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This country report is an evaluation of telecommunications 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.
Privacy International has frequently criticised the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for shortcomings ranging from timidity to technical ignorance. However, material received from a Freedom of Information request to the Office in September 2011 revealed that the regulator had crossed a line from incompetence to possible malpractice.
People are morally outraged by the traditional arms trade, but they don’t realize that the sale of software and equipment that allows oppressive regimes to monitor the movements, communications and Internet activity of entire populations is just as dangerous,” said Eric King of Privacy International, a London-based group that seeks to limit government surveillance. Sophisticated technology “is facilitating detention, torture and execution,” he said, “and potentially smothering the flames of another Arab Spring.”
Privacy International today received an email from Saul Olivares, Sales and Marketing Director of Creativity Software, in response to the letter we sent to Creativity CEO Richard Lee yesterday.
Mr Olivares directed PI to an attached statement, in which Creativity stated that it was:
Last week the German Federal Constitutional Court overturned a law on the retention of telecommunications data for law enforcement purposes, stating that it posed a "grave intrusion" to personal privacy and must be revised. In their ruling the judges found that the law stands in contradiction to the basic right of private correspondence and does not protect the principle of proportionality, as it fails to balance the need to provide security with the right to privacy.
Privacy International and EPIC praised a vote today in the European Parliament today that rejected the transfer of finacial records to the United States under an interim agreement. A resolution to reject the deal passed 378-16, with 31 abstentions. Members of the parliament stated the proposed agreement lacked adequate privacy safeguards, and was a disproportionat response to US concerns about terrorism that also lacked reciprocity.
Following an extensive campaign by Privacy International and our network of groups in the United Kingdom, the UK Government has decided to abandon its current plans for data sharing legislation.
The government has announced that it will immediately abandon clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, following on from an open letter that Privacy International sent to the Justice Secretary earlier this week.
Many of Britain's leading professional bodies have joined Privacy International and colleague NGOs to call for the complete withdrawal of the controversial clause 152 data-sharing powers. An open letter signed by thirty organisations ranging from Liberty, to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, to the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association condemns the new powers as a dangerous threat to privacy, and has demanded the removal of the clause from the Coroners & Justice Bill. The text of the letter is below.
Dear Mr Straw,
At the request of the Civil Initiative on Internet Policy, a Kyrgyz public foundation, Privacy International participated in an international conference on Internet and Law in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
The event was organized in response to proposals for a new data retention law and content regulation of the Internet and was attended by government officials, journalists, legal experts, and representatives of the telecommunications industry.
Privacy International's recent complaint to the UK Information Commissioner has threatened to bring to a halt an imminent plan to fingerprint all domestic and international passengers departing from Heathrow's Terminal 1 and Terminal 5, due to begin on March 27th. The British media is reporting that in response to PI's complaint, the Information Commissioner has advised that passengers should only accept fingerprinting "under protest" until our complaint is resolved.
The European Commission is about to announce the compulsory fingerprinting of all visitors to the EU, both visa holders and non-visa holders, along with automated border checks of EU nationals through the analysis of fingerprints and facial scans.
Together with a coalition with 18 Japanese rights groups, Privacy International today delivered a letter to the Japanese Minister of Justice to protest against the implementation of a fingerprinting system and face-scanning system at its borders. All visitors and many foreign residents to Japan will be fingerprinted under this plan. Our letter to the Minister is endorsed by 68 organisations from 30 countries. In our letter, we show that there are numerous problems with the government's plans.
Privacy International and the American Civil Liberties Union have appealed to the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and privacy commissioners in 31 countries across Europe to repeal the agreement between the EU and the US on passenger data transfers.
At its last session on November 21st and 22nd 2006, the Article 29 Working Party has again been dealing with the SWIFT case and has unanimously adopted Opinion 128 on its findings in this case.
In this Opinion, the Article 29 Working Party emphasizes that even in the fight against terrorism and crime fundamental rights must remain guaranteed. The Article 29 Working Party insists therefore on the respect of global data protection principles.
Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., a prominent defence and intelligence consulting and engineering firm, has been hired as an outside "independent" auditor of the CIA and Treasury Department's Terrorist Finance Tracking Program ("TFTP"), which monitors banking transactions made through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). Though Booz Allen's role is to verify that the access to the SWIFT data is not abused, its relationship with the U.S. Government calls its objectivity significantly into question. Booz Allen is one of the largest U.S.
Dear Mr Schrank,
I am writing with regard to the current controversy over the private arrangement between SWIFT and the U.S. Government that facilitates the extradition of confidential financial transaction data from SWIFT to U.S. authorities. You will be aware that Privacy International contends that this arrangement breaches privacy and data protection law, and we have lodged complaints with regulatory authorities in 38 countries.
Privacy International (PI) today filed additional complaints with authorities in Japan, Israel, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Argentina. On June 27th PI filed simultaneous complaints with Data Protection and Privacy regulators in 32 countries concerning recent revelations of secret disclosures of records from SWIFT to US intelligence agencies.(1)
Following a series of formal complaints to regulators, the privacy watchdog organisation Privacy International has released its estimate of the volume of confidential UK financial data covertly transmitted to the US government.
Last week PI filed simultaneous complaints with Data Protection and Privacy regulators in 32 countries concerning recent revelations of secret disclosures of records from the banking giant SWIFT to US intelligence agencies (1).
The privacy watchdog organisation Privacy International has today filed simultaneous complaints with Data Protection and Privacy regulators in seventeen countries concerning recent revelations of secret disclosures of millions of records from the banking giant SWIFT to US intelligence agencies.
On June 22-23 2006 the New York Times ran a story uncovering an international financial surveillance programme run by the Bush Administration. In essence the Bush Administration is getting access to international transfer data and storing this in databases at the Treasury Department and/or CIA for access to investigate terrorist activity.
There are a number of inconsistencies in the accounts so far:
The News on Sunday