My blindness – and the curious tension with privacy

By Simon Davies When I was a young boy, there was a kid in my class whose visual impairment was so bad that he had to sit front and centre of the classroom, using binoculars just to see the blackboard. To many classmates this was a hilarious spectacle, though there were always one or two …

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September 11, 2014

Why I decided to boycott Google’s sham ‘Right to be Forgotten’ road show

 By Simon Davies Earlier this week, in a futile moment of wild optimism, I emailed a prominent Google executive to ask if I could join an expert panel for the road show events that the company is currently rolling out across Europe to fuel dissent about a legal principle called the Right to be Forgotten …

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September 9, 2014

Police militarization is not just about lethal weapons; it’s also about too much power and too much data

By Simon Davies The recent killing by US police of an unarmed teenager in the act of surrender – and the subsequent slaughter by those same police of a mentally ill man – has sparked widespread disquiet in America and elsewhere about the militarization of law enforcement agencies. At its most superficial level, this debate …

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August 25, 2014

US court rejects Google’s attempt to seal transcript and documents

By Simon Davies A US federal judge has rejected an attempt by Google to edit the transcript of a critical hearing in a lawsuit alleging wiretap violations related to Gmail ads. The released transcript is available here (downloads as pdf) On Wednesday District Court Judge Lucy Koh also partially granted a plea by intervening news …

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Australia pushes data retention law, despite using metadata at twice the UK level

By Simon Davies Earlier this week, Australia’s Attorney General, George Brandis, spectacularly proved that a minute can be an eternity in politics. Or – more precisely – he proved that eight minutes and twenty four seconds can be an eternity. During an interview on Sky television, Brandis set out to defend his government’s plan to …

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August 7, 2014

How Britain became a dangerously cynical society with tinges of a police state

 By Simon Davies If proof was ever needed of the growing cynicism and despair of modern Britain, you need only consider the collapse of public trust in government, the systematic destruction of oversight and accountability, the rise of nationalism and the steady encroachment of a police state – all cheered on by a faltering parliament. …

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August 5, 2014

Stop being so angry about privacy invasion – get furious

By Simon Davies I received a troubling email this week from a straight-shooting Privacy Surgeon reader. He asked why I’m “so angry about everything”. This subversive poke needs to be shared for comment. Over nearly thirty years as a privacy advocate I’ve been accused of being everything from a propagandist for the hard-left, to a …

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July 28, 2014

Why opposing privacy reform is now dinosaur thinking

By Simon Davies If anyone wants proof of the relevance of privacy, they need only reflect on the fact that over the past three years, almost every government and corporation on earth has been repeatedly forced to address the issue. Wherever you turn – the WTO, WEF, IMF, the UN, the ILO or even Bilderberg …

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July 28, 2014

US wiretap case could be the key to Google transparency compliance in Europe

By Simon Davies In one of the most important online privacy developments of recent years, the Italian data protection regulator has issued a ruling that requires Google not only to explicitly inform users of the extent of commercial processing of their data, but to also secure customer consent before that data can be used. It …

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July 23, 2014

Why national security should be subjected to the same rules as health authorities

By Simon Davies Just for a moment, let’s imagine the unimaginable. Imagine that national security agencies were forced to undergo the same competition and internal market tests that apply, increasingly, to other government agencies. It’s a wild thought, but a tantalizing one. What would happen if national security agencies had to present an actual case …

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July 21, 2014

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