On 21 October the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) will vote a hugely important dossier: The General Data Protection Regulation.
This very long legislative document is intended to ensure that our rights to privacy and data protection can be effectively asserted in our everyday lives. One of the main purposes of the Regulation is to give citizens greater control over their personal information - maintaining the principles that were developed in the 1995 Data Protection Directive. Recent revelations have shown just how important this is.
According to documents collected by two Russian journalists, experts in security services, and shared with The Guardian, the Russian Government is prepared to deploy one of the most spectacular and invasive surveillance and spying system that will affect not only the athletes or spectators attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February 2014.
Procurement documents and tenders from Russian communication companies indicate that new telephone and internet spying capabilities will give FSB, the Russian state security organisation, the power to intercept any telephony or data traffic in Sochi. By using Sorm, Russia’s main system for intercepting communications, they will even be able to track sensitive words or phrases mentioned in emails, webchats and social media.
Following Edward Snowden’s revelations, EDRi-member Open Rights Group, Big Brother Watch and English PEN, together with German internet "hacktivist" and academic Constanze Kurz, have launched a legal challenge to the UK's internet surveillance activities before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), on behalf in all Internet users in UK and US.
The challengers consider the large surveillance programs such as Prism (NSA program) and Tempora (UK program) are in breach of the Right to Privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
On 10 October 2013, the winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be announced by the Conference of Presidents, as chosen by members of three committees of the European Parliament (AFET, DEVE and DROI).
The Prize, bearing the name of the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, has been awarded every year since 1988 to individuals and organisations for efforts in defending human rights and freedom of expression.
Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower, has been nominated and shortlisted for the award, for his exposure of the vast state sponsored surveillance programme, known as PRISM, affecting millions of people around the world, including foreign presidents, companies and even EU institutions.
The latest developments in the W3C working group on Do Not Track (euphemistically called the tracking preference working group) since the last time we wrote about this effort are not good, sadly.
First in late July the departure of Jonathan Mayer, a graduate student at Stanford who fought tirelessly to ensure that the W3C process would have a meaningful outcome from a privacy-perspective. More recently the departure of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) who declared the process "a colossal failure".
It nonetheless is too early to declare the effort facilitated by the W3C as essentially over, but only for the reason that only the W3C can decide to end it at this stage.
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Deutsch: Vereinte Nationen diskutieren Überwachungsskandal
The surveillance scandal has now reached the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, which opened its 24th session last week to a volley of questions about privacy and spying, many of them targeted at the United States and United Kingdom.
The FBI admitted on 12 September 2013 that, in late July, it had secretly taken control of some servers located in France in order to plant a malware within a police action.
The agency has introduced the spyware on web pages hosted by Freedom Hosting, meant for Tor anonymization network.
Eric Snowden, the whistleblower behind the revelations regarding the electronic surveillance made by NSA, GCHQ and other intelligent services, has been nominated for the 2013 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the Greens/EFA group and GUE/NGL group.
The seven nominees for the 2013 Sakharov Prize were presented at a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Development committees and the Human Rights Subcommittee on 16 September 2013.