The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
Two days after the attacks, EU ministers met in Brussels at an emergency justice and home affairs council, and predictably demanded more access to our Internet histories, more powers to track people, and more ways to break into our private communications.
The European People's Party has reportedly said it wants personal data on everyone who takes a train to be stored. Meanwhile, a so-called Passenger Name Record is in the works for all airline passengers.
And, even before the terrorist attacks, Belgium officials were mulling the expansion of the country's data collecting and storing laws. Never mind that the European Court of Justice, and the Belgian Constitutional Court have ruled that data retention is illegal. My adopted country also plans new surveillance legislation that would allow intelligence agencies more freedom to eavesdrop on cross-border communications [...]
I am not opposed to proportionate and specific surveillance. My opposition, on principle, is to mass unjustified collection of personal information "just in case." Just in case of what? In case we're all closet terrorists?
Predictably, Europol Director Rob Wainwright blamed encryption. He told POLITICO. “Encrypted communication via the Internet, and smartphones are a part of the problems investigators face in these instances. We have to find a more constructive legislative solution for this problem of encryption.”
Since when is encryption a problem? [...] Using crypto tools doesn’t mean you are a terrorist. Weakening encryption will just create vulnerabilities that will be exploited by the very criminals and terrorists we want to stop. [...]
A new study shows that knowledge of government surveillance causes people to self-censor their dissenting opinions online. The research offers a sobering look at the oft-touted "democratizing" effect of social media and Internet access that bolsters minority opinion. [...]
This research illustrates the silencing effect of participants’ dissenting opinions in the wake of widespread knowledge of government surveillance, as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. [...]
“It concerns me that surveillance seems to be enabling a culture of self-censorship because it further disenfranchises minority groups. And it is difficult to protect and extend the rights of these vulnerable populations when their voices aren't part of the discussion. Democracy thrives on a diversity of ideas, and self-censorship starves it,” [Elizabeth Stoycheff, lead researcher of the study and assistant professor at Wayne State University] said. “Shifting this discussion so Americans understand that civil liberties are just as fundamental to the country's long-term well-being as thwarting very rare terrorist attacks is a necessary move.” [...]
[This article has been translated in French here]
The encryption issue has become indelibly linked to the broader debate in Europe, the US, and South America over how to balance individual liberties with matters of national security and law enforcement. [...] In France, the amendment that lawmakers will debate is part of the omnibus Digital Republic bill that passed the lower house of France’s parliament earlier this year. [...]
If passed, it's unclear how French courts will interpret the amendment, according to Philippe Aigrain, a French security expert and cofounder of the advocacy group La Quadrature du Net. He worries it will scare companies operating in France off of providing strong encryption altogether. [...]
“It is remarkable that at every new bombing or attack, there are claims that the authors used encryption even when all evidence is contrary, such as was the case in the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, where the terrorists exchanged unencrypted [texts],” said Philippe Aigrain, [...].
GCHQ is losing the cyber security war, according to director of cyber security at CESG (Communications-Electronics Security Group) Alex Dewedney, who admitted that, despite a £1bn spend over the past five years, "the bottom line is it hasn't worked". [...]
"We can't just pass information on threats to businesses and tell them to go and deal with it themselves," said Dewedney, who added that 90 per cent of UK enterprises suffered cyber security breaches last year.
Dewedney also criticised the UK government for "not... spending money on fixing legacy IT issues" that have left a situation that, he said, "is killing us". [...]
The problem is "not so much a money issue as it is a human resources issue", he said.
When FCC boss Tom Wheeler was first appointed to head the agency, few expected much. After all, here was yet another FCC revolving door regulator with a history of lobbying for both the cable and wireless industries -- now tasked with heading an agency that oversees both. Yet the one-time "dingo" surprised everybody by fighting for tougher net neutrality rules, raising the standard definition of broadband, standing up for municipal broadband and improved broadband competition, and now fighting to unlock the cable industry's stranglehold over the cable set top box. [...]
It remains entirely possible Wheeler chooses not to act on zero rating whatsoever. After all, the agency has a history of treating usage caps (despite their obvious anti-competitive implications) as little more than "creative pricing," and Wheeler's on-record calling T-Mobile's zero rating of some video services "innovative" and "pro competition". Public pressure's also not particularly high, since the majority of the public doesn't understand the potential threat zero rating poses to a level playing field. [...]
A small email provider and its customers have mobilized to force the Swiss government to put its new invasive surveillance law up for a public vote in a national referendum in June. [...]
By gathering its users and teaming up with political groups including the Green and Pirate parties, as well as technological and privacy advocates including Chaos Computer Club Switzerland and Digitale Gesellschaft Switzerland, ProtonMail was able to contribute to the effort to collect over 70,000 signatures before the deadline. [...]
The new law is the first of two surveillance laws that have been circulating through the Swiss Parliament. The NDG law was fully passed in September, but can’t take full effect until after the referendum vote in June.[...] the second law, known as the “BÜPF,” might come up for a vote in the Parliament’s spring session, but may be revised or delayed. [...]
Investigatory powers tribunal says computer network exploitation, such as activating cameras on devices without permission, is legal. [...]
Part of the legal dispute focused on whether such activity is permissible under thematic warrants that do not identify targeted individuals. Responding to the decision, Privacy International said it would “challenge this undermining of the fundamental right that a warrant should identify a specific property or person”. There is no right of appeal to any higher UK court, but cases can be taken to Europe. [...]
In relation to the authorisation of actions outside Britain, the IPT ruling said there might be circumstances in which an individual claimant may be able to claim a breach of their rights under articles 8 or 10 of the convention, which relate to the right to private and family life and freedom of expression. However, it said this does not lead to a conclusion that the regime is non-compliant with the articles. [...]
Negotiations were at a stalemate and running out of time. Officials from the European Union and America could not break through a couple roadblocks to forge an agreement to give legal cover for companies to transfer data across the Atlantic. The official January 31 deadline had already passed. [...]
EU sources say the Americans didn’t use the Paris attacks to push the Europeans to back down on safe harbor.
And by all accounts the EU’s line also remained firm: Terrorists or no, Europeans’ right to privacy and the European Court of Justice’s ruling weren’t going anywhere. [...]
The Judicial Redress Act finally passed the Judiciary Committee on January 28. But an amendment by Senator John Cornyn made the privacy protections in the bill conditional on the Europeans signing on to a new safe harbor deal. [...]
The Article 29 Working Party met in Brussels on February 2 and 3 to discuss their next steps. With nothing on paper to look at, the DPAs adopted a wait-and-see approach. The Commission promised to deliver the full text of the agreement by the end of February. In late March, the authorities will meet again to decide if the shield is strong enough. [...]
When digital dystopians and critics of Internet libertarians need a rhetorical dart board, they often pull out a document written by John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, a former cattle rancher and Grateful Dead lyricist. On this day in 1996, Barlow sat down in front of a clunky Apple laptop and typed out one very controversial email, now known as the “Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace,” a manifesto with a simple message: Governments don’t—and can’t—govern the Internet. [...]
In essence, Barlow argues that the arc of the Internet’s history is long, but bends towards independence. His strongest example, perhaps, is found in the copyright wars: Yes, Napster and Megaupload can be sued into oblivion or shut down. But the file-sharing protocol bittorrent has thrived in spite of Hollywood and the recording industry’s best efforts. “I said this whole notion of property [in cyberspace] is going to get hammered,” Barlow says. “It has been hammered.”
Barlow admits that what he describes as the “immune system” of the Internet isn’t exactly automatic. It requires effort on the part of activists like himself. “It wasn’t a slam dunk and it isn’t now. I wouldn’t have started the EFF and the Freedom of the Press Foundation” if it were, he says. But he nonetheless believes that there is a kind of inexorable direction of the Internet’s political influence toward individual liberty. [...]
National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers said Thursday that “encryption is foundational to the future,” and arguing about it is a waste of time. [...]
[T]echnologists pretty much universally agree that creating some sort of special third-party access would weaken encryption to the point that it would threaten every internet transaction we make, from online banking to filling out our health records to emailing our friends and significant others. A hole in encryption for special FBI access would be a hole that criminals could sneak through, too. [...]
The White House has decided not to pursue legislation to outlaw unbreakable end-to-end encryption, following pressure from privacy advocates and scientists. But the intelligence community’s top lawyer, Bob Litt, privately advised the administration that a major terrorist attack could be an opportune moment to do so.
And the White House has not issued a statement in defense of encryption [...] Meanwhile, Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are reportedly planning their own proposed legislation to require law enforcement access. [...]