The following is an excerpt from a guest article which appeared on openDemocracy, written by Privacy International's Research Officer, Anna Crowe:
Humanitarian actors often forsake the right to privacy in favour of promoting programmes utilising phones to deliver services, either through a lack of understanding or wilful ignorance as to the risks involved.
Just search for the term "surveillance state" and you’ll pull up various uses of the term or news articles citing the phrase.
In some respects, this newfound concern can’t be a surprise; given vast new amounts of information in the public sphere since the Edward Snowden leaks began in June. However, it is critical to nail down the exact meaning of the term, so as the public and governments have the debate over State spying, we can actually know what we're talking about. Most importantly, this will help us push back against it.
For the first time since the Snowden revelations exposed the vast reach and scope of Britain's surveillance and intelligence activities, Parliament will openly debate the need for greater oversight of the intelligence and security services.
Alexandrine Pirlot of Privacy International said big data can be discriminatory and exclusionary. “The data collected is from people who are active on the Internet but it excludes the ones that don’t take part in these activities, whose behavior, decisions and needs are completely excluded from decision-making processes in big data programs,” she said.
Gus Hosein, executive director of London-based Privacy International, an advocacy group campaigning for privacy rights, told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 18 that the court had “narrowly interpreted” EU law, and there was potential for challenges against the taking of fingerprints for inclusion in passports to be brought before the European Court of Human Rights. The court ruling was the “perpetuation of a stupid mistake” made by the European Parliament when it approved the collection of fingerprints for passports, Hosein said.
Gus Hosein of the Privacy International campaign group says the revelations about Merkel’s mobile have made tougher restrictions on transatlantic data flows more likely. “Now that the heads of state from across Europe are targets for the National Security Agency, they’re going to start taking this matter a hell of a lot more seriously,” Hosein says.
When a product line becomes engulfed in controversy, the PR team's first move is to distance the corporation from the damage. The surveillance market is not immune to this approach, so when companies products are found to be in use by repressive regimes, the decision many boards make is simply to sell off that technology. This increasingly repetitive narrative is failing to solve any of the problems inherent with the sale of surveillance technology and in fact, is creating more.
Today’s much-anticipated launch of the 2013 Aid Transparency Index, an industry standard for assessing transparency among major aid donors, shows that, despite progress, many aid agencies continue to maintain secrecy around what they are funding.
*Update: The European Parliament has voted to recommend suspension of its Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) agreement with the US. The vote in favour of suspension only highlights how the NSA’s reported activities have undermined the agreement.
In our ongoing campaign to prevent the sale of surveillance technologies to repressive regimes, Privacy International today has filed a complaint with the South African body responsible for arms controls, asking for an investigation into South Africa-based surveillance company VASTech for the potential illegal export its technology to Libya.
At the first major discussions on internet governance since the Snowden leaks began in June 2013, Sweden’s Foreign Minister has called for the establishment of principles to define the application of existing human rights obligations to the digital realm.
The European Parliament Committee that deals with civil liberties and justice issues will have a first vote this week on the revised European data protection framework after months and months of deliberations and negotiations over more than 4,000 amendments. The vote is the first on the framework, which will decide the future of privacy and data protection in Europe. The recent revelations surrounding government surveillance involving some of the Internet's biggest companies have highlighted the urgency of an update of Europe's privacy rules.
Under Britain's Regulatory and Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) of 2000, the government does have broad powers to conduct digital surveillance. However, many believe that this wholesale data sharing is outside the scope of targeted warrants as described under RIPA. In July 2013, Privacy International, a London-based advocacy group, sued the British government for alleged abuses under the law.
Privacy International said Rifkind did not appear to be carrying out an independent review. “The credibility of the ISC will continue to decline while the chair of the committee, Sir Malcom Rifkind, acts as the government’s first line of defence, rather than objectively scrutinizing the facts,” said Eric King, head of research at Privacy International.
Nineteen civil rights groups have banded together to press the European Parliament into a privacy protection vote on Monday at the "Civil Liberties" committee (LIBE). The group includes just about every well known group in the privacy protecting portfolio, and European Digital Rights (EDRi) is found rubbing shoulders with the Chaos Computer Club, Privacy International and Big Brother Watch.
Le fait que ces bases de données existent ouvre les possibilités qu’elles puissent être utilisées de manière illégale, si la finalité de leur utilisation n’était pas celle spécifiée au moment de leur prise » a indiqué Alexandrine Pirlot de Corbion de Privacy international, fondé en 1990.
A sizeable political controversy has engulfed President Goodluck Jonathan’s Government in Nigeria, where details surrounding its plans for the total surveillance of Africa’s most populous country continue to emerge.
The following is an excerpt from an article written that originally was published by IFEX, and is written by Carly Nyst, Head of International Advocacy at Privacy International:
The reality of the modern world is that governments – both of our own countries, and of foreign states – have greater capabilities to carry out invasive surveillance of citizens, no matter where they reside or what flag they pledge to. And caught in the cross-fire of the expanding surveillance state is freedom of expression, which is underpinned by the right to privacy.
Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, said there were real fears in the legal profession about confidentiality being breached by the security services following the NSA revelations. "We are astonishingly concerned about privileged communications being swept up as part of the mass surveillance programmes we have learned about over the past few months," he said.
Not everyone is convinced though. Facebook has gone to great pains to describe how it will be better for everyone if this function is ousted, and that this announcement is really just for the benefit of "the small percentage of people still using the setting". But Mike Rispoli, spokesperson for Privacy International, suggests it is undermining a large chunk of its userbase with that thinking.
Human rights group Privacy International told the Guardian that it makes Skype's previous claims look suspect. "The only people who lose are users," said Eric King, head of research at Privacy International. "Skype promoted itself as a fantastic tool for secure communications around the world, but quickly caved to government pressure and can no longer be trusted to protect user privacy."
"The only people who lose are users," says Eric King, head of research at human rights group Privacy International. "Skype promoted itself as a fantastic tool for secure communications around the world, but quickly caved to government pressure and can no longer be trusted to protect user privacy."
Eric King, head of research at Privacy International: "Our intelligence agencies carry out some of the most sensitive and legally complex work in the world. It is shameful that the agreements between the NSA and GCHQ are shrouded in secrecy and this practice must come to an end."
As if those in Pakistan did not have enough to worry about when it came to the security of their communications, recent changes to Pakistan’s anti-terror law could see people convicted for terrorism solely on the basis of incriminating text messages, phone calls, or email.
Eric King, head of research at Privacy International, said: "Andrew Parker is right: the UK isn't East Germany. While the Stasi had files on one in three East Germans, the communications of almost everybody in the UK are being intercepted and stored as part of GCHQ's Tempora programme. Our security agencies' continued insistence that they are not prying, while every week new mass surveillance programmes are being revealed, is offensive to the public's intelligence."
Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, which also co-operated with the research, said: "Since 2008, more people are travelling with smartphones with far more data than back then, so there is more to spy on."
Mike Rispoli of the London-based, nonprofit organization Privacy International said that such a complaint could be a good thing, since it would raise awareness of the issue with data protection agencies.
"When Yahoo announced this, experts warned about and predicted serious security and privacy issues. Yahoo downplayed these risks, and ignored these critics, but now we see these concerns were legitimate," Rispoli said.