The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
Information commissioner warns encryption ‘is vital’ for personal security, and attempts to weaken it should not be in new investigatory powers bill.
The information commissioner’s office has heavily criticised the draft Investigatory Powers bill for attacking individuals’ privacy, particularly in relation to the apparent requirement on communication providers to weaken or break their data encryption at the government’s request.
The privacy watchdog also told the parliamentary committee responsible for scrutinising the bill that “little justification” was given for one of the most controversial aspects of the proposed legislation: a new requirement on communications providers to store comms data for 12 months. [...]
For the most secure types of communication, known as “end to end” encryption, the communications provider cannot read encrypted messages even if they are served with a government warrant. Messaging providers including Apple, Facebook and Telegram all use this sort of encryption, but the draft IP bill suggests they could be forced by a government warrant to change to a weaker standard. [...]
The British government is not alone in moving against consumer use of encryption, however. In early January, an amendment was introduced into the French national assembly which sought to enforce similar requirements on equipment manufacturers to ensure that any information can be given to the police with a judicial warrant. [...]
And China introduced its own snooper’s charter in December, with a bill requiring tech companies to decrypt messages at the government’s request.
Former NSA security chief-turned-whistleblower says plan for bulk collection of communications data is ‘99% useless’ [...] The “snooper’s charter” legislation extending the mass surveillance powers of the intelligence agencies will “cost lives in Britain”, a former US security chief has warned MPs and peers. [...]
The former NSA director testified that while targeted data collection operations could help prevent terror attacks, “overcollection” of mass data undermined security and had consistently cost lives because of this “analysis paralysis”.
Binney told MPs that the 9/11 attacks on the US could have been prevented if the NSA had filtered the relevant data and not attempted to collect everything.[...]
“At the same time, it reduces the privacy burden affecting the large number of innocent and suspicion-free persons whose communications are accessible to our systems.” [...]
Moazzam Begg stresses the importance of encryption programs while convert Cerie Bullivant says ‘Muslims are the canaries in the mine’ of civil liberties [...]
Moazzam Begg, the former Guantánamo Bay detainee, was unable to address Europe’s largest hacker convention in person because the British government confiscated his passport. The British Pakistani who spent two years at the US detention facility – but who has been declared not guilty of terrorism charges – spoke to the event by video link, urging developers to continue building free software encryption tools for political resistance. [...]
“This is what is so important about encryption programs. It isn’t because we have anything to hide. It is because we have experience of those people who are mastered in the arts of torture and abuse. Any of the information that they can use and get a hold of about you, they will use against you,” said Begg. [...]
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, France has enacted a three-month state of emergency, widening the powers of police and security agencies. It has done so with relatively little public debate about the deterioration of civil liberties. [...]
The change in legislation effectively means that France will be in a state of emergency in December when voters cast ballots in regional elections. It also doubles-down on a law granting French authorities sweeping powers to eavesdrop on Internet and mobile phone users that was adopted as recently as June. [...]
Police have banned public gatherings and marches in Paris citing ongoing security concerns. Last week officials formally put the brakes on two so-called “citizen marches” in Paris meant to coincide with the start and the closure of the upcoming UN climate summit. More recently, authorities called off a rally in support of refugees in central Paris on Sunday. [...]
You're also forbidden from format-shifting or uploading to the cloud. [...]
The UK's new private copying exception had been in a state of legal limbo following a judicial review of the legislation in June, which had been sought by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, the Musicians’ Union, and UK Music. In his review, the High Court judge mostly found in favour of the UK government, except for one crucial aspect. He said the UK government's decision to bring in the new copyright exception was "flawed" because "the evidence relied upon to justify the conclusion about harm was inadequate/manifestly inadequate." [...]
In other words, killing the personal copying exception will bring the music industry very little financial benefit, while turning the UK public into scofflaws for making backup copies, format-shifting or uploading music to the cloud. And as The 1709 Blog points out, it's not as if the music industry is going to use the fact that the exception has been withdrawn to pursue anyone caught doing any of these things: "I think it is fair to say that they will, privately, continue with their old policy of not seeking to sue or prosecute anyone for personal format shifting. To do otherwise would undoubtedly alienate the buying public and strengthen the argument that the record labels are out of touch with what music fans want." [...]
Next week, a federal appeals court in Washington will hear one of its biggest cases of the year, one whose outcome will directly affect how Internet providers can alter your experience online.
At stake are the government's net neutrality rules banning telecom and cable companies from unfairly discriminating against new or potential rivals. Using their power in the marketplace to control what services consumers can access from their smartphones, tablets and PCs, Internet providers could be granted more latitude to favor preferred Web sites — if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit says so. [...]
Most of the men who carried out the Paris attacks were already on the radar of intelligence officials in France and Belgium, where several of the attackers lived only hundreds of yards from the main police station, in a neighborhood known as a haven for extremists. As one French counterterrorism expert and former defense official said, this shows that “our intelligence is actually pretty good, but our ability to act on it is limited by the sheer numbers.” In other words, the problem in this case was not a lack of data, but a failure to act on information authorities already had.
In fact, indiscriminate bulk data sweeps have not been useful. In the more than two years since the N.S.A.’s data collection programs became known to the public, the intelligence community has failed to show that the phone program has thwarted a terrorist attack. Yet for years intelligence officials and members of Congress repeatedly misled the public by claiming that it was effective. [...]
Mr. Comey, for example, has said technology companies like Apple and Google should make it possible for law enforcement to decode encrypted messages the companies’ customers send and receive. But requiring that companies build such back doors into their devices and software could make those systems much more vulnerable to hacking by criminals and spies. Technology experts say that government could just as easily establish links between suspects, without the use of back doors, by examining who they call or message, how often and for how long. [...]
[Slate] The Paris attacks weren't stopped by metadata surveillance. That hasn't stopped officials from saying it might have. They're wrong.
Since terrorists struck Paris last Friday night, the debate over whether encryption prevents intelligence services from stopping attacks has reignited. [...]
France—which rewrote its surveillance laws after the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year—has its own surveillance system. Both are in place, yet neither detected the Nov. 13 plot. This means they failed to alert authorities to the people they should more closely target via both electronic and physical surveillance. In significant part, this system appears to have failed before it even got to the stage at which investigators would need to worry about terrorists’ use of encryption. [...]
If the metadata dragnet works, that can happen even with encrypted communication. [...]
It all comes back to this triage, which is in significant part about how well the intelligence community uses that forest of metadata to pick whom it should target.
“Knowing who someone communicates with is metadata, not content, and most encrypted protocols (e.g. WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.) don’t change this,” Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at UC–Berkeley explains. [...]
The terrorists who conducted Friday’s attack may well have been using encryption. But if so, it appears that the metadata dragnet failed well before agencies got to any encrypted communications.
[TheIntercept] NYT Editorial Slams "Disgraceful" CIA Exploitation of Paris Attacks, But Submissive Media Role Is Key
A truly superb New York Times editorial this morning mercilessly shames the despicable effort by U.S. government officials to shamelessly exploit the Paris attacks to advance long-standing agendas. [...]
They point out that the NSA’s mass surveillance powers to be mildly curbed by post-Snowden reforms are ineffective and, in any event, have not yet stopped. [...]
To begin with, there’s literally zero evidence that the Paris attackers used encryption. There are reasons to believe they may not have (siblings and people who live near each other have things called “face-to-face communications”).
Even if they had used encryption (which, just by the way, the U.S. government funds and the GOP protected in the 1990s), that would not mean we should abolish it or give the U.S. government full backdoor access to it — any more than face-to-face plotting means we should allow the government to put monitors in everyone’s homes to prevent this type of “going dark.” Silicon Valley has repeatedly said there’s no way to build the U.S. government a “backdoor” that couldn’t also be used by any other state or stateless organization to invade. [...]
Why do the CIA and other U.S. government factions believe — accurately — that they can get away with such blatant misleading and lying? The answer is clear: because, particularly after a terror attack, large parts of the U.S. media treat U.S. intelligence and military officials with the reverence usually reserved for cult leaders, whereby their every utterance is treated as Gospel, no dissent or contradiction is aired, zero evidence is required to mindlessly swallow their decrees, anonymity is often provided to shield them from accountability, and every official assertion is equated with Truth, no matter how dubious, speculative, evidence-free, or self-serving. [...]
ISPs tell Commons select committee that £175m budgeted by government for implementation will not cover ‘massive costs’ of collecting everyone’s data [...]
Internet service providers (ISP) told a Commons select committee that the legislation, commonly known as the snooper’s charter, does not properly acknowledge the “sheer quantity” of data generated by a typical internet user, nor the basic difficulty of distinguishing between content and metadata. [...]
“The indiscriminate collection of mass data is going to have a massive cost,” [...]
The law incorporates language which requires communications service providers to obey government requests for building ongoing technical capability for the enactment of interception warrants, including by removing “electronic protection” from their communications. [...]
Meanwhile, in a presentation in Brazil, the UN’s special rapporteur on privacy, Joe Cannataci, attacked the government’s defence of the data-collection aspects of the bill. [...]