Category Archive: Human rights

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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Why the terrorist attacks I’ve endured have strengthened my commitment to privacy

The Privacy Surgeon’s Simon Davies recalls his brushes with terrorist attacks across the world, the friends he has lost – and explains why he believes the fight for individual liberties is more important now than ever. Like many of my fellow Londoners, I remember, with vivid clarity the morning of 7th July 2005. More than …

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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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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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Checkmate for human rights in Pakistan as government moves to outlaw non-approved NGO’s

By Simon Davies The Pakistan government intends imminently to promulgate a new law that will have the effect of destroying its entire independent human and political rights infrastructure. The regulations are planned to take force in around eight weeks. Under these regulations, all organisations must be accredited by government, and each must have a civil …

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Analysis: who should become the first UN rapporteur on privacy?

 By Simon Davies Back in March, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a resolution to appoint a Special Rapporteur on Privacy. This was a landmark decision – and one that is well overdue. The role will be pivotal. A Special Rapporteur has the potential to create clarity and focus on a massively complex issue …

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Privacy International – foundation stone of the global privacy movement – turns 25 today

By Simon Davies On this day 25 years ago, in the sterile bar of an anonymous business hotel in Luxembourg, I hosted the first meeting of the global watchdog Privacy International. Numerically tiny as it was, that moment – in many respects – marked the commencement of the international privacy advocacy movement. I recall that …

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David Cameron’s hypocrisy over human rights sets a new low for double standards

By Simon Davies It would be a mammoth task to itemise the volume of hypocrisy and double standards in British Prime Minister David Cameron’s latest assault on human rights protection – not the least of which is the fact that he came to power on a commitment to protect the rights and freedoms guaranteed by …

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My blindness – and the curious tension with privacy

By Simon Davies When I was a young boy, there was a kid in my class whose visual impairment was so bad that he had to sit front and centre of the classroom, using binoculars just to see the blackboard. To many classmates this was a hilarious spectacle, though there were always one or two …

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