Privacy International http://www.privacyinternational.org/rss.xml en Big Brother says ‘No’: Surveillance and income management of asylum seekers though the ASPEN Card http://www.privacyinternational.org/long-read/3259/big-brother-says-no-surveillance-and-income-management-asylum-seekers-though-aspen <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Big Brother says ‘No’: Surveillance and income management of asylum seekers though the ASPEN Card</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/43" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">staff</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wednesday, October 16, 2019</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em><span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@mikoguz?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Miko Guziuk</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/@mikoguz?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></span></em></p> <p><span><span><em><span>This research is the result of a collaboration between Grace Tillyard, a doctoral researcher in the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies department at Goldsmiths College, London, and Privacy International.</span></em></span></span></p> <p> </p> <h2><strong><span>Social Protection Systems in the Digital Age </span></strong></h2> <p><span><span><span><span>In the digital age, governments across the world are building technologically integrated programmes to allow citizens to access welfare payments. While smart and digital technologies hold the potential to streamline administrative processes and reach millions, they can also have adverse effects on those they should be supporting. Social protection systems around the world are increasingly ‘conditional’, meaning that aspects of state support, usually financial or practical, are dependent on claimants complying with a set of rules or conditions. </span><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3112/stage-1-applying-social-benefits-facing-exclusion"><span>These processes</span></a><span> are increasingly tied to rigid identification systems and determined by algorithmic and Automated Decision Making (ADM) processes. Those who fail to comply with the rules can find themselves automatically cut-off, have their assistance reduced or are subject to sanctions and fines. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><a href="https://pad.riseup.net/p/reproductive_health_surveillance_blog-keep"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">As Privacy International has argued</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">, the discrimination inherent to certain conditional welfare systems does not affect everyone equally. There is increasing evidence that welfare systems are driven by </span><a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/josh-levin-the-queen-book-review/"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">racialised and gendered assumptions</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> about people in need that also perpetuate baseless societal tropes that mothers, people of colour and migrants are undeserving abusers of social protection and welfare. </span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><strong><span>Private-Public Partnerships and Smart Debit Cards </span></strong></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span>The global drive to </span><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/advocacy/2996/privacy-internationals-submission-digital-technology-social-protection-and-human"><span>streamline and automate welfare systems</span></a><span> also lines the pockets of private sector companies. Many government agencies in charge of administrating welfare choose to outsource the design and management of their technological infrastructure to private sector partners or corporations, instead of managing the system internally. The companies which provide tech solutions to governments thus also play a role by supplying services and products that can enable surveillance and the monitoring of those receiving welfare support.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3208/we-read-all-submissions-thematic-report-un-general-assembly-digital-technology"><span>The introduction of Smart (Debit) Cards</span></a><span> is one of many other ways that governments are attempting to streamline the distribution and management of public benefits. These programmes provide social assistance through Smart (Debit) Cards, provided and administrated by corporations. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In 2012 a partnership was formed between the </span><a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;ved=2ahUKEwjplOGuupTlAhWoVBUIHQGsDicQFjABegQIABAC&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ohchr.org%2FDocuments%2FIssues%2FPoverty%2FDigitalTechnology%2FBlackSash.pdf&amp;usg=AOvVaw1GTnZnvObWIjn7gyBicTnG"><span>South African Social Security Agency, Grinrod Bank</span></a> <a href="https://www.mastercard.us/content/dam/mccom/en-us/documents/sassa-case-study.pdf"><span>and MasterCard</span></a><span> aiming to expand access to social protection through a smartcard. The programme was discontinued </span><a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=12&amp;ved=2ahUKEwjo2NnbvpvlAhWPI1AKHUZGBokQFjALegQIAxAC&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ohchr.org%2FDocuments%2FIssues%2FPoverty%2FDigitalTechnology%2FBlackSash.pdf&amp;usg=AOvVaw1GTnZnvObWIjn7gyBicTnG"><span>after the South African Supreme court argued</span></a><span> there was a fault in the tender process.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In 2017, </span><a href="https://a2i.gov.bd/"><span>the government of Bangladesh</span></a><span>, in cooperation with USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, created a similar programme known as ‘a2i’ (Access to Information) that built a system for citizens to receive social assistance on a pre-paid debit card. Access to the programme<a href="https://govinsider.asia/smart-gov/bangladesh-a2i-mobile-payments/"> requires</a> people to register with their biometric data. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In Australia, a Cashless Debit Card programme in partnership with Indue Ltd. aimed to reduce fraud and streamline welfare administration in the poorest region of the country. However, it soon came to light that the Department of Social Services was </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/13/cashless-welfare-card-trials-extended-for-a-year-in-sa-and-wa"><span>disproportionately targeting</span></a><span> areas inhabited by indigenous Australians and using cashless debit cards to institute the further surveillance and income management of these communities. </span></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><strong><span><span>The ASPEN Card for asylum seekers in the UK</span></span></strong></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>People seeking asylum in the UK, as in many other countries, </span></span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/4.24"><span>are excluded from claiming support from the welfare state and in most cases they are also not allowed to work</span></a><span><span><span><span><span> whilst their asylum application is being reviewed. But in some countries like the UK </span></span></span></span></span><span>they can access support in the form of housing and also receive a minimal allowance while in the UK through a scheme administered by the Home Office.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>In the past, asylum seekers collected this small sum of money from a Post Office with their Asylum Registration Card or through a prepaid payment card known as the </span></span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stores-that-accept-azure-cards-for-asylum-section-4-support"><span>AZURE Card</span></a><span><span><span><span><span>. But the process of withdrawing money at a Post Office was sometimes cumbersome, requiring people to travel long distances and tying them to a single Post Office location. The Azure Card was also only accepted in selected stores. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>In May 2017, </span></span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">the </span><a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=2ahUKEwjpk7rRi5TlAhVTr3EKHWlwCPUQFjAAegQIAhAC&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.refugeecouncil.org.uk%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F03%2FASPEN_card_brief__August_2018_.pdf&amp;usg=AOvVaw3QYxsYXnbRt9LTIEeQRGcN"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Asylum Support Enablement (ASPEN) Card was rolled-out nationally</span></a><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> replacing cash payments previously given to asylum seekers whose application had been refused, and to asylum seekers with an on-going application</span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>When </span></span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-06-04/260049/"><span>asked by a Member of Parliament on 4 June 2019</span></a><span><span><span><span><span> for what reason the Home Department had decided to move the provision of financial support to asylum seekers from post offices to ASPEN cards, the Minister for Immigration responded that: “Primarily, the sub-contractual arrangements were coming to an end, and the Asylum Registration Card (ARC) used for identification and payment purposes was being upgraded. Other factors included improved convenience and accessibility for service users, and a reduction in processing costs associated with reduced cash handling.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>Who receives support through the ASPEN card, and how does it work?</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>The ASPEN Card operates differently depending on if the recipient of the assistance is an</span></span></span><strong><span><span><span> </span></span></span></strong></span></span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">asylum seeker whose application had been refused or an asylum seeker with an on-going application</span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><a href="https://www.asaproject.org/uploads/Factsheet-2-section-4-support.pdf"><span>Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999</span></a><span> provides for support to asylum seekers whose applications have been refused (known as Section 4 support) and includes provision of accommodation and £35.39 a week via a payment card, which at the moment is the ASPEN card. They can only make chip and pin payments, i.e. no card withdrawals are permitted. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Those whose asylum claims are on-going can apply for </span><a href="https://www.asaproject.org/uploads/Factsheet-1-section-95.pdf"><span>‘section 95 support’</span></a><span> under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. The purpose of this support is to assist those who are destitute or about to become destitute, and their dependents whilst their asylum claim is pending. Those seeking assistance under section 95 must demonstrate that they meet ‘the destitution test’ which means that they must provide evidence that they do not have adequate accommodation or enough money to meet living expenses for themselves and any dependants. </span><a href="https://www.gov.uk/asylum-support/what-youll-get"><span>‘Section 95 support’</span></a><span> provides for housing as well as £37.75 per week (current rate) for each person. The subsistence support is provided through a debit card, which is currently the ASPEN Card, which allows the withdrawal of cash and direct card payments.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>These situations are far from temporary. Asylum seekers are forced to live off this menial stipend while the Home Office processes their application, which can take years. During this time whole families are left to struggle to make ends meet, unable to work or settle. </span></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><strong><span><span>So…what’s the problem?</span></span></strong></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>In April 2017, The Unity Centre in Glasgow </span></span></span></span></span><a href="https://unitycentreglasgow.org/aspencard/"><span>sounded the alarm</span></a><span><span><span><span><span> that the ASPEN cards were being used by the Home Office to monitor the expenses of cardholders and track the locations where they were used. According to The Unity Centre, the Home Office </span></span></span></span></span><span>explicitly said that they were “analysing card usage data”. <span><span><span><span><span>This surveillance was largely possible because Asylum seekers eligible for Section 4 support were also not able to withdraw cash from ATMs.</span></span></span></span></span> <span><span><span><span><span>This restrictive way of providing support created the conditions of heightened surveillance of Asylum seekers on Section 4 support, whose every purchase are monitored and partial surveillance of asylum seekers on Section 95 </span></span></span></span></span>support<span><span><span><span><span>, who could still withdraw their allowance in cash.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In January 2019, reports by </span><a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/home-office-tracks-debit-card-use-to-spy-on-asylum-seekers-lkgcdm7d7"><span>The Sunday Times</span></a><span> and </span><a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/asylum-seeker-home-office-spying-debit-card-aspen-hostile-environment-a8748781.html"><span>The Independent</span></a><span> provided more evidence that the Home Office was monitoring ASPEN cards. In particular, Home Office officials were reported as monitoring purchases made outside a person’s ‘authorised’ city where they are given temporary housing, in order to make a case that the person was fraudulently living elsewhere or did not qualify as destitute making them ineligible for financial support and shelter. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The Sunday Times, also notes that one leaked letter seen by The Sunday Times  stated, “It is observed from your ASPEN transactions that you have been spending your support out of area . . . you are now required to provide all information and evidence requested within five working days.”</span><span>.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>A closer look at </span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Home Office policy from their “</span><a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/425519/Breach_of_Conditions_v8.pdf"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Breach of conditions instruction”, addressed to their members of staff, </span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> reveals that the procedures for establishing whether or not fraud has been committed are vague and seem to be largely at the discretion of the individual caseworker. </span><span>The policy states that if there is a suspicion of fraudulent activity, the person in question will be required to justify to the caseworker</span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> what happened and “should the explanation lead a caseworker to believe that the breach of condition was unavoidable the explanation may be deemed a ‘Reasonable Excuse’.” If, however, the caseworker finds that there are ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe that the supported person has failed to comply with the conditions, their support will be suspended or discontinued.   </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">When asked on 6 February 2019 by a Member of Parliament about </span><span>“ how many asylum seekers have had their asylum support (a) suspended and (b) discontinued as a result of information obtained by the monitoring of the usage of an ASPEN card.”, t</span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">he Minister for Immigration at the time, responded that: “Where evidence comes to light that would suggest a supported asylum applicant has access to alternative accommodation and support, we would invite the applicant to give an account of their activity. Evidence can come from a number of sources, including ASPEN usage data. Suspension and any subsequent discontinuation of support due to a breach of conditions carries a right of appeal. Data is not held in a publishable format.”</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">A source at Asylum Matters told Privacy International that caseworkers have access to the card data and it is believed that an automated system flags locations and certain retailers. The source was also told by the Home Office that monitoring through the ASPEN Card is justified on the grounds that patterns of transactions that take place a significant distance away from the person’s address can indicate that the person is not complying with their accommodation agreement or that they may have fallen victim to trafficking. The source also explained that the ASPEN Card program was expanding to include provisions for its use for transport costs of asylum seekers. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Some of the people reported by The Sunday Times as being punished for making trips included </span><a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/asylum-seeker-home-office-spying-debit-card-aspen-hostile-environment-a8748781.html"><span>a teenage schoolgirl</span></a><span> who bought a train ticket using a donation from a local church to attend her father’s wake and a </span><a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/asylum-seeker-home-office-spying-debit-card-aspen-hostile-environment-a8748781.html"><span>Sudanese man living in the Midlands</span></a><span> who had his benefits withdrawn after attending a court hearing in London. </span><span>The Sunday Times reported that the Home Office confirmed that 186 people had their support stopped in 2018 ‘</span><a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/home-office-uses-debit-cards-to-spy-on-asylum-seekers-3xtxsklcx"><span>as a result of a referral regarding the ASPEN card usage’</span></a></span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span>The surveillance of asylum seekers: a lucrative business for Sodexo </span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span><span>But there is more to the ASPEN Card than meets the eye. To date, investigative </span><a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/home-office-tracks-debit-card-use-to-spy-on-asylum-seekers-lkgcdm7d7"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">reports</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> have highlighted some of the harrowing effects of Home Office surveillance on asylum seekers but have paid less attention to how and by whom the program is run. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">The administration service around the ASPEN card is provided by Sodexo, </span><a href="https://sodexoengage.com/what-we-do/government-services/payment-solutions/"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">a global outsourcing company</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">, which has a contract with the Home Office for the operation of the system. </span><a href="https://www.livingwage.org.uk/news/sodexo-makes-living-wage-commitment"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">In the UK alone Sodexo employs 34 000 people</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">. The company has a global annual revenue of around </span><a href="https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-sodexo-leisure/sodexos-sport-and-leisure-business-targets-china-in-growth-drive-idUKKCN1Q121U"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">20 Billion Euros</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> and are the world’s </span><a href="https://www.sodexo.com/home/careers.html"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">19th largest employer</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">. </span><span>The company delivers the </span><a href="https://uk.sodexo.com/home/your-industry/justice/services-in-prisons.html"><span>total operation of five prisons in England and Scotland</span></a><span>, managing over 5,000 prisoners in high and medium security facilities. Sodexo also manage a large number of public facilities including schools, NHS facilities and universities. </span><a href="https://sodexoengage.com/what-we-do/government-services/payment-solutions/"><span>According to the company’s UK website</span></a><span>, Sodexo provides and manages prepaid cards, vouchers and online payment platforms with more than 500,000 users across the UK, with over £1 billion loaded onto the cards or spent using their solutions. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Sodexo’s partnership with the Home Office </span><a href="https://sodexoengage.com/our-success-stories/the-home-office/"><span>dates back to the year 2000</span></a><span>, when they first helped to introduce the Azure card – as noted above, the first debit card created for asylum seekers in the UK on Section 4 support and the litmus test for the ASPEN card. This paved the way to roll out pre-paid cards </span><a href="https://www.gov.uk/asylum-support/what-youll-get"><span>to all asylum seekers</span></a><span> and eliminated any other form of paying support. </span><a href="https://sodexoengage.com/our-success-stories/the-home-office/"><span>Sodexo’s website hails</span></a><span> the partnership explaining that the system allows the Home Office to “ring-fence certain funds for specific purposes; for example, to be used only to pay for transport services”, and to configure “whether cards are ATM enabled or not, and if so to set the limit of funds that can be withdrawn”.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>On the </span><a href="https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-09-24/290395/"><span>3 September 2019, when asked by a Member of Parliament</span></a><span> how much the Home Department paid to Sodexo to provide the Aspen card service in each year for which data is available; and what estimate her Department has made of the future costs of that service, the Government responded that: “The Home Office does not publish data on the costs of the Sodexo contract as it is considered commercially sensitive.”, and “As we [the Home Office] are in the process of retendering for the payment card we are unable to provide any information on future costs”. A <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-spending-over-25000-2019">manual informal calculation of reported monthly expenditure</a> provides a rough estimation that the Home Office may have sent around £ 84,000,000 of taxpayer’s money to SODEXO MOTIVATION SOLUTIONS UK LTD for services under the line items,<strong> ‘</strong>Voluntary Assisted Returns’, ‘Asylum Provision &amp; Services and Public Order’, ‘Security &amp; Safety’. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The Home Office website that provides information to asylum seekers, </span><a href="https://www.gov.uk/asylum-support/what-youll-get"><span>refers to the ASPEN Card</span></a><span> as a payment mechanism but as far as we are aware it does not mention who administrates it. <a href="https://www.migranthelpuk.org/news/migrant-help-awarded-new-contract">Migrant Help</a>, an organisation sub-contracted by the Home Office to deal with asylum claims, also appears to have no available information online concerning the ASPEN Card. The Home Office does state <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/Home%20Office_ASPEN%20Letter.pdf">in a letter sent out to ASPEN Card users</a> and obtained by Privacy International, from a source we will refer to as Mishka, that by enrolling in the programme they are agreeing to, “the Home Office and authorised contractors collecting and storing information about card usage for the purposes of fraud prevention and ensuring compliance”. They do not, however, as far as we are aware, provide a way of opting-out of the system, making the allowance conditional on this Home Office monitoring. </span></span></span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-repeating-image-and-text field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--image-and-text-repeating paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="field field--name-field-fieldset-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-10/Letter%20screenshot_Individual%20support%20profile.png" width="918" height="1108" alt=" Letter screenshot_Individual support profile" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Letter sent out by UK Home Office to ASPEN Card users and obtained by Privacy International, from a source we will refer to as Mishka.</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-fieldset-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><h2><span><span><span><strong><em><span>A data protection and human rights lens: the ASPEN Card</span></em></strong></span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span><span>Digital technology has created what can be described as ‘government-industry complex’ that manages and regulates social protection programmes. Concerning features of this ‘government-industry complex’ around the world include poor governance of <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Poverty/A_74_48037_AdvanceUneditedVersion.docx">social protection policies</a>, a lack of open, inclusive and transparent decision-making processes and limited transparency and accountability of the systems and infrastructure.</span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><em><span>The ASPEN Card: A means of exerting control over and limiting autonomy of asylum seekers and their dependents </span></em></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span> Information published by the Home Office on the ASPEN Card provides details on what the card can and can’t be used for, and where it can and can’t be used, i.e. selected shops, not abroad, etc. This is an example of how such a programme creates a system which enables the monitoring, tracking and general exertion of control over recipients, which directly undermines asylum seekers’ autonomy and dignity. </span></span></span></span></p></div> </div> </div> <div class="field__item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--image-and-text-repeating paragraph--view-mode--default"> <div class="field field--name-field-fieldset-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-10/You%20will%20be%20able%20to%20use%20your%20Aspen%20card%20to_Home%20Office%20document.png" width="1598" height="460" alt="You will be able to use your Aspen card to_Home Office document" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Screenshot from &quot;A Home Office Guide to Living in Asylum Accommodation&quot;</div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-fieldset-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p><span><span><span><span>Making surveillance and income management a condition of access to support leaves Asylum Seekers who are unable to work with no choice but to submit to Home Office scrutiny. This means that asylum seekers are currently having to accept a trade-off between accessing support and their fundamental right to privacy but also non-discrimination, amongst others.  Given the time it takes to process an asylum application, entire families seeking refuge from conflict or disaster can be subjected to income management and degrading surveillance for years. </span><span>Considering this invasive monitoring and recording of asylum seekers’ intimate details of their lives, questions remain about the proportionality of such practices , and to how and if safeguards are integrated into the system to ensure compliance with the UK’s national and international human rights obligations, and data protection standards.</span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><em><span>Data protection and privacy obligations</span></em></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span>Systems such as the ASPEN card highlight some key concerns in relation to the protection, respect and promotion of the right to privacy as protected by the UK’s international human rights commitments, Article 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights enshrined in national law through the Human Rights Act 1998.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>Any interference with the right to privacy must meet the following standards: be in accordance with the law, and pursuant to a legitimate aim, in a democratic society. Furthermore, it is essential that social protection systems are not exempt from data protection laws. Rather they must build in and respect safeguards including the principles of transparency, lawfulness, fairness, data minimisation, accuracy, storage limitation, integrity and confidentiality of data and significantly accountability. Each of these principles is extremely pertinent in the context of a social protection system such as the support systems provided to asylum seekers.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/821324/Pack_A_-_English_-_Web.pdf"><span>Documentation published by the Home Office</span></a><span> on the ASPEN Card, indicates that “the Home Office and our providers will protect and keep your personal information confidential.” </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">In response to a written question submitted by a Member of Parliament on 6 February 2019 </span><a href="https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-02-06/217612/"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">the Government</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> claimed that “The terms and conditions relating to Aspen usage received appropriate legal scrutiny prior to being published and make it clear that personal data will be used only for the prevention of fraud and to preserve the integrity of the scheme which includes ensuring the welfare of card user”. </span><span>But it is not clear what safeguards, such as privacy policies, agreements, impact assessments are in place or have been carried out in relation to the processing activities of both the Home Office and partners, i.e. such as Sodexo or agencies with whom the Home Office may share this information.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span>In response to </span><a href="https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-02-06/217611/"><span>another questioned submitted</span></a><span> by a Member of Parliament which asked whether the Home Officer had undertaken “a Data protection impact assessment (a) or (b) after the introduction of the Aspen card in asylum support arrangements”, the </span><span> Government responded that: “The introduction of Aspen (2016) pre-dates the requirement for a data protection impact assessment (DPIA), which was introduced as part of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Appropriate legal advice was nevertheless obtained prior to the scheme being launched. In line with good practice, a review of current practice is being conducted to ensure that it is compliant with the GDPR, which will include the completion of a DPIA.” </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Whilst undertaking a DPIA is a new obligation under </span><span>GDPR, such assessments (also referred to previously as Privacy Impact Assessments, PIAs) “have been used for many years as a good practice measure to identify and minimise privacy risks associated with new projects” as </span><a href="https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/data-protection-impact-assessments-dpias/what-s-new-under-the-gdpr/"><span>noted by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office</span></a><span>. That in spite of such guidance and what is now a legal requirement to carry out a DPIA for this type of processing, it is deeply concerning if no such assessment has been carried out.   Given the rights implications of this programme it is imperative that if not done already a DPIA as well as an Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessment be carried out and made public.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span><em><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">What does the “immigration enforcement” exemption under DPA 2018 mean for the recipients of support through the ASPEN card?</span></em></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span>It is unclear how the collection, use and sharing of ASPEN Card data is impacted by the exemption in <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/12/schedule/2/enacted">paragraph 4 of Schedule 2 to the Data Protection Act 2018</a>,  which provides broad exemption for “the maintenance of effective immigration control” or “the investigation or detection of activities that would undermine the maintenance of immigration control.” </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Privacy International together with others <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/blog/2074/uk-data-protection-act-2018-339-pages-still-falls-short-human-rights-protection">raised significant human rights concerns</a> about the inclusion of this exemption during the passage of the Data Protection Act 2018. It is currently the subject of a </span><a href="https://www.openrightsgroup.org/press/releases/2019/open-rights-group-and-the3million-seek-to-appeal-immigration-exemption-judgment"><span>legal challenge</span></a><span><span><span> and <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3064/privacy-international-joining-migrant-organisations-challenge-uks-immigration">a complaint</a></span></span></span><span>. In the meantime, this exemption renders the use of data, such as through the ASPEN card even more problematic and worrisome for the protection of asylum seekers who already find themselves in vulnerable and precarious situations with limited avenues of redress.</span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><em><span>Scrutinising and regulating public-private partnerships</span></em></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span>Concerns around the partnership between the Home Office’s ASPEN card programme, and Sodexo are exacerbated by the lack of transparency, as highlighted </span><a href="https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-09-24/290395/"><span>by the refusal of the Home Office</span></a><span> to comment on the current and future contract with Sodexo as recently as September 2019. As noted above, it is also unclear what data protection and privacy policies, agreements and impact assessments (if any) govern this partnership between the Home Office and Sodexo.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Inviting corporate partners like Sodexo to manage smart (debit) card systems for welfare management has had consequences in other contexts and Sodexo has been at the centre of a fair few controversies. For example, in 2016, </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/08/revealedrio-tinto-surveillance-station-plans-to-use-drones-to-monitors-staffs-private-lives"><span>privacy advocates raised concerns</span></a><span> after the Rio Tinto mining company contracted Sodexo to create a surveillance system of staff in mining camps in Western Australia. It was reported that the contract was for ten years of facilities management and included a plan to dramatically increase surveillance of the Rio Tinto assets via a platform that live streamed information to a monitoring station in Perth staffed by 50 people. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In the UK, Sodexo </span><a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/sodexo-is-ruining-probation-centres-officers-claim-there-is-no-privacy-a6859946.html"><span>came under fierce criticism</span></a><span> back in 2016 for their management of the outsourced probation service, and in particular for the company’s disregard for the privacy and wellbeing of service users. A separate incident surfaced in June 2019, as United Voices of the World (UVW), a trade union which supports precarious, low-paid and predominantly migrant workers in the UK, </span><a href="https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/stmarysworkers?fbclid=IwAR0vrsA0QsU79IFYslYwI8Hu5LxgpfLJHGeCCjE9R7LwXyClRRH4_HchoD8"><span>initiated a campaign</span></a><span> to fight against the poor treatment and unequal pay of Sodexo employees at Saint Mary’s Hospital, London the majority of whom are migrant workers. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Going back to the Aspen Card contract, in response to <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-06-04/260051/">questions submitted by a Member of Parliament in June 2019</a>, the Government responded that “The Home Office’s contract to provide financial support to asylum seekers through an Aspen Card will expire on 27 November 2019 (with the option to extend for a further 6 months to 27 May 2020).” When asked in early September 2019 by a Member of Parliament as to whether the contract between Sodexo and the Home Office would be extended, the answer given by the Government was that “The Home Office intend to extend the contract for three months but reserve the right to extend for a further three months if required.”</span></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><strong><span>Conclusion</span></strong></span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span><span>The imposition of the ASPEN Card on those who are marginalised and unable to resist is no accident. It enables the Home Office and those they work with (in this case Sodexo) to test and develop new forms of surveillance, relying on the general public to turn a blind-eye to deeply concerning practices, because they seemingly only affect people on the margins. The Home Office gathers information about asylum seekers under the pretext of streamlining administrative processes. But as the ASPEN programme gradually expands, it would be short sighted not to wonder whether similar systems may be rolled out to other benefit claimants in the UK in the future.  </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Systems designed to support asylum seekers must be designed to protect rights from the onset and where they fail to do so, human rights, data protection and other legal tools should and must be used to scrutinise and where necessary challenge them. “All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated", and so asylum seekers should not have to trade off their right to privacy to enjoy their right to asylum and to social protection and their ability to live in dignity. Current practices in the UK, as highlighted by the ASPEN Card programme, risk doing just the opposite.</span></span></span></span></p></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-topic field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Learn more</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/public-services-recipients" hreflang="en">Public services recipients</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/economic-social-and-cultural-rights" hreflang="en">Economic, social and cultural rights</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/learning-topics/immigration-enforcement" hreflang="en">Immigration Enforcement</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/learning-topics/migrants" hreflang="en">Migrants</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/social-protection-programmes" hreflang="en">Social protection programmes</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/data-exploitation" hreflang="en">Data Exploitation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">What PI is fighting for</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/what-we-do/realise-our-rights-live-dignity" hreflang="en">Realise Our Rights to Live with Dignity</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-programme field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Strategic Area</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/strategic-areas/safeguarding-peoples-dignity" hreflang="en">Safeguarding Peoples&#039; Dignity</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-attachments field--type-file field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Attachments</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf"> <a href="http://www.privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/Home%20Office_ASPEN%20Letter.pdf" type="application/pdf; length=1358251" title="Home Office_ASPEN Letter.pdf">Home Office_Aspen Letter</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-target field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Target Stakeholders</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/target/government" hreflang="en">Government</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-campaign-name field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is Campaigning on</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/campaigns/when-big-brother-pays-your-benefits" hreflang="en">When Big Brother Pays Your Benefits</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type-of-abuse field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Type of abuse</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/examples/migrants" hreflang="en">Migrants</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/examples/recipients-aid" hreflang="en">Recipients of aid</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-audience-and-purpose field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Audiences and Purpose</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/630" hreflang="en">Helping experts with our analyses</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 16 Oct 2019 19:49:02 +0000 staff 3259 at http://www.privacyinternational.org Can the police limit what they extract from your phone? http://www.privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3281/can-police-limit-what-they-extract-your-phone <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@alexkixa?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Alexandre Debiève</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/digital?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></p> <p>In the last few months strong concerns have been raised in the UK about how police use of mobile phone extraction dissuades rape survivors from handing over their devices: according to a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/nov/10/half-of-victims-drop-out-of-cases-even-after-suspect-is-identified">Cabinet Office report leaked to the Guardian</a>, almost half of rape victims are dropping out of investigations even when a suspect has been identified. The length of time it takes to conduct extractions (with <a href="https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/rape-victims-paying-phone-bills-for-months-while-police-search-mobiles-investigation-finds-a4283391.html">victims paying bills whilst the phone is with the police</a>) and the volume of data obtained by the police are key areas. </p> <blockquote> <p>&gt; Mobile phone extraction involves the collection of vast quantities of data. Read the types of data that can be extracted <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/2840/what-types-data-can-law-enforcement-extract-my-phone">here</a>  </p> </blockquote> <p>To address fears that the police unreasonably grab everything - from your browsing history to all your messages and photos, potentially going back many years, one response is that they should limit what they extract. But is selective extraction possible, the idea that you can reduce what the police obtain from mobile phones? </p> <p><img alt="extracted data" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="57b2d434-70ff-43a3-8c04-e6846a925515" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/MPE2_0_1.png" /></p> <p>Israeli company Cellebrite, a lead manufacturer of data extraction devices<a href="https://privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2019-11/How%20Selective%20Extraction%20can%20help%20to%20deliver%20a%20better%20justice%20system%20for%20the%20victims%20and%20survivors%20o.pdf"> states that the</a> "Cellebrite Digital Intelligence Platform now supports Selective Extraction, meaning that police investigators need only collect data from a device that is strictly relevant to the case in question."</p> <p>Our <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/report/3202/old-law-new-tech-and-continue-opacity-police-scotlands-use-mobile-phone-extraction">investigation into Police Scotland's Cellebrite</a> 'cyber kiosks' reveals that the reality is perhaps more complicated. Despite stating they can limit what is 'viewed' by police, it is unclear whether the police still extract everything and then apply search parameters. </p> <p>In addition, there are questions about whether it would be technically possible and forensically sound to limit a data type by date and time, given that you are then relying on the accuracy of a phone's time zone settings and how the data is stored. So is the reality, that the police could only limit via type e.g. messages and browsing history, but not by time or date? </p> <p>It is imperative that there is honesty as to the capabilities of extraction devices and clarity on what is taking place at a technical level. This is not only so that victims rights are protected, but to ensure against the potential for abuse and misuse of personal data and to guarantee highly sensitive data is held securely. We've put some key questions that need to be asked in relation to selective extraction below. </p> <h3><strong>What did we find out in Scotland</strong></h3> <p>The Scottish Justice Sub-Committee on policing have conducted a <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/report/3202/old-law-new-tech-and-continue-opacity-police-scotlands-use-mobile-phone-extraction">lengthy inquiry</a> into the proposed deployment of 'cyber kiosks' by Police Scotland. The process is different to how extraction is conducted in the rest of England and Wales - whilst cyber kiosks have the capability to store data, this has not been enabled. Instead the cyber kiosks are used as a 'triage' to identify devices that are of evidential value. If as a consequence of the kiosk triage items of evidential value are identified, then progression would be made for that device to be submitted to one of the Police Scotland Digital Forensic Hubs for detailed examination. </p> <p>The kiosks are only used 'where the evidential relevance of the device is unknown' which may not in fact be the case in relation to a rape survivor who states what evidence is on their phone. Nevertheless, the comments made in relation to the ability to view data in a targeted and focused way may be informative of how selective extraction is purported to work. Unfortunately Police Scotland have refused to provide any information on Digital Forensic Hubs, where they do indeed extract data.</p> <p>Police Scotland's <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/report/3202/old-law-new-tech-and-continue-opacity-police-scotlands-use-mobile-phone-extraction">data protection impact assessment</a> states that cyber kiosks can<em> 'view data on a device in a targeted and focused way i.e. only looking at what is necessary.'</em> This is done via 'selected parameters' which <em>'refer to the areas of the device within which the kiosk has detected the existence of data available to view and to which filters are applied such as Text Messages, Cal Data, Chat (Whatsapp/Snapchat), Multimedia (Audio, Video, Photographs), Internet history, Email, etc - This also includes the ability to limit the search using a date range or keyword search criteria.'</em></p> <p><strong>&gt; What is not clear, is whether using search parameters means that selective extraction is only applied at the viewing stage. But in order to obtain the data for the police officer to view, a broader extraction takes place. This is where clarity is essential. </strong></p> <p>It is further unclear, if the purpose is not simply 'view only' as is the case in Scotland using cyber kiosks, but to copy or extract the data, whether extraction can be limited in the way that may be possible if you are just wanting to view the data. Put simply, we don't know whether selective extraction is possible at the collection stage, what selective means in terms of the level of granularity and whether in fact selective extraction refers to search parameters at the later analysis stage. </p> <p>Whether it is technically possible to limit at the extraction/collection stage relates to the fact that <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/long-read/3256/technical-look-phone-extraction">extracting data is complicated</a>. It can depend on what phone you are using, the operating system and which types of extraction is used. The types of data that Police Scotland state in the data protection assessment that they can obtain, such as deleted data, indicates the use of certain methods of extraction (i.e. physical extraction) where it may not be possible to limit the types of data extracted, simply because of the way this extraction works.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B1zf8nFJr8">Cellebrite video on selective extraction using the UFED Ultimate 7.15</a> it instructs that a file system extraction is the method to use. Does this mean that selective extraction only works if you are able to carry out a file system extraction? The video explainer then instructs that you can 'Select the required apps to extract', but does not indicate any further limitation by date and time for example. So if the police inform a victim that they will only use selective extraction, this doesn't mean one or two messages, but all your WhatsApp messages, being communications with numerous individuals, including contact information, shared links, images and going back potentially years. </p> <p><img alt="Cellebrite video" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="95e01199-3646-4b35-8d45-6f195f2c8c06" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202019-11-14%20at%2016.46.06.png" /></p> <p>Even limiting by type still means a lot more data is collected than the owner of the phone may realise or understand. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B1zf8nFJr8">Cellebrite state in their video</a> that <em>"the extracted app data includes folders and files associated with the app such as databases, APKs, images and keys"</em>. The paucity of information means we just do not know the technical reality. </p> <p><img alt="app data obtained" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="2e464231-6531-4f43-a07b-42c67905d208" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202019-11-14%20at%2016.47.20.png" /></p> <p>Police Scotland have <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/report/3202/old-law-new-tech-and-continue-opacity-police-scotlands-use-mobile-phone-extraction">stated</a> that whilst search parameters can be used, they would not guarantee they would be used on every occasion because<em> 'the data that would potentially be pertinent to an inquiry depends on what is under investigation.'</em> They have also said that<em> "it is possible that much of the data on a device may not be relevant to the investigation, but some of this may be assessed during triage and if irrelevant will be disregarded."</em></p> <p>That it is possible to search without parameteres and to look and then 'disregard' again raises questions about how selective extraction works on a technical level. </p> <p>All these questions not only support the need for clarity, but the complexity of the issue means that strict safeguards and independent audit must be in place. Unfortunately, to date, Privacy International have discovered that for many police forces, information that extractions have taken place, against whom, why and for what (i.e. not the data obtained itself but whether extractions have taken place) is not centrally recorded which makes audit impossible. </p> <p><strong>Detailed questions must be asked if we are to accept, on a technical level that the police really could and will limit what they extract, analyse and retain. </strong>As we have repeatedly said, mobile phone extraction is an area that needs effective scrutiny, clear legislation and public consultation. We are further concerned that a <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/2901/push-button-evidence">failure of the police to understand the tech</a> or a failure to properly explain how it is working, could further undermine individuals' right to privacy.</p> <h3><img alt="MPE extraction flow" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f480cd4c-0507-41d5-8512-3c5dbf8fd276" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/mobile-extraction-graphic-07_1_0.jpg" /></h3> <h3>Ideas for questions to ask</h3> <p>If you are looking at the use of selective extraction, whether you are a lawyer, organisation working with victims or individual seeking to make a Freedom of Information request, we think the follow questions should be considered: </p> <blockquote> <p>1. Does the extraction device work by extracting all data and then limiting what a police officer can view via searches? i.e. the selective extraction is actually selective at the analysis stage rather than the collection stage. <br /> 2. Or can you limit the types of data that are extracted from the phone? <br /> 3. Or can you limit the type and date range of data that is extracted from a phone? <br /> 4. Is it technically possible to apply search parameters to search the phone without conducting extraction?<br /> 5. If you extract all data / all data of a certain type and then limit at the analysis stage, is all the data collected and retained, even if it is not searched or subject to analysis?<br /> 6. What processes and procedures do you have in place to ensure that selective extraction is in fact carried rather than broader search. <br /> 7. Is the system set up to ensure that it possible for independent audit to take place to review whether selective extraction has been misused, abused or officers have collected, analysed or retained more data than was expected / reasonable.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Is selective extraction enough?</h3> <p>Even should selective extraction be achieved, this is insufficient on its own to protect the rights of those subject to mobile phone extraction. </p> <p>Mobile phone extraction technologies present great risks to privacy and we make the following recommendations in relation to use of this technology:</p> <p><strong>1. A search of a person’s phone can be more invasive than a search of their home, not only for the quantity and detail of information but also the historical nature. The state should not have unfettered access to the totality of someone’s life and the use of Mobile Phone Extraction requires the strictest of protections.</strong></p> <p><strong>2. The police must have a warrant issued on the basis of reasonable suspicion by a judge before forensically examining any suspect’s smartphone, or otherwise accessing any content or communications data stored on the phone.</strong></p> <p><strong>3. A clear legal basis must be in place to inspect, collect, store and analyse data from devices. </strong></p> <p><strong>4. Reliance on consent is fundamentally problematic given the power imbalance inherent in the relationship between an individual and the police. Reliance on consent as the sole legal basis falls short of the requirements of the Law Enforcement Directive and there must be a basis in law.</strong></p> <p><strong>5. There must be adequate safeguards to ensure intrusive powers are only used when necessary and proportionate. If law enforcement are to use vulnerabilities that constitute hacking, given the risk to device security, it needs to be considered whether this is ever proportionate.</strong></p> <p><strong>6. The analysis of necessity and proportionality should include any effect the police action may have on the security and integrity of the mobile phone examined, or mobile devices more generally.</strong></p> <p><strong>7. The owner and user(s) of any phone examined should be notified that the examination has taken place.</strong></p> <p><strong>8. Anyone who has had their phone examined should have access to an effective remedy where any concerns regarding lawfulness can be raised.</strong></p> <p><strong>9. There must be independent oversight of the compliance by the police of the lawful use of these powers.</strong></p> <p><strong>10. Cyber security standards should be agreed specifying how data must be stored, when it must be deleted, and who can access. </strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-large-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Large Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-11/alexandre-debieve-FO7JIlwjOtU-unsplash.jpg" width="5530" height="3687" alt="Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-list-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">List Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-11/alexandre-debieve-FO7JIlwjOtU-unsplash_1.jpg" width="5530" height="3687" alt="Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-list-icon field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">List Icon</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-11/alexandre-debieve-FO7JIlwjOtU-unsplash_3.jpg" width="5530" height="3687" alt="​​​​Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is fighting for</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/what-we-do/expose-invisible-data-placed-beyond-our-control" hreflang="en">Expose Invisible Data Placed Beyond Our Control</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/our-interventions/protecting-civic-spaces" hreflang="en">Protecting Civic Spaces</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-topic field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Learn more</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/policing" hreflang="en">Policing</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/policing-and-technology" hreflang="en">Policing and Technology</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-programme field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Strategic Area</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/strategic-areas/defending-democracy-and-dissent" hreflang="en">Defending Democracy and Dissent</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-attachments field--type-file field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><table data-striping="1"> <thead> <tr> <th>Attachment</th> <th>Size</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr class="odd"> <td> <span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf"> <a href="http://www.privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2019-11/How%20Selective%20Extraction%20can%20help%20to%20deliver%20a%20better%20justice%20system%20for%20the%20victims%20and%20survivors%20o.pdf" type="application/pdf; length=202772">How Selective Extraction can help to deliver a better justice system for the victims and survivors o.pdf</a></span> </td> <td>198.02 KB</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-campaign-name field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is Campaigning on</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/campaigns/phone-data-extraction" hreflang="en">Phone Data Extraction</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-targeted-adversary field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">More about this Adversary</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/584" hreflang="en">Cellebrite</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 11:59:10 +0000 staff 3281 at http://www.privacyinternational.org Give Google an inch and they’ll take a mile! http://www.privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3280/give-google-inch-and-theyll-take-mile <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Yesterday, we found out that Google has been reported to collect health data records as part of a project it has named “<a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-s-secret-project-nightingale-gathers-personal-health-data-on-millions-of-americans-11573496790">Project Nightingale</a>”. In a partnership with Ascension, Google has purportedly been amassing data for about a year on patients in 21 US states in the form of lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, which amount to a complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth.</p> <p>This comes <strong>just days after the news of <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3276/google-wants-acquire-fitbit-and-we-shouldnt-let-it">Google's acquisition of FitBit</a></strong>, a fitness tracking and health data company for $2.1 billion.</p> <p>Google is currently <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/abcc5070-f68f-11e9-a79c-bc9acae3b654">under investigation in the US</a>, and has a long track record of mergers and acquisitions, as well as competition law infringements in the EU, including <a href="https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1516198535804&amp;uri=CELEX:52018XC0112(01)">violations of competition on the search market</a>, on <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_18_4581">Google Play Store and Android</a>, and on the market for <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_19_1770">online advertising intermediation</a>.</p> <p>Even if yesterday’s news comes as no big surprise, here’s why it is deeply disturbing:</p> <ul><li> <p>In 2018 alone, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, generated <a href="https://abc.xyz/investor/static/pdf/20180204_alphabet_10K.pdf?cache=11336e3"><strong>85% of its $136.22 billion in revenue from delivering targeted advertisements</strong></a> to the users of their many user-facing services, which include the Android operating system, Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, and many others.</p> </li> <li> <p>Any <strong>additional data</strong> Google gets to have their hands on will only <strong>make them <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/learning-topics/competition-and-data">more powerful</a></strong><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/learning-topics/competition-and-data"> to the detriment of people</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p>Health data is incredibly <strong>sensitive</strong>.</p> </li> <li> <p>In 2015, already, <strong><a href="https://medconfidential.org/whats-the-story/health-data-ai-and-google-deepmind/">1.6 million records were shared</a> from Royal Free Hospital (RFH) in the UK to Google’s DeepMind AI</strong>.</p> </li> <li> <p>Clearly <strong>what Google wants is to be the provider of the infrastructure of healthcare</strong>. All over the world, we are seeing the emergence of a ‘<a href="https://privacyinternational.org/what-we-do/realise-our-rights-live-dignity">government-industry complex</a>’, which designs, manages and implements access to and delivery of health services, amongst other social protection programmes.</p> </li> <li> <p>The <strong>scope of Google’s <a href="https://cloud.google.com/blog/topics/inside-google-cloud/our-partnership-with-ascension">agreement</a> with Ascension is immense</strong>!</p> </li> <li> <p>Even outside of these contracts and efforts, Google already knows a lot about people’s health through their searches, locations and the <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/campaigns/your-mental-health-sale">website they visit</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p>Google also has a <a href="https://cloud.google.com/blog/topics/customers/how-google-and-mayo-clinic-will-transform-the-future-of-healthcare">research agreement with the Mayo Clinic</a> for use of their Cloud; and Google can access anonymised patient information to train algorithms.</p> </li> <li> <p>The Google Page said in 2014: “We’re not really thinking about the tremendous good that can come from people sharing information with the right people in the right ways.” But <strong>patients are being forgotten in this</strong>.</p> </li> </ul><p>It’s high time we acted on this!</p> <p>We are all wiser since the DeepMind and Royal Free Hospitals case.</p> <p>We cannot accept that such an <strong>intrusive data sharing is taking place without users’ explicit consent</strong>.</p> <p>We should not let governments excited about AI sacrifice dignity over profit that secretly feeds into corporate surveillance and allows Google to manipulate, profile and exploit users, and in particular those having to tackle issues of health and well-being. Our health care needs should not be seen as a new market to exploit.</p> <p>We ask for transparency. Was there a public call for this project? If so were the details made public? Patient, citizens and public society should be able to look at the data processing. Necessity of external oversight is crucial for this type of project.</p> <p>We ask for regulators like <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/advocacy/3101/response-cmas-online-platforms-and-digital-advertising-market-study">competition</a> and <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/advocacy/2426/our-complaints-against-acxiom-criteo-equifax-experian-oracle-quantcast-tapad">data protection authorities</a> to scrutinise Google’s data-greedy appetite. If the FitBit and Ascension events don’t act as wake up call, then we honestly don’t know what will.</p> <p>We wonder whether it is possible to build a world where you and your healthcare professionals are involved in decisions about your data and who has access to it. We hope it’s not too late before we find out.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-large-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Large Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-11/small-PI-Depression-graphics-woman-1.png" width="2000" height="2000" alt="health_data" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-list-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">List Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-11/small-PI-Depression-graphics-woman-1_0.png" width="2000" height="2000" alt="health_data" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-list-icon field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">List Icon</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-11/small-PI-Depression-graphics-woman-1_1.png" width="2000" height="2000" alt="health_data" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is fighting for</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/what-we-do/expose-data-exploitation-data-profiling-and-decision-making" hreflang="en">Expose Data Exploitation: Data, Profiling, and Decision Making</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-topic field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Learn more</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/adtech" hreflang="en">AdTech</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/learning-topics/competition-and-data" hreflang="en">Competition and Data</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/data-exploitation" hreflang="en">Data Exploitation</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/learning-topics/data-protection" hreflang="en">Data Protection</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/profiling" hreflang="en">Profiling</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-programme field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Strategic Area</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/strategic-areas/challenging-corporate-data-exploitation" hreflang="en">Challenging Corporate Data Exploitation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-legal-proceedings field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Legal Action</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/legal-action/challenge-hidden-data-ecosystem" hreflang="en">Challenge to Hidden Data Ecosystem</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-campaign-name field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is Campaigning on</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/campaigns/empowering-people-advertising-transparency" hreflang="en">Empowering people with advertising transparency</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/campaigns/enhancing-data-protection-standards" hreflang="en">Enhancing Data Protection Standards</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-targeted-adversary field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">More about this Adversary</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/578" hreflang="en">Google</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 18:31:39 +0000 staff 3280 at http://www.privacyinternational.org Google wants to acquire Fitbit, and we shouldn’t let it! http://www.privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3276/google-wants-acquire-fitbit-and-we-shouldnt-let-it <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><span>Photo by Ashstar01  (CC BY-SA 3.0)</span></p> <p><em>The lead author of this piece is Elettra Bietti, a doctoral student at Harvard Law School and volunteer for Privacy International.</em></p> <p>Yesterday, we found out that <span><span><span>Google<em> </em>has been collecting a wide range of health data as part of a project it has named “<a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-s-secret-project-nightingale-gathers-personal-health-data-on-millions-of-americans-11573496790">Project Nightingale</a>.” Google has purportedly been amassing data for about a year on patients in 21 U.S. states in the form of lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth. <a>Today’s </a>news adds to our concerns around the Google / FitBit merger.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong>The transaction</strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Just a few days ago, Privacy International learned of <a href="https://blog.google/products/hardware/agreement-with-fitbit">Google’s parent Alphabet’s proposed acquisition of Fitbit</a>. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><a href="https://abc.xyz/investor/">Alphabet</a> is Google’s parent company. In <a href="https://abc.xyz/investor/static/pdf/20180204_alphabet_10K.pdf?cache=11336e3">2018</a>, it generated 85% of its $136.22 billion in revenue from delivering targeted advertisements to the users of their many user-facing services, which include the Android operating system, Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, and many others. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Google has a long track record of competition law infringements in the EU, including violations of competition on the <a href="https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1516198535804&amp;uri=CELEX:52018XC0112(01)">search market</a>, on <a href="https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-4581_en.htm">Google Play Store and Android</a> and on the market for <a href="https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-1770_en.htm">online advertising intermediation</a>. The company is also currently under investigation in the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/abcc5070-f68f-11e9-a79c-bc9acae3b654">United States</a> and has a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Alphabet">long track record of mergers and acquisitions</a>.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><a href="http://www.fitbit.com">Fitbit</a> is a company that produces and sells health tracking technologies and wearables including smartwatches, health trackers, smart scales and other health tracking services including via mobile. Fitbit reported a revenue of $1.51 billion in <a href="http://www.annualreports.com/Click/23901">2018</a> and its revenues have increased in <a href="https://investor.fitbit.com/financials/sec-filings/default.aspx">2019</a>. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>A big part of Fitbit’s value <a href="https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/5-likely-reasons-why-google-just-bought-fitbit">is said</a> to lie in the quality of the health data it possesses. The company’s technologies can track individuals’ daily steps, distance walked or traveled, calories burned, sleep patterns and heart rate. In the recent past, Fitbit has increased its health-related database and health tracking capabilities by acquiring a number of other actors on the health tracking and wearables market, including FitStar, Pebble, Vector and Twine Health. Some of these acquisitions include <a href="https://www.projectcensored.org/business-partnerships-fitbit-health-insurance-companies/">partnerships with health insurers</a> <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/40578138/how-fitbit-is-trying-to-transform-healthcare-and-itself">as part of efforts to diversify its revenue stream</a>. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The merger between these two companies would effectively allow Google/Alphabet to establish itself as an even stronger player in the markets for health data-related services including health tracking devices. Most significantly perhaps, the merger could potentially allow the company to enrich any large datasets and detailed consumer profiles it may hold with sophisticated real time data about individuals’ health conditions and needs, as well as general information about their daily behaviour and bodily rhythms. <a href="https://www.wired.co.uk/article/google-buying-fitbit-health-data-privacy">Anything</a> Google/Alphabet is planning to do with Fitbit’s data is concerning to us.</span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong>Our concerns</strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>A merger between these two companies raises a number of significant competition and privacy concerns, related to the potential uses that Google could make of Fitbit’s valuable health data, to the pooling of data between these two entities, and to the exclusionary potential of Google’s entry on the health tracking market. We are dismayed that sensitive health data such as the data currently controlled by Fitbit could become combined with that of a dominant digital platform such as Google, with the potential to be spread and reused in circumstances likely to impair people’s privacy, <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/long-read/3065/pi-presents-our-strategy-safeguarding-peoples-dignity">dignity</a> and entitlement to <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/campaigns/when-big-brother-pays-your-benefits">equal treatment</a>.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Privacy International has already <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5d6e29c3ed915d53adcf51e2/190730_Privacy_International_-_Response_to_Statement_of_Scope_-_non-confidential.pdf">asked the Competition and Markets A</a><span><span>uthority in the UK</span></span> to consider the impact of data concentration on the operation of digital markets, particularly how the use of large amounts of personal data by dominant platforms like Google can lead to various forms of consumer exploitation in the form of microtargeting and discrimination. In this regard, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has also noted that the increase in the concentration of digital markets “<a href="https://edpb.europa.eu/sites/edpb/files/files/file1/edpb_statement_economic_concentration_en.pdf"><em>has the potential to threaten the level of data protection and</em> <em>freedom enjoyed by consumers of digital services</em></a>”.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>While in their Press Release, Fitbit state that their “<a href="https://investor.fitbit.com/press/press-releases/press-release-details/2019/Fitbit-to-Be-Acquired-by-Google/default.aspx">health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads,</a>” in the past similar statements have been made to the European Commission in relation to mergers that have resulted in pervasive and problematic data sharing schemes between the merging entities. Two examples are the <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/competition/mergers/cases/decisions/m4731_20080311_20682_en.pdf">Google / Doubleclick</a> merger and the <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/competition/mergers/cases/decisions/m7217_20141003_20310_3962132_EN.pdf">Facebook / Whatsapp</a> merger, which led to a number of decisions finding that the parties had misled competition regulators (see e.g. <a href="https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1369_en.htm">here</a>).</span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span> In light of Google’s own efforts to gather health data independently, we are concerned about the effects on individuals of possible combinations of the two merging parties’ already large health databases.</span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong>The harms at stake</strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>Google is dominant on the market for online and mobile advertising practices, at least since its acquisition of Doubleclick in 2008, and has been <a href="https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-1770_en.htm">abusing</a> its dominance on that market. If this merger goes through, the merged entity could significantly contribute to creating a state of affairs where individuals are shown online advertisements and are sold products not only – and alarmingly - in connection to their sensitive health conditions, but also in relation to their general bodily sensitivity, including real-time physical reactions, moods and behaviors. We would thus quickly be verging toward an environment in which our moods and physical reactions could be second-guessed before we even have an ability to understand them.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Medical data is probably among the most sensitive of data; you would not share them with anyone besides your doctor or close family members, if at all. Last year we learned that <a href="https://www.vox.com/2018/4/2/17189078/grindr-hiv-status-data-sharing-privacy">Grindr, the LGBT dating app, shared its users’ HIV status</a> with third parties. The data Google can gather about individuals’ health-related searches and the data that Fitbit possesses through their tracking devices might be equally sensitive and cause as much concern. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Privacy International recently looked into <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/long-read/3196/no-bodys-business-mine-how-menstruation-apps-are-sharing-your-data">menstruation apps’ data practices</a>, discovering that several of these apps seem to disregard the sensitive nature of the data they collect and use, and that some of them in fact are sharing personal data about women’s health, sexual life and mood with Facebook. Similarly, Privacy International previously conducted a <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/report/3193/report-your-mental-health-sale">study on 136 mental depression sites in France, Germany and the UK</a> showing that most of these websites fail to comply with data protection and privacy law and <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/long-read/3194/privacy-international-study-shows-your-mental-health-sale">share sensitive data</a> about website visitors’ depression concerns and symptoms with advertisers, brokers and dominant platforms. The sharing and combination of health data across different websites, apps or services in the digital ecosystem is a cause for scrutiny not only because it largely fails to comply with data protection rules, but also because it leads to a surveillance-as-a-default environment that is harmful to personal <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/long-read/3065/pi-presents-our-strategy-safeguarding-peoples-dignity">dignity</a> and <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/campaigns/demanding-identity-systems-our-terms">identity</a> and leads to <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/campaigns/when-big-brother-pays-your-benefits">discrimination</a> and <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/campaigns/protecting-migrants-borders-and-beyond">exclusion</a>.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The location data the merging parties will be combining is also extremely sensitive. Recently on 29 October, Google was <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/google-allegedly-misled-consumers-on-collection-and-use-of-location-data">accused by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission</a><span><span> (ACCC)</span></span> of misleading consumers regarding its collection and use of geolocation data in breach of consumer protection laws. The ACCC’s case is premised on the fact that individuals were not warned that by switching off their “Location History” they would not be stopping Google from continuing to track their location through Android and the web browser. In November 2018, the Norwegian Consumer Council similarly <a href="https://www.forbrukerradet.no/side/google-manipulates-users-into-constant-tracking">found</a> that Google continuously tracks its users through a number of tracking devices including mobile phones, a practices that breaches of European Data Protection, a number of consumer protection organisations across Europe have <a href="https://www.beuc.eu/press-media/news-events/gdpr-complaints-against-google%E2%80%99s-deceptive-practices-track-user-location">complained to data protection authorities</a> about this practice. The <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/10/business/location-data-privacy-apps.html?mtrref=undefined&amp;assetType=PAYWALL">New York Times</a> also conducted extensive reporting on geolocation tracking by Google in December 2018 causing public outrage and demonstrating that we have privacy expectations when it comes to the sharing of our location data. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>A combination of Google / Alphabet’s potentially extensive and growing databases, user profiles and dominant tracking capabilities with Fitbit’s uniquely sensitive health data could have pervasive effects on individuals’ privacy, dignity and equal treatment across their online and offline existence in future. We therefore strongly urge competition regulators in charge of scrutinizing this merger to not let it go through and err on the side of caution in favoring the fundamental freedoms of the many over the financial profits of the few.</span></span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-large-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Large Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-11/fitbit_pic_2.jpg" width="1549" height="1981" alt="fitbit" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-list-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">List Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-11/fitbit_pic_3.jpg" width="1549" height="1981" alt="fitbit" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-list-icon field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">List Icon</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-11/fitbit_pic_4.jpg" width="1549" height="1981" alt="fitbit" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is fighting for</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/what-we-do/expose-data-exploitation-data-profiling-and-decision-making" hreflang="en">Expose Data Exploitation: Data, Profiling, and Decision Making</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/what-we-do/expose-invisible-data-placed-beyond-our-control" hreflang="en">Expose Invisible Data Placed Beyond Our Control</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-topic field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Learn more</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/adtech" hreflang="en">AdTech</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/learning-topics/competition-and-data" hreflang="en">Competition and Data</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-programme field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Strategic Area</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/strategic-areas/challenging-corporate-data-exploitation" hreflang="en">Challenging Corporate Data Exploitation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-resource-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Web Resource</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/type-resource/data-exploitation-principles" hreflang="en">Data Exploitation Principles</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-legal-proceedings field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Legal Action</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/legal-action/challenge-hidden-data-ecosystem" hreflang="en">Challenge to Hidden Data Ecosystem</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-campaign-name field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is Campaigning on</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/campaigns/enhancing-data-protection-standards" hreflang="en">Enhancing Data Protection Standards</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/campaigns/our-data-not-trade" hreflang="en">Our data is not for trade</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-targeted-adversary field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">More about this Adversary</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/578" hreflang="en">Google</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 15:11:31 +0000 staff 3276 at http://www.privacyinternational.org Inside Niger's New Biometric Voting System http://www.privacyinternational.org/long-read/3273/inside-nigers-new-biometric-voting-system <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Inside Niger&#039;s New Biometric Voting System</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">tech-admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Monday, November 11, 2019</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>Photo by Francesco Bellina</em></p> <p><em>The wars on terror and migration have seen international funders sponsoring numerous border control missions across the Sahel region of Africa. Many of these <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/campaigns/challenging-drivers-surveillance">rely on funds supposed to be reserved for development aid</a> and lack vital transparency safeguards. After looking at <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3223/europes-shady-funds-border-forces-sahel">Europes's shady funds to border forces</a> in the Sahel area, freelance journalist Giacomo Zandonini looks at how Niger has recently joined other countries in creating a biometric database that will be used in the upcoming elections.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"> </p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Sitting on the ground inside an unadorned courtyard in Koira Tegui, one of Niamey’s most popular districts, Halimatou Hamadou shows a copy of what, she’s been told, is a certificate of birth. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>The 33 year old woman, who’s unable to read and write, received it days earlier during a crowded public ceremony at a nearby primary school. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>“It’s my first document ever,'' she says, with surprise. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Thanks to the paper, she’ll be able to take part in a crucial passage for the future of Niger: the double-turn electoral round scheduled for late 2020 and early 2021, which will mark the end of President Mahamadou Issoufou’s ten year era, and will be a test for the young Nigerien democracy. It will also be a test of a brand-new biometric voting system, based on personal biometric information. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Niger is the latest of more than 30 nations in Africa that </span><a href="https://www.jeuneafrique.com/275213/politique/carte-interactive-tchad-rejoint-club-de-biometrie-electorale-afrique/"><span>adopted a biometric voting card</span></a><span> over the last decade, creating databases with fingerprints and facial images. A decision that might seem at odds with a country where eighty percent of the population has no regular access to electricity, and malnutrition is a recurrent danger for hundreds of thousands of people each year. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Indeed, Hamadou’s concerns seem to be far more immediate, and tangible, than the distant election, whose chip-equipped electoral cards will be produced in France. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>“I hope to provide my four kids with enough food and with education, and that we’ll all be in good health,'' says the woman, who settled down in the district as a kid, when her parents migrated from the countryside, and defines the family’s living conditions as “poor and precarious”. </span></p> <h2 dir="ltr"><strong>No plan ‘B’</strong></h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>Hamadou’s document is one out of five million, released since mid-2018 as a part of a huge, country-wide exercise to fill gaps in a weak civil register system, where registration rates reach barely 30 percent of the population of Niger. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Leaning against an overcrowded desk in his office on the opposite side of town, lawyer Issaka Souna is the man at the centre of this challenging process. At 64, Souna says he could have “earned five times more per month” had he kept his position as a UN top electoral observer but preferred serving his country in a delicate moment. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>When he was nominated at the head of Niger’s Independent Electoral Commission, in late 2017, a new electoral code had just been approved by the Parliament. The use of a </span><a href="http://www.ceniniger.org/conference-de-presse-sur-lelaboration-du-fichier-electoral/"><span>biometric identification system</span></a><span> was included.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>“There was no plan B, we needed to make the new system work,'' says Souna. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>“Biometrics, he explains, have been seen as a panacea by a fragmented and distrustful political class, and supported by both the majority coalition and the opposition, afraid of rigged elections.” </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>According to the </span><em>fonctionnaire</em><span>, “biometrics represent an effective tool to avoid that the same person votes twice, a common problem in the region, but they are also expensive and technically complex, in a country with lots of emigrants, nomadic communities and hostile climatic conditions”. </span></p> <p><span>So far, the absence of a reliable civil register has been the main obstacle in building a proper electoral one. </span>Since mid-2018, the electoral commission organises mobile court hearings, known as 'audiences foraines'. These are simplified procedures to release identitity documents in different districts and areas of the country. In this way, millions of Nigeriens, including Halimatou Hamadou, obtained their first identity document ever, a prerequisite to apply for the new voting card.</p> <h2 dir="ltr"><strong>Money for fingerprints</strong></h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>Starting October 15, Nigeriens wanting to obtain a card need to enter their document, signature, facial image, and fingerprints in a database, at one of hundreds of stations set up by the Electoral Commission in the country’s seven regions. Sixty seven hundred agents have been contracted for the process, and aim to release about eight million voting cards in 2019 to a quickly growing population of 23 million citizens.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Fingerprints won’t be checked at poll stations, but cross-matched by the database’s software to guarantee that nobody is issued more than one card.  Personal information will be stored in the card’s chip and in a centralized database, while “through matching the photo on the card with that in the database, agents at poll stations will have a further option to verify the identity of the voter,'' says Souna. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>“We’re influenced by neighbours such as Mali, Chad, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria, Togo and Benin, that have already adopted biometric solutions for the vote,'' admits Souna, adding that, differently than in Niger, “most of these countries had a working civil register database, that was used as a source for the electoral one”. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Souna seems aware of the huge challenge of bringing one of the youngest and poorest countries in the world to vote, but shows the confidence of a seasoned professional. Money, he says, are his only source of preoccupation.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>French company Gemalto was selected as the provider for the biometric system and awarded a 20 million euros contract in early 2019, after a complex selection process, the results of which was questioned by German competitor Dermalog. Still, the sum excludes the salaries of thousands of people employed to make the system work and resist through the long-awaited local elections, a double-turn presidential and legislatives. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>The </span><a href="http://www.ceniniger.org/2eme-rencontre-dinformation-ceni-et-les-partenaires-aux-elections/"><span>overall cost</span></a><span> might bypass 130 million euros, more than five times the cost of the 2016 electoral round, which was based on a traditional register of voters. It’s not a surprise then if, despite the government's announcements that Niger can fund its own elections, its high officials are knocking at donor’s doors. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Yet Niger’s main partners are not rushing up to open. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>The UN development programme, a </span><a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/niger/nigeriens-vote-new-president-and-parliament-key-vote"><span>traditional contributor</span></a><span> to the electoral process in Niger since the 2011 transition from military rule to an elected government, guaranteed a </span><a href="https://www.niameyetles2jours.com/la-gestion-publique/politique/1607-4114-elections-generales-de-2021-le-pnud-s-engage-a-aider-le-niger-pour-un-scrutin-transparent"><span>2,2 million euros support</span></a><span>. Swiss promised about 260,000 million euros. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Big donors as the EU and the US, however, seem to be more cautious. Brussels’ contribution, a bloc’s official told us, “will be relevant, but we’re still fine-tuning it and discussing with Nigerien authorities”. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>In principle, over the last decade the EU delegation in Niger had opposed a biometric register of voters, prioritizing civil register reinforcement. But by inserting biometrics into the electoral code, Nigerien authorities “blackmailed their partners: now if we want to support democracy, we need to fund indirectly a biometric system,'' said another official. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Both France and Germany, he added, had lobbied in favour of electoral biometrics. Paris’ interests seem evident. </span><a href="https://www.biometricupdate.com/201910/thales-details-plans-for-integrating-gemalto-biometrics-and-digital-identity-business"><span>Gemalto’s recent takeover</span></a><span> by their state-controlled security giant Thales, approved by the EU Commission in December 2018, contributes to reinforcing one of the biggest players in the global competition over identity technologies. </span></p> <h2><strong>A vulnerable setting</strong></h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>Niger’s electoral database is just the latest sign of the growing penetration of biometrics in the African continent, in the public administration as well as in banks, the health sector, passports, or humanitarian aid. Its main actors are Western identity giant firms such as Thales, Idemia, Zetes, Accenture, Veridos, that look at Africa as a </span><a href="https://www.crossmatch.com/behind-biometrics-boom/future/"><span>huge market opportunity</span></a><span>. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>According to Oumarou Sanda Kadri, one of Niger’s most renowned lawyers, this process doesn’t come without inconveniences. “Our countries are vulnerable and can fall prey to technological illusions,'' he says in his office in Niamey’s east side. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>An long-time Vice-President of the National Electoral Commission, Kadri was nominated as the Director of a new national authority for the protection of personal data, in compliance with </span><a href="http://www.anp.ne/?q=article/le-gouvernement-du-niger-adopte-une-loi-relative-la-protection-des-donnees-caractere"><span>Niger’s first privacy law</span></a><span>, adopted in 2017. He refused the position. Since then, the authority hasn’t been fully installed. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>“Niger has now several laws protecting personal data, but so far they’re an empty box, there’s no actual control,'' the lawyer says. When creating the new biometric database of electors, he adds, “we need to ensure that the data collected will be used only for the purpose of election, and not others.''</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>“The EU has strong guarantees on data protection inside its territory, but when it comes to their partnerships in Africa, is it careful enough?”, wonders Kadri. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Still, more than from concerns over the protection of personal data, the slow pace of partners’ contribution seems to be due to the tense political atmosphere, where divides between the ruling majority and the opposition appear incurable. </span></p> <h2><strong>Stability at risk</strong></h2> <p dir="ltr"><span>Former foreign affairs minister Ibrahim Yacouba, who left the government in 2017 in protest against the new electoral code, told the author that “the next elections will be the first test for democratic alternance since Niger’s independence, but the president’s party is already manipulating them”. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Opposition parties, including Yacouba’s MPN, are boycotting the electoral process, denouncing imbalances in the composition of the electoral commission and in the vote’s monitoring process - and occasionally recurring to </span><a href="https://www.actuniger.com/politique/15478-manifestation-du-frddr-l-opposition-denonce-la-mauvaise-gouvernance-et-exige-un-dialogue-inclusif-message.html"><span>street protests</span></a><span>. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Biometrics, says Yacouba, can be a tool against fraud, but “the transcription of vote remains the most delicate passage, and it will still be done by hand, with no guarantee that opposition watchers can control it”.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>These tensions add to the anxieties of Western countries, that look at Niger’s stability as a key factor in guaranteeing their interests in the Sahel, from security to migration control, to vital mineral resources. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>“We already have external problems - from war in Libya to terrorist groups entering our territory from Nigeria and Mali - and we can’t afford having internal ones: the next elections need to be peaceful,'' stresses Electoral Commission President, Issaka Souna.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>While little debate has accompanied the decision to adopt a biometric register of voters in the country, enrolment operations have already been launched, starting from the northern region of Agadez, where less than a million people are scattered in an immense, hard to reach, barren territory. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>“It’s a huge task,'' says Souna, who has overseen some of the most troubled elections in Africa in the last decade, “but I’m sure we’ll make it”. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>While Nigeriens race against the clock to make elections happen, will Western partners look at the protection of their personal data, or will they prioritie their geopolitical interests?</span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-topic field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Learn more</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/learning-topics/biometrics" hreflang="en">Biometrics</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">What PI is fighting for</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/what-we-do/demand-humane-approach-immigration" hreflang="en">Demand a Humane Approach to Immigration</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/what-we-do/uncover-surveillance-transfer-how-governments-assist-other-governments-develop" hreflang="en">Uncover Surveillance Transfer: How Governments Assist other Governments to Develop Surveillance Powers</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-programme field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Strategic Area</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/strategic-areas/government-exploitation" hreflang="en">Government Exploitation</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/strategic-areas/safeguarding-peoples-dignity" hreflang="en">Safeguarding Peoples&#039; Dignity</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-campaign-name field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is Campaigning on</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/campaigns/challenging-drivers-surveillance" hreflang="en">Challenging the Drivers of Surveillance</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/campaigns/state-sponsors-surveillance-governments-helping-others-spy" hreflang="en">State Sponsors of Surveillance: The Governments Helping Others Spy</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-principle-or-recommendatio field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What is PI calling for</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/recommendation-principle-or-safeguard/security-all" hreflang="en">Security for all</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/recommendation-principle-or-safeguard/identities-under-our-control" hreflang="en">Identities under our control</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 08:35:20 +0000 tech-admin 3273 at http://www.privacyinternational.org PI and other rights groups demand political parties come clean on user of voters personal data in the UK general election http://www.privacyinternational.org/press-release/3268/pi-and-other-rights-groups-demand-political-parties-come-clean-user-voters <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">PI and other rights groups demand political parties come clean on user of voters personal data in the UK general election</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/43" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">staff</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thursday, October 31, 2019</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h4>Privacy International, Open Rights Group, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Fair Vote, Who Targets Me? and Demos have today <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/Letter-to-Political-Parties.pdf">written</a> to all the main UK political parties, demanding that they are transparent with the public about how they are using voters’ personal data in their electioneering. Twitter's announcement yesterday of their ban on political advertising is just the latest wake up call to politicians about the risks to democracy of personal data driven microtargeting of political messages. </h4> <p>We have today written to The Conservatives, Labour, The Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and others, with 10 concrete steps they should take, to ensure transparency and compliance with the law, including:</p> <ol><li>Publishing how they source voters’ personal data;</li> <li>Ensure political messages, the organisation behind them, and the targeting criteria for them are easily recognisable to the public;</li> <li>Publishing information on the companies they contract with as part of campaigns.</li> </ol><p>Political campaigns have become sophisticated data operations over recent years. The Facebook / Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2018 highlighted the stark dangers to democracies and elections when voters’ personal data is harvested, enabling political parties and other campaigning groups to build highly detailed profiles about voters, and then using these profiles as the basis for microtargeting messages to them.<br /> As civil society organisations dedicated to defending rights, we are deeply concerned about the exploitation of people’s data in the political sphere and its impact on privacy and democracy. Political parties must shoulder some responsibility.</p> <p>Ailidh Callander, Legal Officer, Privacy International, said:</p> <blockquote> <p>The integrity of our democracy and voter trust is at stake. Our political parties need to reflect on their own practices, reflect on public concern, and reflect on why Twitter has taken the step to ban political advertising altogether. Our elections can't be built on politicians exploiting our personal data. It's a race to the bottom.</p> <p>We are demanding that political parties in the UK stand up for democracy by coming clean about their use of voters’ personal data, publicly committing to total transparency, and complying with data protection law.</p> </blockquote> <p>Pascal Crowe, Data and Democracy Officer at Open Rights Group, said:</p> <blockquote> <p>We are putting all the political parties on notice. Political microtargeting is corroding public debate with an Orwellian ’two minutes hate’, and treating citizens like lab rats in an experiment that they did not sign up to. Trust in our political culture is fragile. These practices damage it further. Politicians have been vocal in their condemnation of Facebook but they bear responsibility too. It is time for them to put their own houses in order.</p> </blockquote> <p>Elliot Jones, Researcher, Demos, said:</p> <blockquote> <p>Current electoral laws are not up to the challenges of the digital age. Until they are comprehensively updated, political parties must hold themselves to a higher standard of transparency and accountability or risk undermining trust in the democratic process even further.</p> </blockquote></div> <div class="field field--name-field-location-region-locale field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Location</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/location/united-kingdom" hreflang="en">United Kingdom</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-programme field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Strategic Area</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/strategic-areas/defending-democracy-and-dissent" hreflang="en">Defending Democracy and Dissent</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-topic field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Learn more</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/learning-topics/data-and-elections" hreflang="en">Data and Elections</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-10/Screenshot%202019-10-31%20at%2014.05.53.png" width="2252" height="800" alt="letterhead" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-attachments field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Attachments</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf"> <a href="http://www.privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/Letter-to-Political-Parties.pdf" type="application/pdf; length=74318" title="Letter-to-Political-Parties.pdf">Letter to political parties</a></span> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 31 Oct 2019 14:04:19 +0000 staff 3268 at http://www.privacyinternational.org Submission to the ICO on Code of Practice for the use of personal data in political campaigning http://www.privacyinternational.org/advocacy/3267/submission-ico-code-practice-use-personal-data-political-campaigning <div class="node node--type-advocacy-briefing node--view-mode-token group-one-column ds-2col-stacked-fluid clearfix"> <div class="group-header"> </div> <div class="group-left"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>In October 2019, PI <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/ICO Code of Practice Submission.pdf">responded </a>to the UK Information Commissioner’s (ICO) consultation on a draft Code of Practice for the use of personal data in political campaigning.</p> <p>This follows on from <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/advocacy/2838/pi-response-ico-call-views-code-practice-use-personal-information-political-campaigns">PI's submission in December 2018</a>, to the ICO’s Call for Views.</p> <p>PI welcomes the draft Code of Practice as a first step. However, much remains to be done to close the implementation and enforcement gap and strengthen existing regulatory frameworks.  </p> <p>In response to the ICO’s questions, PI’s submission calls for the following.</p> <ul><li>Inclusion of guidance on: <ul><li>Rights of data subjects</li> <li>Sanctions/ Remedies</li> <li>Campaigning outside of an election</li> <li>Digital and experimental campaign techniques<br />  </li> </ul></li> <li>More detail/ clarity on: <ul><li>Transparency</li> <li>Profiling</li> <li>DPIAs and assessments re lawful basis</li> <li>Purpose Limitation</li> <li>Fairness</li> <li>Processors</li> <li>Special category personal data</li> <li>Data from third party sources</li> <li>Electoral register - opt-out</li> <li>Digital/ online campaigning techniques and tools such as Apps and targeted digital advertising on TV</li> <li>Actors other than political parties/ candidates</li> </ul></li> </ul><p> </p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-repeating-image-and-text field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Repeating Image and Text</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><div class="paragraph-formatter"><div class="paragraph-info"></div> <div class="paragraph-summary"></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="group-footer"> <div class="field field--name-field-topic field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Learn more</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-description field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Political campaigns around the world have turned into sophisticated data operations. They rely on data- your data- to facilitate a number of decisions: where to hold rallies, which States or constituencies to focus resources on, which campaign messages to focus on in which area, and how to target supporters, undecided voters, and non-supporters.</p></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-programme field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Strategic Area</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><div about="/strategic-areas/defending-democracy-and-dissent" id="taxonomy-term-585" class="taxonomy-term vocabulary-programmes"> <h2><a href="/strategic-areas/defending-democracy-and-dissent"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Defending Democracy and Dissent</div> </a></h2> <div class="content"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-description field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The seamless way we communicate using some of these technologies has helped many to organise politically and to express dissent online and offline. But the hidden data harvesting on which many of these technologies rely also threatens our ability to challenge power, no matter the type of government.</p></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 29 Oct 2019 13:26:19 +0000 tech-admin 3267 at http://www.privacyinternational.org Filling the gaps on the understanding of cybersecurity and human rights across the world http://www.privacyinternational.org/long-read/3265/filling-gaps-understanding-cybersecurity-and-human-rights-across-world <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Filling the gaps on the understanding of cybersecurity and human rights across the world</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">caitlinb</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tuesday, October 22, 2019</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2><span><span><span>The pressing need to fix our cybersecurity (mis)understandings</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>Despite all the efforts made so far by different, cybersecurity remains a disputed concept. Some states are still </span><a href="https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/28/thailand-passes-controversial-cybersecurity-law/"><span>approving</span></a><span> cybersecurity laws as an excuse to increase their surveillance powers. Despite cybersecurity and cybercrime being </span><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/explainer-graphic/2273/understanding-difference-between-cyber-security-and-cyber-crime"><span>different concepts</span></a><span>, the confusion between them and the broad application of criminal statutes is still leading to the </span><a href="https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/08/ola-bini-prosecutors-wrap-investigation-amnesty-calls-out-human-rights-violations"><span>criminalise legitimate behaviour</span></a><span>.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>All of this represents a sizable challenge for experts, human rights defenders and other stakeholders around the world. Some of these challenges have to do with the interaction between security and privacy, with decision makers willing to sacrifice our fundamental freedoms in the name of a vague idea of security. Closely related is the question of who or what are we protecting: Is it the state? The economy? The reputation of the powerful? </span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>Filling the gaps around the world</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>In Privacy International, for a long time we have been </span><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/topics/cyber-security"><span>documenting cases and advocating on these issues</span></a><span>. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>A particular concern from our side is what and who should be protected, and how to reduce our attack surface, especially for those at risk, such </span><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/2781/communities-risk-how-governments-are-using-tech-target-migrants"><span>migrants</span></a><span> or </span><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/2782/communities-risk-how-security-fails-are-endangering-lbgtiq-community"><span>LGBTQ+ persons</span></a><span>, who are being put at risk through the use of surveillance techniques and deficient privacy and security practices in apps targeting those audiences. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Strong </span><a href="https://necessaryandproportionate.org/principles"><span>principles</span></a><span> and </span><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/type-resource/necessary-hacking-safeguards"><span>safeguards</span></a><span> should always apply when governments intend to affect our right to privacy. As we have said before, cybersecurity means protecting individuals, networks and devices, where privacy and security </span><a href="https://www.privacyinternational.org/feature/2315/cyber-security-awareness-month-privacy-and-security-must-go-together"><span>should go together</span></a><span>, not choosing one over the other.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>This has also been an important challenge for our international partners. The Privacy International Network has been working to frame cybersecurity and human rights as a ‘</span><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/report/2067/derechos-humanos-y-seguridad-digital-una-pareja-perfecta"><span>perfect match</span></a><span>’ in Latin America, countering  </span><a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/2160/lone-voices-leading-way-how-civil-society-africa-successfully-countering"><span>dangerous government narratives on cybersecurity</span></a><span> in Africa. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>And this work is still ongoing. This year, our partners’ work has been focused on the relation between security and privacy, and on improving policy makers’ ability to work on privacy and cybersecurity issues.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><img alt="Screenshot of Hiperderecho's Privacidad es Seguridad project" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="638a8de6-abe8-4b70-a65c-4ebc55f42bed" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/privicidad%20es%20seguridad_0.png" /></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In Peru, our partners from Hiperderecho published a </span><a href="https://hiperderecho.org/pes/"><span>series of articles</span></a><span> called “<a href="https://hiperderecho.org/2019/05/privacidad-es-seguridad/">Seguridad <em>es</em> Privacidad</a>” (Security <em>is</em> privacy), analysing how Peruvian laws have been constantly undermining the right to privacy in favour of security, including a timeline of developments that started almost 25 years ago, in 1995. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Beyond its thorough revision of the Peruvian surveillance framework across multiple domains, Hiperderecho’s approach is clear and direct: We don’t need to ‘balance’ privacy and security, we need to understand that actually in most contexts Privacy is indeed the best public policy to achieve Security. Just as Miguel Morachimo, Hiperderecho’s executive director, said in </span><a href="https://hiperderecho.org/2019/05/privacidad-es-seguridad/"><span>his article</span></a><span>: “Privacy for all is an excellent public policy to achieve security. Only with secure and tamper-proof technologies, clear rules and limits and strict necessity and proportionality criteria we can be truly secure.”</span></span></span></p> <p><img alt="CIPIT'S report - Proportionality of security limitations on privacy: A checklist for legislative drafting and interpretation in Kenya" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6398b0b5-3d1c-425b-894a-fb62f8d2de76" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/cipit_0.png" /></p> <p><span><span><span>In Kenya, our partners from the </span><a href="https://www.cipit.org/"><span>Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law</span></a><span> (CIPIT) of the Strathmore University decided to take a practical approach and aim directly at policy makers with a checklist for legislative drafting &amp; interpretation in Kenya. The guide aims to address the ongoing trend of quick and reactionary legislative processes that are happening around the world, equipping decision makers with up-to-date knowledge on international standards on privacy and security in the digital world.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>An interesting aspect of CIPIT’s guide is that it offers specific ways to address different interests and rights at stake, to reconcile and maximise them instead of adopting a zero-sum game where one issue (security, in this case) has to prevail over other rights. This usually happens almost by default, sometimes without identifying legitimate interests, alternative means to achieve the stated goals, or safeguards to prevent from misuse, among other necessary elements to develop regulations on this area.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><img alt="Shield encircled by common things people use the internet for, such as a shoppping card, debit card, search, and a mouse" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3f8469b1-6876-4d27-91b3-419ee79548d5" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/ELSAM.png" /></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In Indonesia, our partners from </span><a href="https://elsam.or.id/en/"><span>ELSAM</span></a><span> developed a guide to map and identify issues related with cybersecurity and human rights, to help the development of cybersecurity regulations in the country, from both a legal and a technical perspective. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>After analysing the current national framework on the issue, and comparative policies, legislations and best practices, ELSAM highlighted a number of necessary elements that the Government needs to keep in mind when designing a national cybersecurity framework, including: regulating and setting a vision for policy development, identifying and prioritising critical infrastructure, forming a team dedicated to incident response, and conducting a threat assessment and developing a recovery plan. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>ELSAM’s report also confirms two things: first of all, that in some countries like Uganda, Thailand, Pakistan, Vietnam and Egypt, cybercrime laws have been misused by governments against activists, journalists and other human rights defenders. Secondly, it helps highlighting that presently there is not an internationally agreed concept of cybersecurity, confirming something we stated at the beginning of this article: that cybersecurity remains a disputed concept. </span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>What next?</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>If we want to move the conversation forward, we need to seriously address the role of human rights in this process, not as an afterthought, but as an essential element in cybersecurity policy. Beyond generic claims for human rights protections, there is a pressing need to elaborate on how those protections should look like and how to embed them by default and by design in all the regulations and practices that they generate.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In relation with cybercrime, beyond avoiding its use to expand surveillance powers, there are important challenges to address: How to interpret them? What type of crimes should they cover? How to implement the Budapest Convention in a manner consistent with human rights?</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In general, the global discussion is very far from over. There are diverse debates and forums around cybersecurity in different venues, including international organisations, high corporate levels, standards bodies, and national governments, among others. Different groups of experts, high-level commissions, forums and events are dealing with cybersecurity discussions, and the scenario is only getting more complex. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>For example, the role of disinformation and the weaponization of data wasn’t present in the cybersecurity agenda 5 years ago, and now many cybersecurity policies and laws are increasingly covering related issues, in many cases with </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/09/singapore-fake-news-law-a-disaster-for-freedom-of-speech-says-rights-group"><span>disastrous effects</span></a><span> for our fundamental rights.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>We need to understand and prevent real threats to cybersecurity instead of criminalising technical research or independent journalism. We need to develop law policies and technologies that enable people instead of repressing them. Instead of vague national security concerns, what we need to do is to put people and their rights at the centre of these debates.</span></span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-type-of-intervention field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Related work PI does</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/how-we-fight/country-report" hreflang="en">Country Report</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-programme field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Strategic Area</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/strategic-areas/safeguarding-peoples-dignity" hreflang="en">Safeguarding Peoples&#039; Dignity</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-partner field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Our Partner organisation</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/partners/hiperderecho" hreflang="en">Hiperderecho</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/partners/institute-policy-research-and-advocacy-elsam" hreflang="en">The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM)</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/partners/centre-intellectual-property-and-information-technology-law" hreflang="en">Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 22 Oct 2019 12:17:56 +0000 caitlinb 3265 at http://www.privacyinternational.org Vigilancia, control social e inequidad: la tecnología refuerza vulnerabilidades estructurales en América Latina http://www.privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3264/vigilancia-control-social-e-inequidad-la-tecnologia-refuerza-vulnerabilidades <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>CC: BY (Kirill Sharkovski)-SA</em></p> <p><span>Este artículo fue escrito por Jamila Venturini, Coordinadora regional de Derechos Digitales. El artículo fue publicado por primera vez <a href="https://www.derechosdigitales.org/13900/vigilancia-control-social-e-inequidad/">aquí</a>. This article is available in <a href="https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3263/surveillance-and-social-control-how-technology-reinforces-structural-inequality">English.</a></span></p> <p><strong>La implementación de programas que condicionan el acceso a servicios básicos por medio de vigilancia estatal y privada agudizan la inequidad imperante en el continente. </strong></p> <p>Mientras la brecha entre ricos y pobres se incrementa en el mundo, América Latina sigue siendo la región donde la riqueza se distribuye de forma más desigual. Según la Comisión Económica para la América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), existen marcados desequilibrios territoriales entre los distintos niveles socioeconómicos en aspectos como la esperanza de vida, la mortalidad infantil, la tasa de analfabetismo y el acceso a agua al interior de las viviendas. Así, la altísima inequidad que asola al continente influye directamente en el bienestar de sus habitantes, sus posibilidades de desarrollo y en el ejercicio de sus derechos fundamentales.</p> <p>La implementación de programas que condicionan el acceso a servicios básicos a la vigilancia estatal y privada ejemplifican de manera clara no solamente el hecho de que las tecnologías no son neutras, sino que impactan de forma diferenciada a distintos grupos humanos, de acuerdo a su género, al color de su piel y a su clase social. </p> <p>Aprovechándose de las deficiencias de nuestros sistemas legales y explotando sus áreas grises, la industria ha impulsado agresivamente un tecnosolucionismo chauvinista, abrazado irresponsablemente por una clase política con ganas de figurar a la sombra de una idea tristemente reducida de progreso. Así, el negocio se transforma en la promesa de un beneficio acotado, que se consigue a costa de los derechos de quienes no tienen más opción que someterse al escrutinio constante, a la vigilancia, al control, a la discriminación. Hablar de desigualdad en América Latina es hablar de la ponderación que se hace entre los derechos de quienes pueden acceder a otras posibilidades y quienes no. </p> <p>La inequidad se esconde hoy tras una serie de muletillas de significado impreciso – <em>big data</em>, decisiones algorítmicas, inteligencia artificial – que en nombre de la eficiencia intentan naturalizar los sesgos bajo los cuales operan, haciendo inescrutables los sistemas que los procesan y la forma en que son usados para regular el acceso a <a href="https://www.fayerwayer.com/2019/01/junaeb-biometria-facial-alimentos/">programas sociales</a>, el uso del <a href="http://www.gpstec.com.ar/buenos-aires-incorpora-camaras-de-video-vigilancia-al-transporte-publico-de-pasajeros/">transporte público</a> o la asistencia a<a href="https://www.debate.com.mx/sinaloa/culiacan/feria-ganadera-seguridad-perro-anti-drogas-carros-robados-20181113-0005.html"> eventos populares</a>.</p> <p>Ejemplos no faltan. En Argentina, la provincia de Salta firmó en 2017 un acuerdo con Microsoft para utilizar inteligencia artificial en la prevención del embarazo adolescente y la deserción escolar. Según la empresa, a partir de datos recolectados por medio de encuestas a sectores vulnerables de la sociedad “los algoritmos inteligentes permiten identificar características en las personas que podrían derivar en alguno de estos problemas y advierten al gobierno para que puedan trabajar en la prevención de los mismos”.  Los datos recabados son procesados por servidores de Microsoft distribuidos alrededor del mundo y el resultado de ese procesamiento apunta específicamente a las adolescentes identificadas como personas bajo riesgo, afectando no solamente su privacidad, sino también su autonomía y generando amplio potencial de discriminación. Se trata, finalmente, de un mecanismo dirigido de control sobre personas en situación de vulnerabilidad que son expuestas a intervenciones sin su consentimiento, reforzando la vulnerabilidad de las personas que son privadas incluso de la posibilidad para decidir sobre esas intervenciones.</p> <p>Aunque se argumente que los datos utilizados para la proyección son entregados voluntariamente, es cuestionable la idea de que las niñas y adolescentes afectadas por estas medidas –o sus responsables–  puedan prestar un consentimiento activo y realmente consciente sobre las implicaciones de entregar información específica sobre sus hábitos sexuales y potencial embarazo. Cabe señalar que Salta fue la última provincia argentina que dejó de impartir<a href="https://www.pagina12.com.ar/82268-la-asignatura-que-era-practica-religiosa"> educación religiosa</a> en las escuelas públicas después de un fallo de la Corte Suprema, reconociendo la existencia de violaciones a los derechos a la igualdad y a la no discriminación, así como a la privacidad de los ciudadanos y ciudadanas. El uso tecnológico descrito no es sino expresión de problemas más amplios para comprender los ámbitos de autonomía y privacidad de las personas, con un propósito político.</p> <p>En Brasil, el Ministerio de Ciudadanía firmó un<a href="http://mds.gov.br/area-de-imprensa/noticias/2019/setembro/parceria-entre-governo-brasileiro-provincia-argentina-e-microsoft-ira-ajudar-no-monitoramento-do-crianca-feliz"> acuerdo</a> con el gobierno de Salta y Microsoft para implementar un programa similar. En este caso, además de la prevención del embarazo adolescente y la deserción escolar, se pretende anticipar cuestiones como la desnutrición y enfermedades en la primera infancia. El país sería el quinto en la región en compartir la experiencia argentina. Además de dudas sobre el consentimiento informado y el acceso del Estado a informaciones sensibles sobre poblaciones vulnerables, quedan sin respuesta algunas preguntas sobre qué otros usos u previsiones se pueden extraer de esos datos y cuáles los límites para su tratamiento por parte de Microsoft y los gobiernos involucrados en el programa.</p> <p>Por su parte, Chile inició en 2019 la implantación piloto de una herramienta que busca detectar a niños, niñas y adolescentes en situación de riesgo. Según el<a href="https://cdn.digital.gob.cl/filer_public/8a/e7/8ae7acf1-230b-45b3-806f-4cd6d4d837fb/11_mindesarrollosocial-f.pdf"> Ministerio de Desarrollo Social y Familia</a>, Alerta Niñez es un instrumento preventivo que “identifica el conjunto de condiciones individuales, familiares, del entorno y de los pares de los niños y niñas y adolescentes, que tienden a presentarse cuando existe un riesgo de vulneración de derechos de niños, niñas y adolescentes”. El sistema se basa en el procesamiento estadístico de grandes cantidades de datos provenientes de organismos públicos para calificar a la población menor de 18 años, ordenando a las personas según su probabilidad de sufrir vulneraciones.</p> <p>Aunque en este caso el sistema haya sido desarrollado por una universidad privada local, nuevamente se trata de una iniciativa invasiva de recolección de datos sensibles de menores de edad que conlleva gran riesgo de profundizar situaciones de prejuicio y estigmatización hacia grupos históricamente vulnerables. Además, estos procesos implican la transferencia de datos personales a terceros y la posibilidad de que esos datos sean usados para fines distintos a los que permitieron su recolección; sin bases legales ni garantías de que la información generada no será utilizada a futuro con otros propósitos, como iniciativas de policiamiento predictivo por ejemplo.</p> <p>Dado que cuestiones como embarazo adolescente, evasión escolar y desnutrición son problemas estructurales en la región, es extremadamente cuestionable que las políticas asociadas sean mediadas o condicionadas a la recolección de grandes cantidades de datos. Que no exista a su vez una preocupación por los derechos de niños, niñas y adolescentes, concordante con instrumentos vigentes en toda la región, da cuenta de un problema más profundo.</p> <h3><strong>Vigilancia, control y exclusión</strong></h3> <p>En Chile, la implementación de sistemas de identificación biométrica en el sistema nacional de salud preocupa por las posibles limitaciones que podría generar a poblaciones marginadas y empobrecidas -e incluso a personas mayores, por la pérdida de legibilidad en rasgos como las huellas digitales- para su acceso a servicios básicos de salud.</p> <p>La implementación del llamado “Sistema Biométrico para la Seguridad Alimentaria” en Venezuela, a través del cual se exige a los ciudadanos la verificación de su identidad a través de la huella digital para adquirir productos categorizados como de “primera necesidad” (productos alimentarios, de higiene y medicinas), ha generado denuncias por discriminación hacia personas extranjeras -documentadas e indocumentadas- y personas transgénero. La situación es particularmente preocupante dada la situación de escasez de bienes esenciales y la crisis humanitaria que se agrava en el país, principalmente afectando los derechos a la alimentación y salud de las poblaciones más vulnerables. </p> <p>En São Paulo se implementó hace dos años el uso de cámaras de reconocimiento facial en el sistema de transporte público, con la justificación de que ayudarían a evitar el fraude en el uso de beneficios sociales asociados al transporte, como descuentos a adultos mayores, estudiantes y personas con discapacidad. En estos dos años el sistema ha bloqueado<a href="https://agora.folha.uol.com.br/sao-paulo/2019/06/reconhecimento-facial-bloqueia-331-mil-bilhetes-unicos-em-sp.shtml"> más de 300 mil tarjetas</a> supuestamente usadas indebidamente, o sea, no por sus titulares. Por otra parte, la municipalidad ha anunciado la <a href="https://g1.globo.com/sp/sao-paulo/noticia/bilhete-unico-anonimo-sera-suspenso-diz-secretario-de-transportes-de-sp.ghtml">suspensión</a> total las tarjetas anónimas y ha <a href="https://www.vice.com/pt_br/article/panq7n/mudancas-no-bilhete-unico-acendem-alerta-sobre-coleta-indevida-de-dados">implementado medidas</a> para obligar el registro de las tarjetas con datos de identificación únicos y residenciales. Este tipo de medida puede impactar en el acceso de personas no registradas –como personas sin techo e inmigrantes– al servicio. En una ciudad de las dimensiones de São Paulo, las tarjetas que permiten la integración con descuento a distintos tipos de transporte son fundamentales para la locomoción de gran parte de la población al trabajo, escuela y actividades culturales. El bloqueo o imposibilidad de acceso a medios de transporte puede tener un gran impacto en la vida y el desarrollo de las personas.</p> <p>Además de crear limitaciones al acceso a servicios públicos para grupos históricamente marginados de la población, los sistemas de identificación obligatoria y biométricos implican una “sobrevigilancia” hacia esos grupos. No se sabe cómo son utilizados, agregados y compartidos los datos recolectados de esos grupos, ni parece proporcional exigir un nivel tan alto de información para la entrega de beneficios limitados o condicionados. En el caso venezolano las bases de datos biométricas provienen del sistema electoral, para ser utilizadas tanto por operadores estatales -incluyendo funcionarios de migración y policías- como por cajeros de supermercados y farmacias, sin ningún tipo de requisito legal previo. En São Paulo, el gobierno municipal llegó a anunciar la<a href="https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/doria-oferece-dados-de-usuarios-do-bilhete-unico-iniciativa-privada-20942133"> venta de las bases de datos</a> de las tarjetas utilizadas en el transporte pero, bajo presión pública y después de la aprobación de una ley de protección de datos en Brasil,<a href="https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mercado/2018/07/lei-de-dados-barra-planos-da-prefeitura-de-vender-informacoes-do-bilhete-unico.shtml"> cambió su posición</a>.</p> <p>No está demás reiterar que solamente se someten a esos sistemas a los usuarios de sistemas públicos de salud, asistencia social y transporte que, en general, no incluyen las élites locales que pueden prescindir de ellos y recurrir a prestadores privados; manteniendo mayor control sobre su información y preservando su privacidad.</p> <h3><strong>Desigualdad, discriminación y pobreza</strong></h3> <p>Que los mecanismos de vigilancia sean implementados de manera diferencial hacia los grupos más vulnerables no es novedad, esto remonta a procesos de control social y precarización que han estado en la base de la construcción de muchas de nuestras sociedades para asegurar tanto la dominancia de las clases sociales y económicas más privilegiadas como la explotación de los más vulnerables. Aún hoy, con las posibilidades ofrecidas por las tecnologías para optimizar la entrega de servicios de toda clase, vemos que esas tecnologías son usadas para mantener esa estructura social desigual. Con asistencia de la tecnología, la vulnerabilidad es castigada con vigilancia.</p> <p>No tiene por qué ser así. La promesa de la tecnología es la mejora de nuestras vidas. Esa promesa debería ser transversal a toda la sociedad y no estar reservada para aquellas personas que puedan costear las mejoras, o que puedan pagar el precio de no tener que someterse a aplicaciones abusivas de la tecnología. Estos desarrollos y despliegues tecnológicos no deberían resultar en una nueva forma de discriminación que profundice otras desigualdades como un daño colateral que debemos asumir en favor de un supuesto bien mayoritario. </p> <p>Una aproximación de derechos fundamentales con una comprensión interseccional de los distintos tipos de exclusiones que las tecnologías promueven y clausuran es la única manera de hacer frente a la desigualdad a la que millones de personas están siendo sometidas en el continente. Solo así, las nuevas tecnologías quizás puedan convertirse en un factor que ayude al cierre de las brechas que enfrentamos ahora. </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-large-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Large Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-10/Screen-Shot-2019-10-10-at-7.14.54-PM-1024x768_2.png" width="1024" height="768" alt="Vigilancia, control social e inequidad:" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-list-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">List Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-10/Screen-Shot-2019-10-10-at-7.14.54-PM-1024x768_3.png" width="1024" height="768" alt="Vigilancia, control social e inequidad:" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-list-icon field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">List Icon</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-10/Screen-Shot-2019-10-10-at-7.14.54-PM-1024x768_4.png" width="1024" height="768" alt="Vigilancia, control social e inequidad:" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is fighting for</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/what-we-do/realise-our-rights-live-dignity" hreflang="en">Realise Our Rights to Live with Dignity</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-topic field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Learn more</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/social-protection-programmes" hreflang="en">Social protection programmes</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/poverty" hreflang="en">Poverty</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-programme field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Strategic Area</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/strategic-areas/safeguarding-peoples-dignity" hreflang="en">Safeguarding Peoples&#039; Dignity</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-partner field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Our Partner organisation</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/partners/derechos-digitales" hreflang="en">Derechos Digitales</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-campaign-name field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is Campaigning on</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/campaigns/when-big-brother-pays-your-benefits" hreflang="en">When Big Brother Pays Your Benefits</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 17 Oct 2019 10:55:31 +0000 staff 3264 at http://www.privacyinternational.org Surveillance and social control: how technology reinforces structural inequality in Latin America http://www.privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3263/surveillance-and-social-control-how-technology-reinforces-structural-inequality <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>Picture: CC: BY (Kirill Sharkovski)-SA</em></p> <p><em>This article was written by Jamila Venturini from Derechos Digitales. The original version (in Spanish) is available <a href="https://www.derechosdigitales.org/13900/vigilancia-control-social-e-inequidad/">here</a>. </em></p> <p><strong><span><span><span>How implementing social protection programmes that condition access to basic services to state and private surveillance exacerbate the prevailing inequality on the continent. </span></span></span></strong></p> <p><span><span>While the gap between rich and poor is increasing in the world, Latin America remains <a href="https://www.cepal.org/es/publicaciones/2593-proteccion-social-inclusiva-america-latina-mirada-integral-un-enfoque-derechos">the most unequal region of the world</a>. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), there are marked regional imbalances between different socioeconomic levels in areas such as life expectancy, infant mortality, illiteracy and access to water inside homes. Thus, the high inequality plaguing the continent directly influences the well-being of its inhabitants, their potential for development and exercise of their fundamental rights.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>The implementation of programs conditioning access to basic services to state and private surveillance clearly exemplifies not only the fact that technologies are not neutral, but how they differently impact several human groups according to their gender, skin color and social class.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Taking advantage of the shortcomings of our legal systems and exploiting its grey areas, the tech industry working with governments has aggressively propelled a form of “technosolutionism” that is irresponsibly embraced by a political class driven by a diminished idea of progress. What is at stake is now is the potientiality for limited improvement, which could be achieved at the expense of the rights of those who have no choice but to undergo constant scrutiny, monitoring, control and discrimination. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>Today, inequality is hidden behind a series of empty phrases - <em>big data</em>, algorithmic decisions, artificial intelligence - which, in the name of efficiency, attempt to <span>normalise</span> the biases under which they operate, making the systems that process them and the way they are used to regulate access to <a href="https://www.fayerwayer.com/2019/01/junaeb-biometria-facial-alimentos/">social programs</a>, <a href="http://www.gpstec.com.ar/buenos-aires-incorpora-camaras-de-video-vigilancia-al-transporte-publico-de-pasajeros/">public transportation</a>or attendance at<a href="https://www.debate.com.mx/sinaloa/culiacan/feria-ganadera-seguridad-perro-anti-drogas-carros-robados-20181113-0005.html"> popular events</a> opaque to public scrutiny.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>There are plenty of examples. In Argentina, the province of Salta signed an agreement with Microsoft in 2017 to use artificial intelligence to prevent teenage pregnancy and school dropout. According to the company, based on data collected among populations in vulnerable situations, "intelligent algorithms identify characteristics in people that can lead to some of these problems [teenage pregnancy and school dropout] and warn the government so that they can work on prevention."  The data collected is processed by Microsoft servers distributed around the world and this processing specifically targets adolescents identified as people at risk, affecting not only their privacy, but also their autonomy and generating a wide potential for discrimination. It is, finally, a mechanism of control over targeted individuals in vulnerable situations who are exposed to interventions without their consent, and which reinforces the vulnerability of people who are deprived even of the possibility to decide on such interventions.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Although it could be argued that the data used for projection is voluntarily submitted, it is questionable that girls and adolescents affected by these measures - or their guardians - can give explicit consent considering the implications of providing specific information about their<br /> sexual habits and potential pregnancy. It should be noted that Salta was the last Argentine province<a href="https://www.pagina12.com.ar/82268-la-asignatura-que-era-practica-religiosa">  that ceased to provide religious education</a> in public schools after a ruling by the Supreme Court, recognizing the existence of violations of the rights to equality and non-discrimination, as well as the privacy of citizens. This reliance on technology described above is thereforenothing more than an expression of broader problems to understand the areas of autonomy and privacy of people, with a political purpose.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>In Brazil, the Ministry of Citizenship signed an<a href="http://mds.gov.br/area-de-imprensa/noticias/2019/setembro/parceria-entre-governo-brasileiro-provincia-argentina-e-microsoft-ira-ajudar-no-monitoramento-do-crianca-feliz"> agreement</a> with the government of Salta and Microsoft to implement a similar program. In this case, in addition to the prevention of teenage pregnancy and school dropout, it is intended to anticipate issues such as malnutrition and diseases in early childhood. The country would be the fifth in the region to repeat the Argentine experience. In addition to the questions about informed consent and state access to sensitive information on populations in vulnerable situations, some questions remain unanswered, such as the other uses or predictions that can be extracted from these data and the potential risks, considering its processing by Microsoft and the governments involved in the program.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Chile began in 2019 its own pilot implementation of a tool that seeks to detect children and adolescents at risk. According to the<a href="https://cdn.digital.gob.cl/filer_public/8a/e7/8ae7acf1-230b-45b3-806f-4cd6d4d837fb/11_mindesarrollosocial-f.pdf"> Ministry of Social Development and Family</a>, Alerta Niñez, it is a preventive instrument that "identifies the set of individual, family, environment and peer conditions of children and adolescents, which tend to occur when there is a risk of violation of their rights." <span>Using the statistical processing of large amounts of data from public bodies, the system gives a score to individual children and adolescents based on their probability to suffer rights violation.   </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>Although in this case the system has been developed by a local private university, it is again an invasive initiative to collect sensitive data of minors that carries a great risk of deepening prejudice and stigmatization towards historically vulnerable groups. In addition, these processes involve the transfer of personal data to third parties and the possibility that such data is used for purposes other than those agreed on; without legal bases or guarantees that the information generated will not be used in the future for other purposes, such as predictive policing initiatives for example.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Given that issues such as teenage pregnancy, school dropout and malnutrition are structural problems in the region, it is highly questionable that the associated policies are mediated or conditioned on the collection of large amounts of data. The fact that there is also no concern for the rights of children and adolescents, in accordance with existing human rights instruments throughout the region, shows a deeper problem.</span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><span><strong><span>Surveillance, control and exclusion</span></strong></span></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span>In Chile, the implementation of biometric identification systems in the national health system is of concern, due to the possible limitations in accessing basic health services that it could generate for marginalized and impoverished populations. This would also affect senior citizens, as their fingerprints can become harder to process. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>The implementation of the so-called "Biometric System for Food Safety" in Venezuela requires citizens to verify their identity through their fingerprints to acquire food and hygiene products and medicine. It has led to complaints of discrimination against foreigners -documented and undocumented- and transgender people. The situation is particularly worrying given the circumstance of scarcity of essential goods and the humanitarian crisis that is worsening in the country, mainly affecting the rights to food and health of populations in the most vulnerable situations. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>In São Paulo, the use of facial recognition cameras was implemented two years ago in the public transportation system, with the justification that they would help prevent fraud in the use of social benefits associated with transportation, such as discounts for seniors, students and people with disabilities. Since then, the system has blocked<a href="https://agora.folha.uol.com.br/sao-paulo/2019/06/reconhecimento-facial-bloqueia-331-mil-bilhetes-unicos-em-sp.shtml"> over 300 thousand cards</a> allegedly used improperly, that is, not by their holders. At the same time, the Municipal Government has announced the total <a href="https://g1.globo.com/sp/sao-paulo/noticia/bilhete-unico-anonimo-sera-suspenso-diz-secretario-de-transportes-de-sp.ghtml">suspension</a> of anonymous cards and has <a href="https://www.vice.com/pt_br/article/panq7n/mudancas-no-bilhete-unico-acendem-alerta-sobre-coleta-indevida-de-dados">implemented measures</a> to force their registration with unique and residential identification data. This type of measure can impact the access of unregistered persons - such as homeless people and immigrants - to the service. In a city the size of São Paulo, cards that allow discounted travel on different types of transportation are critical to get most of the population to work, school and cultural activities. Blocking or hampering access to transportation can have a major impact on people's lives and development.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>In addition to creating limitations on access to public services for historically marginalized segments of the population, compulsory and biometric identification systems imply “oversurveilling” these groups. There is limited information on how the data collected is used, aggregated and shared, nor does it seem proportional to demand sensitive information for the delivery of basic services or social benefits. In the Venezuelan case, biometric databases come from the electoral system and are used both by state operators - including immigration officials and police officers - as well as by supermarket and pharmacy cashiers, without any prior legal requirement. In São Paulo, the municipal government came to announce the<a href="https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/doria-oferece-dados-de-usuarios-do-bilhete-unico-iniciativa-privada-20942133"><span><span> sale of the travelcard databases</span></span></a> but, under public pressure and after the approval of a data protection law in Brazil, the government <a href="https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mercado/2018/07/lei-de-dados-barra-planos-da-prefeitura-de-vender-informacoes-do-bilhete-unico.shtml"><span><span> changed its position</span></span></a>.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>It is worth remembering that only the users of public health, social assistance and public transportation systems are subjected to these systems. Local elites who can turn to private providers therefore manage to maintain greater control over their information and preserve their privacy.</span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><span><strong><span>Inequality, discrimination and poverty</span></strong></span></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span>The fact that surveillance mechanisms differently targets the most vulnerable groups is not new, it goes back to the precarious social control processes that underpin many of our societies. Even today, with the possibilities offered by technologies to optimize the delivery of services of all kinds, we see that these technologies are being used to maintain an unequal social structure in which the exercise of rights is restricted to a small elite. <span>With the help of technology, surveillance punishes vulnerability. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>It does not have to be this way. The promise of technology is the improvement of our lives. That promise should be transversal to the whole society and not reserved for those who can afford the improvements or who can pay the price of not having to undergo abusive uses of technology. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>A fundamental rights approach with an intersectional understanding of the different types of exclusions that technologies promote or end is the only way to tackle the inequality that millions of people are facing on the continent. Only then, new technologies may become a factor that helps close the gaps we face now. </span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-large-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Large Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-10/Screen-Shot-2019-10-10-at-7.14.54-PM-1024x768.png" width="1024" height="768" alt="social protection in latin america" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-list-image field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">List Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-10/Screen-Shot-2019-10-10-at-7.14.54-PM-1024x768_0.png" width="1024" height="768" alt="social protection in latin america" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-list-icon field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">List Icon</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/flysystem/2019-10/Screen-Shot-2019-10-10-at-7.14.54-PM-1024x768_1.png" width="1024" height="768" alt="social protection in latin america" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is fighting for</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/what-we-do/realise-our-rights-live-dignity" hreflang="en">Realise Our Rights to Live with Dignity</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-topic field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Learn more</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/social-protection-programmes" hreflang="en">Social protection programmes</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/topics/poverty" hreflang="en">Poverty</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-programme field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Strategic Area</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/strategic-areas/safeguarding-peoples-dignity" hreflang="en">Safeguarding Peoples&#039; Dignity</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-partner field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Our Partner organisation</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/partners/derechos-digitales" hreflang="en">Derechos Digitales</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-campaign-name field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">What PI is Campaigning on</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/campaigns/when-big-brother-pays-your-benefits" hreflang="en">When Big Brother Pays Your Benefits</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 17 Oct 2019 10:36:44 +0000 staff 3263 at http://www.privacyinternational.org