Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged spying

Momentum is building to #RejectFear and stop theHarper Conservative’s reckless, vague and unnecessary ‘Secret Police’ bill before they can rush it into law.

We’ve got a plan to stop this bill from passing without major changes and proper oversight – and it starts with making sure that people from all across Canada see a new video that shows just how high the stakes are.

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A century of secret deals between the NSA and the telecom industry

For nearly one hundred years, the NSA and its predecessors have been engaging in secret, illegal deals with the American telecom industry, with both virtually immune from prosecution.
How did this begin? How does it work? How much have US presidents known? What happens when they get caught? Will it change after the Snowden revelations? A fascinating look at a hundred years of handshakes and backroom deals between the eavesdroppers and the telecom executives.

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In the latest “think of the children” idea to come out of the United Kingdom, a new bill proposes that nursery school staff and registered childminders must report toddlers they think are at risk of becoming terrorists.

The directive is contained in a 39-page consultation document issued by the Home Office in a bid to bolster its Prevent anti-terrorism plan.

Critics said the idea was “unworkable” and “heavy-handed”, and accused the Government of treating teachers and carers as “spies”.

The document accompanies the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, currently before parliament. It identifies nurseries and early years childcare providers, along with schools and universities, as having a duty “to prevent people being drawn into terrorism”.

The consultation paper adds: “Senior management and governors should make sure that staff have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and challenge extremist ideas which can be used to legitimise terrorism and are shared by terrorist groups.

David Davis, the Conservative MP and former shadow home secretary, said: “It is hard to see how this can be implemented. It is unworkable. I have to say I cannot understand what they [nursery staff] are expected to do.

“Are they supposed to report some toddler who comes in praising a preacher deemed to be extreme? I don’t think so.

“It is heavy-handed.”

Headteachers’ union NAHT, said it was “uneasy” with the new guidance. General secretary Russell Hobby, said: “It’s really important that nurseries are able to establish a strong relationship of trust with families, as they are often the first experience the families will have of the education system.

“Any suspicions that they are evaluating families for ideology could be quite counterproductive.

“Nursery settings should focus on the foundations of literacy and socialising with other children – those are the real ‘protections’.”

Schools and nurseries, he said, should not be required to act as a police service.

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There is one law (FISA 702) and one policy (EO12333) which authorizes the US government to conduct mass surveillance on “foreigners in foreign lands”. These are drafted in terms which discriminate the privacy rights you have by the passport you hold – in fact there are no rights at all for non-Americans outside the US.

It is obvious that this is a reasonably important dimension of the whole Snowden affair, because it starkly conflicts with ECHR norms that rights are universal and equal.

The only possible resolution compatible with universal rights is data localization, or construction of a virtual zone in which countries have agreed mutual verifiable inspections that mass-surveillance is not occurring (and at present this seems unlikely). There is a widespread misconception that somehow the new GDPR privacy regulation will curb foreign spying, when in fact it is designed to widen loopholes into floodgates.

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Never in human history have people been more connected than they are today — nor have they been more thoroughly monitored. Over the past year, the disclosures spurred by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have drawn public attention to the stunning surveillance capabilities of the American intelligence community, and the unprecedented volume of data they collect from hundreds of millions of people around the world. But the growth of government surveillance is by no means restricted to spies: Even ordinary law enforcement agencies increasingly employ sophisticated tracking technologies, from face recognition software to “Stingray” devices that can locate suspects by sniffing out their cellular phone signals. Are these tools a vital weapon against criminals and terrorists — or a threat to privacy and freedom? How should these tracking technologies be regulated by the Fourth Amendment and federal law? Can we reconcile the secrecy that spying demands with the transparency that democratic accountability requires?

This inaugural Cato Institute Surveillance Conference will explore these questions, guided by a diverse array of experts: top journalists and privacy advocates; lawyers and technologists; intelligence officials … and those who’ve been targets of surveillance. And for the more practically minded, a special Crypto Reception, following the Conference, will teach attendees how to use privacy-enhancing technologies to secure their own communications.

More videos are available at the Cato Institute. Though in separate videos, the entire conference is available to view online or download.

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