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  • Online surveillance becomes a priority for the Human Rights Council, as Pakistan joins the wrong side of the debate | Privacy International
    order to push their own agenda to exert greater control over the internet within their own countries Pakistan on behalf of Cuba Venezuela Zimbabwe Uganda Ecuador Russia Indonesia Bolivia Iran and China made a joint statement before the Council to emphasise the need to protect the rights to privacy in view of technical advancements which are permitting States to carryout mass surveillance However the coalition used the opportunity to call for a strategic rethinking of the global internet governance mechanism noting that the internet is too big too international and too much of a household thing to be left operating by a few who have misused it without any international legislation and monitoring of these abuses Privacy International and Bytes for All reject this call for more regulation of the internet which should remain free independent and open for all to use The statement is a transparent attempt by these countries to limit the flow and exchange of information thus putting at risk other rights including the right to privacy and freedom of expression These two rights are intrinsically linked as laid out in a recent UN report by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression Frank La Rue While addressing State surveillance is essential to ensuring the protection of human rights the solution is not to develop new rules and restrictions that will increase State control of the internet Any regulations that violate freedom of expression imperil privacy rights and vice versa We condemn any attempts by these states to usurp this important debate to push their own agenda of oppression Pakistan has a deplorable track record on internet issues as it continues to carry out widespread mass surveillance filtering and censorship of cyberspace In recent months researchers have

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/491 (2016-04-27)
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  • Governments break silence on surveillance as activists launch human rights principles | Privacy International
    powerful tools for democracy by giving access to all to participate in society but increasing use of data mining by intelligence agencies blurs lines between legitimate surveillance and arbitrary mass surveillance Acknowledging that States have a legitimate task of protecting national security the High Commissioner stressed that this must done in compliance with the law and any actions must be regulated and monitored by the judiciary Joining the High Commissioner was Frank La Rue the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression who recently released a report which details the widespread use of state surveillance of communications stating that such surveillance severely undermines citizens ability to enjoy a private life freely express themselves and enjoy their other fundamental human rights Speaking at the event the UN Special Rapporteur remarked that previously surveillance was carried out on targeted basis but the Internet has changed the context by providing the possibility for carrying out mass surveillance This is the danger In this new context Frank La Rue stressed that all restrictions to rights have to be established by law and implemented by legal institutions as well as supported by independent judicial and parliamentary oversight mechanisms With the aim of taking the discussion forward and ensuring concrete actions the Special Rapporteur suggested the organisation of a special session at the Human Right Council on surveillance and the right to privacy and a preparatory multi stakeholder seminar as well as the appointment of a temporary special expert to lead the initiative Representatives of Privacy International the Electronic Frontier Foundation Access Human Rights Watch Reporters Without Borders Association for Progressive Communications and the Center for Democracy and Technology all took part in the event Carly Nyst Head of International Advocacy at Privacy International emphasised the fundamental importance of the right to privacy State surveillance severely threatens individuals rights to privacy free expression and free association impedes an open and democratic society hinders a free press breeds conformity and undermines innovation and strikes at the heart of human dignity and autonomy It must only be conducted in the most exceptional circumstances under the watchful eye of an independent judicial authority and strong oversight mechanisms Cynthia Wong Senior Internet Researcher at Human Rights Watch warned Without stronger protections for online privacy we are quickly headed toward a world where pervasive surveillance is the norm and privacy disappears the second we go online As mobile and Internet adoption expands globally every government should ensure people can use these technologies without fear of invasive and disproportionate intrusions into their private lives Lucie Morillion Head of Reporters Without Borders Advocacy Department stressed that more efforts must be done to regulate and monitor the export of surveillance technologies to countries which utilise them to identify and track down dissidents human right defenders and journalists who are disclosing public interest information Without the adoption and implementation of adequate protection mechanisms of these individuals the right to information is challenged and investigatory journalism is at risk In presenting the 13 Principles

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/492 (2016-04-27)
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  • Facebook transparency report: Welcomed, but a growing concern over value | Privacy International
    know what governments are asking for and how often Transparency reports also inform users as to what intermediaries are doing to protect their privacy when it comes to sharing data with governments Given Facebook s ever growing presence in the lives of people around the world we commend them for releasing this report today a release that has been a long time coming However we are left with a disturbingly hollow feeling regarding Facebook s gesture and it has little to do with Facebook itself Since documents leaked by Edward Snowden have been published and analysed the veil has been lifted on what information governments actually collect about us We are now aware of a terrifying reality that governments don t necessarily need intermediaries like Facebook Google and Microsoft to get our data They can intercept it over undersea cables through secret court orders and through intelligence sharing The usefulness of transparency reports hinges on governments abiding by the rule of law We now know that these reports only provide a limited picture of what is going on and it is time that governments allow companies to speak more freely regarding the orders they receive Whereas transparency reports detail lawful

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/493 (2016-04-27)
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  • Privacy International files legal challenge against UK government over mass surveillance programmes | Privacy International
    that the UK had access to the Prism programme since at least June 2010 and has generated 197 intelligence reports from the system in 2012 Without a legal framework which would allow citizens to know the circumstances in which such spying would take place the Government effectively runs a secret surveillance regime making it nearly impossible to hold them accountable for any potential abuses The absence of this legal framework appears to be in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights Article 8 which provides the right to privacy and personal communications and Article 10 which provides the right to freedom of expression Eric King Head of Research at Privacy International said One of the underlying tenets of law in a democratic society is the accessibility and foreseeability of a law If there is no way for citizens to know of the existence interpretation or execution of a law then the law is effectively secret And secret law is not law It is a fundamental breach of the social contract if the Government can operate with unrestrained power in such an arbitrary fashion Mass indiscriminate surveillance of this kind goes against the most basic fundamental human rights to privacy The scope and scale of this program which monitors the entire British public and much of the world cannot be justified as necessary and proportionate Bhatt Murphy Solicitors said The UK authorities have been engaged in a regime of surveillance which amounts to a serious and unjustifiable violation of the rule of law it breaches EU law and it breaches the rights of the citizen to freedom of expression and privacy as protected by the Human Rights Act Additionally Privacy International is challenging the Government s Tempora operation a programme that reportedly secretly conducts mass surveillance by tapping fibre optic

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/483 (2016-04-27)
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  • Privacy International, HMRC to go to trial over agency's refusal to reveal state of any investigation into Gamma International | Privacy International
    public importance is of note given that the court does not frequently include such wording Despite the fact that HMRC frequently publishes press releases on investigations the law enforcement department continues to state that it is prohibited from disclosing information about any activities relating to the potentially illegal exports of British surveillance technology by Gamma International Other law enforcement agencies are not only permitted to keep victims updated on the progress of an investigation but have an obligation to do so on the basis of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime Eric King Head of Research at Privacy International said 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 The public especially victims targeted by this invasive surveillance have a right to know what is being done The case will now proceed to trial with hearings expected to likely take place early next year Created by UK based Gamma International FinFisher products work by covertly installing software onto a target s computers and mobile phone without their knowledge usually by tricking the user into thinking they are opening an attachment or downloading fake updates from seemingly legitimate sources like Apple or Adobe Once the user installs the software victims computers and mobile devices can be taken over the cameras and microphones remotely switched on emails instant messengers and voice calls including Skype monitored and locations tracked Investigations have revealed that such technology has been used in monitoring and tracking victims who are subsequently subjected to torturous interrogations Gamma s surveillance technology FinFisher has been found in at least 36 countries according to the latest Citizen Lab report

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/509 (2016-04-27)
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  • OECD complaint filed by human rights groups against British surveillance company moves forward | Privacy International
    this Gamma continues to claim that they would not supply the product identified in the complaint in a situation where it believed it would be used for the purpose of repressing civil rights However after weighing the complaints against Gamma s responses the National Contact Point determined to move the case forward Eric King Head of Research said We are pleased to have the NCP recognise what we have said for some time There is evidence suggesting FinFisher has been used to target activists and we need Gamma to step up and address the impacts their products have had in Bahrain and possibly other countries As the appropriate next steps are taken during the OECD process we sincerely hope that companies like Gamma begin to closely evaluate their policies and to whom they sell their products Without such evaluation we are concerned the proliferation of these technologies and their use to suppress pro democracy voices will only continue Christian Mihr Executive Director of Reporters Without Borders Germany stated The complaint being accepted is an important step forward to secure journalists around the world from intrusive surveillance through advanced spyware The German NCP is now pressed to act and should not try to further delay the process We are looking forward to enter the mediation Dr Miriam Saage Maaß Vice Legal Director of ECCHR stated We very much welcome the decision of the UK NCP as first steps towards accountability of surveillance technology companies This also sets a precedent for the German NCP dealing with a similar case which has not yet been accepted Maryam Al Khawaja Acting President for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said As human rights groups we have time and time again pointed out that the lack of accountability is one of the main reasons for the continuation of human rights violations This includes the lack of accountability for companies that enable human rights violations in countries like Bahrain Holding these companies responsible for selling software to governments who commit human rights violations will be a huge step forward for accountability not only for Bahrain but internationally Dr Ala a Shehabi of Bahrain Watch said It should never be business as usual with repressive states like Bahrain This case the first of its kind and based on solid evidence provided by the complainants will bring to question important matters not just of trade itself but of the nature of trading which can amount to complicity when it is used directly against pro democracy activists struggling for equal rights The NCP response from Gamma by their own admission clearly places profit before consideration of human rights This is the wrong approach to European trade with authoritarian regimes With the NCP in the UK considering the complaint the complainants and Gamma will be asked to engage in mediation to reach a settlement If no agreement is reached the NCP will conduct a separate examination into the complaint and issue a final statement on whether the guidelines have been

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/510 (2016-04-27)
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  • Privacy International files for judicial review of HMRC refusal to reveal the state of any investigation into Gamma International | Privacy International
    also failed to recognise well established principles regarding the rights of victims of crime Eric King Head of Research at Privacy International said In the wrong hands today s surveillance technologies can have devastating effects and the public especially victims targeted by this surveillance have a right to know what the UK government is doing about it HMRC s refusal to provide information to the pro democracy activists who have been targeted is shameful In order for the public to have full confidence and faith that these issues will be addressed we re asking the court to force HM Revenue Customs to come clean Gamma s surveillance technology FinFisher has been sold to governments in 25 countries according to the latest Citizen Lab report including Bahrain Egypt Turkmenistan and other repressive regimes with a history of human rights abuses This is part of a growing global trend where human rights defenders political dissidents and other vulnerable groups around the world are being targeted by increasingly sophisticated state surveillance much of it supplied by British companies like Gamma International FinFisher products work by covertly installing software onto a target s computers and mobile phone without their knowledge usually by tricking the user into thinking they are opening an attachment or downloading fake updates from seemingly legitimate sources like Apple or Adobe Once the user installs the software victims computers and mobile devices can be taken over the cameras and microphones remotely switched on emails instant messengers and voice calls including Skype monitored and locations tracked Investigations have revealed that such technology has been used in monitoring and tracking victims who are subsequently subjected to torturous interrogations In November Privacy International provided a 186 page dossier of evidence against Gamma International to HM Revenue and Customs the body responsible for enforcing export

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/511 (2016-04-27)
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  • Amazon and eBay lobbyists found to be writing EU data protection law in copy-paste legislation scandal | Privacy International
    lobby papers with MEPs frequently failing to even remember their own amendments Max Schrems of the website and campaign Europe v Facebook noticed striking similarities between proposed amendments and lobby papers written by representatives of Amazon eBay the American Chamber of Commerce and the European Banking Federation In subsequent conversations with EU Parliamentarians it became obvious to Schrems that several MEPs had copied entire paragraphs from lobby papers into their own suggestions British MEPs seemed particularly keen to plagiarise lobbyists suggestions Malcolm Harbour Conservative MEP for the West Midlands proposed amendments with over 25 of content copied directly from lobby papers Sajjad Karim Conservative MEP for the North West of England proposed amendments with over 23 copy pasted content and Giles Chichester Conservative MEP for South West England and Gibraltar followed closely behind with over 22 copy pasted content Since the new Regulation was proposed last year Brussels has seen unprecedented lobbying efforts by industry and government particularly from the United States Several Parliamentarians have spoken publicly about the recent surge in lobbying on data protection legislation Eva Lichtenberger of the Austrian Green Party has called it one of the biggest lobby wars of all times while the German MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht stated in an interview published today we are facing one of the broadest lobbying campaigns in the European Parliament Max Schrems founder of Europe v Facebook said The IT industry is about to kill our fundamental right to data protection and privacy and some Parliamentarians apparently do not even notice when assisting them Anna Fielder Trustee of Privacy International said Revelations like these add fuel to the fire of existing concerns about the democratic deficit in the European Union Certain companies will always be willing and able to throw millions of dollars behind lobbying efforts to ensure

    Original URL path: https://privacyinternational.org/node/512 (2016-04-27)
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