#MasterCard will begin trials of face recognition software to authorize payments – let the travesty begin!

By Simon Davies In its continuing effort to crack down on fraud, MasterCard has announced ambitious plans to trial a new program that approves online purchases using facial scans. The program is scheduled to begin in the US this Fall and – if successful – could be rolled out globally. Company executives told CNN Money …

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July 6, 2015

Code Red launches one of the world’s most ambitious anti surveillance projects

By Simon Davies The new global privacy advocacy group Code Red has launched one of the most ambitious human rights projects in recent years. After three years of planning, the group – which involves many of the world’s most renowned figures in the tech, whistleblower, legal, activist and policy communities – has commenced construction of …

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June 25, 2015

Checkmate for human rights in Pakistan as government moves to outlaw non-approved NGO’s

By Simon Davies The Pakistan government intends imminently to promulgate a new law that will have the effect of destroying its entire independent human and political rights infrastructure. The regulations are planned to take force in around eight weeks. Under these regulations, all organisations must be accredited by government, and each must have a civil …

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June 23, 2015

Google moves its privacy offering from Abysmal to Appalling as EU regulators force change

By Simon Davies You’ve probably seen numerous media reports on Google’s new privacy dashboard. In essence, this is a facility where Google consolidates all its spin about the need to collect more information on its customers. Users who can navigate the anti-privacy rhetoric on those pages have an opportunity to improve their privacy level from abysmal to …

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June 3, 2015

Why the UN must sever ties with the world’s biggest private security company

By Simon Davies The question of whether the controversial global security giant G4S is institutionally amoral or merely ambivalent about its societal responsibilities amounts to the same outcome: the company is starting to pollute the global human rights initiatives that it has hypocritically signed up to. With over twelve thousand corporate participants, the most prominent …

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May 14, 2015

US police shoot two journalists and a dog during press conference on police reform

By Simon Davies BALTIMORE A press conference held earlier today on proposed measures to curb violence by US police, ended in chaos after police officers shot and seriously wounded two participating journalists. The event – jointly convened by the Ferguson and Baltimore police departments – was intended to showcase a new campaign to reduce the …

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May 14, 2015

The twenty privacy principles they never taught you at school

Version 1.0, August 2012 By Simon Davies GENERAL PRINCIPLES 1. Responsible organisations describe privacy as a “right”, unaware ones talk of it as a “value” and bad players lambast it as an “interest”. 2. Most people in power only support privacy rights when they’re about to get dumped into a scandal. 3. Claims of a …

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May 12, 2015

It’s time for Europe”s data protection authorities to engage with the real world

 By Simon Davies I won’t name names, but there are some data protection authorities (DPA’s) in Europe who need a swift kicking over their general attitude. Some of them are becoming increasingly timid, isolated and invisible to the public. This can’t go on. If there was any moment for tenacity and strategic engagement, it’s now. …

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May 11, 2015

Warrantless mass surveillance? Bring it on! I’m all the way with Theresa May…

 By Simon Davies My colleagues in the privacy realm should think twice before attacking the British Tory Home Secretary, Theresa May, over her plan to introduce sweeping new surveillance laws. I personally think she’s a very courageous woman and deserves some kudos. I mean, no sooner were the Tory Party’s former coalition partners, the Liberal …

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May 11, 2015

Analysis: who should become the first UN rapporteur on privacy?

 By Simon Davies Back in March, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a resolution to appoint a Special Rapporteur on Privacy. This was a landmark decision – and one that is well overdue. The role will be pivotal. A Special Rapporteur has the potential to create clarity and focus on a massively complex issue …

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May 11, 2015

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