Content type: News & Analysis
4th August 2020
Chinese apps and tech companies have been at the forefront of the news recently. Following India's ban of 59 chinese apps in July, President Trump announced his desire to ban TikTok, shortly followed by his backing of Microsoft's intention to buy the US branch of its parent company ByteDance. Other than others lip syncing his public declaration, what does President Trump fear from this app, run by a firm, based in China? It's all about that data One clear answer emerges: the exploitation of…
Content type: Video
24th July 2020
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Content type: Examples
17th July 2020
Blockchain timestamping supplier Guardtime, French health data manager OpenHealth, and Swiss authentication and tracing technologies company SICPA Group have jointly proposed the COVID-19 secured immunity passport. The proposed immunity passport would serve as the basis for real-time monitoring of a population’s immunity. The blockchain is intended to make it impossible to falsify the data held on the certificates, which will be available to any consenting person who has had an approved test to…
Content type: Report
16th June 2020
Back in October 2019, PI started investigating advertisers who uploaded personal data to Facebook for targeted advertising purposes. We decided to take a look at "Advertisers Who Uploaded a Contact List With Your Information", a set of information that Facebook provides to users about advertisers who upload files containing their personal data (including unique identifier such as phone numbers, emails etc...). Looking at the limited and often inaccurate information provided by Facebook through…
Content type: Long Read
3rd March 2020
Commercial interests seem to often overshadow the EU’s stance as a global privacy leader. After looking at Europes's shady funds to border forces in the Sahel area, Niger's new biometric voting system, and attempts to dismantle smugglers networks powered by Europe's gifts of surveillance, freelance journalist Giacomo Zandonini looks at the battle for data protection and digital rights in the continent. What do a teenage labourer on a marijuana farm in Lesotho, a retired school teacher in…
Content type: Advocacy
24th February 2020
Privacy International welcomes this opportunity to submit comments to the FATF consultation. The draft recommendation is an improvement on existing guidance that we have reviewed. We also welcome the calls of the FATF for accommodations that will relieve burdens upon individuals who are being excluded from the financial sector, as a result of the FATF’s prior recommendations. PI believes that identity systems must empower people. The initial question surrounding the development of any…
Content type: Long Read
10th October 2019
Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash Digital identity providers Around the world, we are seeing the growth of digital IDs, and companies looking to offer ways for people to prove their identity online and off. The UK is no exception; indeed, the trade body for the UK tech industry is calling for the development of a “digital identity ecosystem”, with private companies providing a key role. Having a role for private companies in this sector is not necessarily a problem: after all, government…
Content type: Examples
12th July 2019
Absher, an online platform and mobile phone app created by the Saudi Arabian government, can allow men to restrict women’s ability to travel, live in Saudi Arabia, or access government services. This app, which is available in the Google and Apple app stores, supports and enables the discriminatory male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia and violations of womens’ rights, including the right to leave and return to one’s own country. Because women in Saudi Arabia are required to have a male…
Content type: Examples
8th May 2019
The State is not always the only actor involved in the surveillance of benefits claimants. Often those practices are encouraged, facilitated or conducted by private companies. South Africa for instance mandated MasterCard to help distribute benefits through biometric debit cards. https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/23941/south-africa-enlists-mastercard-to-distribute-welfare-through-biometric-debit-cards Publication: FinExtra  
Content type: Examples
20th December 2018
In 2018 a report from the Royal United Services Institute found that UK police were testing automated facial recognition, crime location prediction, and decision-making systems but offering little transparency in evaluating them. An automated facial recognition system trialled by the South Wales Police incorrectly identified 2,279 of 2,470 potential matches. In London, where the Metropolitan Police used facial recognition systems at the Notting Hill Carnival, in 2017 the system was wrong 98% of…
Content type: Long Read
23rd October 2018
Photo Credit: Max Pixel The fintech sector, with its data-intensive approach to financial services, faces a looming problem. Scandals such as Cambridge Analytica have brought public awareness about abuses involving the use of personal data from Facebook and other sources. Many of these are the same data sets that the fintech sector uses. With the growth of the fintech industry, and its increase in power and influence, it becomes essential to interrogate this use of data by the fintech industry…
Content type: Report
7th May 2018
The use of biometric technology in political processes, i.e. the use of peoples’ physical and behavioural characteristics to authenticate claimed identity, has swept across the African region, with 75% of African countries adopting one form or other of biometric technology in their electoral processes. Despite high costs, the adoption of biometrics has not restored the public’s trust in the electoral process, as illustrated by post-election violence and legal challenges to the results of the…
Content type: Examples
5th May 2018
In January 2018 the Cyberspace Administration of China summoned representatives of Ant Financial Services Group, a subsidiary of Alibaba, to rebuke them for automatically enrolling its 520 million users in its credit-scoring system. The main complaint was that people using Ant's Alipay service were not properly notified that enrolling in the credit-scoring system would also grant Ant the right to share their personal financial data, including information about their income, savings, and…
Content type: Examples
3rd May 2018
In 2015, a small number of Silicon Valley start-ups began experimenting with assessing prospective borrowers in developing countries such as Kenya by inspecting their smartphones. Doing so, they claimed, enabled them to charge less in interest than more traditional microlenders, since many of their target customers lack traditional credit ratings. The amount of data on phones - GPS coordinates, texts, emails, app data, and more obscure details such as how often the user recharges the battery,…
Content type: Examples
3rd May 2018
Because banks often decline to give loans to those whose "thin" credit histories make it hard to assess the associated risk, in 2015 some financial technology startups began looking at the possibility of instead performing such assessments by using metadata collected by mobile phones or logged from internet activity. The algorithm under development by Brown University economist Daniel Björkegren for the credit-scoring company Enterpreneurial Finance Lab was built by examining the phone records…
Content type: News & Analysis
30th January 2018
Privacy International is celebrating Data Privacy Week, where we’ll be talking about privacy and issues related to control, data protection, surveillance and identity. Join the conversation on Twitter using #dataprivacyweek. If you were looking for a loan, what kind of information would you be happy with the lender using to make the decision? You might expect data about your earnings, or whether you’ve repaid a loan before. But, in the changing financial sector, we are seeing more and more…
Content type: Report
1st December 2017
Financial services are changing, with technology being a key driver. It is affecting the nature of financial services, from credit and lending through to insurance, and even the future of money itself. The field of fintech is where the attention and investment is flowing. Within it, new sources of data are being used by existing institutions and new entrants. They are using new forms of data analysis. These changes are significant to this sector and the lives of people it serves.  This report…
Content type: News & Analysis
20th November 2013
Humanitarian agencies are collecting personal information for Syrians caught in the crossfire of a drawn-out and bloody civil war. Indeed, refugees fleeing persecution and conflict, need to access services and protection offered by the world’s humanitarian community. But in the rush to provide necessary aid to those afflicted by the crisis in Syria, humanitarian organisations are overlooking a human right that also needs protecting: the right to privacy. Humanitarian and aid agencies are…
Content type: News & Analysis
11th November 2013
Privacy International today is proud to announce our new project, Aiding Privacy, which aims to promote the right to privacy and data protection in the development and humanitarian fields. Below is an outline of the issues addressed in our new report released today, Aiding Surveillance. New technologies hold great potential for the developing world. The problem, however, is that there has been a systematic failure to critically contemplate the potential ill effects of deploying technologies in…