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  • Privacy International releases “Private Interests: Monitoring Central Asia” | Privacy International
    centres across Kazakhstan as being engaged in the transmission of voice data to a PU These documents as well as some contractual documentation will be made available on Privacy International s website In addition to the PUs which are distributed across Kazakhstan both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have sophisticated monitoring centres provided by the Israel offices of NICE Systems and Verint Israel two multinational surveillance companies These companies have contracted directly with the notorious successor agencies to the KGB the KNB in Kazakhstan and the SNB in Uzbekistan both of which have been widely implicated in human rights abusesi to provide monitoring centres as well as training and technical maintenance Originally providing telephone based interception these monitoring centres have in the last few years been equipped with sophisticated Deep Packet Inspection technology which allows the interception of internet data Although there are cost and technical limitations to the capabilities of the Kazakh and Uzbek security agencies these monitoring centres provide the agencies with mass interception capabilities and access to the telephone mobile and internet communications of the entire population In addition to monitoring centres Verint Israel attempted to facilitate Uzbek authorities interception of encrypted SSL traffic which if successful would have allowed authorities unprecedented access to private communications A 2010 document obtained by Privacy International shows that the German company Trovicor GmbH marketed a monitoring centre for all cellular networks to the Ministry of the Interior of Tajikistan in 2009 together with what appears to be a mediation device provided by fellow German company Utimaco Kyrgyzstan is likely using a monitoring centre provided by a Russian company Surveillance capabilities are facilitated by a range of Communications Service Providers and network equipment manufacturers CSPs and telecommunications equipment manufacturers have facilitated direct government access to their networks and to their subscribers data in exchange for permission to operate in the countries despite the serious human rights concerns raised by mass interception and surveillance practices and the complete absence of checks and balances they entail State surveillance should only be undertaken in the context of robust legal constraints and rigorous independent oversight The direct access provided by the monitoring centres and mandated under the SORM model represents a challenge to the protection of individual human rights In the Russian SORM model for circuit switched networks the PU is connected directly to node connections within the network SORM thus allows states to intercept and analyse citizens communications within a more limited system of checks and balances As such CSPs operating on SORM networks have little meaningful opportunity to monitor and control state agencies interception activities or mediate the access the state has to subscribers data In Central Asia large multinational equipment manufacturers have worked with authorities and companies to certify their products comply with SORM and have procured equipment designed to ensure compliance Telecommunications equipment vendors take into consideration national law enforcement requirements and ensure that their equipment is capable of fulfilling surveillance requirements If their equipment is not directly compatible with SORM requirements converters

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/59 (2016-04-27)
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  • Egypt UPR: a missed opportunity to address threats to the right to privacy | Privacy International
    right to privacy has been absent from the issues raised in the UPR mechanisms in the past and unfortunately Egypt s UPR this time around again failed to address this omission Sweden and the Czech Republic had expressed concerns through the submission of written questions to the Government of Egypt ahead of the official review on the increased harassment and detention of people using the Internet censorship and monitoring of bloggers and others using the internet However these issues failed to be brought to the attention of the Human Rights Council during the official review of Egypt This failure poses a significant problem Only the issues raised during this process form part of the questions and recommendations included in the report of the Working Group which will guide and serve as a benchmark for reviewing Egypt s human rights situation in 2019 By not mentioning or addressing the right to privacy during the UPR the review of Egypt s human rights situation will not include one of the most relevant and pressing issues facing Egyptians today Addressing the right to privacy As laid out in our joint submission below are the key concerns about the right to privacy in Egypt Expansive powers of Egyptians intelligence services There are four intelligence agencies in Egypt and their activities remain very secretive leaving limited room for oversight and accountability mechanisms and procedures Even though the Telecommunications Act requires a warrant for some surveillance activities this requirement is not practically enforced and a lack of oversight prevents us from obtaining further information about the process Researchers at Citizen Lab have for instance revealed the use of the trojan FinFisher which grants full remote access to the targeted computer They also have evidence that Hacking Team s Remote Control System was used by the Egyptian government and have documented the presence of Blue Coat appliances an internet monitoring system that allows the inspection of the data circulating on the web including even encrypted web traffic Under the Mubarak era the use of a similar technology at the time from the company Narus had already been exposed More recently a call for tender leaked in June revealed that the Ministry of Interior was planning on acquiring an equipment for open source intelligence in order to conduct wide searches on various networks to find everything that is a violation of the law the spreading of destructive ideas that help spreading chaos tensions and corruption in society The Ministry of Interior was specifically designing the system for police forces Unlawful communication monitoring Despite the July 8 Constitutional Declaration and the recently adopted 2014 Constitution which provides for the privacy of the home correspondence telephone calls and other means of communication there have been reports of unlawful monitoring of communications particularly of political dissidents journalists and human rights defenders Revealingly Vodafone s June 2014 Law Enforcement Disclosure Report stated that the armed forces and national security agencies have broad latitude to intercept communications with or without an operator s

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/462 (2016-04-27)
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  • New report finds little oversight of surveillance, intelligence agencies in Latin America | Privacy International
    in 2000 Many states have reformed their intelligence agencies as part of a transition towards democracy or a response to a scandal The report explains how Argentina was the first Latin American country to establish external control of the Secretariat of Intelligence s activity in 1991 Prior to that all intelligence agencies across the region were answering to their Executive the same institution that was directing intelligence operations This created a recipe for abuse that was all too familiar in many citizens lives in the region The reforms may have delivered some gains but the report found that across Latin America there are still struggles to create effective oversight regimes Argentina Tough on paper lost in practice Argentina passed its National Intelligence Act in 2001 This Act created the Bicameral Committee for the Oversight of Intelligence Bodies and Activities a committee made up of both houses of the Legislature The committee began operating in 2004 with four sub committee s feeding into the work of the main committee On paper Argentina had set up a rigorous oversight regime but in practice there have been many problems According to the findings Argentina has failed to provide any public oversight of their intelligence agencies by maintaing complete secrecy about the activities of the oversight committee Further one of the vital aspects of oversight review of classified documentation is wholly dependent on an agency authorising the review of such documents making any meaningful oversight subject to the will of the body being controlled Civil society in Argentina has been challenging this weak accountability regime Repeated requests were made by ADC and the Latin American Institute for Security and Democracy ILSED for the most basic information regarding the committee such as the number of meetings held reports produced requests made to the Secretariat of

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/64 (2016-04-27)
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  • High stakes: UN enters late-stage negotiations for recognition of right to privacy in digital age | Privacy International
    address global mass surveillance t he adoption of the 2013 UN General Assembly UNGA resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age It s adoption meant that all governments agreed to respect and protect the right to privacy and to review legislation and practices on surveillance interception and collection of personal data Out of that resolution came the commission of a report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Released in July of this year the authoritative report put beyond doubt that the very existence of mass surveillance programmes interfere with human rights In clear and robust language the report lends substantial support to the propositions we have long advocated that mass surveillance inherently interferes with human rights mandatory data retention is neither necessary or proportionate there is no persuasive difference between communications content and data when it comes to privacy and States must extend human rights obligations to individuals whose communications pass through their jurisdictions see our special report Eyes Wide Open Last year s resolution was an important initial step Now the UNGA has a significant opportunity to build upon it and in a new resolution begin to develop a shared understanding of the scope of the right to privacy and address some of the key issues facing policy makers in adopting the appropriate legal and policy framework UN member states currently negotiating this year s resolution at the UNGA Third Committee can and should reflect upon the findings in the High Commissioner s report While some governments are opposing efforts to include reference to the key principles included in the report it is critical that member states involved in the negotiating process hold strong to protect the right to privacy A crucial moment Given the challenging negotiations Privacy International and others have urged member

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/465 (2016-04-27)
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  • Explaining the CJEU's 'right to be forgotten' ruling | Privacy International
    are inadequate irrelevant or excessive in relation to purpose for which Google is processing the data or is not kept up to date or is kept for longer than is necessary to be kept for historical statistical or scientific purposes this is the exact language in data protection law Google argued before the court that they should not have to remove information from search results instead the publisher of the website concerned should be the recipient of any complaint To require the operator of a search engine to withdraw information published on the internet from its indexes Google maintained would take insufficient account of the fundamental rights of publishers internet users and the company itself In confronting this argument the Court noted that the directive seeks to ensure a high level of protection of fundamental rights of individuals particularly the right to privacy and the provisions of the directive are to be interpreted in light of the rights outlined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which includes explicit reference to both privacy and data protection rights In order to make good on these protections institutions must ensure all processing of personal data complies with the principles related to data quality set out in the directive and be for a legitimate purpose Data protection law in the form of the European Union Directive on data protection stipulates that an individual who wishes to object on legitimate grounds to the processing of data relating to them can do so directly to data controller who is obliged to examine the merits of the request and the processing of the data in question If the controller does not grant the request the individual may bring the matter before a supervisory authority often a data protection or information commissioner The Court made the important declaration that the processing activities conducted by search engines like Google affect significantly the fundamental rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data when the search by means of that engine is carried out on the basis of an individual s name since that processing enables any internet user to obtain through the list of results a structured overview of the information relating to that individual that can be found on the internet information which potentially concerns a vast number of aspects of his private life and which without the search engine could not have been interconnected or could have been only with great difficulty and thereby to establish a more or less detailed profile of him Furthermore the effect of the interference with those rights of the data subject is heightened on account of the important role played by the internet and search engines in modern society which render the information contained in such a list of results ubiquitous para 80 As a result the Court said such processing cannot be justified by merely the economic interest that Google has in providing search results and related advertising rather the Court recognised that indexing results

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/457 (2016-04-27)
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  • Beyond the hype: The big issues in the European Court’s 'right to be forgotten' ruling | Privacy International
    be forgotten Rather it makes reference to existing rights under EU data protection law Privacy principles have long contended that if some institution holds information on you then you retain rights about how that information is used and it must abide by a set of fair information practices This is the very set of principles that protect your government from keeping secret files on you and only use information for specific purposes Similarly any company or institution processing personal information must ensure that the information is adequate relevant or not excessive kept up to date and kept only for as long as necessary So in the European Court of Justice case when Mr Gonzalez asked Google for links to be removed regarding his previous financial state he was arguing that these were inadequate irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive in light of the time that has elapsed The Court s decision is quite clear first there is a legal framework that protects privacy along very specific principles Second a company that sells services in a jurisdiction has to abide by the laws of that jurisdiction Third this means that the company and its services have to abide by long established privacy principles The Court took the view that search engines allow for a detailed profile of an individual and as such should follow the law Does it mean that newspapers will be censored No The European Court was clear as were the Spanish courts that this ruling did not affect the publication of the material in the first place It only affects the search results to queries that include the name of the individual contesting the result Does it mean that some information will be no longer accessible on the internet No The information will still exist on the internet but how it is discovered will be different and in many circumstances more difficult If an individual asks for his or her personal information to be removed from a search results index and the search engine complies that information will no longer be listed in response to a query to that search engine that contains that person s name But it will be listed in response to other queries It will still be on the website and searchable on the website of the news organisation that originally posted the information So for example if John Smith wants a search engine to remove a link to university newspaper article from 1997 about a plagiarised law journal submission and the search engine agrees that article will no longer be returned in response to the search engine query John Smith law journal or the like but will be returned in response to the query law journal plagiarised 1997 university The story will be searchable on the university newspaper website under John Smith s name Doesn t this place a lot of power in the hands of search engines particularly Google Yes the ruling undoubtedly gives rise to real concerns about how search

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/458 (2016-04-27)
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  • The need for a Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy at the UN | Privacy International
    Rights Council However no existing Special Rapporteur has an explicit mandate covering the right to privacy This needs to change The right to privacy is enshrined in multiple international treaties but for the right to be upheld in practice human rights bodies must champion its importance internationally A Special Rapporteur would help do this There is a pressing need to better articulate the content of the right to privacy as part of international human rights law and produce guides on its interpretation particularly as modern technologies are enabling communications surveillance and consequent interferences with the right on an unprecedented scale A Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy would undertake the following activities Producing thematic studies to develop understandings of the right to privacy in discrete settings with technical and expert advice to assist States in comprehending the complex implications of technological innovations for modern understandings of privacy Providing independent recommendations to the Human Rights Council on matters of privacy which have been long neglected Networking and sharing information with UN bodies and other partners in order to establish a common understanding of the right that is grounded in international human rights principles Acting as a respected interlocutor for privacy matters in international media and Providing a forum for engagement on privacy issues for civil society representatives and others including victims of violations of the right Protecting privacy is a cross cutting issue that impacts on fields as diverse as internet governance communications surveillance and border management A Special Rapporteur would play a critical role in developing common understandings and furthering a considered and substantive interpretation of the right across a variety of settings There is strong demand for such a role as international bodies are increasingly grappling with the right s implications in a digital world Within the UN

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/134 (2016-04-27)
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  • Behind the curve: When will the UK stop pretending IMSI catchers don't exist? | Privacy International
    revealing information of people in the areas using phones including the subscriber s identity Some IMSI Catchers can even intercept calls and SMS The interception occurs over the air which means IMSI Catchers are portable and don t require direct physical connection to any mobile network tool to operate This in turn gives the surveillance tool immense power they can be deployed anywhere and often without the approval of network operators They first appeared on the open market in the US under the name StingRay in 2003 And in the UK the Metropolitan police were known to have purchased the technology in 2008 2009 In spite of this UK security services have refused time and again to provide the public with any information about the technology s use Privacy International filed FOI requests to confirm the Met s use of IMSI Catchers in 2011 and just this year Vice magazine tried to acquire additional information about its deployment in London Behind the times While the UK has done nothing other countries have been more proactive in holding law enforcement accountable in their operation of IMSI Catchers In the United States for instance the discussion around the use of mobile phone surveillance technologies is well underway In a letter sent in July to the Federal Communications Commission Senator Alan Grayson wrote Americans have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their communications and in information about where they go and with whom they communicate It is extremely troubling to learn that cellular communications are so poorly secured and that it is so easy to intercept calls and track people s phones The American judiciary have also voiced concerns on the appropriate use of IMSI Catchers in particular the detrimental impact of collateral collection where innocent passersby s information is captured in the wide net cast by the spy equipment Texas District Court Judge Brian Owsley refused to grant an authorisation request by Drug Enforcement Administration to use an IMSI Catcher during an investigation writing They the Drug Enforcement Administration did not address what the government would do with the cell phone numbers and other information concerning seemingly innocent cell phone users whose information was recorded by the equipment A growing tide against the use of IMSI catchers have led to the FCC to convene a task force to review the illicit and unauthorized deployment of the technology initially only focusing on its use by criminals and foreign intelligence agencies on US soil While it remains to be seen what will come out of the review the official attention paid to IMSI Catchers at least acknowledges the invasive power of such devices and the need for a better informed understanding of its operation Germany The public s right and its opportunity to know In Germany the state s use of IMSI Catchers is public information Every six months German intelligence agencies are required to report their use of IMSI Catchers to the Parliamentary Control Panel which oversees the collection of personal information and

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/454 (2016-04-27)
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