Category Archive: Anonymity

Privacy, public interest – and why privacy advocates make hopeless biographers

By Simon Davies As readers will know all too well, a fiercely complex tension has existed for decades at the core of the privacy realm. It involves a constantly changing equation that determines the relationship between public interest and privacy rights. Put simplistically, it’s the line between my right to own or control my information, …

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Should privacy advocates justify surveillance by measuring its benefits?

By Simon Davies A controversy has been slipping increasingly into the privacy realm over the past couple of years. It concerns the question of whether intrusive surveillance can be justified through its results. That’s to say, if surveillance can be shown to – even marginally – benefit public safety, should we accept it? It’s the …

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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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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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Britain’s draconian new cybercrime law could open the floodgates for extradition of whistleblowers

By Simon Davies The UK government has drafted new legislation that will empower courts to impose life sentences for serious cybercrime activities. If the bill becomes law, whistleblowers across the world will be exposed to a vastly increased threat of extradition and prosecution. The Serious Crime Bill has been included in the Queen’s Speech, indicating …

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‘Scrambled X’: a scheme to thwart government surveillance of sensitive online payments

In the final of a two-part series, Simon Davies outlines a scheme that could bring an end to government snooping on sensitive online transactions, including financial support for political and human rights campaigns. In the first part of this series I outlined a common security gap for companies that offer secure products and services. Specifically, …

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Silent Circle’s dangerous security gap – and a challenge for all such developers

In the first of a two-part series, Simon Davies explains the vulnerability of secure communications services such as Silent Circle. Part two will examine one possible solution. During recent publicity for the new privacy-themed Blackphone device, you might have noticed references to Edward Snowden’s recommendation that people should use a communications system called Silent Circle …

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Privacy reaches boiling point in South Korea as dominant IM service openly defies police

By Simon Davies In a highly unusual act of defiance against government intrusion, South Korea’s dominant instant-messaging service has ceased responding to prosecutors’ warrants to access customer data. Kakao Talk ended communications with law enforcement agencies on October 7th and has vowed that in future it will not comply with State requests to hand over …

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Telegram becomes the New Cool of messaging as millions of users abandon WhatsApp over privacy concerns

 By Simon Davies In one of the most persuasive displays ever of the market power of consumer privacy, Facebook’s recent $19BN acquisition of the popular messaging app WhatsApp appears to have been given the thumbs-down by millions of users. While it may be too early to produce a conclusive analysis, there are solid indications that …

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Three healthy indications that online privacy may have turned a corner

By Simon Davies Last week Twitter issued an announcement that deserved much more acclamation than it received. Indeed, what Twitter has just done is nothing short of heroic. The company, which makes around $600 million dollars a year in ad revenue, has decided to go up against every major advertising organisation in the world by …

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