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  • UK government claims power for broad, suspicionless hacking of computers and phones | Privacy International
    how GCHQ hacked into Belgacom using the malware Regin and targeted Gemalto the world s largest maker of SIM cards used in countries around the world The court document relies heavily on a draft code on equipment interference which was quietly released to the public on the same day that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal found that GCHQ had previously engaged in unlawful information sharing with the United States s National Security Agency For the past decade GCHQ have been involved in state sponsored hacking or Computer Network Exploitation without this code being available to the public This lack of transparency is a violation of the requirement that the intelligence services act in accordance with law The draft code has not yet been approved by Parliament and is open for public comment until 20 March 2015 Last week s ISC report admits for the first time that GCHQ relies on security vulnerabilities including zero day vulnerabilities for its CNE operations but redacts the exact number of vulnerabilities disclosed Privacy International assisted in filing two separate complaints to the IPT challenging GCHQ s widespread hacking The first in which Privacy International is the claimant centres around GCHQ and the NSA s reported power to infect potentially millions of computer and mobile devices around the world with malicious software that gives them the ability to sweep up reams of content switch on users microphones or cameras listen to their phone calls and track their locations It is the first UK legal challenge to the use of hacking tools by intelligence services The second complaint was filed by seven internet service and communications providers from around the world who are calling for an end to GCHQ s exploitation of network infrastructure in order to unlawfully gain access to potentially millions of people s private communications The complaint filed by Riseup US GreenNet UK Greenhost Netherlands Mango Zimbabwe Jinbonet Korea May First People Link US and the Chaos Computer Club Germany is the first time that internet and communication providers have taken collective action against GCHQ s targeting attacking and exploitation of network communications infrastructure Eric King Deputy Director of Privacy International said The Government has been deep in the hacking business for nearly a decade yet they have never once been held accountable for their actions They have granted themselves incredible powers to break into the devices we hold near and dear the phones and computers that are so integral to our lives What s worse is that without any legitimate legal justi cation they think they have the authority to target anyone they wish no matter if they are suspected of a crime This suspicionless hacking must come to an end and the activities of our intelligence agencies must be brought under the rule of law Cedric Knight of GreenNet said Our joint action has already resulted in the intelligence services publishing their interpretation of UK law Unfortunately what has been revealed is not pretty There is nothing in GCHQ s response to

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/545 (2016-04-27)
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  • ISC report exonerates GCHQ for mass surveillance activities | Privacy International
    of selection fields The ISC has attempted to mask the reality of its admissions by describing GCHQ s actions as bulk interception However no amount of technical and legal jargon can obscure the fact that this is a parliamentary committee in a democratic country telling its citizens that they are living in a surveillance state and that all is well While we applaud the release of today s report the public and Parliament should have been able to debate this a long time ago This report should serve as a condemnation of the oversight and accountability framework in this country since it is without question that the ISC would not have undertaken this review had it not been for Edward Snowden s actions The fact that it took an individual risking his life to reveal illicit Government spying programmes to catalyse scrutiny of this kind is illustrative of the deeply ingrained secrecy amongst and deference to the security services in Britain How can we ensure that the ISC of the future will do its job given they have so fundamentally failed to do it until now We welcome the recognition by the ISC that reform of Britain s surveillance laws is overdue The fact that the Committee itself has found that many of the activities of the intelligence and security agencies are undertaken in the absence of explicit authorisations should worry us all There is a great need to fundamentally overhaul Britain s unnecessarily complicated and yet permissive surveillance laws which do little to protect our rights and do not provide the public with the ability to understand how our agencies spy and under which circumstances surveillance will occur By doing so they have set a poor standard for the rest of the world Today s report is official confirmation

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/505 (2016-04-27)
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  • Privacy International launches platform allowing people to discover if GCHQ illegally spied on them | Privacy International
    intelligence agency GCHQ has illegally spied on them The platform and campaign has been developed in response to a recent court ruling that GCHQ unlawfully obtained millions of private communications from the NSA up until December 2014 This decision allows not only British citizens but anyone in the world to ask GCHQ if the individual s records were unlawfully shared by the NSA Individuals who wish to take part in this process can sign up here or read the FAQ for more information Privacy International intends to collate the inquires from around the world and submit them to the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal Those who have been found to have been illegally spied on can seek the deletion of their records including emails phone records and internet communications Given the mass surveillance capabilities of the NSA and GCHQ and that the agencies share by default the information they collect an unlimited number of people could have been affected by the unlawful spying The IPT the UK court solely responsible for overseeing intelligence agencies on 6 February declared that intelligence sharing between the United States and the United Kingdom was unlawful prior to December 2014 because the rules governing the UK s access to the NSA s PRISM and UPSTREAM programmes were secret It was only due to revelations made during the course of this case which relied almost entirely on documents disclosed by Edward Snowden that the intelligence sharing relationship became subject to public scrutiny The decision was the first time in the Tribunal s history that it had ruled against the actions of the intelligence and security services Eric King Deputy Director of Privacy International said We have known for some time that the NSA and GCHQ have been engaged in mass surveillance but never before could anyone explicitly

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/499 (2016-04-27)
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  • GCHQ-NSA intelligence sharing unlawful, says UK surveillance tribunal | Privacy International
    Bytes for All disagree with the tribunal s earlier conclusion that the forced disclosure of a limited subset of rules governing intelligence sharing and mass surveillance is sufficient to make GCHQ s activities lawful as of December 2014 Both organisations will shortly lodge an application with the European Court of Human Rights challenging the tribunal s December 2014 decision While that appeal is pending GCHQ will retain unfettered access to this material intercepted by the NSA The two agencies by default share intelligence gleaned from PRISM and UPSTREAM sometimes with few or no safeguards Secret policies divulged during Privacy International s case revealed that British intelligence services can request or receive access to bulk data from foreign agencies like the NSA without a warrant whenever it would not be technically feasible for the government to obtain it themselves PRISM and UPSTREAM which have been in existence for nearly a decade were made public in June 2013 by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden Through PRISM the NSA has gained access to the data and content handled by some of the world s largest Internet companies including Microsoft Yahoo Google Facebook PalTalk AOL Skype YouTube and Apple With UPSTREAM the NSA intercepts bulk data via fibre optic cables that carry the world s communications The scope of this surveillance is unprecedented For instance the top five programmes within UPSTREAM created 160 billion interception records in one month In one day the NSA was able to collect 444 743 e mail address books from Yahoo 105 068 from Hotmail 82 857 from Facebook 33 697 from Gmail and 22 881 from unspecified other providers Eric King Deputy Director of Privacy International said For far too long intelligence agencies like GCHQ and NSA have acted like they are above the law Today s decision confirms to the public what many have said all along over the past decade GCHQ and the NSA have been engaged in an illegal mass surveillance sharing program that has affected millions of people around the world We must not allow agencies to continue justifying mass surveillance programs using secret interpretations of secret laws The world owes Edward Snowden a great debt for blowing the whistle and today s decision is a vindication of his actions But more work needs to be done The only reason why the NSA GCHQ sharing relationship is still legal today is because of a last minute clean up effort by Government to release previously secret arrangements That is plainly not enough to fix what remains a massive loophole in the law and we hope that the European Court decides to rule in favour of privacy rather than unchecked State power Shahzad Ahmad Country Director Bytes for All Pakistan said IPT s pro people decision sets a wonderful precedent for future rulings not only for UK courts but also for developing countries like Pakistan which look up to developed countries for policy making The ruling also proves that no authority including the military and intelligence is

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/482 (2016-04-27)
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  • Privacy International, Open Rights Group submission to consultation on establishing a UK Privacy and Civil Liberties Board | Privacy International
    Financial Opportunities Contact Donate You are here Home Privacy International Open Rights Group submission to consultation on establishing a UK Privacy and Civil Liberties Board 30 January 2015 Related Privacy 101s Communications surveillance Mass Surveillance What is Privacy Privacy International and Open Rights Group have submitted a response to the Consultation on establishing a UK Privacy and Civil Liberties Board You can find our response here Press Release Files Open

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/476 (2016-04-27)
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  • Investigatory Powers Tribunal rules GCHQ mass surveillance programme TEMPORA is legal in principle | Privacy International
    known as TEMPORA and PRISM Our appeal will also concern these two programmes The existence of TEMPORA has been disclosed by Edward Snowden but the British Government has said it will neither confirm nor deny its existence It allows for the bulk interception of internet traffic via fibre optic cables going into and out of the UK Given the government s neither confirm nor deny stance the Tribunal could only consider whether the legal framework would hypothetically allow GCHQ to lawfully tap undersea fibre optic cables and conduct mass surveillance of external and internal communications The Tribunal found that based on secret government policies if such surveillance activities were taking place they would in principle be lawful The Tribunal has not yet considered the proportionality of GCHQ s actions examined the Snowden documents or reviewed underlying documents and material held by GCHQ and the security services The Tribunal would only do so in a secret closed hearing The Tribunal also found that the vast intelligence sharing with the NSA and other foreign intelligence and access to the US PRISM programme do not contravene the right to privacy despite there being no explicit legislation regulating such activities In so finding the Tribunal relied upon the content of secret policies the existence of which the government was forced to disclose as a result of the IPT claim The policies reveal that the government considers it justifiable to engage in mass surveillance of every Facebook Twitter YouTube and Google user in the country even if there is no suspicion that the user has committed any offence by secretly redefining Briton s use of them as external communications Other previously secret arrangements revealed during the case showed Britain s intelligence services can request or receive access to bulk data from foreign agencies like the NSA without a warrant whenever it would not be technically feasible for the government to obtain it themselves Given that the Tribunal s decision rests upon hitherto secret government policies which were only made clear as a result of the IPT claim Privacy International has sought a declaration from the Tribunal that GCHQ s actions prior to acknowledgment of these policies were unlawful This application will be decided by the Tribunal in the coming weeks In addition Privacy International and Bytes for All will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to scrutinise GCHQ s actions against Britain s human rights obligations to respect citizens rights to privacy and freedom of expression enshrined in Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights The European Court will also be asked to consider whether provisions in RIPA that afford a higher degree of privacy protections to British residents violate Article 14 of the Convention which outlaws unlawful discrimination Eric King Deputy Director at Privacy International said With GCHQ s mass surveillance of undersea cables reported to have increased by as much as 7000 in the last five years today s decision by the IPT that this is business

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/46 (2016-04-27)
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  • United Nations adopts resolution condemning unlawful government surveillance | Privacy International
    contained in the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report of July 2014 It clearly states that any digital surveillance program must be compliant with the right to privacy and that any interference with the right to privacy must not be arbitrary and must be conducted on the basis of a legal framework which is publicly accessible clear precise comprehensive and non discriminatory This resolution comes just hours after the release of a report by UK s intelligence oversight committee the Intelligence and Security Committee which suggested that internet companies should snoop through user data for the authorities The resolution adopted today pushes back against this idea stating that states must respect the right to privacy when they require disclosure of personal data from companies as well as when they intercept digital communications of individuals or collect personal data Concretely the resolution calls on states to to review their procedures practices and legislation regarding surveillance to ensure that they are in line with their obligations under human rights law to establish independent and effective oversight mechanisms over state surveillance s practices and to provide effective remedy to those individuals whose right to privacy has been violated by unlawful or arbitrary surveillance Significantly the resolution also invites the UN Human Rights Council to consider the establishment of a special procedure on the right to privacy The Council is expected to discuss the issue at its next ordinary session in March 2015 Privacy International strongly supports the creation of such a mandate A Special Rapporteur would play a critical role in developing common understandings and furthering a considered and substantive interpretation of the right to privacy 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

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/402 (2016-04-27)
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  • Privacy International uncovers widespread surveillance throughout Central Asia, exposes role of Israeli companies | Privacy International
    provided by US based company Netronome which is owned by Blue Coat Should Verint have been successful it would have enabled Uzbek authorities unprecedented access to private communications and undermined the web s most secure form of communication Privacy International discovered how agencies in Kazakhstan use distributed monitoring nodes known as Punkt Upravlenias PUs to conduct surveillance Placed strategically throughout the country including oil producing region Aktobe and populous Almaty PUs collect and decode audio information and IP data on an automated basis before presenting the information to the agencies through a handler interface The installation of these nodes was tendered to local companies but was likely marketed and supplied by foreign surveillance companies Through the course of the investigation Privacy International uncovered nearly 100 sensitive documents including government contracts and technical details of the surveillance equipment which describe in detail the relationship between governments and industry acting as re sellers and distributors facilitating widespread surveillance across the region It also highlights the role of some of the world s largest multinational communications services providers who grant direct access to government agencies with little to no knowledge about how their networks are being used Similarly it points out how large telecommunications equipment manufacturers have been adapting their hardware in order to facilitate government surveillance Central Asia serves as a unique backdrop to the examination of the surveillance technology industry it consists of some of the most authoritarian systems of governance in the world with repressive state authorities increasingly keen to clamp down on internet and telecommunications freedoms Indeed the report finds serious deficiencies with the legal framework governing surveillance in the region Despite massive human rights issues within all of the countries there are currently few trade restrictions stopping companies from empowering these state authorities with surveillance technology The report

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/429 (2016-04-27)
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