The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
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. [...]
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). [...]
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. [...]
Encryption is not the refuge of scoundrels, as Obama administration law-enforcement officials loudly proclaim – it is an essential tool needed to protect the right of freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age, a new United Nations report concludes. [...]
The significance of encryption extends well beyond political speech, Kaye writes. “The ability to search the web, develop ideas and communicate securely may be the only way in which many can explore basic aspects of identity, such as one’s gender, religion, ethnicity, national origin or sexuality.” [...]
The United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights appoints expert “special rapporteurs” to be their eyes and ears when it comes to key human rights issues. Kaye, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, began his three-year term as the rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression in August 2014.
His report also warns that state prohibitions of anonymity online — such as required real-name registration for online activity, SIM card registration, or banning of anonymity tools such as Tor — interfere with the right to freedom of expression. [...]
Since I started free software in the 80s, developers have grown to routinely mistreat users by shackling behaviour and snooping – but we have ways to resist. [...]
What sorts of wrongs are found in malware? Some programs are designed to snoop on the user. Some are designed to shackle users, such as Digital Rights Management (DRM). Some have back doors for doing remote mischief. Some even impose censorship. Some developers explicitly sabotage their users. [...]
Apple systems are malware too: MacOS snoops and shackles; iOS snoops, shackles, censors apps and has a back door. Even Android contains malware in a nonfree component: a back door for remote forcible installation or deinstallation of any app. [...]
[Techdirt] Net Neutrality Rules Are Already Forcing Companies To Play Fair, And The Giant ISPs Absolutely Hate It
The FCC's net neutrality rules don't even go into effect until June 12, but they're already benefiting consumers. You'll recall that the last year or so has been filled with ugly squabbling over interconnection issues, with Level 3 accusing ISPs like Verizon of letting peering points congest to kill settlement-free peering and drive Netflix toward paying for direct interconnection. But with Level 3 and Cogent hinting they'd be using the FCC's new complaint process to file grievances about anti-competitive behavior, magically Verizon has now quickly struck deals with Level 3 and Cogent that everybody on board appears to be happy with. [...]
That players in the transit and ISP space are suddenly getting along so wonderfully when ISPs insisted net neutrality rules would result in the destruction of the Internet is nothing short of miraculous. It's almost as if the FCC's new net neutrality rules are already benefiting consumers, companies and a healthy internet alike! [...]
For months, federal law enforcement agencies and industry have been deadlocked on a highly contentious issue: Should tech companies be obliged to guarantee government access to encrypted data on smartphones and other digital devices, and is that even possible without compromising the security of law-abiding customers? [...]
Academic and industry experts, including Yahoo’s chief of information security, Alex Stamos, say law enforcement is asking for the impossible. Any means of bypassing encryption, they say, is by definition a weakness that hackers and foreign spy agencies may exploit. [...]
A central issue in the policy debate is trust, said Lance J. Hoffmann, founder of George Washington University’s Cyberspace Security Policy and Research Institute. “It’s who do you trust with your data? Do you want to default to the government? To the company? Or to the individual? If you make a hybrid, how do you make the trade-off?” [...]
Have we become cyborgs? With chips, sensors and tactile surfaces prolongating our brains, nerves and fingers and beyond the romantic image of science-fiction, doesn't it appear that we we may have already merged with the machines?
Communications massively collected for further behavioural analysis and profiling (PRISM) and sabotage of any commercial product dedicated to protect our data and communications (BULLRUN) are just examples of how everyday technology, now part of ourselves, has been systematically perverted and turned against us.[...]
From TVs that listen in on us to a doll that records your child’s questions, data collection has become both dangerously intrusive and highly profitable. Is it time for governments to act to curb online surveillance? [...]
All these computers produce data about what they’re doing and a lot of it is surveillance data. It’s the location of your phone, who you’re talking to and what you’re saying, what you’re searching and writing. It’s your heart rate. Corporations gather, store and analyse this data, often without our knowledge, and typically without our consent. Based on this data, they draw conclusions about us that we might disagree with or object to and that can affect our lives in profound ways. We may not like to admit it, but we are under mass surveillance. [...]
In general, privacy is something people tend to undervalue until they don’t have it anymore. Arguments such as “I have nothing to hide” are common, but aren’t really true. People living under constant surveillance quickly realise that privacy isn’t about having something to hide. It’s about individuality and personal autonomy. It’s about being able to decide who to reveal yourself to and under what terms. It’s about being free to be an individual and not having to constantly justify yourself to some overseer. [...]
Right now, choosing among providers is not a choice between surveillance or no surveillance, but only a choice of which feudal lords get to spy on you. This won’t change until we have laws to protect both us and our data from these sorts of relationships. Data is power and those that have our data have power over us. It’s time for government to step in and balance things out.
France’s controversial new anti-terrorism legislation is already setting off alarms in Brussels, where the wide-ranging new powers it gives French intelligence services may run afoul of EU law. [...]
“Democracy is attributing power but also appropriate checks and balances,” said Hervé Morin, former defense minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the leading critics of the legislation. “Only those are the ramparts against the arbitrary.” [...]
“The ECJ ruling focuses on data retention,” said Adrienne Charmet of La Quadrature du Net, a group that promotes Internet users’ rights. “The Court also specified the respect of proportionality for data protection, but there are no criteria for the data collection. But this issue was totally overlooked by MPs and the government.” [...]