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As Communications Manager, Mike handles all of Privacy International's external communications. He is the point-person for the media and also develops strategy for public engagement. Before joining PI, Mike was the Campaign and Media Strategist for Access, an international NGO that defends and extends the digital rights of at-risk users around the world. In a past life, Mike was a researcher at Columbia University's Institute for TeleInformation, as well as a political journalist in the US. Mike received his master's degree in Media Studies and Media Management at The New School in New York City, and his bachelor's degree in Journalism and Philosophy at Marist College.
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In a letter to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies last week, prominent London-based charity Privacy International expressed concern about the funding connections between the department and South African firm VASTech.
The annual report of the department’s support programme for industrial innovation shows that R1.3-million was granted to VASTech’s Zebra E128 software system in 2005. Responding to amaBhungane’s questions, the department confirmed that this project was completed in 2008.
“ L'approvazione della risoluzione non provocherà delle azioni concrete immediate, ma dal punto di vista normativo sarà una dichiarazione di principio forte, aiutando il fronte di chi combatte la sorveglianza globale. Inoltre permetterà di capire, anche a livello di singoli Stati, chi è disposto a sostenere gli Stati Uniti sulla strada del controllo di massa e chi invece si oppone”, commenta a Wired.it Carly Nyst di Privacy International.
Privacy International said it had long suspected that members of Five Eyes have been playing "a game of jurisdictional arbitrage to sidestep domestic laws governing interception and collection of data".
"Secret agreements such as these must be placed under the microscope to ensure they are adequately protecting the rights of British citizens," said Eric King, the group's head of research.
The five rights groups — Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access and Privacy International — said this provision will ensure that the issue stays on the front burner at the United Nations.
Privacy International has released a collection of 1,203 documents on the private surveillance sector, detailing mass surveillance technologies capable of covertly collecting millions of emails, text messages, and phone calls on citizens around the world. The documents mention two companies known for selling Internet monitoring technology and unpublished software vulnerabilities to the U.S. National Security Agency.
Advocacy group Privacy International has put together an extensive report on the powerful surveillance technologies being sold by private companies. The findings, it says, are "downright scary" and show that private companies are capable of acquiring spying tools just as capable as what the NSA and GCHQ are using. The details have all been collected in a database called the Surveillance Industry Index, which details the offerings of over 300 companies from across the globe.
The anti-surveillance group Privacy International just published a massive store of documents related to private companies selling surveillance equipment on the global market, and the contents are unsettling. In total, there are 1,203 documents detailing 97 different surveillance technologies, including everything from sophisticated spy cameras to software that can intercept phone call data, text messages and emails—just like the NSA does. The companies are also marketing these things to some of the world's worst despots.
Stanley spoke as a new database revealed the number of private firms now selling spying tools and mass surveillance technologies. Some of the systems allow countries to snoop on millions of emails, text messages and phone calls.
The Surveillance Industry Index, which was compiled by Privacy International, has more than 1,200 brochures gathered from private trade fairs over the last four years. The events give firms a chance to tout powerful capabilities that are usually associated with government agencies such as GCHQ and its US counterpart, the National Security Agency.
Die Menschenrechtsorganisation Privacy International hat den Surveillance Industry Index (SII) veröffentlicht, eine Übersicht von Firmen, die Überwachungstechnologie anbieten. Zu sehen gibt es mehr als 1200 Dokumente von 338 Firmen in 36 Ländern, darunter auch Deutschland.
Vier Jahre haben die Aktivisten gebraucht, um die Übersicht zusammenzustellen. Sie bauen auf den von WikiLeaks veröffentlichten Spy Files auf, aber es sind auch 400 bisher unveröffentlichte Dokumente dabei; geholfen hat unter anderem die Omega Research Foundation.
Human rights groups are sounding alarms as Western firms sell mass surveillance technology in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, equipping governments and companies new capabilities to snoop on citizens.
Despite the public outcry over mass global surveillance being carried out by the NSA and the GCHQ, brought to light in May by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, the scandal has not prevented tech companies and countries from closing contracts on spy technology.
L'elenco delle compagnie, pubblicato da Privacy International dopo 4 anni di lavoro, include anche un azienda italiana, la Hacking Team, fondata nel 2003 e basata - si legge nel rapporto - a Milano. Il rapporto sottolinea che «la normativa italiana per l'esportazione non regola nello specifico queste tecnologie, quindi possono finire facilmente nelle mani sbagliate». La ditta italiana sarebbe in grado di fornire sistemi di intercettazione per i cellulari come iPhone, Blackberrie e quelli basati su Windows o Symbian.
The document trove, called the Surveillance Industry Index (SII) and released by Privacy International, and contains 1,203 documents from 338 companies in 36 countries, all of which detail surveillance technologies. Some advertised capabilities are astounding: A firm named Glimmerglass, which produces monitoring and repair equipment for undersea cables, touts in a brochure that its equipment enables "dynamic selection and distribution of signals for analysis and storage."
The documents are included in an online database compiled by the research watchdog Privacy International, which has spent four years gathering 1,203 brochures and sales pitches used at conventions in Dubai, Prague, Brasilia, Washington, Kuala Lumpur, Paris and London. Analysts posed as potential buyers to gain access to the private fairs.
The database, called the Surveillance Industry Index, shows how firms from the UK, Israel, Germany, France and the US offer governments a range of systems that allow them to secretly hack into internet cables carrying email and phone traffic.
Privacy International (PI), a UK-based privacy rights group, recently wrote a letter to Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, regarding grants to the tune of R3.6-million provided to VASTech.
VASTech is one of the South African companies linked to to the so-called mass surveillance industry by WikiLeaks, which said VASTech’s Zebra system was used in Libya by Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
Human rights organisation Privacy International (PI) has written to the South African government to ask why the Department of Trade and Industry used R3 563 506.45 of public money to fund the development of a telecoms surveillance tool capable of capturing up to 40 million minutes of voice calls a month, which was deployed by the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Sam Smith, a technologist at Privacy International, said the unencrypted data could hypothetically relate to any of Microsoft's cloud services, from Hotmail and Outlook.com email accounts to Xbox Live, Office 365 and SkyDrive cloud storage.
This response seems unlikely to reassure Smith who commented, "Unless Microsoft takes immediate action to rectify this situation, any business or individual using their services to store or transmit sensitive data will have been fundamentally let down by a brand that suggested it was worthy of trust."
Earlier this year, The Washington Post claimed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had developed a method nine years ago to locate cellphones when they were powered down. The publication didn’t provide technical details on the software or hardware involved, leaving security researchers puzzled by the revelations. Seeking clarification on the technologies invoked, British privacy watchdog Privacy International conducted a survey of eight cellphone manufacturers in August to obtain details on how it would be possible to track a cellphone once it’s turned off.
Anna Fielder of Privacy International also commented, saying that "Privacy and consumer advocates absolutely do not want data protection and data flows to be included in the TTIP negotiations; simply put, a trade agreement is not the best place to deal with such issues."
"The telecommunications companies can actually do an astonishing amount to push back against this sort of surveillance," Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, told DW. "It's plain that the Tempora program is almost certainly unlawful… Companies don't have an obligation to comply with unlawful requests, and should they wish to challenge them, they would be well within their rights to do so, and would likely be successful."
Though it is unsurprising that allied intelligence agencies cooperate and share information, the document did reveal a new facet of the relationship. "What we weren't previously aware of was the level of collusion when it comes to getting round surveillance law," Privacy International spokesman Mike Rispoli told DW. "We can't really be sure, but what we can infer is that when government officials discuss information sharing, they say, 'look at our laws here, look at what we're doing, look how lax our surveillance law is here, … you should get on board with this.' "
"With each passing day, the public finds out more and more how private companies are colluding with governments to operate mass surveillance programs that intercept our daily phone calls, text messages, emails and personal data," said Eric King, head of research at Privacy International.
"Far from being coerced, it appears some of the companies have gone well beyond their legal responsibility by colluding with GCHQ on its Tempora [data collection] programme.
Six global telecommunications companies - British Telecom, Interoute, Level Three, Verizon Enterprise, Viatel and Vodafone Cable - are the subject of a formal complaint by Privacy International for potential violation of human rights such as the right to privacy and freedom of expression.
“We call on these companies to do the right thing and halt their involvement with mass surveillance and hope the OECD will investigate what steps, if any, the companies took to defend the human rights of their customers," said King.
Privacy International is challenging ISPs BT and Vodafone and other companies in the telecommunications industry, including Viatel, Verizon and Level 3.
It has also tried to take the UK government in front of a legal tribunal (PDF) to ascertain whether it has acted outside the law, and has filed a claim with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT).
Privacy International has filed complaints against U.K. telecommunications companies for assisting British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) with mass interception of telephone and Internet traffic that passes through undersea fiber optic cables.
The formal complaints were filed with the U.K. office of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which publishes guidelines for responsible business conduct followed by 44 governments including the U.K.
Privacy International argued that while tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo have been able to prove their resistance to government access requests, BT, Level 3 and the other companies appear to have rolled over under pressure.
"With each passing day, the public finds out more and more how private companies are colluding with governments to operate mass surveillance programs that intercept our daily phone calls, text messages, emails, and personal data," said the group's head of research, Eric King.
The group believes the companies may have violated a number of OECD guidelines on human rights, including the right to privacy and freedom of expression, by giving GCHQ access to their fibre-optic cables. It had already written to the providers, but received no response.
Privacy International now wants a formal investigation, and for the companies to come clean about how they collaborated with GCHQ on snooping programmes, like the cable tapping Tempora project.
Yesterday Privacy International filed complaints with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) against some of the world's leading telecommunication companies for providing assistance to GCHQ's Tempora programme. The group believes up to a dozen OECD guidelines, relating to companies' responsibilities to respect human rights, including the right to privacy and freedom of expression, may have been violated.
“With each passing day, the public finds out more and more how private companies are colluding with governments to operate mass surveillance programs that intercept our daily phone calls, text messages, e-mails, and personal data,” said Eric King of Privacy International in a statement.
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