The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
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.” [...]
On Friday, The Intercept released some new Snowden documents, showing how the NSA used metadata to claim that a well-known and well-respected Al Jazeera journalist, Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, was a member of Al Qaeda. [...]
But, perhaps the much more interesting tidbit is that this detailed report showing why they think Zaidan is a key Al Qaida courier shows a huge problem with metadata. When you think about it, it really should not be at all surprising that a journalist who is one of the leading reporters covering Al Qaeda might have phone metadata similar to someone who is actually in Al Qaeda. It's likely that he tries to contact them a lot and that he goes to where they are a lot. That's called being a reporter. But, to the NSA, those sorts of distinctions don't matter. Remember, former NSA boss Michael Hayden has outright admitted that "we kill people based on metadata." [...]
Controversial new bill that allows intelligence agencies to tap phones and emails without judicial permission sparks protests from civil liberties groups. [...]
The new bill, which allows intelligence agencies to tap phones and emails without seeking permission from a judge, sparked protests from rights groups who claimed it would legalise highly intrusive surveillance methods without guarantees for individual freedom and privacy. [...]
Another controversial element is the so-called “black boxes” – or complex algorithms – that internet providers will be forced to install to flag up a succession of suspect behavioural patterns online, such as keywords used, sites visited and contacts made. [...]
Pierre-Olivier Sur, chairman of the Paris bar lawyers’ association, warned this week that the bill was “a serious threat to public liberties” and would put French people under “general surveillance”. [...]
The phone data collection program “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized," a judge ruled Thursday. [...]
A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals deemed that dragnet collection of American call data does not constitute information relevant to terrorism investigations under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. [...]
The decision comes as Congress is weighing legislation that would reform several aspects of the NSA's surveillance regime, including an effective end to the bulk data program. That legislation, the USA Freedom Act, would instead allow the government to ask telecom companies for phone records on an as-needed basis after obtaining judicial approval for each query. [...]
This week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Internet.org, its marquee project to “connect two-thirds of the world that don’t have internet access,” is now inviting any website or service to join the program. According to Zuckerberg, this change—which follows criticism that the program violates Net Neutrality principles—would “give people even more choice and more free services, while still creating a sustainable economic model to connect every single person in the world.” [...]
Case in point: Internet.org could open up users to massive security holes and vulnerabilities. That’s because Facebook won’t allow participating sites to use SSL or TLS, two of the most commonly used security protocols that encrypt web traffic and protect users from online attacks. This single choice has the potential to undermine the security of millions of people worldwide. [...]
All of this only deepens the concerns that people already have about Internet.org. As many non-government organizations, including my group Access, have pointed out, Internet.org’s model—giving users a taste of connectivity before prompting them to purchase pricey data plans—fails to acknowledge the economic reality for millions of new internet users who can’t afford those plans. These users could get stuck on a separate and unequal path to internet connectivity, which will serve to widen—not narrow—the digital divide. [...]
Can French intelligence agencies handle the terabytes of data that they just got permission to collect? [...]
The bill approved by a vote of 438 to 86, with 42 abstentions, has been intensely criticized by civil society groups and privacy activists for its embrace of mass surveillance in the form of what the French government calls “black boxes,” devices that will be installed on the servers of French Internet service providers to suck up data and spot terrorists engaging in suspicious behavior that might tip investigators to a possible attack. [...]
Given the vast expansion of surveillance, civil liberty activists are up in arms that the measure will undermine democratic norms. Félix Tréguer, a founding member of digital rights group La Quadrature du Net, said the bill “effectively legalizes mechanisms of mass surveillance” while at the same time failing to include the oversight mechanisms necessary to make the legal regime governing surveillance take into account human rights concerns or transparency. [...]
On this, French judges agree with rights activists. “This bill is unbalanced; it goes too far with no proper controls in place since most of the power will lie with the prime minister,” the judges’ union said in a statement. In stripping the bill of oversight powers while drafting it, Benichou said, French legislators had acted as if they were afraid of the judiciary.
For these reasons, the bill has often been described as the French version of the U.S. Patriot Act. And on many levels, that’s an appropriate analogy. Like its American counterpart passed in the panic of the 9/11 attacks and currently up for renewal the measure has been hurried through the legislature, despite its complicated, highly technical nature. “We’re talking about a surveillance program that goes way beyond counterterrorism but is being sold in the context of the trauma of a terrorist attack and justifies extraordinary means and procedures,” Douzet said. “The way it is being sold is very comparable.”
Lower house of Parliament passes spy bill that critics denounce for its highly intrusive surveillance methods. [...]
The new law would permit intelligence services to place cameras and recording devices in suspects' homes and beacons on their cars without prior authorization from a judge. [...]
One of the most sensitive measures would force communication and Internet firms to allow intelligence services to install electronic lock boxes to record metadata from all Internet users in France. The metadata would then be subject to algorithmic analysis for potentially suspicious behavior. [...]