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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] France approves 'Big Brother' surveillance powers despite UN concern

UN says powers given to intelligence agencies, which include phone-tapping and computer-hacking, are ‘excessively broad’ and intrusive. [...]

Intelligence agencies can also place “keylogger” devices on computers that record keystrokes in real time. Internet and phone service providers will be forced to install “black boxes” – complex algorithms – that will alert the authorities to suspicious behaviour online. The same companies will be forced to hand over information if asked. [...]

On Friday, after considering the legislation, The UN human rights committee concluded: “The committee is particularly concerned that the law on intelligence, adopted the 24 June 2015, grants overly broad powers for very intrusive surveillance on the basis of vast and badly defined objectives, without prior authorisation of a judge and without adequate and independent controls.” [...]

The non-profit association La Quadrature du Net, which defends the rights and privacy of internet users, described the law as “wicked” and issued a statement headlined “Shame on France”.

“By validating almost all surveillance measures provided in the surveillance law adopted on 25 June, the French constitutional council legalises mass surveillance and endorses a historical decline in fundamental rights,” it said, branding the decision “extremely disappointing”. [...]

[TechDirt] Germany's Leading Digital Rights Blog Accused Of 'Treason' After Leaking Bulk Surveillance Plans is arguably the most influential German blog in the realm of digital rights. It played a key role in marshalling protests against ACTA three years ago. You'd think the German government would be proud of it as an example of local digital innovation, but instead, it seems to regard it as some kind of traitor [...]

What makes this kind of bullying doubly outrageous is that there is a rather bigger story regarding the press in Germany: the fact that both the NSA and CIA spied on the news magazine Der Spiegel. And yet rather than investigate that fact, or that other newspapers seem to have been victims too, the German government is more concerned about intimidating journalists that dare to report on its own plans to spy on millions of its citizens. [...]

[EuObserver] Loose words sink EU net neutrality bill

EU officials jubilantly announced a deal on setting internet rules and ending roaming surcharges early Tuesday morning but the details of the deal contain several loose ends. [...]

While the agreement promises that it will “safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic in the provision of internet access services”, several critics are not so sure that the text is legally sound. [...]

However, the text also said internet providers “shall be free to offer services other than internet access services which are optimised for specific content, applications or services, or a combination thereof, where the optimisation is necessary in order to meet requirements of the content, applications or services for a specific level of quality.” [...]

This distinction creates “the opposite of net neutrality”, Austrian Green MEP Michel Reimon told this website, adding that he believes net neutrality in the EU is “dead”. [...]

[TheRegister] EU threesome promises good times for data protection reform

Negotiations rule out dropping personal data protection below mid-1990s level. Phew! [...]

The chairman of the EU parliament’s justice committee, British Labour MEP Claude Moraes, said the proposed Data Protection Regulation is an urgent priority for the Parliament, but added that “any provisions [on protecting personal data] that go below the current 1995 directive would be a red line.” [...]

But he admitted there are still some problems to deal with, including the rights of consumers, duties of data controllers and limitations on further processing of data for incompatible purposes. However, having steered the text through more than 4,000 amendments to a unified position in the EU parliament, Albrecht is confident of reaching agreement: “The devil is in the detail, but I don’t see any real danger in not achieving our aim.” [...]

[Euractiv] Data protection talks start ahead of digital focus at EU summit

EU lawmakers sat down for their first meeting yesterday (24 June) to work out details on the EU's data protection reform. Facing bumps ahead, negotiators said they were still committed to wrapping up the legislation package this year. [...]

Parliament, the Commission and the Council have signalled in recent weeks that compromise isn't far away. But divisive issues still need to be ironed out, such as the processing of personal data for reasons other than what users agree to and sanctions against companies that break rules. [...]

Member states' objections could pose a threat to the negotiations on the data protection regulation. The European Council's draft proposal going into trialogue talks has already drawn criticism for leaving too many details up to member states' discretion. [...]

[Politico] Malmström predicts Canadian-EU trade deal by July

Trade chief acknowledges more controversial TTIP will not happen this year. [...]

Malmström said the legal experts from Brussels and Ottawa are “basically done” with the so-called “legal scrubbing,” the final stage for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada, or CETA. [...]

The investor arbitration system at issue lets foreign investors sue states on claims that their investments are jeopardized through sudden changes in national law or discriminatory measures. Critics see this as a chance to undermine democratic legislation, but the Commission argues that the draft Canadian agreement already includes a revised version of the dispute settlement mechanism.

Malmström recently proposed to revamp the ISDS even further in the EU deal, and she is now trying to bring at least some of these reforms also into the Canadian pact. [...]

[TheGuardian] GCHQ's surveillance of two human rights groups ruled illegal by tribunal

Initial interceptions lawful but retention and examination of communications illegal, rules IPT in case brought following Edward Snowden revelations

The IPT upheld complaints by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the South African non-profit Legal Resources Centre that their communications had been illegally retained and examined. The tribunal made “no determination” on claims brought other NGOs – including Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International – implying that either their emails and phone calls were not intercepted or that they were intercepted but by legal means. [...]

Welcoming the ruling, Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said: “If spying on human rights NGOs isn’t off limits for GCHQ, then what is? Clearly our spy agencies have lost their way. For too long they’ve been trusted with too much power, and too few rules for them to protect against abuse. How many more problems with GCHQ’s secret procedures have to be revealed for them to be brought under control?” [...]

[FirstLook] France Targeted by NSA Spies and Parliament Passes Surveillance Law

PARIS — On Wednesday, France woke up to find that the National Security Agency had been snooping on the phones of its last three presidents. [...]

Yet also today, the lower house of France’s legislature, the National Assembly, passed a sweeping surveillance law. The law provides a new framework for the country’s intelligence agencies to expand their surveillance activities. Opponents of the law were quick to mock the government for vigorously protesting being surveilled by one of the country’s closest allies while passing a law that gives its own intelligence services vast powers with what its opponents regard as little oversight. But for those who support the new law, the new revelations of NSA spying showed the urgent need to update the tools available to France’s spies. [...]

Until the law was passed, France’s intelligence services operated almost without any laws to regulate them. Although the new law delivers a much-needed framework, its safeguards are regarded by many critics as insufficient. The powers of the oversight body in charge of the intelligence agencies have been slightly strengthened and it will be possible, if a citizen suspects she is being surveilled, to take her case before the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest court. But other parts of the law have drawn controversy, including the way it defines the purposes the government can invoke to surveil French residents. The categories extend well beyond terrorism. Many opponents of the law think these guidelines are so broad that they could enable political surveillance. But the key point of disagreement is what the government calls “black boxes.” The law allows the use of government equipment inside Internet Service Providers and large web companies to analyze streams of metadata and find “terrorist” patterns and behaviors. [...]

[TheGuardian] Major internet providers slowing traffic speeds for thousands across US

Study finds significant degradations of networks for five largest ISPs, including AT&T and Time Warner, representing 75% of all wireline households in US [...]

The findings come weeks after the Federal Communications Commission introduced new rules meant to protect “net neutrality” – the principle that all data is equal online – and keep ISPs from holding traffic speeds for ransom. [...]

In Atlanta, for example, Comcast provided hourly median download speeds over a CDN called GTT of 21.4 megabits per second at 7pm throughout the month of May. AT&T provided speeds over the same network of ⅕ of a megabit per second. When a network sends more than twice the traffic it receives, that network is required by AT&T to pay for the privilege. When quizzed about slow speeds on GTT, AT&T told Ars Technica earlier this year that it wouldn’t upgrade capacity to a CDN that saw that much outgoing traffic until it saw some money from that network (as distinct from the money it sees from consumers). [...]

[TechCrunch] The Online Privacy Lie Is Unraveling

A new report into U.S. consumers’ attitude to the collection of personal data has highlighted the disconnect between commercial claims that web users are happy to trade privacy in exchange for ‘benefits’ like discounts. On the contrary, it asserts that a large majority of web users are not at all happy, but rather feel powerless to stop their data being harvested and used by marketers. [...]

Key findings on American consumers include that —

  • 91% disagree (77% of them strongly) that “If companies give me a discount, it is a fair exchange for them to collect information about me without my knowing”
  • 71% disagree (53% of them strongly) that “It’s fair for an online or physical store to monitor what I’m doing online when I’m there, in exchange for letting me use the store’s wireless internet, or Wi-Fi, without charge.”
  • 55% disagree (38% of them strongly) that “It’s okay if a store where I shop uses information it has about me to create a picture of me that improves the services they provide for me.”


One thing is clear: the great lie about online privacy is unraveling. The obfuscated commercial collection of vast amounts of personal data in exchange for ‘free’ services is gradually being revealed for what it is: a heist of unprecedented scale. Behind the bland, intellectually dishonest facade that claims there’s ‘nothing to see here’ gigantic data-mining apparatus have been manoeuvered into place, atop vast mountains of stolen personal data. [...]

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