCTV. In fact, it promises to take UK policy failures to the European level.
The Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia made a call for submissions on whether the USA PATRIOT Act could allow the U.S. authorities to gain access to Canadians' personal information, enabled through the outsourcing of Canadian public services to the United States. The Commission also called for comments on the implications for compliance with Canadian provincial privacy laws, and to see if anything could be done to eliminate or mitigate the risks.
In a number of reports released today, the UK government acknowledged that there has been an increase in stop and searches in the past year. According to the Home Office Stop and Search Team's Strategy Report, "Stop and search is a police power which, if used fairly and effectively, can play an important role in detecting and preventing crime and the fight against terrorism."
But they admit that the power is used increasingly in unfair ways:
To the participants of the International Civil Aviation Organization 12th Session of the Facilitation Division,
We are writing to you on behalf of a wide range of human rights and civil liberties organizations to express our concerns regarding a number of decisions emerging from your conferences and their likely effects on privacy and civil liberties. We are particularly worried about your plans requiring passports and other travel documents to contain biometrics and remotely readable ‘contact-less integrated circuits’.
The London-based human rights watchdog Privacy International today warned that Justice Minister Donner's proposed 'Wet op de uitgebreide identificatieplicht' will violate the European Convention on Human Rights. The organisation has vowed to take legal action in the courts if the Parliament approves the proposals.
A conference held today at the London School of Economics will hear new statistics showing that UK law enforcement and investigation agencies are demanding an unprecedented quantity of customer records from communications providers.
The European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) of the COE approved the Cybercrime Convention in June 2001 and by the Council of Ministers in November 2001. It was opened for signature in November 2001 and has been signed by over 30 countries
In 1994, in an attempt to discover the problems caused by ID cards, Privacy International compiled a survey containing reports from correspondents in forty countries. Amongst the gravest of problems reported to Privacy International was the over zealous use or misuse of ID cards by police - even where the cards were supposed to be voluntary. One respondent wrote: