Press review

The press review RSS feed

The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.

[ArsTechnica] Court says it's legal for NSA to spy on you because Congress says it's OK

With the passage of the USA Freedom Act, Congress extended the program that Snowden exposed for another six months to allow for an orderly transition to the new snooping program. And now the courts essentially maintain that the original surveillance is legal because Congress says it's legal.

"An abrupt end to the program would be contrary to the public interest in effective surveillance of terrorist threats, and Congress thus provided a 180-day transition period," 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gerard Lynch wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel. [...]

This matters because whether the NSA, lawmakers, or the administration will construe some other law to allow the original, secret bulk collection program to continue is anybody's guess. [...]

[TheGuardian] EU net neutrality laws fatally undermined by loopholes, critics say

New rules requiring internet traffic to be treated equally are voted through by MEPs but amendments aimed at closing a series of exemptions are defeated [...]

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all online content equally without blocking or slowing down specific websites on purpose or allowing companies to pay for preferential treatment.
The European parliament voted through new rules intended to enshrine that principle in law, but critics say they are fatally undermined by a number of loopholes which “open the door to an end to net neutrality”.

The European consumer organisation BEUC welcomed the changes but warned that the exceptions would undermine the overall achievement. “A robust net neutrality law involves protections against undue management of traffic and discriminatory commercial practices. What Europe is essentially saying here is that all internet data is born equal, but some is more equal than others.” [...]

[Arstechnica] Net neutrality: EU votes in favour of Internet fast lanes and slow lanes

MEPs confused by false claims, tired of the arguments, keen to conclude the case. [...]

The European Parliament has passed the flawed compromise text on net neutrality without including any of the amendments that would have closed serious loopholes. The vote, with 500 in favour, and 163 against, took place in a plenary session a few hours after a rather lacklustre debate this morning, which was attended by only 50 MEPs out of the European Parliament's total of 751, indicating little interest in this key topic among most European politicians. The Greens MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht called the final result a "dirty deal." [...]

Pressure was applied at the end of the morning's debate by Andrus Ansip, the vice-commissioner responsible for the EU Digital Market. He said that if the text was not passed in its entirety now, there was "a risk of delays, not only months, but years," and that "risk" may have weighed with some MEPs. But Reda pointed out on Twitter that is not true: "Actually it's only 6 weeks until 3rd reading," when a new compromise text could have been agreed. One other reason MEPs may have been unwilling to change the text was that it has been going back and forth between the various institutions of the EU for years, and MEPs are evidently sick of discussing it, as the poor turn-out for the earlier debate showed. In the end, sheer political fatigue may have played a major part in undermining net neutrality in the EU.

[TheVerge] European Parliament rejects amendments protecting net neutrality

New legislation offers some good news, but stronger amendments similar to those in the US were rejected by the EU. [...]

The new legislation allows the creation of internet fast lanes for "specialized services" and lets ISPs offer so-called "zero-rating" products — i.e. apps and services that don't count toward monthly data allowances — without restrictions. Critics of the legislation say that the latter loophole will allow big internet companies to favor certain services in commercial deals. (For example, an ISP could agree with Apple to make Apple Music "zero-rated" on it service, leaving rival music streaming services at a disadvantage.) [...]

Julia Reda, MEP for the European Pirate Party, described the legislation as a "broken promise" on net neutrality. "The internet’s open structure is what made it the successful driver of growth and innovation in the digital economy and digital culture that it is today," said Reda in a statement posted online. "That providers will be allowed to discriminate against certain traffic not only creates a two-tier internet, it also removes incentives for carriers to extend their capacities." [...]

[EUObserver] France wants all travelling EU nationals fingerprinted

French authorities are calling for EU-wide rules requiring travelling EU nationals to give their fingerprints and possibly also have their faces scanned.
The proposal, which is part of a much larger digital dragnet known as the ‘smart borders’ package, was discussed at an EU interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday (8 October).
Smart borders is a two-tiered system of biometric scans of visiting non-EU nationals – the registered travellers programme (RTP) and the entry-exit system (EES). [...]

But an internal document dated 25 September from the French delegation in Brussels now wants to extend the same biometric system to cover member state citizens. [...]

But last year, the European Court of Justice struck down the EU’s data retention law. Judges said the directive was disproportionate because it allowed for the indiscriminate and mass collection of data from people not suspected of any crime. [...]

The Paris-based Internet campaign group La Quadrature Du Net says the law’s vague criteria are likely to “trigger mass data collection of logins and communications, without any regard to borders, or the target's nationality”.

[TheGuardian] Max Schrems Facebook privacy complaint to be investigated in Ireland

The privacy campaigner who successfully challenged a treaty which allowed the data of millions of European citizens to be transferred to the US has warned he may take more cases.
Max Schrems is to have his groundbreaking complaint over the alleged movement of personal information by Facebook investigated by Ireland’s online watchdog after a near three-year fight. [...]

The campaigner said watchdogs in 28 European states will now be able to accept complaints about the movement of personal information. [...]

The big question is going to be if the Irish Data Protection Commissioner is going to do its job,” he said.
They pledged that they will really investigate things swiftly. My last experience was that a complaint takes up to three years and nothing comes out of it but they now pledge the opposite and I hope that’s going to be the case.

Schrems warned it would be very hard for European and US authorities to create a new version of safe harbour based on the ECJ ruling.
I think for the US on the one hand they would have to turn down their surveillance state and the only thing they would get is a little easier access to the European market,” he said.
I doubt it is going to be possible to get a second Safe Harbour that also withstands another challenge at the ECJ … the court has been very clear a new Safe Harbour would have to give you the same rights as you have in Europe. That’s going to be hard to get a deal on.” [...]

[ArsTechnica] GCHQ allowed to spy on MPs and peers, secret court rules

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the UK body that hears complaints about intelligence agencies, has ruled that the communications of MPs and peers are not protected by the Wilson Doctrine, which was thought to exempt them from surveillance by GCHQ and other intelligence agencies. Back in July, the UK government had already admitted that the Wilson Doctrine "cannot work sensibly" when mass surveillance is taking place, but today's decision goes further by explicitly rejecting the idea of any formal immunity from spying. [...]

The IPT justified its decision on the grounds that "MPs’ communications with their constituents and others are protected, like those of every other person, by the statutory regime established by Part 1 of RIPA 2000." But as Ars has noted before, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) is a creaking legal framework for surveillance that was drawn up in the early days of the Internet as a widely-used medium, and is woefully inadequate for regulating GCHQ today when its aim is to track every visible user on the Internet. Saying that UK politicians have the same protections as anyone else may be true, but those protections are so weak as to be useless, as Edward Snowden's revelations have made abundantly clear. [...]

[NewYorkTimes] Obama Won’t Seek Access to Encrypted User Data

The Obama administration has backed down in its bitter dispute with Silicon Valley over the encryption of data on iPhones and other digital devices, concluding that it is not possible to give American law enforcement and intelligence agencies access to that information without also creating an opening that China, Russia, cybercriminals and terrorists could exploit. [...]

While the administration said it would continue to try to persuade companies like Apple and Google to assist in criminal and national security investigations, it determined that the government should not force them to breach the security of their products. [...]

Mr. Obama and his aides had come to fear that the United States could set a precedent that China and other nations would emulate, requiring Apple, Google and the rest of America’s technology giants to provide them with the same access, officials said. [...]

White House officials said they would continue trying to persuade technology companies to help them in investigations, but they did not specify how. [...]

[WashingtonPost] Obama administration opts not to force firms to decrypt data — for now

After months of deliberation, the Obama administration has made a long-awaited decision on the thorny issue of how to deal with encrypted communications: It will not — for now — call for legislation requiring companies to decode messages for law enforcement.

Rather, the administration will continue trying to persuade companies that have moved to encrypt their customers’ data to create a way for the government to still peer into people’s data when needed for criminal or terrorism investigations. [...]

[P]rivacy advocates are concerned that the administration’s definition of strong encryption also could include a system in which a company holds a decryption key or can retrieve unencrypted communications from its servers for law enforcement. [...]

To Amie Stepanovich, the U.S. policy manager for Access, [...] the status quo isn’t good enough. “It’s really crucial that even if the government is not pursuing legislation, it’s also not pursuing policies that will weaken security through other methods,” she said. [...]

[TheGuardian] GCHQ can monitor MPs' communications, court rules

MPs’ and peers’ private communications are not protected from interception by the so-called Wilson doctrine that was widely thought to provide special privileges for parliamentarians, according to a court ruling. [...]

Downing Street described the Wilson doctrine first expressed in 1966 as a political statement, without legal force, and pointed out that the intelligence agencies might be monitoring an individual who was in contact with an MP. [...]

Matthew Rice, of Privacy International, said: “Today’s tribunal ruling that MPs should have no special protection from having their communications intercepted, confirms what Privacy International have been arguing for a long time: mass surveillance affects us all.”

Anyone who has exchanged emails with their MP about a sensitive matter should be aware that government snoopers may have access to this personal information. From charity workers to politicians, lawyers to refugees, it is of great concern that the UK’s surveillance regime cannot function without interfering with everyone’s right to privacy, regardless of their need for professional confidentiality.”

Syndicate content