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

[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." [...]

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/18/government-surveillance-wat...

[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. [...]

http://www.spiegel.de/international/the-germany-file-of-edward-snowden-d...

[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. [...]

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140613/09224127569/license-plate-rea...

[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. [...]

http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/open-sauce/64284-one-year-aft...

[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 [...] 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.

[...] Vigilant [a private company] has filed another lawsuit, this time against the state of Arkansas, arguing that a state law curbing the use of LPRs [licence plate readers] by private companies tampers with its free speech rights. [...]

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140613/09224127569/license-plate-rea...

[NYTimes] British Spy Agencies Are Said to Assert Power to Intercept Web Traffic

In a broad legal rationale for collecting information from Internet use by its citizens, the British government has reportedly asserted the right to intercept communications that go through services like Facebook, Google and Twitter that are based in the United States or other foreign nations, even if they are between people in Britain. The British position is described in a draft summary of a report to be released Tuesday by Privacy International and other advocacy groups. The summary, seen by The New York Times, says the findings are based on a government document that the groups obtained through a lawsuit. […]

When revelations surrounding Prism and the other surveillance activities first occurred last year, the British government said the country’s intelligence agencies abided by local rules aimed at protecting citizens’ privacy. But the legal defense reflected in the draft summary of the privacy groups’ report would be the most detailed discussion that has surfaced of the government’s approach to collecting individuals’ communications on some of the most popular Internet services.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/17/business/international/british-spy-age...

[CIO] What Does the New EU Parliament Mean for Tech?

More than 400 candidates to the Parliament pledged to defend net neutrality and data privacy, signing a 10-point digital rights charter called WePromiseEU. Votes were still being counted Monday, but by late afternoon, 55 candidates for Pariament who had signed WePromiseEU were confirmed as elected. [...]

The WePromiseEU pledge includes a commitment to fight against the idea of service providers being held accountable for monitoring illegal downloads, and against blanket, unchecked surveillance measures. It also includes a pledge to try to ensure that European surveillance technology is not sold to despotic regimes. [...]

Meanwhile questions are being asked about which MEPs will sit on which Parliamentary committees and how that will affect tech policy. Along with copyright reform, the new Parliament will also have to negotiate a new data protection regulation and a new telecom package, which comprises rules on roaming charges. This could prove a challenge for privacy advocates and those who support measures to ensure low roaming charges, as many member states, in particular the U.K., want to water down current rules. [...]

http://www.cio.com/article/753207/What_Does_the_New_EU_Parliament_Mean_f...

[TheRegister] CIA rendition jet was waiting in Europe to SNATCH SNOWDEN

As the whistleblowing NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden made his dramatic escape to Russia a year ago, a secret US government jet - previously employed in CIA "rendition" flights on which terror suspects disappeared into invisible "black" imprisonment - flew into Europe in a bid to spirit him back to America, the Register can reveal. [...]

With its new tail number N977GA the plane became part of the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation Systems (JPATS), operated by US Marshals. On perhaps its best-known mission, the jet flew a team of marshals into the UK on 5 October 2012 to collect radical cleric Abu Hamza after the USA won an extradition order against him.

Only Vladimir Putin's intransigence saved Snowden from a similar travel package, complete with free one-way ticket home and fitting for a stylish new orange outfit. Abu Hamza was last seen waving goodbye from a back window on N977GA. [...]

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/06/13/cia_rendition_jet_was_waiting_in...

[Reuters] Factbox: What is net neutrality? U.S. debates once again

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is collecting public comments until Sept. 10 on new "net neutrality" or "open Internet rules" that may let service providers charge content companies for faster and more reliable delivery of their traffic to users.

Net neutrality is a principle that says Internet service providers should treat all traffic on their networks equally. That means companies like Comcast Corp or Verizon Communications Inc should not block or slow down access to any website or content on the Web - for instance, to benefit their own services over those of competitors. [...]

Consumer advocates say Wheeler's proposal would create "fast lanes" for companies willing to pay while leaving startups and others behind, which would potentially harm competition. More than 100 technology companies including Google Inc, Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc have warned of a "grave threat to the Internet." However, consumer advocates are pushing for reclassification of broadband providers as public utilities, while tech companies in their opposition to pay-for-priority have not supported reclassification. [...]

Internet providers say stricter net neutrality regulations could discourage investment in the expensive network infrastructure. Verizon, in its case against the FCC, argued that the rules amounted to government overreach into companies' business dealings. [...]

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/15/us-usa-internet-neutrality-fac...

[MotherJones] Verizon Says It Wants to Kill Net Neutrality to Help Blind, Deaf, and Disabled People

Lobbyists are telling Congress that the administration's plan to create internet fast lanes and slow lanes is important for Americans with disabilities. [...]

Three Hill sources tell Mother Jones that Verizon lobbyists have cited the needs of blind, deaf, and disabled people to try to convince congressional staffers and their bosses to get on board with the fast lane idea. But groups representing disabled Americans, including the National Association of the Deaf, the National Federation of the Blind, and the American Association of People with Disabilities are not advocating for this plan. Mark Perriello, the president and CEO of the AAPD, says that this is the "first time" he has heard "these specific talking points." [...]

Defenders of net neutrality are more cynical. The Verizon lobbyists' argument is "disingenuous," says Matt Wood, a policy director at Free Press, an Internet freedom advocacy group. The FCC says that even if the agency doesn't go through with its fast lane proposal, companies that serve disabled people would still be able to pay internet service providers for faster service. [...]

The decision the FCC makes in the coming months could "change the course of the Internet for a long time to come," says Michael Copps, who served as an FCC commissioner from 2001 to 2011, "perhaps in ways that will be impossible to reverse."

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/verizon-comcast-net-neutrali...

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