A European privacy group claimed today that dozens of amendments to the new Data Protection Regulation being proposed by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are being copied word-for-word from corporate lobby papers, with MEPs frequently failing to even remember their own amendments.
"The UK Data Protection Regulator seems to be rather out on a limb in comparison with his counterparts in Europe," Anna Fielder, trustee for Privacy International, told Wired.co.uk, commenting on Graham's position. "The data protection proposal currently under debate is a development of existing legislation, not a radical revolution. It is necessary because the existing legal framework is being widely abused and is becoming less and less relevant with the advent of new technologies. This is particularly true in the UK, which has some of the weakest data protection laws in Europe.
The complaints filed Feb. 1 seek probes of whether U.K.- based Gamma Group and Munich-based Trovicor GmbH violated guidelines for business conduct set out by the Paris-based OECD, according to Privacy International, one of five groups behind the effort.
On 1st February 2013 Privacy International, together with the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Watch and Reporters without Borders, filed complaints with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) against Gamma International, a company that exports “FinFisher” (or “FinSpy”) intrusive surveillance software, and Trovicor GmbH, a German company (formerly a business unit of Siemens) which a
The allegations raise concerns about the export of British technology to oppressive regimes. Tomorrow the campaigners Privacy International will join forces with human rights groups, including the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and Bahrain Watch, to file a complaint with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development alleging that Gamma International UK is in breach of OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises. A separate complaint is being filed against a German company.
Privacy International, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Watch and Reporters without Borders filed formal complaints with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the UK and Germany against two surveillance companies on Friday 1st February. The British and German National Contact Points are being asked to investigate Gamma International and Trovicor respectively with regards to both companies’ potential complicity in serious human rights abuses in Bahrain.
Yesterday the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in the case of R (on the application of T) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester & Others concerning the operation of the criminal records check system.
Eric King of pressure group Privacy International, said: “Allowing mass surveillance, unwarranted and unaccountable, is terrifying.”
On International Data Privacy Day, it is important that we all ask ourselves: who has access to our personal information? Who can find out where we’ve been and who we’ve called, who can read our emails and our text messages? Who can find which websites we access and which files we download?
Today is Data Privacy Day, which commemorates the 1981 signing of the Coucil of Europe's Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. It is celebrated all over Europe, as well as in Canada and the United States since 2008.
However, privacy campaigners have grave concerns about the proliferation of the technology and want an urgent review of regulations. "The increasing use of drones by private companies and government bodies poses a unique set of problems," said Eric King, head of research at campaign group Privacy International.
Eric King, head of research at campaign group Privacy International, told the Guardian the increasing use of drones by private and public organisations posed a 'unique' set of problems.
He said the CAA needed to consider more than just health and safety issues when deciding whether to grant a licence to operate drone technology.
'We need new regulation to ensure privacy and other civil liberties are also being taken into account during the decision-making process,' he said.
We are the raw material of the new economy. Data about all of us is being prospected for, mined, refined and traded...and most of us don’t even know about it.
Every time we go online, we add to a personal digital footprint that’s interconnected across multiple service providers, and enrich massive caches of personal data that identify us, whether we have explicitly authenticated or not.
That may make you feel somewhat uneasy. It's pretty hard to manage your digital footprint if you can't even see it.
Civil liberties group Privacy International said in a statement issued this afternoon that it had analyzed the new transparency report and was alarmed by the trend of increasing surveillance. “Governments must stop treating the user data held by corporations as a treasure trove of information they can mine whenever they please, with little or no judicial authorisation,” said Carly Nyst, Privacy International's head of international advocacy.
Privacy campaigners remain outraged at the level of government data grabbing. “Governments must stop treating the user data held by corporations as a treasure trove of information they can mine whenever they please, with little or no judicial authorisation,” said Carly Nyst, Privacy International’s head of international advocacy.
“The alarming statistics in this latest Transparency Report serve as a reminder of the need for stronger national and regional privacy protections in relation to online communications.
One UK-based privacy advocacy group praised Google for releasing the data, but said it also served as a warning to individuals to be careful about the information they passed on to any online business.
"The information we hand over to companies like Google paints a detailed picture of who we are - from our political and religious views to our friendships, associations and locations," said Privacy International's head of international advocacy, Carly Nyst.
Google's latest Transparency Report, released at 3pm GMT this afternoon, shows that requests by European governments for the browsing history, email communications, documents and IP addresses of Google's users have skyrocketed since the Transparency Report was launched three years ago. Countries in the European Union made 7,254 requests about 9,240 users or accounts between July and December 2012, averaging over 1,200 requests a month.
The social news website MiroirSocial.com confirmed yesterday that the prominent French technology firm Bull SA has sold its controversial mass surveillance "Eagle" system to Stéphane Salies, one of its chief designers and an ex-director of Bull.
In his response to the third report from the Foreign Affairs Committee Session 2012-13, Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed for the first time the government's firm commitment to putting in place new export controls on "telecommunications equipment for which there is a reasonable expectation that it might be used to restrict freedom of expression on the internet".
Privacy International has pursued the case, calling on the UK government to look into whether Gamma had broken the law, but selling into nations such as Bahrain and Egypt.
“Governments should be controlling exports of all products that can be used in abusive surveillance practices – even those that also have perfectly legitimate alternative uses,” Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, told TechWeekEurope today.
On November 12, the Russian Supreme Court okayed the wiretapping of an opposition activist. The Court ruled that spying on Maxim Petlin, a regional opposition leader in Yekaterinburg, was lawful, since he had taken part in rallies where calls against extending the powers of Russia’s security services were heard. The court decided that these were demands for “extremist actions” and approved surveillance carried out by the national interception system, known as SORM.
The law entitles American authorities to compel US companies in possession of EU citizens' data stored on their clouds to hand over the information if requested, regardless of EU data protection laws.
"Europe stands on the brink of an irreversible loss of data sovereignty if we don't develop a major new industrial policy for Clouds that can be solely under EU jurisdiction," Gus Hosein, the head of the UK-based NGO Privacy International told this website by email.
Privacy rights activists are calling on HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to investigate spyware firm Gamma International and its exports of surveillance software to repressive regimes, such as Bahrain, calling the transactions “criminal” and “illegal”.
The campaign group Privacy International (PI) confirmed in a press release that Gamma International is selling surveillance technology to regimes with horrific human rights records without a proper license.
The campaign group Privacy International alleges the equipment has been used to gather information on activists who are targeted by the repressive regimes. It wants greater restrictions on the export of surveillance products, which are increasingly being used but are increasingly used but have not had the same level of export restrictions as traditional weapons. The group has sent a 186-page report to Revenue and Customs (HMRC) alleging that the unlicensed export of some Gamma International products "would amount to criminal conduct".
Privacy International has called upon HM Revenue & Customs to investigate potentially illegal exports by the British company Gamma International, which has been exporting surveillance products without a license to repressive regimes with dismal human rights records.
Privacy International’s campaign for effective export controls of surveillance technology is still ongoing, but for one company, action can already be taken by HM Revenue & Customs to hold stop their unethical practices. Here is the story so far...
It was only last year that women in Saudi Arabia finally gained the right to vote. However, it seems a sad case of ‘one step forward, two steps back’, as this year it was discovered that all Saudi women are being electronically tracked by their male ‘guardians’, who are automatically sent text messages when their female ‘dependants’ attempt to cross the border.
Next week, the European Parliament will make an important decision affecting one of the world’s most vulnerable and stigmatised groups of people: asylum seekers. This decision is part of a larger debate about privacy and function creep, about authorities breaking promises that were made when personal information was collected and using it for new purposes.
Twelve years after the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) was passed by the UK Parliament, permitting the interception of communications without a judicial warrant and allowing the police to self-authorise access to communications metadata, some parts of this dangerous law are finally being properly scrutinised. This isn't an intentional review, but rather a by-product of a joint parliamentary committee's interrogation of the draft Communications Data Bill, the Home Office's latest scheme for mass retention of communications and online activity in the UK.