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In the media
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Harbour also submitted amendments that matched those suggested by lobbyists acting for Amazon, eBay and Digital Europe, another trade body that numbers DPA clients among its members.

Anna Fielder, from the Privacy International campaign group, said: “Malcolm Harbour chairs the committee responsible for consumer rights. He is supposed to be protecting the consumer, not big businesses.”

In the media
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Sensitive personal information risks being left vulnerable to hoarding and misuse by banks, retailers and insurance companies due to three British MEPs accused of directly inserting major firms’ suggestions into EU laws, according to privacy campaigners warning of the most intense lobbying effort ever seen in the European Parliament.

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Anna Fielder, a trustee of campaign group Privacy International, said that lobbying is legitimate but the amendments were”diluting existing rights, making it worse than what we have now”.

In the media
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An example of these tensions is percolating through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Last week, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and Privacy International filed complaints with the OECD against two companies in the U.K. and Germany.

In the media
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While there is no suggestion of wrongdoing or breaches of the parliament's rules, privacy campaigners fear that MEPs are listening to industry and not consumers.

"We would hope that MEPs are taking all sides of the argument into account when making law, not just the richest and most powerful corporate interests," said Anna Fielder, a trustee of Privacy International.

In the media
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Also named and shamed by Privacy International were Sajjad Karim, Conservative MEP for the North West of England, who allegedly proposed amendments with over 23% identical content, and Giles Chichester, Conservative MEP for South West England and Gibraltar, with 22% of content allegedly taken from lobbyist documents.

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In the media
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Among the names cited by the London-based NGO, Privacy International, in a report out on Monday (11 February) is British Conservative deputy Malcolm Harbour, who chairs the parliament’s internal market committee and who acts as his group's shadow rapporteur on the data bill.

The advocacy group said that he "proposed amendments with over 25 percent of content copied directly from lobby papers."

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Other names cited by Privacy International include British Conservative MEPs Sajjad Karim and Giles Chichester.

Press release
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A European privacy group claimed today that dozens of amendments to the new Data Protection Regulation being proposed by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are being copied word-for-word from corporate lobby papers, with MEPs frequently failing to even remember their own amendments.

In the media
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"The UK Data Protection Regulator seems to be rather out on a limb in comparison with his counterparts in Europe," Anna Fielder, trustee for Privacy International, told Wired.co.uk, commenting on Graham's position. "The data protection proposal currently under debate is a development of existing legislation, not a radical revolution. It is necessary because the existing legal framework is being widely abused and is becoming less and less relevant with the advent of new technologies. This is particularly true in the UK, which has some of the weakest data protection laws in Europe.

In the media
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The complaints filed Feb. 1 seek probes of whether U.K.- based Gamma Group and Munich-based Trovicor GmbH violated guidelines for business conduct set out by the Paris-based OECD, according to Privacy International, one of five groups behind the effort.
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In the media
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The allegations raise concerns about the export of British technology to oppressive regimes. Tomorrow the campaigners Privacy International will join forces with human rights groups, including the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and Bahrain Watch, to file a complaint with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development alleging that Gamma International UK is in breach of OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises. A separate complaint is being filed against a German company.

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Press release
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Privacy International, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Watch and Reporters without Borders filed formal complaints with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the UK and Germany against two surveillance companies on Friday 1st February. The British and German National Contact Points are being asked to investigate Gamma International and Trovicor respectively with regards to both companies’ potential complicity in serious human rights abuses in Bahrain

In the media
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Eric King of pressure group Privacy International, said: “Allowing mass surveillance, unwarranted and unaccountable, is terrifying.”

In the media
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However, privacy campaigners have grave concerns about the proliferation of the technology and want an urgent review of regulations. "The increasing use of drones by private companies and government bodies poses a unique set of problems," said Eric King, head of research at campaign group Privacy International.

In the media
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Eric King, head of research at campaign group Privacy International, told the Guardian the increasing use of drones by private and public organisations posed a 'unique' set of problems.

He said the CAA needed to consider more than just health and safety issues when deciding whether to grant a licence to operate drone technology.

'We need new regulation to ensure privacy and other civil liberties are also being taken into account during the decision-making process,' he said.

 

In the media
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Civil liberties group Privacy International said in a statement issued this afternoon that it had analyzed the new transparency report and was alarmed by the trend of increasing surveillance. “Governments must stop treating the user data held by corporations as a treasure trove of information they can mine whenever they please, with little or no judicial authorisation,” said Carly Nyst, Privacy International's head of international advocacy.

In the media
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Privacy campaigners remain outraged at the level of government data grabbing. “Governments must stop treating the user data held by corporations as a treasure trove of information they can mine whenever they please, with little or no judicial authorisation,” said Carly Nyst, Privacy International’s head of international advocacy.

“The alarming statistics in this latest Transparency Report serve as a reminder of the need for stronger national and regional privacy protections in relation to online communications.

In the media
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One UK-based privacy advocacy group praised Google for releasing the data, but said it also served as a warning to individuals to be careful about the information they passed on to any online business.

"The information we hand over to companies like Google paints a detailed picture of who we are - from our political and religious views to our friendships, associations and locations," said Privacy International's head of international advocacy, Carly Nyst.

Press release
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Google's latest Transparency Report, released at 3pm GMT this afternoon, shows that requests by European governments for the browsing history, email communications, documents and IP addresses of Google's users have skyrocketed since the Transparency Report was launched three years ago. Countries in the European Union made 7,254 requests about 9,240 users or accounts between July and December 2012, averaging over 1,200 requests a month.

Press release
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In his response to the third report from the Foreign Affairs Committee Session 2012-13, Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed for the first time the government's firm commitment to putting in place new export controls on "telecommunications equipment for which there is a reasonable expectation that it might be used to restrict freedom of expression on the internet".

In the media
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Privacy International has pursued the case, calling on the UK government to look into whether Gamma had broken the law, but selling into nations such as Bahrain and Egypt.

“Governments should be controlling exports of all products that can be used in abusive surveillance practices – even those that also have perfectly legitimate alternative uses,” Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, told TechWeekEurope today.

In the media
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The law entitles American authorities to compel US companies in possession of EU citizens' data stored on their clouds to hand over the information if requested, regardless of EU data protection laws.

"Europe stands on the brink of an irreversible loss of data sovereignty if we don't develop a major new industrial policy for Clouds that can be solely under EU jurisdiction," Gus Hosein, the head of the UK-based NGO Privacy International told this website by email.
 

In the media
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Privacy rights activists are calling on HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to investigate spyware firm Gamma International and its exports of surveillance software to repressive regimes, such as Bahrain, calling the transactions “criminal” and “illegal”.

The campaign group Privacy International (PI) confirmed in a press release that Gamma International is selling surveillance technology to regimes with horrific human rights records without a proper license.

In the media
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The campaign group Privacy International alleges the equipment has been used to gather information on activists who are targeted by the repressive regimes. It wants greater restrictions on the export of surveillance products, which are increasingly being used but are increasingly used but have not had the same level of export restrictions as traditional weapons. The group has sent a 186-page report to Revenue and Customs (HMRC) alleging that the unlicensed export of some Gamma International products "would amount to criminal conduct".

Press release
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Privacy International has called upon HM Revenue & Customs to investigate potentially illegal exports by the British company Gamma International, which has been exporting surveillance products without a license to repressive regimes with dismal human rights records. 

Blog
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Today we launch the public consultation process for the International Principles on Communications Surveillance and Human Rights. From now until January 3rd, we are inviting comments and suggestions on the draft principles.

In the media
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Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, described the prevalence of third-party tracking cookies as “mission creep”.

“These companies claim that the profiles they are building of online shoppers are anonymous, but the amount and variety of data collected is so large that our digital profiles can usually be easily linked to our real identities,” he said.

Blog
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Privacy International asked lawyers, activists, researchers and hackers at Defcon 2012 about some of the debates that thrive at the intersection between law, technology and privacy. We also wanted to know why privacy matters to them, and what they thought the future of privacy looked like. This video is a result of those conversations. 

In the media
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Also in July, London-based Privacy International, which monitors surveillance abuses, informed the British government it planned to file a lawsuit to force regulation of surveillance technology sales, including those of FinFisher.

The next month, following the disclosures that the software had targeted dissidents, the U.K. government informed Gamma it must obtain export licenses to sell FinSpy outside the European Union.

In the media
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Equally vivid is this 2007 chart from Privacy International, a group that monitors the surveillance policies of nations around the world. Each color represents the level of the nation's privacy and surveillance policies, with black being the most invasive and abusive ("Endemic Surveillance Societies") and blue being the least ("Consistently upholds human rights standards").

In the media
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 From a smart phone police can tell where we have been, who we have been in contact with and what we are planning to do. As Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, points out: “There is more information on your phone than there would have been in the average home 20 years ago. But whereas the police still need a search warrant to enter a house, they can now grab all the data from your phone with no independent authorisation.”

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