A perspective on principles for Internet surveillance

August 18, 2013 - by Nicolas Siedler, ISOC.

Last week, the Internet Society Board of Trustees took the opportunity at its meeting on the margins of the IETF meeting, in Berlin, to release a statement calling for “the global Internet community to stand together to support open Internet access, freedom and privacy”.


Access to retained data

September 17, 2014 - by Djordje Krivokapic and Milos Stojkovic. This report discusses how the legal framework regulating surveillance in Serbia is outdated and imprecise.


Access to telecommunication data in Poland: Specific problems and general conclusions

September 17, 2014 - by Katarzyna Szymielewicz and Anna Walkowiak.

Poland, as a member state of the European Union, was obliged to introduce mandatory telecommunication data retention as part of the implementation of the so­ called Data Retention Directive. However, when implementing the directive, Poland failed to introduce rules regarding the use of telecommunication data for law enforcement purposes. As a result, such information – collected about every person using telecommunication services in Poland – is used even in the prosecution of common crimes (like theft) and for the sake of crime prevention. Moreover, Polish law does not provide for any safeguards that would prevent abuses, such as an external supervisory mechanism, court oversight, the obligation to inform the person concerned about the use of his or her data or the obligation to destroy data after the end of proceedings.


Alternative Informatics Association’s Censorship and Digital Surveillance in Turkey Country Report September­ 2014

September 15, 2014

With the central filter implemented and public access points being arbitrarily censored/filtered, the blocking of Internet access in Turkey has turned into an escalating mechanism for the censorship/control of Internet users in Turkey. According to EngelliWeb about 51.000 domain names are blocked as of August 2014 and cannot be accessed from Turkey. But the real number—unannounced to the public—is estimated to be much more than this.


Back to the digital cage

September 16, 2014 -by Rozi Bakó.

Romania joined the European Union (EU) in 2007. While the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has rejected the EU Data Retention Directive as invalid, Romanian legislators were preparing two laws which, if adopted, would throw the country into a ‘digital cage’: Draft Law 263/2014 on cyber security, and Draft Law 277/2014 on the registration of prepaid mobile SIM cards and public Wi­Fi users. Back in 2011, Romania was at the forefront of rejecting the EU Data Retention Directive, risking sanction from the European authorities. In this context, adopting laws that violate users’ right to privacy in 2014 would be a step back for the ICT policy­making standards in the country.


Before privacy disappears

August 8, 2013 - by Vivian Newman.

This blog entry reflects on the importance of digital privacy with the story of a young law student that was arrested on charges of Mossad espionage in the Arab Spring while his only connection to this organization was a chat written years ago in which he boasted on his intentions to go to the Mossad to learn Arab. As a conclusion, the entry asks for limits to surveillance and mentions the international principles “necessary and proportionate”.


Blanket data retention: Law enforcement wants it, but they don’t need it

Septmeber 15, 2014 - by Raegan MacDonald.

On April 8, 2014, Europe’s highest court, the ECJ, released a long­awaited decision on the controversial Data Retention Directive, confirming what we all knew: the blanket surveillance mandated by the Data Retention Directive is neither necessary nor proportionate. This landmark decision from the ECJ invalidated the Directive as a violation of fundamental rights. It was warmly welcomed by civil society groups, academics and an array of European and international institutions. However, one nagging thought remains: If this Directive was such a clear­cut violation of fundamental rights, why did it remain in place for eight years?


Carl Bildt at the 2013 Seoul Conference on Cyberspace (GCCS 2013)

October 28, 2013

While presentations during the opening ceremony included hawkish language such as ‘a single click can cause an airplane to crash,’ Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt offered seven principles to guide states surveillance activity outlined here.


Comments of Human Rights Watch to Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Hearing

­March 19, 2014 - “The Surveillance Program Operated Pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act”

Members of civil society groups and experts in communications surveillance law, policy and technology, have drawn upon this case law to assemble a set of principles on application of human rights law to communications surveillance. The document, called ‘Necessary and Proportionate: International Principles on the Application of Human Rights Law to Communications Surveillance,’ are drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICCPR, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the Inter­American Convention on Human Rights (I­ACHR) and the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter), but also adjudicative bodies like the HRC and ECtHR, UN Resolutions and reports of Special Rapporteurs.[43] The principles have been signed by hundreds of human rights and civil society groups, including Human Rights Watch.


Communications surveillance in South Africa: The case of the Sunday Times newspaper

September 15, 2014 - by Jane Duncan. This article discusses the communications surveillance of two investigative journalists from the biggest weekend newspaper in South Africa, the Sunday Times. This story has been chosen as a case study of just how corruptible South Africa’s communications monitoring and interception capacities are, in spite of the government claiming that it offers all the necessary protections for civil liberties.