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Stream: Press releases

This is a resource of our latest press releases. To join our press mailing list, please email comms@privacy.org with your contact details. For up-to-the-minute privacy news, follow us on on Twitter @privacyint

Press release

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". He added that the government was committed to "working with international partners through the mechanism of the Wassenaar Arrangement in order to agree a specific control list of goods, software and technology" and that this work would continue into 2013.

Press release

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. 

On Friday 9th November, Privacy International's Eric King wrote to HMRC with a 186-page dossier of evidence against Gamma. HMRC is the body responsible for enforcing export regulations and policies set by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and has the power to bring criminal proceedings against companies that disregard these rules.

Press release

In a letter sent earlier in August to Privacy International's lawyers Bhatt Murphy, a representative of the Treasury Solicitor stated:

The Secretary of State, having carried out an assessment of the FinSpy system to which your letter specifically refers, has advised Gamma International that the system does require a licence to export to all destinations outside the EU under Category 5, Part 2 (‘Information Security’) of Annex I to the Dual-Use Regulation. This is because it is designed to use controlled cryptography and therefore falls within the scope of Annex I to the Dual-Use Regulation. The Secretary of State also understands that other products in the Finfisher portfolio could be controlled for export in the same way."

Press release

The charity's lawyers, Bhatt Murphy, have written to the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills asking why, despite repeated requests, the government has failed to take any concrete steps to stop British surveillance technology being exported to regimes that routinely engage in internal repression and serious human rights breaches including unlawful detention, torture and enforced disappearance.

Press release

Privacy International's founder and former Director General, Simon Davies, has been tasked by cross-party rapporteurs of the European Parliament to conduct a wide-ranging external assessment of the European Commission's proposed reforms to the EU data protection framework.

The assessment will involve a thorough review of the proposals by an EU-wide expert group currently being put together. The input for the assessment will be multi-stakeholder in nature, though the focus of the report will be on legal issues. The EP has asked Mr Davies to present the assessment's findings to the joint meeting of EU national parliaments and the European Parliament in October.

In their letter of 17th July authorising the assessment, Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP (rapporteur for data protection regulation) and Dimitrios Droutsas MEP (rapporteur for the Data Protection Directive) wrote that, while they "broadly welcomed" the Commission's proposals, they believed "that the process of consideration of these proposals would benefit greatly from an external multi-stakeholder expert input".

Press release

The government today published a draft version of a bill that, if signed into law in its current form, would force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile phone network providers in Britain to install 'black boxes' in order to collect and store information on everyone's internet and phone activity, and give the police the ability to self-authorise access to this information. However, the Home Office failed to explain whether or not companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter will be brought under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), and how they intend to deal with HTTPS encryption.

Press release

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.

Press release

The Council of the European Union today reinforced restrictive measures on EU exports to Iran, banning "exports of equipment and software intended for use in the monitoring or interception of internet and telephone communications by the Iranian authorities".

The Council also added 17 people responsible for grave human rights violations to the list of those subject to a travel ban and asset freeze. An existing ban on equipment for use in internal repression was transferred from the sanctions regime addressing the Iranian nuclear programme to the regime addressing human rights abuses, for reasons of coherence.

Press release

Today, 60 countries worldwide operate national DNA databases, and at least 34 more are considering putting them in place. The use of DNA evidence in criminal investigations can bring great benefits to society, helping to solve crimes, convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent. However, the mass storage of DNA samples and computerized profiles in databases raises important human rights concerns. Your DNA profile can be used to track you or your relatives. Your DNA sample has the potential to reveal predispositions towards certain illnesses and behaviours, as well as the current state of your health. This is not an issue restricted to convicted criminals; as the practice of collecting and storing DNA samples from those arrested but never convicted of even minor offences increases, innocent people all over the world are being added to databases.

Press release

In an advertisement placed in national newspapers yesterday (23rd February), the National ICT R&D Fund of Pakistan (which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Information Technology) requested proposals  for "the development, deployment and operation of a national level URL Filtering and Blocking System". Further information provided on the Fund's website stated:

"Internet access in Pakistan is mostly unrestricted and unfiltered...Many countries have deployed web filtering and blocking systems at the Internet backbones within their countries. However, Pakistani ISPs and backbone providers have expressed their inability to block millions of undesirable web sites using current manual blocking systems. A national URL filtering and blocking system is therefore required to be deployed at national IP backbone of the country."

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