Category Archive: Freedom of Information

All companies need to be more transparent – it’s in everyone’s interest

By Simon Davies I predict it’s only a matter of time before corporations feel the heat of public expectation to release more data about their operations. As people become more educated about privacy issues it is inevitable they will view disclosure of information as a key element of trust and accountability. Some companies like 3M …

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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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The world’s most powerful human rights data initiative is unveiled

 By Simon Davies This article outlines a powerful new indexing platform for human rights, fundamental freedoms and civil society data. The Index will enable the assigning of unique and highly specific reference codes to billions of items of data ranging from audio and visual material to reports, articles, blogs, forums and research material. It will  substantially …

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Five actions individual citizens can take against security agencies

By Simon Davies One irony of the storm over the NSA and other security agencies is that many people hope the matter will be resolved by the very institutions that nurtured the problems in the first place. There’s a largely misplaced trust that government and judicial systems have the ability – and the will – …

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The Code Red project is launched as whistleblowers warn of unprecedented threats to privacy

  BERLIN The whistleblower community turned out in force last night in Berlin for the launch of the long-awaited Code Red security accountability project. The Code Red initiative was created by veteran privacy activist Simon Davies in response to mounting concerns that government surveillance and intrusion has escalated – despite the Snowden national security disclosures …

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Google’s ‘Right to be Forgotten’ offensive goes spectacularly off the rails

By Simon Davies Google’s European roadshow, which the company hopes will destabilise a new EU court ruling on the Right to be Forgotten (RTBF), has backfired spectacularly. Google had hoped that the roadshow would trigger a division within the digital rights movement and stoke a media firestorm of protest against a decision by Europe’s highest …

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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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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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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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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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