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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 collaboration with the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian, Privacy International today published a database of all attendees at six ISS World surveillance trade shows, held in Washington DC, Dubai and Prague between 2006 and 2009. ISS World is the biggest of the surveillance industry conferences, and attendance costs up to $1,295 per guest. Hundreds of attendees are listed, ranging from the Tucson Police Department, to the government of Pakistan, to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

Press release

Following 18 months of research by Privacy India, The Centre for Internet and Society and the Society in Action Group, with support from London-based Privacy International, the groups held an All India Privacy Symposium at the India International Centre in New Delhi on Saturday 4th February 2012. Speakers included Supreme Court Advocate Menaka Guruswamy, Microsoft Director of Corporate Affairs Deepak Maheshwari, social researcher and activist Usha Ramanathan, journalist Saikat Datta and former Chief of RAW Hormis Thorakan.

Press release

Privacy India, the Centre for Internet and Society and the Society in Action Group, with support from Privacy International, have spent 18 months studying the state of privacy across India, conducting consultations in Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Chennai and Mumbai. On Friday (3rd February 2012), the results of their research were discussed by representatives from government, industry, media and civil society at a high-level conclave in Delhi. In attendance were Manish Tewari MP, Microsoft Director of Corporate Affairs Deepak Maheshwari and P.K.H. Tharakan former Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing. A privacy symposium open to the public will be held tomorrow afternoon at the Indian International Centre.

Press release

Tatiana Lucas’s calculated flag-waving and her invocation of the modern-day bogeyman of unemployment in her letter to the Wall Street Journal today was both distasteful and dishonest. TeleStrategies Inc (which runs the ISS World conferences) has as much interest in creating jobs for US citizens as it does in protecting the lives of Iranian political dissidents: none whatsoever. The ISS World conferences host companies from all over the world, including China. At the time of writing, I am returning home from the latest ISS World event in Kuala Lumpur, where several Chinese companies were proffering their wares, often in direct competition with their US counterparts. The sole purpose of the ISS World conferences is to generate profit for Jerry Lucas, owner of TeleStrategies, and any suggestion that organizers in fact behave in a spirit of patriotic altruism must be greeted with the derision it deserves.

Press release

Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association today released twelve Core Legal Principles we believe should be observed by the United States and Canada as they develop their joint border policy.

President Obama and the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper first announced their plans to develop a 'North American Security Perimeter' deal in February 2011. They are expected to unveil the agreement later this week.

PI, the ACLU and the CCLA have produced the twelve principles in an effort to ensure that constitutional rights on both sides of the border are not diluted. The principles seek to address some of the key legal issues raised by the Security Perimeter, including privacy, law enforcement, watch lists, due process and information-sharing.

We are also strongly advocating that the highest legal standards prevail, meaning that where standards differ between Canada and the United States, the higher standard – granting the greater protections to individuals – should adhered to.

Gus Hosein, Executive Director of Privacy International, said:

Press release

At 12.45pm today, Wikileaks released hundreds of brochures, presentations, marketing videos and technical specifications exposing the inner workings of the international trade in surveillance technologies. Many of these documents were gathered by PI’s Eric King while undercover at industry-only conferences and trade shows in London, Paris and Washington DC.

Mr King joined Julian Assange, security researcher Jacob Appelbaum, Stefania Maurizi of Italian news weekly L’Espresso, Jean-Marc Manach of OWNI, Steven Murdoch of Cambridge University and Praveen Swami of The Hindu (via Skype) at a press conference at City University in London to discuss the release of the documents. The material is a devastating indictment of this secretive and highly dangerous industry. The equipment and software described includes:

Press release

Privacy International’s Director-General Simon Davies has today written to Creativity Software CEO Richard Lee urging him to “follow suit” after surveillance technology company Area SpA withdraws their business from Syria.

In the letter, Mr Davies reiterated the seven questions he asked in his letter of 10th November - questions that Richard Lee has so far failed to answer. He asked whether Creativity has had dealings in other Middle Eastern and North African countries, and requested details of the nature of the technology sold to Iran, such as the worth of contracts, the particulars of software and hardware and whether Creativity's technicians have since visited the country. Mr Davies wrote:

Your answers will be crucial in preventing future harm, and in mitigating the harm your company has already done by selling such dangerous technology to a regime that shows as little concern for the lives, liberty and personal dignity of its citizens as Iran."

Press release

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:

…proud to be a supplier of world class technology to MTN, in Iran and other countries. MTN is a company with the vision of being the leading telecommunications provider in emerging markets, with an avowed mission to speed up the progress of the emerging world by enriching the lives of the people within it.

Press release

Privacy International’s Director-General Simon Davies has today written to Prime Minister David Cameron and Creativity Software CEO Richard Lee following revelations that Kingston-based Creativity sold a location-tracking system to Iran.

Mr Davies expressed his disappointment that the Coalition has taken no steps whatsoever to stop the export from Britain of surveillance technology to repressive regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, where it is used as a tool of political control against political dissidents, human rights defenders and journalists. He flagged up a paragraph in the Conservative Manifesto 2010, in which Mr Cameron extolled the benefits of “new technologies” like Twitter, Facebook and proxy internet servers, and asked the Prime Minister to practice what he had once preached by preventing British companies from selling systems that stifle internet freedom and undermine the security of private communications. Mr Davies warned Mr Cameron:

Press release

Privacy International today published documentation that establishes a deliberate cover-up by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of a failure to uphold its responsibility to enforce the Data Protection Act.

A request under the Freedom of Information Act by PI and No-CCTV has revealed a conflict of interest in the ICO’s mandate and a fundamental failure of process within the Office. The material disclosed proves that the ICO conspired to delay the FOIA request, and attempted to ensure that a significant error of judgment by the Office went unnoticed by the British media. During communications between senior officials at the ICO, strategies for ‘spinning’ the story were discussed, with one member of staff suggesting the Office “bury” it in other news.

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