Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Privacy

How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law and American Democracy

With Liberty to Monitor All - How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy. Human Rights Watch / ACLU, July 2014.

“The United States government today is implementing a wide variety of surveillance  programs that, thanks to developments in its technological capacity, allow it to scoop up  personal information and the content of personal communications on an unprecedented scale. Media reports based on revelations by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden have recently shed light on many of these programs. They have revealed, for example, that the US collects vast quantities of information—known as “metadata”—about phone calls made to, from, and within the US. It also routinely collects the content of international chats, emails, and voice calls. It has engaged in the large-scale collection of massive amounts of cell phone location data. Reports have also revealed a since-discontinued effort to track internet usage and email patterns in the US; the comprehensive interception of all of phone calls made within, into, and out of Afghanistan and the Bahamas; the daily collection of millions of images so the NSA can run facial recognition programs; the acquisition of hundreds of millions of email and chat contact lists around the world; and the NSA’s deliberate weakening of global encryption standards. In response to public concern over the programs’ intrusion on the privacy of millions of people in the US and around the world, the US government has at times acknowledged the need for reform. However, it has taken few meaningful steps in that direction. On the contrary, the US—particularly the intelligence community—has forcefully defended the surveillance programs as essential to protecting US national security. In a world of constantly shifting global threats, officials argue that the US simply cannot know in advance which global communications may be relevant to its intelligence activities, and that as a result, it needs the authority to collect and monitor a broad swath of communications. In our interviews with them, US officials argued that the programs are effective, plugging operational gaps that used to exist, and providing the US with valuable intelligence. They also insisted the programs are lawful and subject to rigorous and multi-layered oversight, as well as rules about how the information obtained through them is used. The government has emphasized that it does not use the information gleaned from these programs for illegitimate purposes, such as persecuting political opponents. The questions raised by surveillance are complex. The government has an obligation to protect national security, and in some cases, it is legitimate for government to restrict  certain rights to that end. At the same time, international human rights and constitutional law set limits on the state’s authority to engage in activities like surveillance, which have the potential to undermine so many other rights.”

26 Questions EU Regulators Want Google to Answer – WSJ

WSJ.com: “European Union privacy watchdogs grilled Google Inc. and other search engines for two hours on Thursday on how they are implementing the bloc’s new “right to be forgotten” online–and then gave them homework to do by next week, too. The main body that joins together the EU’s national data-protection regulators called the Brussels meeting withContinue Reading

The Right to Be Forgotten in the Google Spain Case

Iglezakis, Ioannis, The Right to Be Forgotten in the Google Spain Case (Case C-131/12): A Clear Victory for Data Protection or an Obstacle for the Internet? (July 26, 2014). Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2472323 “The right to be forgotten is a new right that is introduced in the Draft Proposal for a General Data ProtectionContinue Reading

Deeper Dive into EFF’s Motion on Backbone Surveillance

News release: “Yesterday we filed a motion for partial summary judgment in our long running Jewel v. NSA case, focusing on the government’s admitted seizure and search of communications from the Internet backbone, also called “upstream.” We’ve asked the judge to rule that there are two ways in which this is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment: The admitted seizure of communications from theContinue Reading

Obama Drone Order Fails to Safeguard Privacy

EPIC – “According to reports, President Obama is set to issue an executive order on drone privacy. The order would call for the development of voluntary best practices for the commercial use of drones. Senator Markey and Representative Welch immediately responded to the reports with a letter to the President urging “strong, enforceable rules – not voluntary bestContinue Reading

UK Independent – NSA reportedly tracking any internet users who research privacy software online

James Vincent - “Any internet users who use or even read about privacy services online will be targeted for surveillance by the NSA, according to a new report from German broadcaster ARD. According to leaked source-code of the US spy agency’s ‘XKeyscore’ software, individuals who search for information about anonymising services such as Tor have their IPContinue Reading

Reflections on the Tenth Anniversary of The 9/11 Commission Report

Bipartisan Policy Center: “Ten years ago today, we issued The 9/11 Commission Report, the official report of the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001. As we wrote in that report, we were acutely mindful of the responsibility we bore to the American people—and the families of the victims—to provide the most complete account possible of theContinue Reading

Stop Sneaky Online Tracking with EFF’s Privacy Badger

“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released a beta version of Privacy Badger, a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome that detects and blocks online advertising and other embedded content that tracks you without your permission. Privacy Badger was launched in an alpha version less than three months ago, and already more than 150,000 users haveContinue Reading

New kind of tracking tool, canvas fingerprinting, is being used to follow visitors to thousands of top websites

ProPublica and Mashable – “A new, extremely persistent type of online tracking is shadowing visitors to thousands of top websites, from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn.com. First documented in a forthcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor’s Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because eachContinue Reading

Consumer Cloud Robotics and the Fair Information Practice Principles

Proia, Andrew A. and Simshaw, Drew and Hauser, Kris, Consumer Cloud Robotics and the Fair Information Practice Principles: Recognizing the Challenges and Opportunities Ahead (2014). Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, Forthcoming. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2466723 “Rapid technological innovation has made commercially accessible consumer robotics a reality. At the same time, individuals andContinue Reading

Loopholes for Circumventing the Constitution: Warrantless Bulk Surveillance on Americans by Collecting Network Traffic Abroad

Arnbak, Axel and Goldberg, Sharon, Loopholes for Circumventing the Constitution: Warrantless Bulk Surveillance on Americans by Collecting Network Traffic Abroad (June 27, 2014). HOTPETS, 2014. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2460462 “In this multi-disciplinary paper, we reveal interdependent legal and technical loopholes that intelligence agencies of the U.S. government could use to circumvent constitutional and statutoryContinue Reading

Former State Dept Exec Calls Executive Order 12333 a “Legal Loophole” for Spying on Americans

EFF – “What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?” That’s the question John Napier Tye, a former StateDepartment section chief for Internet freedom, calls on the government to answer in his powerful op-ed published today by the Washington Post. In it, Tye calls the NSA’s surveillance operations abroad, conducted under ExecutiveContinue Reading