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In the media
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But Privacy International, an organisation that campaigns at an international level on privacy issues, says that there is a concern that "gun-shy website operators will start automatically divulging user details the moment someone alleges defamation in order to shield themselves from libel actions".

"A great deal of the content posted by internet trolls is not actually defamatory, instead constituting harassment, invasion of privacy or simply unpleasant but lawfully-expressed opinion," said Emma Draper, head of communications at Privacy International.

In the media
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'We are looking at a possible breach of human rights law,’ Privacy International's Emma Draper told the BBC.

‘It is illegal to indefinitely retain the DNA profiles of individuals after they are acquitted or released without charge, and the communications, photos and location data contained in most people's smartphones is at least as valuable and as personal as DNA.’

Ms Draper added that while the Met's current plans were limited to fixed extraction terminals in stations, portable technology was readily available.

In the media
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Privacy campaigners also fear the gizmos could later be introduced for stop-and-searches and that suspects could be put under unfair pressure to reveal Pin codes.

Privacy International accused police of being too cagey about the technology. Spokeswoman Emma Draper said: ‘We need a full and frank disclosure of how and when and why this system will be used.’

In the media
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But privacy campaigners today said the move was a “possible breach of human rights laws”.

Emma Draper, spokeswoman for Privacy International, said: “From a legal perspective anything like this has to be proportionate.

“The right to personal privacy in a democractic society has to be balanced against the requirements of law enforcement. I don’t feel the balance has in any way been struck here.”

In the media
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"We are looking at a possible breach of human rights law," spokeswoman Emma Draper told the BBC.

"It is illegal to indefinitely retain the DNA profiles of individuals after they are acquitted or released without charge, and the communications, photos and location data contained in most people's smartphones is at least as valuable and as personal as DNA."

Ms Draper added that while the Met's current plans were limited to fixed extraction terminals in stations, portable technology was readily available.

Blast
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In her speech earlier today outlining the British government's plans for the next year, the Queen stated:

My government intends to bring forward measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public, subject to scrutiny of draft clauses.”

Blast
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We're looking for someone who's passionate about privacy, loves foreign travel and feels at-home speaking to large audiences and the media to be our Head of International Advocacy.

Blog
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On Thursday 19th April, Privacy International - in partnership with the LSE, the Foundation for Information Policy Research, Open Rights Group and Big Brother Watch - hosted Scrambling for Safety 2012, a discussion of the Home Office's new plans for mass interception in the UK.

Blast
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In February 2012, the PI team travelled to India, Bangladesh and Hong Kong to meet with our local partners in the region and speak at four conferences they had organized. For more information on the trip, please read our blog. We also got the chance to interview our partners in India and Bangladesh on the privacy issues facing them at the moment - this video is the result of those conversations. 

In the media
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The comments were made during a debate on the plans held at the London School of Economics on Thursday.

The Scrambling for Safety conference brought together academics, politicians, computer security experts and the public to debate the current proposals.

Event
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Vrije Universiteit Brussel – Research Group on Law, Science, Technology & Society (VUB-LSTS), Trilateral Research & Consulting LLP and Privacy International are currently conducting research on privacy impact assessment (PIA).

In the media
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Cameron said his proposal was meant "to keep our country safe from serious and organised crime and also from terrorist threats that… that we still face in this country". But as Privacy International explained: "In a terrorism investigation, the police will already have access to all the data they could want. This is about other investigations." The information gathered in this new programme would be available to local law enforcement for use in any investigation and would be available without any judicial oversight.

Event
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The ninth Scrambling for Safety conference has been created with the aim of bringing together a variety of stakeholders interested in surveillance policy for an open exchange of views on the Home Office's new Communications Capabilities Development Programme.

In the media
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London-based campaign group Privacy International told the BBC it intended to take part in the process.

"Technologies like these need to be carefully designed if they are to enhance our private lives, not endanger them," said spokeswoman Emma Draper.

"Sharing highly sensitive personal data - like medical information - to a network of wireless devices automatically creates certain risks and vulnerabilities, so security and privacy need to be built in at the earliest stages of the development process."

Blast
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Gus was interviewed by ex-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and ex-MP David Mellor on their Saturday morning programme on LBC Radio. It was particularly interesting to hear Ms Smith's take on the Home Office's "new" Communications Capabilities Development Programme, given that it bears such a startling resemblance to the Interception Modernisation Programme she herself proposed in 2009. Listen to the interview below.

In the media
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Worse still, a privacy group called Privacy International has identified British, American, German and Israeli companies who are exporting spooky technologies like DPI hardware and equally sophisticated software products like "optical cyber solutions" that enable mass surveillance of large scale populations, to repressive regimes in the Middle East such as Yemen, Egypt, Syria and Iran.

In the media
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Last night Gus Hosein, of Privacy International, said: "We don't want deep packet inspection 'black boxes' to be installed because it opens the door to all kinds of intrusion into private communications.

"The Government are kidding themselves if they think as soon as they have the black boxes they'll be able to check everyone's VOIP calls, and so on, because everything is encrypted.

"Unless GCHQ have a bit of magic we don't know about it would take an impossible amount of computational power to break all that encryption."

In the media
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Experts point out that as many communications, including those on Gmail, are protected from prying eyes by an encryption method known as https, it would take significant resources to break the security.

“The Home Office needs to come clean about what precisely they’re planning,” Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, said last week. “There are two options here: either the system they’re proposing won’t actually give them the access they’re after, in which case it’s a colossal waste of money, or they’re planning to break https on a massive scale.

In the media
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Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, the campaign group, believes there are few precedents for what the coalition proposes, stating that it would necessitate the use of “deep packet inspection technology”. Some broadband providers deploy this technology to track the browsing habits of their own consumers, but not normally at the state’s behest.

In the media
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Privacy International said it had visited international arms and security fairs and identified at least 30 UK companies that it believes have exported surveillance technology to countries including Syria, Iran, Yemen and Bahrain. A further 50 companies exporting similar technology from the US were also identified. Germany and Israel were also identified as big exporters of surveillance technology, in what is reportedly a £3bn a year industry.

In the media
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Eric King, research director of Privacy International, said: ‘RIPA’s authorisation regime is amongst the weakest in the world and enables government access to information, with barely any real restrictions.’

In the media
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Gus Hosein, executive director of civil rights watchdog Privacy International, welcomed the opportunity for a pause to examine the proposed legislature.

He said: 'What’s important and essential is that we continue to have these discussions. I would never argue that these aren’t important powers for a government to have, but these are modern policy problems that need sophisticated public debate.'

In the media
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“CCDP changes everything,” Gus Hosein of Privacy International told Slate. “It compels telephone companies and ISPs to collect information that they never would have collected, and then makes them retain it. This will be the first time that there’s a law actively requiring an organization to collect information on innocent people just in case it may be of relevance in the future.”

In the media
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“I’m afraid that if this program gets introduced, the U.K. will be leapfrogging Iran in the business of surveilling its citizens,” said Eric King, head of research at Privacy International. “This program is so broad that no other country has yet to try it, and I am dumbfounded they are even considering it here.”

In the media
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Privacy International says that there is no doubt that it is designed to encourage MPs that might not agree with the snooping bill to support it.

In the media
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Twitter was also the place where an apparent Lib Dem internal briefing note about CCDP was first leaked yesterday afternoon. London-based NGO Privacy International later verified that the document was genuine. The NGO went on to point out that the document contained factual errors and said it appeared to have been written to help convince the junior half of the Coalition to approve the Home Office's net-snooping proposal.

In the media
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And where there is such a wealth of information, there is an element of risk that it will not be used correctly.

Emma Draper of Privacy International said: "Information, once collected and stored, will always be vulnerable to exposure by human error or corruption. The only answer to this problem is to collect only the bare minimum of information, and to delete or destroy information the moment it becomes superfluous to requirements."

Press release
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An internal Liberal Democrat briefing on Home Office plans to massively expand government surveillance was today passed to Privacy International. The document contains significant evasions and distortions about the proposed 'Communications Capabilities Development Programme' (CCDP), and is clearly intended to persuade unconvinced Lib Dem MPs to vote in favour of the proposal.

In the media
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Eyes without a face. Leaked reports suggest the UK government wants to give its secret service free access to the emails and text messages of all Brits. A CBC report featuring an interview with Eric King.

Report
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In this briefing for members of the European Parliament, we identify the key problems with the policy of communications data retention. The proposals being proposed by the European Commission and the Council require the collection and logging of every telecommunication transaction of every individual within modern European society. Almost all human conduct in an information society generates traffic data. Therefore traffic data can be used to piece together a detailed picture of human conduct. Under the various proposals, this data will be kept for between six months and four years.

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