New UK law would give government access to encrypted Internet messaging apps
Wed 1 Jul 2015, 17:29

The new Investigatory Powers Bill, announced in yesterday's Queen's Speech, will include legislation to force Internet companies to give access to encrypted conversations of suspected terrorists and criminals. According to The Telegraph: "New laws will require WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, Snapchat and other popular apps to hand messages sent by their users to MI5, MI6 and GCHQ about suspects under investigation."

U.N. Human Rights Committee review on Five Eyes surveillance practices
Tue 4 Aug 2015, 22:40

Last week the U.N. Human Rights Committee issued a report on surveillance practices for seven countries, including “Five Eyes” members US, Canada and the United Kingdom. In the conclusions the Committee strongly condemned the use of surveillance as a violation of the right to privacy.

Access, along with partners at the Brennan Center for Justice and Amnesty International, made a submission to the U.N. Human Rights Committee responding to the follow-up to the recommendations the Committee had made to the U.S. on how to curb the unlawful surveillance conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency.

You can find the Human Rights Committee’s concluding observations in full here.

Appeals court to hear oral arguments in Idaho Woman's case against NSA spying
Thu 4 Dec 2014, 20:20

Anna Smith, a neonatal nurse from Coeur d'Alene, filed her lawsuit against President Barack Obama and several U.S. intelligence agencies in June 2013, shortly after the government confirmed that the NSA was collecting telephone records on a massive scale under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Smith, a Verizon customer, argues the program violated her Fourth Amendment rights by amassing a wealth of detail about her familial, political, professional, religious, and intimate associations.

German netzpolitik.org blog under investigation for treason
Thu 30 Jul 2015, 00:20

German domestic security service has pressed charges of treason against Netzpolitik.org, one of Germany’s most influential digital rights blogs, as a result of two articles it posted earlier this year. The articles reported on leaked documents regarding the German government’s mass surveillance plans. The German criminal code considers the leaking of state secrets to a foreign power, or to anyone else with the intention of damaging the Republic, to be treason.

UN privacy special rapporteur believes in a Geneva convention for the Internet
Mon 24 Aug 2015, 18:20

The first UN privacy chief has said the world needs a Geneva convention style law for the Internet to safeguard data and combat the threat of massive clandestine digital surveillance. 

Joseph Cannataci singled out British surveillance oversight as being worse than anything George Orwell could have foreseen and believes proper oversight is the only way of progressing, and hopes more people will think about and vote for privacy in the UK.

French Constitutional Court broadly approves Surveillance Act
Mon 27 Jul 2015, 13:03

First proposed in March in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, the Surveillance Act allows French intelligence agencies to spy on citizens with almost complete impunity. Despite opposition from rights groups and a petition signed by over 100,000 people, MPs passed the bill into law in late June anyway.

The act empowers intelligence agencies - under the authority of the prime minister’s office - to monitor anyone. A warrant or any other type of court approval is not needed. A dedicated special advisory group made up of magistrates, MPs, and senators will instead be consulted.

The French Constitutional Court press release is available here.