Category Archive: Communications surveillance

Corporate transparency is crucial, but it must also become far more meaningful

Last week – to a surprisingly muted public reception – Apple became the latest addition to a growing club of companies that have adopted greater transparency in their dealings with government agencies. In this article Paul De Hert (VuB-LSTS & UvT-TILT) and Dariusz Kloza (VuB-LSTS) outline the growing trend to transparency and argue why such information …

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Google’s “commitment” to student privacy unearths some worrying questions

By Simon Davies Quite a few media outlets have excitedly reported on Google’s announcement last week that ads and ad scanning will now be removed from the company’s education apps for schools. If these articles were to be believed, we should all be dancing in the streets with joy over some miraculous U-turn by the …

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Another NSA contractor ponders whether to go public

By Simon Davies With the first anniversary of Edward Snowden’s public debut little more than a month away, another NSA contractor is considering releasing new information on global intelligence arrangements between the US and European spy agencies. The coder – who for the moment we’ll identify only as the gender-neutral  “XY” – first contacted the …

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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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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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If media are going to claim an insight into public opinion, they should do it correctly

By Simon Davies There are a few raised eyebrows over a poll published last week by the pop zine TechWeek Europe. The mag had apparently “forgotten” to include Google in its hit list of cloud providers that it had asked readers to rank in terms of how much trust the key brands attract. By way …

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The Privacy Surgeon lodges plea with Attorney General to refer GCHQ interception to the UK police

By Simon Davies The Privacy Surgeon today submitted a formal plea to the Attorney General of England & Wales, Dominic Grieve, requesting that he use his prerogative as chief law officer to refer Britain’s communications intelligence agency, GCHQ, for police investigation over claims that it violated criminal law. The submission sets out in detail my …

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How to run an administrative denial of service attack on a spy agency

By Simon Davies There are very few informed people left in Britain who don’t worry that there’s something rotten about the national communications spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Some would say only a fool or a blind patriot would believe that the organisation is in any healthy state. GCHQ – a richly resourced …

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Beware the NSA’s contrition tactic over transparency – it’s a trap

James Clapper: using transparency to neutralise privacy

By Simon Davies Two weeks ago the Director of US National Intelligence, James Clapper, gave an interview with Eli Lake of The Daily Beast, in which he broke some new ground by stating that the core problem in recent spying controversies is that the NSA should have been more open about its activities. Against a …

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