Category Archive: Communications surveillance

The Privacy Surgeon prepares to launch one of the world’s most ambitious privacy initiatives

One of the most ambitious global privacy initiatives of recent years will be launched in Brussels at the end of January 2015. The project, Code Red, was initiated by the Privacy Surgeon’s publisher, Simon Davies, one of the pioneers of the privacy movement, Its concept development planning began in 2012, and detailed work commenced last …

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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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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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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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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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New report shows global opposition to NSA spying is based on privacy, not ideology

By Simon Davies The largest global study conducted to-date on public attitudes to communications surveillance in the post-Snowden era has revealed widespread opposition to US spying across all continents. The Pew Research Center’s “Global Attitudes Project” conducted extensive interviews with participants in 44 countries and identified heightened public concern over surveillance of citizens by the …

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Britain takes the Uganda Road to legalise and extend state surveillance

By Simon Davies In a rare moment of political unity, reminiscent of the days that followed the 9/11 attacks on the US, all three major UK parties have signed onto “emergency” legislation that will force Internet and phone companies to store data on the activities of all their customers. Borrowing from the techniques of some …

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Global security analysis reveals widespread government apathy following Snowden disclosures

By Simon Davies A global analysis published today reveals that the overwhelming majority of the world’s governments have failed to take any meaningful action in the wake of the disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden (pdf download – open link titled “Snowden final report for publication“) The report, “A Crisis of Accountability”, has been published by …

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