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

How a dog and some chocolate biscuits reveal an identity crisis in America

By Simon Davies Overpriced bourbon isn’t the only reason why San Francisco’s International House of Wine & Liquor is noteworthy. The last time I was there a year or two ago, anyone of any age who buys a packet of cigarettes there is forced to disclose an identity document. A slightly luminescent pink sign on …

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May 7, 2015

Governments take note: the world’s most ambitious identity system is falling to pieces

By Vickram Crishna Any country planning to introduce a national identity system should take careful note of recent events in India. This country’s most ambitious – indeed the world’s most ambitious – identity assurance program has become a juggernaut. Even more relevant, it has become a reckless juggernaut that moves with inexorable and crushing indifference …

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May 7, 2015

A Denmark-based initiative could be the most strategically potent step yet for privacy rights

By Simon Davies COPENHAGEN  Rights campaigners, legal experts, journalists and officials from a range of local professional bodies met yesterday in Copenhagen to map out an innovative Denmark-based initiative aimed at forcing politicians and government officials to speak the truth when they propose intrusive security and policing measures. The event was driven by concerns that …

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May 6, 2015

Why American liberals need to stop acting like the People’s Front of Judea over the Baltimore conflict

By Simon Davies At a press gathering earlier today in Paris, a journalist asked for my thoughts on the Baltimore “riots”. To my surprise – as a pacifist liberal – all I could do was shrug my shoulders. After all, in view of the utterly appalling record of brutality and institutional racism among US police, …

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April 29, 2015

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