The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
[TheIndependent] Facial recognition to be deployed by police across London, sparking human rights concerns
Millions of people face the prospect of being scanned by police facial recognition technology that has sparked human rights concerns.
The controversial software, which officers use to identify suspects, has been found to be “staggeringly inaccurate”, while campaigners have branded its use a violation of privacy. [...]
Hannah Couchman, an advocacy and policy officer at Liberty who monitored the trial in Stratford, described the technology as “lawless”.
“There’s no dedicated legislation, there’s no guidance, there’s no good practice,” she said. “It’s staggeringly inaccurate and this sort of technology has been shown in America has shown to be actively biased and misidentify women and black people”. [...]
A review of hundreds of Facebook’s patent applications reveals that the company has considered tracking almost every aspect of its users’ lives: where you are, who you spend time with, whether you’re in a romantic relationship, which brands and politicians you’re talking about. The company has even attempted to patent a method for predicting when your friends will die.
Facebook has said repeatedly that its patent applications should not be taken as indications of future product plans. “Most of the technology outlined in these patents has not been included in any of our products, and never will be,” Allen Lo, a Facebook vice president and deputy general counsel, and the company’s head of intellectual property, said in an email.
Taken together, Facebook’s patents show a commitment to collecting personal information, despite widespread public criticism of the company’s privacy policies and a promise from its chief executive to “do better.”
“A patent portfolio is a map of how a company thinks about where its technology is going,” said Jason M. Schultz, a law professor at New York University. [...]
[TheIntercept_] Interpol Rolls Out International Voice Identification Database Using Samples From 192 Law Enforcement Agencies
Last week, Interpol held a final project review of its speaker identification system, a four-year, 10 million euro project that has recently come to completion. The Speaker Identification Integrated Project, what they call SiiP, marks a major development in the international expansion of voice biometrics for law enforcement uses — and raises red flags when it comes to privacy. [...]
Cynthia Wong, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, warned that a broad mandate could lead to an ever-expanding collection. “There are many instances where we might consent to our voice being recorded for one purpose, but would object to using it for others, including using our voice to build and train a massive voice biometric database and recognition system,” she said. “Or perhaps we didn’t consent to our voice being recorded at all — perhaps our voice was secretly recorded or inadvertently caught in the background of a recording, but has now been placed in Interpol’s database.” [...]
What will new General Data Protection Regulation laws mean for websites that use sneaky web trackers such as browser fingerprinting to profile visitors ? Privacy experts say the practice is likely illegal under the newly-enacted GDPR regulation. But they also say don’t expect the method of tracking users to disappear anytime soon, said the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a report issued Tuesday.
Using the HTML5 framework, websites are able to identify users (or a browser image) not by cookies, but the unique characteristics of a browser such as fonts, SVG widgets and WebGL—for starters. The technique is called browser fingerprinting or canvas fingerprinting. Websites harvest the browser data to produce a single, unique identifier to track users across multiple websites without any actual identifier persistence on the user’s machine. [...]
“ Looking at how web fingerprinting techniques have been used so far, it is very difficult to imagine companies moving from deliberate obscurity to full transparency and open communication with users, ” he said in a post, written along with Katarzyna Szymielewicz, co-founder and president of the Panoptykon Foundation. “ Fingerprinting companies will have to do what their predecessors in the cookie world did before now : face greater detection and exposure by coming clean about their practices, or slink even further behind the curtain, and hope to dodge European law. ” [...]
More than 60 privacy groups and activists have demanded that member states still engaging in blanket data retention of communications info – despite it being ruled unlawful – are referred to the EU's top court.
In an open letter (PDF) to the European Commission, the signatories refer to two landmark privacy judgments, in 2014 and 2016, which ruled invalid an EU directive that allowed states to require telcos to collect and retain communications data en mass.
Although this information – which includes traffic data on numbers called, IP addresses and location data – isn't the content of the communications, it is "no less sensitive", the 62 signatories argued. [...]
Representatives of Europe’s BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) and India’s TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) met up yesterday to sign a joint statement to promote an open internet.
This short document describes a set of rules to guarantee net neutrality. Those are some basic rules, such as equal treatment of internet traffic, a case-by-case assessment of zero-rating practices and more. [...]
Even more important than the statement itself, the timing of this announcement is interesting. The FCC officially repealed net neutrality in the U.S. on Monday. While other regulators can’t do anything about what’s happening in the U.S., they can make sure net neutrality remains intact in their own country. [...]
[Techdirt] EU Politicians Tell European Commission To Suspend Privacy Shield Data Transfer Framework
A couple of months ago, we wrote about an important case at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the region's highest court. The final judgment is expected to rule on whether the Privacy Shield framework for transferring EU personal data to the US is legal under EU data protection law. Many expect the CJEU to throw out Privacy Shield, which does little to address the earlier criticisms of the preceding US-EU agreement : the Safe Harbor framework, struck down by the same court in 2015. However, that's not the only problem that Privacy Shield is facing. One of the European Parliament's powerful committees, which helps determine policy related to civil liberties, has just issued a call to the European Commission to suspend the Privacy Shield agreement unless the US tries harder :
« The data exchange deal should be suspended unless the US complies with it by 1 September 2018, say MEPs, adding that the deal should remain suspended until the US authorities comply with its terms in full. » [...]
An EU proposal to impose export controls on technology products that can be used as spyware is at risk of being delayed as a group of nine countries have pushed back against the overhaul. [...]
Nine countries, led by Sweden, have united against the proposal’s clampdown on exports of technology products that could be used to harm human rights.
Sweden, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom drafted a paper criticising the bill. [...]
New reports of such sales have continued to surface. In May, the NGO Access Now revealed that Turkey used software from the German firm FinFisher to monitor critics of the Turkish government.
But the future of the EU legislation is shaky. [...]
Surveillance cameras monitored by the police have become a ubiquitous presence in many cities. In Newark, anyone with internet access is allowed to watch [...]
But the advent of the program has provoked alarm among civil liberties groups and privacy advocates. They argue that it opens a Pandora’s box of potentially devastating consequences for unsuspecting people and gives would-be stalkers or burglars a powerful tool for tracking their targets. They also argue that it pushes the police to rely heavily on the judgment of untrained civilians whose perception could be clouded by unconscious biases. [...]
“It’s not just Big Brother,” said Amol Sinha, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. “There’s an infinite number of siblings here.” [...]
Memes, remixes and other user-generated content could disappear online if the EU's proposed rules on copyright become law, warn experts.
Digital rights groups are campaigning against the Copyright Directive, which the European Parliament will vote on later this month.
The legislation aims to protect rights-holders in the internet age. [...]
Jim Killock, executive director of the UK's Open Rights Group, told the BBC: "Article 13 will create a 'Robo-copyright' regime, where machines zap anything they identify as breaking copyright rules, despite legal bans on laws that require 'general monitoring' of users to protect their privacy. [...]