Category Archive: Freedom of Information

EU document access request raises uncomfortable questions about Google antitrust investigation

By Simon Davies Earlier today I submitted a comprehensive access request to the EU Competition Commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, seeking detailed information about his investigative procedures and requesting clarification of a number of aspects of the conduct of his current inquiry into Google. The request, which can also be read by clicking the link in the …

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How a surprising blog post helped shift Japan’s perception of civil liberties

By Simon Davies In recent days a rather odd sequence of events has unfurled in Japan which has led some observers to speculate that this endlessly surprising nation is starting to wake from its 40-year slumber over privacy and civil liberties. Over the past few decades the Japanese population has been ambivalent about rights issues, …

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Analysis: Why Google has become a threat to sovereign law

  By Simon Davies WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lashed out at Google, accusing the advertising giant of collusion with the National Security Agency (NSA) and the US State Department. Assange believes that Google has entered into a partnership with the US Administration in which the company acts as a foreign policy enabler, influencing overseas …

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These fake investigations by data protection regulators have to stop

 By Simon Davies On Thursday the Irish Data Protection Authority gave Apple and Facebook a clean bill of health over the transfer of PRISM data to the US National Security Agency. Apparently the practice is entirely legal, and those companies are free to ship the personal data of Europeans across to the spy agencies. The …

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The withdrawal of an NSA story – and an ethical quagmire for the Observer

 By Simon Davies There are many inspiring stories of heroic actions by journalists and editors – tenacious tales from the front-line in pursuit of truth. Unfortunately for one British Sunday newspaper – the Observer – inclusion in that noble circle may have to wait until the paper conducts a deep dive into its principles. Over …

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European Parliament votes to hold inquiry into US spying

 By Simon Davies The full plenary of the European Parliament today opened a Pandora’s Box by voting to hold a full inquiry into US surveillance programmes, including the bugging of EU premises. The resolution was endorsed by group leaders and was approved by 483 votes to 98 with 65 abstentions. The Parliaments Civil Liberties, Justice …

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Why the European Parliament must investigate NSA relationships

By Simon Davies A raft of new spying disclosures over the weekend should have convinced the European Parliament that an immediate inquiry is needed to systematically investigate the extent of communications interception in the EU. Sadly, the indications are not positive. With an election coming up in May 2014 and a summer break looming, it …

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Former NSA contractor warns of “murky” interception arrangements

By Simon Davies __________________________ Update: Sunday June 30, 2013. 17.03 GMT Following a rather turbulent sequence of events in the reporting of this blog by the Observer and Guardian newspapers, coverage can now be found in the Guardian story here. _______________________ A former contractor to the US National Security Agency (NSA) has told the Privacy …

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Analysis: Eight global repercussions from the PRISM disclosures

By Simon Davies America’s combative response to the PRISM disclosures – namely the targeting and personalisation of a lone rogue – is likely to trigger wide-ranging and unexpected consequences for the NSA that will go well beyond the immediate diplomatic ripples. The creation of Dramatis personæ in the form of Edward Snowden has shifted PRISM …

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Former NSA Director attacks agency accountability and espionage by China

By Simon Davies Earlier this month in the wake of revelations about the activities of the NSA I published a short, partial transcript of my interview earlier this year with former NSA and CIA Director, General Michael Hayden. This was a teaser to the launch of the new “Privacy Channel” series of audio interviews that …

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