The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
[TheTelegraphUK] UK privacy watchdog to crack down on tech giants amid Facebook and Yahoo investigations
The new head of the UK’s privacy watchdog plans to crack down on major technology companies, promising to “delve deeper” into the sector and push to align the UK with strict new EU data laws after Brexit.
In her maiden speech as information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham warned companies that deal with vast amounts of customer data that they could face investigation under her new regime and, if found to be mishandling information, potentially strict penalties. [...]
Ms Denham also said that she will be push for the UK to adopt new data protection legislation that is in line with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which requires mandatory data breach disclosure, gives consumers more powers of consent over how companies can use their data, and introduces the power for regulators to levy fines of up to 4pc of global annual turnover. [...]
In a shift from an earlier proposal, the Federal Communications Commission’s final rules to regulate the privacy practices of internet service providers are expected to be in line with the Federal Trade Commission’s approach, according to telecom and agency sources. [...]
The FTC filed comments with the FCC this summer saying the agency supports the FCC’s general focus on privacy, but its officials also offered a bevy of suggestions. Significantly, they suggested allowing ISPs to use consumer data that isn’t sensitive on an opt-out basis. That would mean that customers can explicitly say they don’t want the company to use their information, but the firm wouldn’t need to ask permission before using it. This is similar to the FTC’s way of regulating privacy among web entities in their jurisdiction such as Amazon.com or Facebook. [...]
Criticism of the FCC’s proposed rules has centered on how the agency’s new rules would require companies to receive explicit consent to use all consumer data. [...]
Two Indian students scored a partial victory over Facebook Inc. in a closely watched legal battle over privacy, though they failed to get the internet giant to reverse policies they say threaten the rights of millions of users.
The Delhi High Court on Friday ruled that WhatsApp has to delete all data on users who choose to stop using the service before Sept. 25, when the new policy takes effect. Also, it can only share data collected after that date. However, going forward, WhatsApp is free to share information on users who haven’t opted out. [...]
Earlier this month, on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the lower tip of Manhattan was thronged with soldiers in uniform, firefighters marching with photos of lost friends pinned to their backpacks, and tourists bumbling around the new mall at the World Trade Center. Firetrucks and police cars ringed Zuccotti Park and white ribbons adorned the iron fence around the churchyard on Broadway. Trash cans were closed up, with signs announcing “temporary security lockdown.” [...]
In her book, Burrington, a writer and artist, has sketched the pieces of the internet that are visible on and above the streets of the city, and has explained the business interests and politicking behind their installation. Her book is designed to make the internet tangible, and with that in mind, Burrington (who I first met when she worked on a software project for The Intercept) agreed to take me and a friend on a tour of what she found in the financial district. [...]
Burrington points out that infrastructure is often designed to be ignored. The field guide, with its cheerful drawings of manhole covers and cable markings, turns the infrastructure into something ordinary and familiar, not intimidating, and not some magical process by which videos and images appear in your phone. [...]
Norway is really pissed at Facebook.
This week, the world’s largest social network banned an iconic photo taken during a napalm attack during the Vietnam war, because it includes a naked nine-year-old girl. Facebook claimed the photo violated its ban on nudity, and especially child nudity. When Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, reported the ban and included the photograph in its story, Facebook also banned the story. So the paper published an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, accused him of abusing his power. And then the Norwegian Prime Minister got involved. She tried to pub the photo to Facebook, accusing the company of censorship and curbing freedom of expression, and Facebook deleted that too. [...]
Facebook likely relies on a combination of algorithms and human labor–much of it provided by contractors–to block pornography, videos of beheadings, and other unsavory things from the site. But what those algorithms look for and what policies are in place for its human moderators remains a mystery. Yes, it has its community standards page that explains that hate speech, nudity, and graphic violence are banned. But who exactly decides whether, say, photos of dead soldiers counts as graphic violence, or whether an iconic photo violates the nudity ban? What criteria do they use to make that decision? How much is human and how much is tech? What role to the algorithms really play? [...]
While Zuckerberg himself probably isn’t sitting around his office dictating which breastfeeding photos to ban, he still bears ultimate responsibility for Facebook’s policies. Facebook might not be a news organization, but it’s definitely an editorial organization, and an extremely powerful one at that. And as Facebook’s influence over what we see online grows, so too does the need to hold it accountable.
The radical shift in the NSA's surveillance strategy to "collect it all" began in the UK, according to new revelations in the latest cache of documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
During a June 2008 visit to the Menwith Hill monitoring station in North Yorkshire, then-director of the NSA Keith Alexander asked: "Why can’t we collect all the signals, all the time?" He went on: "Sounds like a good summer homework project for Menwith!" [...]
VSAT surveillance was used to direct military operations: one document provided by Snowden speaks of "30 enemy killed" in Afghanistan as a result of signals intelligence passed to those in the field. Another leak speaks of Menwith Hill Station analysts finding "a new way to geolocate targets who are active at Internet cafes in Yemen." [...]
As the Intercept points out, "The description of GHOSTWOLF ties Menwith Hill to lethal operations in Yemen, providing the first documentary evidence that directly implicates the UK in covert actions in the country." That's problematic, because Yemen is not a war zone, so those targeted by drones there would not be considered "combatants" and anyone involved in their killing would not be entitled to "combatant immunity." [...]
[NYTimes] Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine
Open your Facebook feed. What do you see? [...] Facebook, in the years leading up to this election, hasn’t just become nearly ubiquitous among American internet users; it has centralized online news consumption in an unprecedented way. [...]
And unlike traditional media organizations, which have spent years trying to figure out how to lure readers out of the Facebook ecosystem and onto their sites, these new publishers are happy to live inside the world that Facebook has created. Their pages are accommodated but not actively courted by the company and are not a major part of its public messaging about media. But they are, perhaps, the purest expression of Facebook’s design and of the incentives coded into its algorithm — a system that has already reshaped the web and has now inherited, for better or for worse, a great deal of America’s political discourse. [...]
For now, the network hums along, mostly beneath the surface. A post from a Liberty Alliance page might find its way in front of a left-leaning user who might disagree with it or find it offensive, and who might choose to engage with the friend who posted it directly. But otherwise, such news exists primarily within the feeds of the already converted, its authorship obscured, its provenance unclear, its veracity questionable. It’s an environment that’s at best indifferent and at worst hostile to traditional media brands; but for this new breed of page operator, it’s mostly upside. In front of largely hidden and utterly sympathetic audiences, incredible narratives can take shape, before emerging, mostly formed, into the national discourse. [...]
A secret report warned that British spies may have put lives at risk because their surveillance systems were sweeping up more data than could be analyzed, leading them to miss clues to possible security threats. [...]
MI5 “can currently collect (whether itself or through partners …) significantly more than it is able to exploit fully,” the report warned. “This creates a real risk of ‘intelligence failure’ i.e. from the Service being unable to access potentially life-saving intelligence from data that it has already collected.” [...]
The new revelations raise questions about whether problems sifting through the troves of data collected by British spies may have been a factor in the failure to prevent the Rigby killing. But they are also of broader relevance to an ongoing debate in the U.K. about surveillance. In recent months, the British government has been trying to pass a new law, the Investigatory Powers Bill, which would grant MI5 and other agencies access to more data. [...]
Companies like Facebook and Google can continue transferring data from the European Union to their servers in the US under a new deal between the two governments that privacy advocates still say isn’t good enough.
The Privacy Shield replaces the EU’s so-called Safe Harbor Decision, in place since 2000, which asserted that the US provided adequate privacy protections to meet EU standards, providing US-based tech companies legal cover for transferring data from Europe to their home servers. [...]
Privacy advocates say those protections are inadequate and want to see the Privacy Shield quashed. The ombudsperson will have limited power to fix problems and won’t be all that independent since that person will report to the Secretary of State, argues Privacy International. [...]
Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (IRU) celebrated its first birthday at the weekend, but civil liberties organisations are worried that it goes too far in its efforts to keep the Web free from extremist propaganda.
The IRU has been up and running since July 2015 as part of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) in the Hague. The unit is charged with monitoring the Internet for extremist propaganda and referring “relevant online content towards concerned Internet service providers” in particular social media. Much was made of how the IRU could "contact social network service provider Facebook directly to ask it to delete a Web page run by ISIS or request details of other pages that might be run by the same user” [...].
However AccessNow a global digital rights organisation said Europe’s approach to dealing with online extremism is “haphazard, alarming, tone-deaf, and entirely counter-productive” [...].