Obama announces new privacy rules for non-US citizens
Wed 11 Feb 2015, 03:20

President Obama recently announced slight changes to NSA data collection practices. The recent tweaks mean two new privacy protections for those that U.S. law considers foreigners (in this case, people who are outside of the United States borders who are neither U.S. citizens nor legal U.S. residents). The new protections are:

  1. If the U.S. government collects information about a foreigner, it will consider the  privacy ramifications before disseminating that information, such as to other governments;1 and
  2. If the U.S. government collects information on innocent foreigners not connected to any crime or investigation and the information has no national security value, it will dispose of that information after five years.2

That’s right, the world's personal information will only be retained for five short years. And that's if the U.S. government decides you're not under suspicion.

David Medine, the chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, has said that "There’s no country on the planet that has gone this far to improve the treatment of non-citizens in government surveillance."

EFF argues in court against NSA data collection
Tue 16 Dec 2014, 19:00

EFF announces that it will argue on Friday before a federal court that the National Security Agency (NSA) is violating the Fourth Amendment by copying and searching data that it collects by tapping into the Internet backbone. Jewel v. NSA was filed in 2008 on behalf of Carolyn Jewel and other AT&T customers. EFF has amassed a mountain of evidence to support the case, including documents provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein, which show that the company has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA. Other whistleblowers—including Thomas Drake, Bill Binney and Edward Snowden—have revealed more detail about how this technique feeds data into the NSA's massive databases of communications.

Germany imposes data collection limits on Google
Fri 10 Apr 2015, 11:22

German officials on Wednesday ordered Google to limit the collection of personal data, in the US Internet giant's latest run-in with authorities in the European Union.

The data protection office in the city of Hamburg said it had told Google to make "the necessary changes" so that the use of its German users' data is on a "permissible legal basis".

NSA domestic phone spying program illegal by appeals court
Thu 7 May 2015, 19:42

A US federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that the NSA spying program that collects data about millions of Americans' phone calls is illegal. The court's ruling is adding pressure on lawmakers to decide quickly whether to end or replace the program, which was intended to help fight terrorism.

Open letter against the draft Surveillance Bill
Wed 30 Sep 2015, 16:00

Civil rights groups condemn draft mass surveillance bill to be adopted in France. The bill contains disproportionate surveillance measures to monitor international communications. Based on the principle of massive collections of data, the bill seeks to legitimise the civil and human rights abuses revealed by Edward Snowden about the practice of intelligence agencies such as the ones in the US and the UK. As a crucial part of the global Internet traffic goes through French submarine cables, this law would put France in the list of countries with sweeping surveillance capabilities.

This bill follows from the Surveillance Law passed in June, which allows the French government, among other measures, to monitor people's phone calls and emails without judicial approval; and to install black boxes on internet service providers' infrastructure to collect metadata on millions of innocent individuals. Earlier this year, the French Constitutional Council struck down one of the provisions of the Surveillance bill, and the new proposal seeks to re-authorise the international surveillance programme impacted. The draft law will be voted on 1 October by the French National Assembly.

EFF complaint against Google student data collection
Wed 2 Dec 2015, 11:04

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a complaint today with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Google for collecting and data mining school children’s personal information, including their Internet searches—a practice EFF uncovered while researching its “Spying on Students” campaign.