The UK government brought in emergency legislation, a Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (DRIP), to not only declare data retention to be still lawful but also expand the scope of both retention and lawful intercept in a number of ways.
For example, the UK government has awarded itself the extra-territorial power to demand assistance with surveillance of UK persons from foreign companies that provide communications services to people in Britain. This means that the UK security and intelligence services can demand that Google UK wiretap someone associated with Britain, rather than filing an application via the relevant mutual legal assistance treaty.
On 11 July 2014, the Spanish Council of Ministers adopted the Bill on the Protection of Citizens’ Security. The Government’s proposal has been strongly criticised. Restrictions to the freedoms of assembly and expression in protests received a lot of attention in the media, but EDRi says some provisions of the bill have barely been discussed. Measures which have been overlooked in the media include Article 25, which would oblige cybercafés and similar establishments to keep records of their clients’ IDs because these establishments “exercise activities which are relevant for citizens’ security”.
The Romanian Constitutional Court has declared the second data retention law to be unconstitutional on 7 July 2014. The decision will be published in the Official Monitor soon. This is the second data retention law to be declared that it breaches the right to privacy, as stipulated in the Romanian Constitution.
The Romanian Constitutional Court (CCR) ruled on 16 September 2014 that a law that required the mandatory registration of all prepaid SIM cards and free WiFi users, is unconstitutional, as a whole. The Court reviewed the law as a result of the Romanian Ombudsman’s objection concerning its possible unconstitutionality. Several human rights NGOs asked the Ombudsman in July 2014 to notify the CCR regarding the law which had been recently adopted, and to ask the Court to rule on the law’s constitutionality before its promulgation by the President.
When state officials seek to censor online speech, they're going to use the quickest and easiest method available. For many, copyright takedown notices do the trick. After years of lobbying and increasing pressure from content industries on policymakers and tech companies, sending copyright notices to take media offline is easier than ever.
The copyright law that state actors most often invoke is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA was the first major digital copyright law passed in the United States, creating strict procedural rules for how and when a copyright holder can claim that uploaded content infringes on their copyright. US-based tech companies that receive these infringement notices must comply with these rules to receive their safe harbor—the protection they have from being liable for hosting unlawful user content.
The DMCA has become a global tool for censorship, precisely because it was designed to facilitate the removal of online media. The law carries provisions on intermediary liability, among many other strict copyright enforcement rules, which induce websites, Internet service providers, and other such "intermediaries" to remove content that is alleged to be a copyright infringement.