Category Archive: Online privacy

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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UK privacy groups lodge ICO complaint on Google health data deal

 By Simon Davies Several British rights groups have co-authored a complaint to the UK Information Commissioner, alleging that the use of Google cloud services for the processing of health information has created a serious violation of data protection law. The complaint warns that the arrangements leave open the possibility that Google may be processing personal …

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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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Telegram becomes the New Cool of messaging as millions of users abandon WhatsApp over privacy concerns

 By Simon Davies In one of the most persuasive displays ever of the market power of consumer privacy, Facebook’s recent $19BN acquisition of the popular messaging app WhatsApp appears to have been given the thumbs-down by millions of users. While it may be too early to produce a conclusive analysis, there are solid indications that …

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A new website enables the promise of stronger European rights

By Simon Davies In less than three months Europe will undertake one of its most interesting – and potentially destabilising – elections in its recent history. Many analysts are predicting an outcome in which political extremes become more prominent and Euro-scepticism becomes a core political driver. The election comes at a critically important moment for …

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European Commission to citizens: “Human rights are trumped by commercial secrecy – get over it”

By Simon Davies Earlier this week the Secretary General of the European Commission issued a volatile administrative ruling that had the remarkable effect of simultaneously retarding both privacy and transparency. The decision by Europe’s top civil servant came after a two-month consideration of an appeal by the Privacy Surgeon against the Commission’s refusal to disclose …

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Google’s false claims to a French court dangerously compromise the company’s integrity

By Simon Davies Please note update at the end of this article Google yesterday broke new ground in its increasingly bitter dispute with European data protection authorities by reportedly giving false and misleading testimony to France’s highest administrative court. Google had made an application to the Conseil d’Etat, seeking to overturn a ruling by France’s …

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Is it possible that the Snowden revelations have become bad news for privacy?

By Simon Davies In some respects, 2013 was a landmark year for privacy awareness. Never before has so much attention been paid at a global level to privacy issues, and rarely has privacy moved so swiftly into the public policy mainstream. That said, we shouldn’t confuse activity with progress. The outlook for privacy reform, globally, …

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US accelerates funding into NSA access to non-government records

By Simon Davies The Associated Press (AP) has reported that the Obama Administration is funding at least five research groups to discover ways for its security agencies to covertly access and search huge volumes of electronic records held outside the government. News of the data mining program comes only days after President Obama signalled that …

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As anti-Google protests turn nasty, privacy campaigners need to ponder the ethics of law-breaking

Simon Davies Recent international outcry over the NSA’s transgressions has taken a noteworthy turn. Over the past few weeks, Google has been the target of increasingly vicious public protests over both its complicity in the activity of the security agencies and its role in the global corrosion of privacy. These are not peaceful demonstrations. Activists …

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