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 16 September 2014, the Romanian Constitutional Court declared the law on registering prepay sim card users and public Wi-Fi users unconstitutional. After being adopted in an emergency procedure, several NGOs put pressure on decision makers (including in a letter addressed to the President) to declare this law unconstitutional signaling the serious infringements on private life. The law was brought to the Constitutional Court by the Ombudsman and ApTI together with AADOR-CH intervened via an amicus curiae. in the last 3 years, this law is the 4th attempt to adopt such legislation in Romania.
Between 26 and 29 September, the annual Freedom not Fear (FNF) conference and barcamp will take place in Brussels. Privacy advocates will tackle surveillance, censorship, net discrimination. Simon Davies, publisher of the Privacy Surgeon and co-founder of Privacy International, will present the first global analysis of the impact of the Snowden revelations and Paul Nemitz, Director at DG Justice of the European Commission, will discuss the data protection reform and the future of the EU-US umbrella and Safe Harbor agreements.
Germany is a major exporter of surveillance technologies and over the past decade the German government has provided German companies with licenses to export surveillance technologies to at least 25 countries, many of which have long histories of human rights abuse. The British-German company Gamma International, is the maker of the FinFisher surveillance toolset. Users typically end up downloading FinFisher unknowingly, just by clicking on a seemingly innocent link or email attachment. Once installed, the tool allows the user to access all stored information and monitor even encrypted communication. Keystrokes can be logged, Skype conversations recorded and cameras and microphones can be activated remotely.
On 9 September, European and international civil rights organisations submitted an open letter (pdf) to Google’s Advisory Council on their assessment of the so-called “right to be forgotten”. The groups urge the Council’s members to avoid inadvertently delaying the adoption of the data protection reform package.
Drawing on international law and jurisprudence, the Principles articulate the obligations of governments under international human rights law in the digital age. The Principles are a product of a collaborative effort of privacy experts, human rights lawyers and civil society groups. They provide a tool to evaluate and help reform governments’ surveillance practices. The Principles were first launched in the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 20 September 2013.