The market for surveillance technologies has expanded so much in recent years that oversight has been totally unable to keep up, which has led to devastating consequences in the lives of human rights defenders in repressive regimes around the world.
Neanche un mese fa “l'Espresso” aveva rivelato che “Privacy International” , una delle più rispettate organizzazioni internazionali per la difesa della privacy, aveva scritto al governo italiano per chiedere spiegazioni sulla Hacking Team, dopo che l'azienda era finita sulle cronache internazionali perché il suo trojan aveva preso di mira attivisti e giornalisti di paesi noti per la repressione politica.
Richard Tynan, writing for PrivacyInternational.org, recently pointed out that the baseband – the firmware in a cellphone that does the actual "communicate with the cellular network" side of things – in Ubuntu-powered phones will remain closed source (and highly proprietary). ... This is, to say the least, a bummer. And Richard Tynan makes the point that this is a missed opportunity for Canonical to have required an Open Source baseband on the phones that ship with Ubuntu.
Democratic governments could impose limits on the exports of surveillance technology to prevent the tools from being used to suppress the media and violate human rights, according to a new report. The analysis from the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, Britain’s Privacy International and Germany’s Digitale Gesellschaft found that existing export control regulations are out of date and unsuited for modern technology.
According to Dr. Richard Tynan, Technologist with Privacy International, “without the ability of the security community to examine the baseband software of the new Ubuntu Phone, the open-source nature of the remaining element may provide no more assurances than other open-source phone operating systems such as Android.”
For some time, many in the privacy and security community hoped for a completely open-source mobile phone, one that would allow for code to be examined and strengthened to prevent malicious attacks to a user's privacy.
UPDATE: The past few days have seen more movement in Switzerland. The Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs responded swiftly to our request for official clarification. The SECO confirmed to PI that "all licence requests for the export of technologies for internet monitoring were withdrawn" by the applicants themselves, and that some of the requests for mobile phone monitoring technology have also been withdrawn.
The other week, Privacy International, a U.K.-based human-rights organization, filed a criminal complaint on Kersmo’s behalf, making him the first U.K. resident to challenge the use of hacking tools by a foreign power. “This case would be important to all refugees who end up in countries where they think they are safe,” Alinda Vermeer, a lawyer with Privacy International, who filed Kersmo’s complaint, told me in a phone interview.
Big data helps us to understand the true impact of business on the environment and could change our behaviour. But at what cost? Anna Crowe of Privacy International told the Guardian podcast, "There is a more general issue around data being equated with truth, that data is ging to tell us the truth about a situation when it can be deeply flawed."
Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International in London, says the incident shows how the push for enhanced passport data hasn’t paid off. “It’s not just that the trade-off wasn’t worth it—the proponents of this policy were short-sighted and wanted to play with new technologies while building national biometric databases,” says Hosein, whose group advocates against government intrusions into private life, including the broadening use of biometrics such as iris scans and other measurements of peoples’ features.
In the late eighteenth century in Germany, ‘anthropologist’ Johann Blumenbach published a degenerative hypothesis that linked cranium and facial profiles to supposed character traits and accordingly divided human beings into five different races: the Caucasian, Mongolian, Malayan, Ethiopian, and American.1
Private surveillance companies selling some of the most intrusive surveillance systems available today are in the business of purchasing security vulnerabilities of widely-used software, and bundling it together with their own intrusion products to provide their customers unprecedented access to a target’s computer and phone.
In another case, an Ethiopian refugee in London is asking British police to investigate evidence that FinSpy software known as “FinFisher” was used to hack his computer.
Tadesse Kersmo, who identified himself as a member of the executive committee of the Ethiopian opposition group Ginbot 7, filed a complaint Monday asking for a probe of Gamma Group, a Britain-based company that produces the FinFisher software.
Privacy International, one of the most respected and important organisations in the world that defend the right to privacy, wrote two letters including to the Minister and to President of Lombardy asking Roberto Maroni as to why they are financing Hacking Team.
Queste scoperte hanno suscitato a livello internazionale richieste di regolamentazione delle aziende che, come Hacking Team, producono software di sorveglianza. Da ultimo, l’associazione internazionale per la tutela del diritto alla riservatezza, Privacy International, ha inviato ieri una lettera al ministro per lo sviluppo economico, Federica Guidi, chiedendo che il governo italiano faccia chiarezza sull’azienda milanese e stabilisca un efficace sistema di licenze per l’esportazione di questi software.
Privacy International will die National Cybercrime Unit dazu bringen, eine Untersuchung im Fall Tadesse Kersmo einzuleiten. Der Äthiopier soll auch nach seiner Flucht nach Grossbritannien im Jahr 2009 mittels der einschlägig bekannten Spionagesoftware FinSpy des britisch-deutschen Anbieters Gamma Group abgehört worden sein. Wie die britische Bürgerrechtsorganisation in einer Medienmitteilung schreibt, verstösst das Abhören der Kommunikation durch einen ausländische Staat im Inland gegen diverse Gesetze.
Privacy International, an advocacy group based in Britain, filed a criminal complaint there Monday urging an investigation of the alleged use of FinSpy against an Ethiopian political refugee based in the United Kingdom.
Carly Nyst, Privacy International's legal director, said the revelation underlined the importance of democratic societies being able to limit the activities of intelligence agencies.
"Today we've found out that the way we now use technology to stay in touch with friends, family and loved ones means many of our most private thoughts and experiences are available for viewing by GCHQ. How can collecting and storing these intimate moments possibly help protect national security?
Ora, però, a muoversi è una delle più importanti e rispettate organizzazioni del mondo per la difesa della privacy. Si chiama “Privacy International” (PI), appunto, e ha sede a Londra. PI ha appena inviato una lettera al ministro Federica Guidi, a capo dello Sviluppo economico del governo Renzi, e al presidente della regione Lombardia, Roberto Maroni, per chiedere spiegazioni sull'azienda milanese (la lettera è disponibile qui).
Hacking Team ancora nel mirino degli attivisti per i diritti digitali. A pochi giorni di distanza dal rapporto di Citizen Lab (dato in anteprima su Wired.it) che mappava l’infrastruttura nascosta di server governativi che utilizzerebbero il software dell’azienda milanese per intercettare tutte le comunicazioni dei loro target, arriva ora una campagna lanciata da Privacy International.
The Don't Spy On Us Campaign, a coalition between UK and international civil liberties groups – including Privacy International and Big Brother Watched, welcomed the talk.
When it comes to new technologies such as facial recognition, there really are no meaningful protections in place. Carly Nyst from Privacy International agrees: “Without clear and strict regulation of the use of facial recognition and fingerprint technology, it is very difficult to ensure that individuals' privacy will be protected,” she told me.
“Conveniently for these companies,” said Edin Omanovic, a research officer with Privacy International, “the fact that they sell to government agencies who demand non-disclosure means that they can continue to operate under a shroud of secrecy away from public scrutiny and any form of real accountability.”
Privacy International has lodged a criminal complaint to the United Kingdom’s (UK) National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) of the National Crime Agency for the allegedly unlawful interception of personal communications of an Ethiopian political refugee living in the UK.
The charity Privacy International has made a criminal complaint to the agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit following the detection of the surveillance software FinSpy on a computer belonging to Tadesse Kersmo, who fled to Britain from Ethiopia in 2009.
Despite both companies denying a special relationship with each other, some including Eric King, head of research at advocacy group Privacy International, are skeptical of their claims.
Tadesse Kersmo and lobby group Privacy International filed the complaint with the cyber crime unit of the UK National Crime Agency, asking it to investigate the allegedly illegal interception of communications through the use of a little-known malware used by governments around the world.
Privacy International, una ong che combatte per il diritto alla privacy, ha creato un database liberamente accessibile, dove sono elencate 338 aziende con sede nei Paesi occidentali che vendono tecnologie di sorveglianza a Paesi con regimi repressivi che intendono usarle come strumento di controllo politico. Matthew Rice di Privacy International spiega che le società di sorveglianza svolgono marketing e vendita delle più potenti, invasive e pericolose tecnologie di sorveglianza al mondo, mantenendo relazioni con i regimi repressivi ai quali hanno venduto i loro prodotti.
Gus Hosein of lobby group Privacy International said, "Schedule 7 is a law intended to fight terrorism, and was not drafted to target people like David Miranda.In this instance however the government used it to seize the devices of journalists to intimidate the reporting of mass and unlawful surveillance practices of the British government. To equate journalism with espionage, as the government has, is truly shameful.
Speaking at a news conference organized by London-based Privacy International, Kersmo said Monday that he thought he was safe from snooping when he left Ethiopia for the United Kingdom in 2009.