Press review

The press review RSS feed

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

[NyTimes] The French Surveillance State

Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France has presented yet another antiterrorism bill to Parliament. French lawmakers, who overwhelmingly approved a sweeping antiterrorism bill in September, are scheduled to debate the new bill this month. Mr. Valls argues that the bill’s sweeping new provisions for government surveillance are necessary to monitor potential terrorist-related activity, especially on the Internet and cellphones. […]

Rights groups have warned that the bill, which includes the risk of “collective violence” and “the defense of foreign policy interests” among potential reasons for government surveillance, is too vague in defining who is a legitimate target. The bill also concentrates extraordinary power in the office of the prime minister by giving it, rather than judges, control over the approval process for surveillance requests from intelligence agencies. Parliament must restore judicial oversight to these decisions that touch the core rights and freedoms of French citizens. […]

The French are understandably jittery after the Paris and Tunis attacks, and they are alarmed by the radicalization of some in France who have fallen prey to jihadist recruitment on the Internet. There is no doubt that the French government has a duty to protect the nation from terrorist violence and jihadist recruitment. But Parliament has a duty to protect citizens’ democratic rights from unduly expansive and intrusive government surveillance. French lawmakers should not approve the bill unless judges are given a proper role in authorizing government surveillance, vague definitions of what constitutes a terrorist threat are struck from the bill and freedom of the press is protected.

[Reuters] EU executive plans no new data retention law


The European Commission will not introduce a new law requiring telecom companies to store the communications data of European Union citizens for security purposes, the EU home affairs commissioner said on Thursday. […]

In April last year the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that an EU data retention directive requiring telecoms companies to store communications data for up to two years interfered with people's right to privacy by creating the impression that their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance. […]

An internal Commission document circulated in January showed Avramopoulos was considering launching consultations to determine whether a new law on data retention that respects privacy rights could be prepared over the coming year. […]

[TheRegister] Snowden, NSA spying, hard drive malware ... what we need is a UN privacy watchdog!

EFF writes a very angry letter asking United Nations to write a very angry letter to the US. […]

Currently, says the EFF, the UN does not have adequate measures in place to ensure people have a decent amount of privacy from the powers that be – and judging by Edward Snowden's revelations of NSA spying, there's no such thing as privacy if Uncle Sam has an interest in you. […]

[BBC] EU data roaming and net neutrality plans attacked

European regulators have dropped plans to ban roaming charges and have proposed net neutrality rules allowing privileged access in some cases. […]

According to documents seen by the BBC, far from ending data roaming charges as was promised, the Council of the European Union has recommended that operators be allowed to add surcharges to their domestic rates. […]

The proposals also covered net neutrality rules. They sought to ensure that internet users could get online however they wanted and view any legal content they wanted, free from discrimination by their service providers. […]

[Thewhir] Legal Changes Give French Police Power to Take Down Porn, Terrorism Sites without Court Order

French police can order Internet service providers to take down websites without a court order on child pornography or terrorism accusations as of Tuesday. The legal changes follow a statement late last week by President Francois Hollande that companies hosting extremist messages are “accomplices.” […]

DNS blocking can be easily circumvented, however, says Felix Tréguer of French internet advocacy group La Quadrature du Net. The group is also concerned about legal content being blocked.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation shares concerns about the new system. “In light of the recent arrests that have followed the Charlie Hebdo attacks — many of which are clearly overboard — I would say that France’s government needs to seriously think about whether this law will stop terrorists, or merely chill speech,” Jillian York of the EFF told The Verge in an email. […]

[TheGuardian] Net Neutrality Is Only The Beginning Of An Open Internet

US regulators are voting on whether to enshrine the openness of the internet, and the outcome is likely to influence policy worldwide.

Net neutrality is the principle of making sure that your internet service provider doesn’t make it easier for you to access one service over another – the Guardian over the Telegraph, say – or otherwise distorting your use of internet services just because someone dropped a few extra quid in their pocket. […]

We citizens, often derogated as “users” or “consumers”, have much to win in a global communication space. That is much more than simply a “neutral network”. Instead, it is a truly open, distributed network where everyone’s fundamental rights are respected. Not having our access providers acting as interested gatekeepers may be a step in the right direction, but it is by no means an end. Many other distortive factors remain and we will not have an open space until we get rid of them all.

[TheStack] Belarus bans Tor and all anonymising internet technologies

In the wake of Russia's announcement that it intends to ban Tor, VPNs and all other technologies that permit users to hide their identities on the internet, the neighbouring Republic of Belarus has announced [Russian language] that it will enable legislation to bring these restrictions into effect. […]

When the law is enacted, Tor will lose a Belarusian user-base of between 6-8000 users. Though the Russian-announced ban has been criticised by many as unworkable, it seems likely that Belarus, which is landlocked between Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, will adopt at least some of the same techniques that China has employed in recent years to limit or ban anonymised traffic. A 2012 report [PDF] by Philipp Winter and Stefan Lindskog of Karlstad University detailed the Chinese method, which employed the establishment of a popular Tor exit node, and the use of known de-obfuscation techniques to unmask and subsequently block the IP addresses of identified nodes, effectively isolating the network. Since Tor specifically relies on non-local routing, the effect of such en masse node-blocking has proved to be very effective at a national level. […]

[Wired] Laura Poitras on the Crypto Tools That Made Her Snowden Film Possible

As a journalist, Laura Poitras was the quiet mastermind behind the publication of Edward Snowden’s unprecedented NSA leak. As a filmmaker, her new movie Citizenfour makes clear she’s one of the most important directors working in documentary today. And when it comes to security technology, she’s a serious geek.

In the closing credits of Citizenfour, Poitras took the unusual step of adding an acknowledgment of the free software projects that made the film possible: The roll call includes the anonymity software Tor, the Tor-based operating system Tails, the anonymous upload system SecureDrop, GPG encryption, Off-The-Record (OTR) encrypted instant messaging, hard disk encryption software Truecrypt, and GNU Linux. All of that describes a technical setup that goes well beyond the precautions taken by most national security reporters, not to mention documentary filmmakers. […]

[Infojustice] Copyright Policy and the Right to Science and Culture

The document summary reads: “In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines copyright law and policy from the perspective of the right to science and culture, emphasizing both the need for protection of authorship and expanding opportunities for participation in cultural life. Recalling that protection of authorship differs from copyright protection, the Special Rapporteur proposes several tools to advance the human rights interests of authors. The Special Rapporteur also proposes to expand copyright exceptions and limitations to empower new creativity, enhance rewards to authors, increase educational opportunities, preserve space for non-commercial culture and promote inclusion and access to cultural works. An equally important recommendation is to promote cultural and scientific participation by encouraging the use of open licences, such as those offered by Creative Commons.” […]

[TheVerge] Tumblr raises the alarm for net neutrality

Between the SOPA blackout and the day of action for net neutrality, big names on the internet like Reddit, Netflix, and Tumblr have harnessed their vast platforms to call their users into action. Today, Tumblr continued that recent tradition by placing a big yellow button in everyone's dashboard that says "SAVE THE INTERNET." The button directs users to a site that explains the net neutrality issue, and asks them to "help the FCC protect the internet." [...]

It's a timely call to action. The FCC is expected to propose that ISPs be reclassified as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act: a contentious move that big internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have been fighting in the courts and in Congress. That proposal could leak as early as this week, and then the FCC will vote on it during a February 26th meeting.

This time, Tumblr isn't asking people to call the FCC. Instead, it's directing them to members of Congress. That's a smart move, considering the fact that the Republican-controlled Congress is skeptical of the FCC's authority. Moreover, Congress is considering independent action that could take the decision on net neutrality out of the FCC's hands. [...]

Syndicate content