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.

[TheGuardian] Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands." [...]

Minerva is a prime example of the deeply narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic questions is symptomatic of a simple fact – in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists. [...]

[TheIntercept] How Secret Partners Expand NSA’s Surveillance Dragnet

Huge volumes of private emails, phone calls, and internet chats are being intercepted by the National Security Agency with the secret cooperation of more foreign governments than previously known, according to newly disclosed documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden. [...]

The partnership deals operate on the condition that the host country will not use the NSA’s spy technology to collect any data on U.S. citizens. The NSA also agrees that it will not use the access it has been granted to collect data on the host countries’ citizens. One NSA document notes that “there ARE exceptions” to this rule – though does not state what those exceptions may be. [...]

[Time] Net Neutrality: T-Mobile's Unlimited Music Streaming Is the Worst

"Music freedom" looks like a benefit for subscribers, and that's the most dangerous part. [...]

Instead of treating all music services equally, T-Mobile has decided that the most popular streaming music services should get better treatment. If you have a limited data plan on T-Mobile, you won’t come any closer to your monthly cap when using Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, iTunes Radio, iHeartRadio, Slacker Radio and Samsung Milk Music. [...]

T-Mobile is well aware that it’s picking winners and losers, so it’s telling users to vote on other services that they’d like to make the cut. This by itself is messed up — why should I have to petition T-Mobile to give preferential treatment to a particular music service? — but it also underscores why net neutrality is so important. New or obscure streaming music services will remain at a disadvantage for as long as T-Mobile doesn’t recognize them. This, in turn, makes it harder for these services to take off, enforcing a vicious cycle. [...]

And there’s nothing you can do about it. We currently don’t have any net neutrality protections in the United States, and it’s unclear whether wireless Internet will even be included as the FCC draws up new rules that can withstand legal scrutiny. Besides, if enough people feel good about what T-Mobile is doing, it’s hard to imagine regulators getting in the way. T-Mobile tries hard to look like it’s putting an arm over your shoulder, but “music freedom” is actually more of a stranglehold.

[TechDirt] UK Government Ignores European Court Ruling On Data Retention: Tells Telecom Companies To Carry On Spying

One of the interesting issues arising out of the important ruling from the European Union Court of Justice that the EU's Data Retention Directive was invalid, is what the member states will now do as a result. The UK government, one of the principal cheerleaders for storing all this data in the first place, has no doubts about what it should do - it will completely ignore that judgment for the moment, as the Guardian reports [...]

[EDRi] Neelie Kroes’ campaign to kill net neutrality

[…] Rather than sitting back and waiting for the Council to carry out its work, Vice President of the Commission Neelie Kroes has been working hard to dissuade Council members from supporting net neutrality, something she was not able to stop in the European Parliament despite her (sometimes highly dubious) tactics. […]

At the June 6 Telecoms Council, Commissioner Kroes first acknowledged the importance of ensuring net neutrality on the EU level, “as expected by citizens”. Immediately after, she asked the Council to “ensure the proper balance between protecting the open internet and allowing and encouraging innovation on online services”. The open internet that facilitated the avalanche of innovation, creation and social and economic benefits around the globe is now, inexplicably, portrayed by Kroes as a barrier to innovation. […]

This could be the summary of the French position on the Telecoms Single Market. When she took office two month ago, Axelle Lemaire, the French Secretary of State on Digital Affairs, announced that she was going to support legislation guaranteeing net neutrality. However, since the French Secretary met with Commissioner Kroes two week ago, her commitment to net neutrality seems to have weakened. Lemaire is now asking for “telcos to have a regulatory framework favourable to investment and competitiveness”; a statement, somehow similar, to Neelie Kroes’ speech in the Telecoms Council. […]

[EUobserver] Google faces no EU-level fines if it ignores “right to be forgotten” verdict

Google won’t risk financial penalties from the EU’s top court if it chooses to ignore a recent “right to be forgotten” judgement. “The [European] Court of Justice has no power to fine a company in this context, competition law yes, but not here,” a contact at the Luxembourg-based legal arbiter told this website on Thursday (15 May). Fines would instead be handed out at member state level. […]

The case stems back to 2012 when Spanish citizen Mario Costeja Gonzalez filed a complaint against Google. Gonzalez demanded Google filter out his name from search queries linked to the repossession of his homes in a story first published in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. The Court agreed with Gonzalez. The verdict has been both vilified and celebrated by pro-rights civil society groups. The London-based Index on Censorship says it will “open up the flood gates” with the BBC reporting the US internet giant has already received “right to be forgotten” requests from a pedophile and a British former politician seeking re-election. […]

[TheGuardian] Government's defence of surveillance unconvincing, says ex-watchdog

In his first interview since standing down, Lincoln told the Guardian that such intrusive powers were necessary tools, but reforms were needed to the law and to the watchdogs overseeing surveillance systems. He said steps had to be taken to ensure public trust and that regulation could keep pace with new Big Brother technologies. [...]

The investigatory powers tribunal, which adjudicates complaints, should also be part of a new single oversight commission, said Lincoln, who believes the terms of reference should be reexamined: "The terms of reference would benefit from a review given the opaqueness of the system." [...]

He said security chiefs need to be more willing to explain and engage with the public: "The approach of 'why are you challenging us, we are the good guys' doesn't wash … The 'looking for a needle in a haystack' argument has so far been unconvincing. I haven't been convinced." [...]

[Spiegel] The NSA in Germany: Snowden's Documents Available for Download

In Edward Snowden's archive on NSA spying activities around the world, there are numerous documents pertaining to the agency's operations in Germany and its cooperation with German agencies. SPIEGEL is publishing 53 of them, available as PDF files. [...]

The documents show that the NSA, while focusing on counter-terrorism and other areas of importance to national security, has also established systems that allow it to monitor vast amounts of digital and other forms of communications in Germany and elsewhere. The agency can intercept huge amounts of emails, text messages and phone conversations. The NSA even monitored the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. [...]

Below are PDF files of the most important documents pertaining to that cooperation. SPIEGEL has redacted them to obscure the identification of BND and NSA agents, phone numbers, email addresses and other information that could put lives in danger. A glossary explaining many of the abbreviations found in the documents can be found here. SPIEGEL's editorial explaining why we have elected to publicize the documents can be read here. [...]

[TechDirt] License Plate Reader Company Sues Another State For 'Violating' Its First Amendment Right To Build A 1.8-Billion-Image Database

Private companies engaging in large-scale surveillance are pushing back against the push back against large-scale surveillance… by filing lawsuits alleging their First Amendment right to photograph license plates is being infringed on by state laws forbidding the use of automatic license plate readers by private companies. [...]

So, Vigilant's point remains that what it does in terms of collection is not a violation of privacy because it does not have access to DMV databases holding personally-identifiable information. It glosses over the fact that it provides access to hundreds of law enforcement agencies around the US, all of which can acquire the connecting data. But that does seem to put the onus on law enforcement agencies to provide adequate privacy protections, including timely disposal of non-hit data. So far, very few agencies have attempted to so. [...]

In the singular (as Vigilant's argument goes), this isn't a privacy violation -- no different that someone taking a picture of a vehicle in public. But several months of time and location data creates something that can only be achieved through dedicated surveillance, something that does raise privacy questions, especially in light of the recent court decision finding that law enforcement officers need warrants to track cell phone users' locations. This is the same principle. [...]

[iTWire] One year after Snowden, it's business as usual for the NSA

Nearly one year on from the first revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, it is still business as usual. The NSA continues to scoop up all the data it wants, while the technology companies which have co-operated with it all along continue to try and convince the public that they are doing what they can to curtail such activity. [...]

There has been systematic lying by the NSA about its data collection but in the face of its own graphics and the gobbledygook that it has devised to draft its memos being published there is little the agency can indulge in apart from weasel words that would have done that grand old practitioner of the art, Donald Rumsfeld, proud. [...]

The technology companies - Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Skype, and Yahoo! - are no better. They have tried to convince people that they are on the side of the public. Microsoft even went so far as to say that it would be willing to store data of foreign customers in their own countries, and not in the US. But the US courts promptly came down with a judgement that any data stored anywhere by a US company would be subject to the jurisdiction of the US government. [...]

Syndicate content