“Anonymised” elderly people to be sold off in UK government cost recovery plan

By Simon Davies Following recent revelations that the government is planning to sell “anonymised” health and taxpayer records to private companies, the Treasury chief secretary, Danny Alexander, today announced that plans are underway to sell-off anonymised old people. The scheme has been outlined in a green paper titled “Maximising value from the golden years” that …

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April 19, 2014

A global police misconduct crisis and the Total Surveillance solution

By Simon Davies Each year, between five and six hundred people are killed by US police. To put the figure in perspective, that’s more than twelve times the number of lawful executions across the nation. Except that in this situation most of the victims are declared innocent. In human terms, this is a sobering statistic. …

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April 16, 2014

What the Italians can teach us about home security

By Simon Davies For some decades, many Americans have felt deeply anxious about their personal security. This anxiety became so embedded that by 1980 two-thirds of the nation reported feeling “highly fearful” of becoming a victim of violent crime. You might imagine that this fear would be reflected in an obsession with proven and robust …

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April 16, 2014

It’s official. Terrorism tweets are now the lèse majesté of the West

By Simon Davies A 14 year-old Netherlands girl was arrested yesterday for posting a Tweet that was claimed to be a terrorist threat against American Airlines. “Hello, my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan”, the Tweet began, in classic Bin Laden style, concluding with: “I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m going …

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April 16, 2014

Google Glass goes on sale today – but there are relatively few circumstances where you can legally and safely use it

By Simon Davies Google’s controversial Glass technology goes on sale to the public for the first time today amidst a flamboyantly promoted one-day sale across the US – but “buyer beware”. The experience might not be as rich as you imagine. Ignore for a moment the rising tide of public concern about Glass – or …

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April 15, 2014

Why it’s time for citizens to take direct action over GCHQ

By Simon Davies I am making an appeal to everyone who has used a webcam over Yahoo in the past six years to consider making a formal complaint to UK police over unlawful interception by Britain’s communications intelligence agency, GCHQ. This action has become necessary because of the continuing refusal by the British government to …

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Audio interview: Europe’s new privacy supremo criticizes the US and commits to building EU harmonisation

By Simon Davies Europe’s new data protection and privacy supremo has lashed out at the Obama administration, accusing the US of failing to deliver meaningful safeguards in the wake of the Snowden revelations. In a wide-ranging audio interview with the Privacy Surgeon, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin – president of the French privacy watchdog CNIL and also the …

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April 10, 2014

The Trans-Atlantic divide on privacy just became a little wider

By Simon Davies Over the past three weeks the so-called “Trans-Atlantic Divide” on privacy between the US and Europe has widened significantly. This shift could indicate new dynamics in the global push on America to institute more meaningful privacy safeguards for non-US persons. In this short period the European Parliament and the European courts have …

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April 8, 2014

A Facebook user reveals what people really want from the site – and it’s a scary prospect.

By a Facebook user Facebook is living out some weird fantasy that it knows what people want. No it doesn’t. It’s clunky and full of useless bits that mess with your head and waste your energy. It’s time Facebook learned the truth about what we REALLY want out of a social networking site. Just because …

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April 8, 2014

European court rules mass surveillance of communications unlawful

By Simon Davies In one of the most significant civil liberties developments of recent years, the European Court of Justice has ruled that the EU Data Retention Directive  – which requires the mass collection of citizen communications data – is incompatible with the Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The controversial 2006 Directive requires communications providers …

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April 8, 2014

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