Press review

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The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.

[Reuters] UK unveils powers to spy on Web use, raising privacy fears

Britain unveiled plans on Wednesday for sweeping new surveillance powers, including the right to find out which websites people visit, measures ministers say are vital to keep the country safe but which critics denounce as an assault on freedoms. [...]

May said that many of the new bill's measures merely updated existing powers or spelled them out. [...]

May said there would be no new ban on encryption, but in its guide to the bill, the Home office said there was an existing requirement on CSPs "to maintain permanent interception capabilities, including maintaining the ability to remove any encryption applied by the CSP".

The bill would also place explicit obligations on service providers to help intercept data and hack suspects' devices, which U.S. experts said might defeat any encryption that remains, such as the end-to-end encryption on Apple's iMessages.

As well as being able to carry out bulk interception of communications data, the security services would be allowed to perform "equipment interference", whereby spies take over computers or smartphones to access their data. [...]

[TheGuardian] Theresa May unveils UK surveillance measures in wake of Snowden claims

New surveillance powers will be given to the police and security services, allowing them to access records tracking every UK citizen’s use of the internet without any judicial check, under the provisions of the draft investigatory powers bill unveiled by Theresa May. [...]

The draft bill explicitly includes in statute for the first time powers for the bulk collection of large volumes of communications and other personal data by MI5, GCHQ, MI6 and for their use of “equipment interference powers” – the ability to hack computers and phones around the world – for purposes of national security, serious crime and economic wellbeing. [...]

In her statement, May also revealed for the first time that successive governments since 2001 have issued secret directions to internet and phone companies to hand over the communications data of British citizens in bulk to the security services. [...]

May revealed that the use of these powers – which show that GCHQ was also engaged in mass surveillance programmes on British citizens using their communications data – under the 1984 Telecommunications Act will be put on a more explicit footing in the new legislation and be subject to the same safeguards as other bulk powers. [...]

Jim Killock, the executive director of the privacy campaigning body Open Rights Group, sees the draft bill as an attempt to secure even more intrusive powers. “At first glance, it appears that this bill is an attempt to grab even more intrusive surveillance powers and does not do enough to restrain the bulk collection of our personal data by the secret services,” he said. [...]

[DW] Report: NSA electronic catchword targeting in EU nations widespread

An NSA catchword surveillance list contains numerous European and German targets, according to a German news magazine. According to its report, a German federal investigator has concluded that US spying was widespread. [...]

Almost 70 percent of those catchwords supposedly prohibited by the BND related to government institutions as well as firms located in EU countries. Sixteen percent of the list related to telecommunications users within Germany, "Spiegel" added.

Reuters subsequently reported that Graulich had found listings with the email addresses of the "whole" headquarters staff of European governments. [...]

PKG vice chairman Clemens Binniger, a member of Merkel's Christian Democrats, told DPA that it was assumed that some of the BND's catchword usage had not been legally covered.

"Spiegel" reported at the time that the BND had spied on embassies and institutions of other EU nations and partner countries, including those of France and the US. [...]

[TheIntercept] European Parliament Says Snowden Should Be Welcomed in Europe

The European Parliament voted on Thursday to call on its member states to welcome “human rights defender” Edward Snowden to Europe with open arms. [...]

The resolution is a purely symbolic move, with no legal weight. Although a majority of the Parliament voted in favor, the body has only an advisory role in the European Union’s complicated system of governance — and no direct control over its member states. [...]

The language adopted on Thursday also requests that a study of whistleblower protections be conducted in the European Union, and that there be more direct protections for whistleblowers and journalists alike. [...]

Meanwhile, however, heightened surveillance laws are being approved in various European countries, including France, the U.K. and the Netherlands. Just this week, the French Senate passed an international surveillance law that would allow French spy agencies to indiscriminately collect foreigners’ communications.

[ArsTechnica] Court says it's legal for NSA to spy on you because Congress says it's OK

With the passage of the USA Freedom Act, Congress extended the program that Snowden exposed for another six months to allow for an orderly transition to the new snooping program. And now the courts essentially maintain that the original surveillance is legal because Congress says it's legal.

"An abrupt end to the program would be contrary to the public interest in effective surveillance of terrorist threats, and Congress thus provided a 180-day transition period," 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gerard Lynch wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel. [...]

This matters because whether the NSA, lawmakers, or the administration will construe some other law to allow the original, secret bulk collection program to continue is anybody's guess. [...]

[TheGuardian] EU net neutrality laws fatally undermined by loopholes, critics say

New rules requiring internet traffic to be treated equally are voted through by MEPs but amendments aimed at closing a series of exemptions are defeated [...]

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all online content equally without blocking or slowing down specific websites on purpose or allowing companies to pay for preferential treatment.
The European parliament voted through new rules intended to enshrine that principle in law, but critics say they are fatally undermined by a number of loopholes which “open the door to an end to net neutrality”.

The European consumer organisation BEUC welcomed the changes but warned that the exceptions would undermine the overall achievement. “A robust net neutrality law involves protections against undue management of traffic and discriminatory commercial practices. What Europe is essentially saying here is that all internet data is born equal, but some is more equal than others.” [...]

[Arstechnica] Net neutrality: EU votes in favour of Internet fast lanes and slow lanes

MEPs confused by false claims, tired of the arguments, keen to conclude the case. [...]

The European Parliament has passed the flawed compromise text on net neutrality without including any of the amendments that would have closed serious loopholes. The vote, with 500 in favour, and 163 against, took place in a plenary session a few hours after a rather lacklustre debate this morning, which was attended by only 50 MEPs out of the European Parliament's total of 751, indicating little interest in this key topic among most European politicians. The Greens MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht called the final result a "dirty deal." [...]

Pressure was applied at the end of the morning's debate by Andrus Ansip, the vice-commissioner responsible for the EU Digital Market. He said that if the text was not passed in its entirety now, there was "a risk of delays, not only months, but years," and that "risk" may have weighed with some MEPs. But Reda pointed out on Twitter that is not true: "Actually it's only 6 weeks until 3rd reading," when a new compromise text could have been agreed. One other reason MEPs may have been unwilling to change the text was that it has been going back and forth between the various institutions of the EU for years, and MEPs are evidently sick of discussing it, as the poor turn-out for the earlier debate showed. In the end, sheer political fatigue may have played a major part in undermining net neutrality in the EU.

[TheVerge] European Parliament rejects amendments protecting net neutrality

New legislation offers some good news, but stronger amendments similar to those in the US were rejected by the EU. [...]

The new legislation allows the creation of internet fast lanes for "specialized services" and lets ISPs offer so-called "zero-rating" products — i.e. apps and services that don't count toward monthly data allowances — without restrictions. Critics of the legislation say that the latter loophole will allow big internet companies to favor certain services in commercial deals. (For example, an ISP could agree with Apple to make Apple Music "zero-rated" on it service, leaving rival music streaming services at a disadvantage.) [...]

Julia Reda, MEP for the European Pirate Party, described the legislation as a "broken promise" on net neutrality. "The internet’s open structure is what made it the successful driver of growth and innovation in the digital economy and digital culture that it is today," said Reda in a statement posted online. "That providers will be allowed to discriminate against certain traffic not only creates a two-tier internet, it also removes incentives for carriers to extend their capacities." [...]

[EUObserver] France wants all travelling EU nationals fingerprinted

French authorities are calling for EU-wide rules requiring travelling EU nationals to give their fingerprints and possibly also have their faces scanned.
The proposal, which is part of a much larger digital dragnet known as the ‘smart borders’ package, was discussed at an EU interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday (8 October).
Smart borders is a two-tiered system of biometric scans of visiting non-EU nationals – the registered travellers programme (RTP) and the entry-exit system (EES). [...]

But an internal document dated 25 September from the French delegation in Brussels now wants to extend the same biometric system to cover member state citizens. [...]

But last year, the European Court of Justice struck down the EU’s data retention law. Judges said the directive was disproportionate because it allowed for the indiscriminate and mass collection of data from people not suspected of any crime. [...]

The Paris-based Internet campaign group La Quadrature Du Net says the law’s vague criteria are likely to “trigger mass data collection of logins and communications, without any regard to borders, or the target's nationality”.

[TheGuardian] Max Schrems Facebook privacy complaint to be investigated in Ireland

The privacy campaigner who successfully challenged a treaty which allowed the data of millions of European citizens to be transferred to the US has warned he may take more cases.
Max Schrems is to have his groundbreaking complaint over the alleged movement of personal information by Facebook investigated by Ireland’s online watchdog after a near three-year fight. [...]

The campaigner said watchdogs in 28 European states will now be able to accept complaints about the movement of personal information. [...]

The big question is going to be if the Irish Data Protection Commissioner is going to do its job,” he said.
They pledged that they will really investigate things swiftly. My last experience was that a complaint takes up to three years and nothing comes out of it but they now pledge the opposite and I hope that’s going to be the case.

Schrems warned it would be very hard for European and US authorities to create a new version of safe harbour based on the ECJ ruling.
I think for the US on the one hand they would have to turn down their surveillance state and the only thing they would get is a little easier access to the European market,” he said.
I doubt it is going to be possible to get a second Safe Harbour that also withstands another challenge at the ECJ … the court has been very clear a new Safe Harbour would have to give you the same rights as you have in Europe. That’s going to be hard to get a deal on.” [...]

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