The following excerpt is from a posting in the Guardian's Comment is Free by Carly Nyst, Privacy International's Head of International Advocacy.
"In order to challenge a secret surveillance system, and to demand the government explains why it is spying on British citizens, one must apply to a secret tribunal that does not make public its proceedings or the reasons for its decision. It may seem like an Orwellian fantasy, but this is the stark reality of the British legal system.
In the wake of revelations that the UK Government is accessing wide-ranging intelligence information from the US and is conducting mass surveillance on citizens across the UK, Privacy International today commenced legal action against the Government, charging that the expansive spying regime is seemingly operated outside of the rule of law, lacks any accountability, and is neither necessary nor proportionate.
The following statement was made to the APEC Data Privacy Subgroup meeting on 24 June 2013, in Medan, Sumatra, by Nigel Waters, attending the meeting as an invited guest. At previous meetings Mr Waters has represented Privacy International, but due to difficulties in obtaining guest status for PI (or other privacy or consumer NGOs) he has attended the last two meetings in an individual capacity.
"Prism is the most egregious example of NSA overreach that we've seen in the last 10 years or so," Eric King, head of research at London-based campaign group Privacy International, told the BBC.
Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, says: “Lawful interception can only happen when there is the rule of law. [The export of] arms, weapons, bulletproof vests – even flares – are controlled. But surveillance equipment is not. And in the wrong hands this technology is just a dangerous,” he says. “No government has taken anywhere close to the steps required to control it.”
"We welcome the court’s decision, and look forward to asking the court to force HMRC to make a fresh decision and disclose what steps, if any, they are taking to hold surveillance companies to account for potentially illegal exports,” said Eric King, head of research at Privacy International.
Gus Hosein, executive director at campaign group Privacy International, told Al Jazeera the UK ranked poorly in the democratic world in terms of the amount of intrusion it allowed, describing the government as "addicted" to new surveillance powers and technologies.
"It is astonishing access they are getting with Tempora," says Eric King, of pressure group Privacy International in London. "Every piece of data that leaves the UK, and every piece of international data that flows through the UK – which is 99 per cent of the world's communications – is available to them."
VICE spoke to Sam Smith from Privacy International about what laws need to be in place to protect the public from drones, and what he anticipates for the future of drone surveillance.
Surveillance operations often require a ministerial sign-off or permission from a superior but it is unclear whether targeting of public social media data requires the same level of oversight, as head of research at Privacy International Eric King point outs.
After challenging HMRC's blanket refusal to release information about the potentially unlawful export of Gamma International's FinFisher surveillance technology, the court has said that the case should proceed to trial and the grounds of Privacy International's challenge are of public importance.
Pero Mike Rispoli, quien habló con BBC Mundo en representación de Privacy International, una organización no gubernamental que lucha contra la intromisión estatal y corporativa en la vida privada, disiente: "Entre sus conocimientos y conexiones, estas firmas se valorizan y crean círculos viciosos donde el gobierno se vuelve dependiente del sector privado en su campaña de espiar a la gente".
On the other hand, Gamma International maintains that when it sold the spyware system to Bahrain, it hadn’t formulated a human rights policy and that it would not intentionally supply those spyware systems that would hamper the civil rights of the society, according to Privacy International.
Meanwhile, UK charity Privacy International warns that the public simply needs to be wary of what information it chooses to share with any internet company.
In an encouraging first response to our complaint against surveillance company Gamma International (Gamma), the UK National Contact Point (NCP) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced that it will further investigate our claim against Gamma, as the evidence submitted appears to substantiate our allegations.
A complaint filed with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) against Gamma International, a UK-based company accused of selling surveillance spyware for governments, will proceed and has been accepted for consideration, the UK National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD announced.
Britain's spy agency, GCHQ, is secretly conducting mass surveillance by tapping fibre optic cables, giving it access to huge amounts of data on both innocent citizens and targeted suspects, according to a report in the Guardian.
Trade has often been a positive driver in encouraging countries to adopt data protection laws, to ensure compliance and ability to conduct business with the European Union and other privacy-respecting partners. However, when free trade agreements are negotiated in secret and influenced by powerful business interests, the result is a severe watering down of existing privacy protections.
Privacy International is looking for volunteers to help its Communications team, specifically researching and writing for Privacy International's blog. Areas of focus would be on breaking news, investigative reporting, and thoughtful analysis on technology and human rights, surveillance, and privacy. If you are interested in journalism or writing, this is a great opportunity to build your portfolio.
The government of Pakistan has repeatedly shown it is relentless when it comes to deploying measures to censor and spy on its own citizens. Today, a report released by Citizen Lab reveals another repressive tool being used to control and prevent information being accessed on the internet -- this time with help from the Canadian web-filtering company, Netsweeper.
Below is an excerpt of an article that recently appeared in Melbourne, Australia's The Age, written by Carly Nyst, Head of International Advocacy at Privacy International:
"Mass surveillance of a country's citizens by its government can no longer be said to be the preserve of authoritarian and dictatorial states.
“The foreign secretary has told us that if you are a law-abiding citizen, then you have nothing to fear. We’ve heard this excuse before; it’s the sorry line the governments trot out to appease the public," said Mike Rispoli, spokesman for Privacy International.
Carly Nyst, Head of International Advocacy at Privacy International, joins "Have Your Say" to talk about the impact on privacy when governments use mass surveillance for intelligence gathering.
Flourishing surveillance abroad may have a surprising impact back home. As more communications are stored on servers far from the citizens who created them, domestic intelligence services are increasingly trying to track activity overseas, says Carly Nyst of Privacy International.
Privacy International's Head of International Advocacy Carly Nyst sits down with GloboNews in Brazil to talk about government surveillance and data protection laws around the world.
Remember when the world didn't know what Prism was? Those were the days. While privacy advocates, civil libertarians, and technologists had suspected or posited the existence of an extensive surveillance regime operated by the U.S. government, few knew the details and the extent of the operation.
Simply put, the National Security Agency is an intelligence agency. Its purpose is to monitor the world's communications, which it traditionally collected by using spy satellites, taps on cables, and placing listening stations around the world.