Category Archive: Privacy advocacy

What I’ve learned in five years of publishing the Privacy Surgeon

By Simon Davies It has been just over five years since the Privacy Surgeon began. Since then, the experience has been a rollercoaster. I wanted to share with readers the things I have learned from taking on this challenge. I pledged back then: “These pages are devoted to promoting such tests of evidence and contrasting …

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Profile: The EPIC quest to build privacy rights on a foundation of integrity

In the first of an occasional series on the world’s leading privacy organisations, Simon Davies looks at the Washington DC-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). In the eyes of the US government, King Henry 11’s famous outburst “Will no-one rid me of this meddlesome priest” could well have been intended for the Electronic Privacy Information …

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A letter from the future warns of the true privacy dystopia

By Simon Davies To understand the value of our rights, it’s important to get a glimpse of what life in the future might be like without them. This is a letter from the future that tells us what life in 2044 might look like – and why we should think carefully about the path we …

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A genius takes on the world of privacy

Simon Davies celebrates the influential – and perhaps surprising – privacy and human rights work of the world’s greatest-ever chess champion, Garry Kasparov. It would be a futile task to define Garry Kasparov. The man defies delineation. No sooner had he captivated the world with his chess prowess, than he became a blisteringly effective champion …

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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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If you figure that privacy advocates are irrelevant, here’s why you should think again

By Simon Davies (This article appeared originally on the website of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) in August 2016. In recent months, a small but tenacious army of privacy and consumer rights activists has been quietly ramping up for an assault on poor privacy and data protection practices by companies and governments. These …

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Eight New Year privacy resolutions that everyone can adopt

By Simon Davies Everyone can be a privacy advocate, so why not start 2016 with a bang with these fun and interesting activities. Go on… you know you want to! Refuse to hand it over Just once, when some interfering busybody asks for your personal information, say no. See what happens. The most entertaining aspect …

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Seven lies about privacy (and how you can debunk them)

By Simon Davies No human right has ever been subjected to as much deception and attack as privacy. I mean, no-one tries to dilute protections against torture by saying “it doesn’t really hurt anyone”. But privacy is open-season for anyone with an interest in killing it off. Here we summarise seven of the most common …

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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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