Surveillance

Adrian Farrel : Why Responding to Terrorism with Curtailed Digital Freedom is Wrong

It is hard for anyone to continue the political debate in the aftermath of the events of Monday 22nd may in Manchester. Our thoughts are all occupied with concern for all those affected, and with love for our own children.

But one of the objectives behind this sort of attack is to disrupt our political system, to damage democracy, and cause us to change our way of life. The intention is to instil fear into us all, to cause us to hide and become hostile, to make us different from the open and culturally diverse nation that we are. It is important, as a way to mitigate this attack, that we strengthen the political debate and act to preserve our freedoms, rights, and civil liberties. We cannot bring back those who were killed, and we can only hope that the wounds, both physical and psychological, heal with time, but we can show the terrorists that we will not allow them to take our society down.

Several questions that are close to the centre of Pirate Party politics need to be addressed immediately. They are fundamental to the debate about freedom and yet appear to offer direct methods to reduce the likelihood of future attacks.

1. Information on how to make bombs is available online

It is true that all manner of very horrible things can be found on line. Some can be put to bad uses by people who want to do us harm. Some things are of their nature unacceptable.

In general, where illegal material is hosted on servers in the UK, the police already have powers to have that content removed. No new laws or powers are needed.

Adrian Farrel : Consequences of the IP Bill for You and Your Internet Service Provider

Well, like it or not (and I don't) the Investigatory Powers Bill has received royal assent and so is something that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have to take seriously. But what does it all mean for you and your ISP?

Internet Connection Records

The new bill requires that Internet Connection Records (ICRs) are retained by communications service providers. The intention is that government agencies shall be able to look at the retained data subject to due legal process allowing law enforcement agencies to attribute illegal activity on the internet to a person in the real world.

The Government has been famously coy in defining what an ICR actually is. They say things like, "Internet connection records (ICRs) are records of the internet services that have been accessed by a device. They would include, for example, a record of the fact that a smartphone had accessed a particular social media website at a particular time." And they give examples of usage such as, "Internet Connection Records when used with Internet Protocol (IP) resolution data would allow law enforcement agencies to trace the individuals who accessed [particular] images."

The Government is also are quite keen to say what they are not: "ICRs do not provide a full internet browsing history. The ICRs do not reveal every web page that a person visited or any action carried out on that web page."

But this is all very unclear. Does the ICR stop at noting that you visited www.blogspot.com, or does it go as far as distinguishing visits to mamarihanna.blogspot.com and womenhealth85.blogspot.com?

What Price Security Surveillance Now?

Adrian Farrel's picture

A couple of weeks ago I attended a meeting of the Manchester branch of the Open Rights Group to discuss the proposed Investigatory Powers Bill known as the IPBill and currently about to be discussed and voted on by the House of Lords.

The meeting included a showing of The Haystack (http://thehaystackdocumentary.squarespace.com/watch/) a short documentary film about surveillance in the UK. We then had an open discussion of the film and the IPBill with a panel including Gary Herman from the National Union of Journalists, Gary Hough from Zen Internet, Loz Kaye from Open Intelligence, and myself.

While recognising the threats posed by terrorism, paedophilia, and organised crime, the room seemed unanimous in its belief that the IPBill is poorly conceived, lacking in detail, and over-reaching in its powers. For some background on the IPBill see https://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Investigatory_Powers_Bill.

Rifkind Quits - Time for a Critical ISC Chair

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 - 16:45

Malcom Rifkind has announced that he will stand down as chair of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) with immediate effect. The committee is due to publish a report into privacy and security arising from the leaks by the NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden ahead of the general election in May.

Two major advocates of mass surveillance, Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind were exposed for their involvement in a new “cash for access” scandal. They offered to use their positions on behalf of a fictitious Chinese company in return for payments of at least £5,000 per day.

Andy Halsall : Let's make being 'Wrong on Rights' unelectable

When it comes to the clash between surveillance and civil liberties, it seems the fight is still very much on. It's a war we have to win and with the General Election looming, making the case that mass surveillance and privacy should be important issues for voters is pretty vital.

Happily, on that score, there have been a number of developments that might just help us move the debate forward.

On Monday, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Europe’s top rights body published a report that shows that it believes mass surveillance is a significant threat to human rights.  That's good news for anyone hoping to see a rolling back of the surveillance state.

The report recognises what the Pirate Party and others have been saying for years about the threat of mass surveillance. Like us, it did not shy away from discussing the disclosures made by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden:

“The disclosures have provided compelling evidence of the existence of far-reaching, technologically advanced systems put in place by US intelligence services and their partners in certain Council of Europe member states to collect, store and analyse communication data, including content, location and other metadata, on a massive scale”

Stop DRIP

STOP DRIP - No to Mass Surveillance

In one short week, the UK Parliament is set to ram through a new bill on mass surveillance. It is the "Data Retention and Investigatory Powers" Bill, AKA DRIP. Even though the Government says it will change nothing, it will in fact attack our right to a private life and extend mass surveillance further.

  • DRIP will undermine human rights

  • DRIP was a stitch up between the 3 main parties behind closed doors

  • DRIP tightens the grip of mass surveillance 

  • DRIP will extend surveillance powers

  • DRIP will be forced through in less than a week, with no proper scrutiny

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill will allow the state to force Internet and phone companies to store your personal data so it can be accessed at will by a large number of public bodies.

The Home Office has claimed it's a matter of "life and death". Is you ringing your partner or family telling them you forgot to pick up the milk a matter of life and death? Under DRIP it is, and you need to be recorded.

Time for Parliament to act on Mass Surveillance

Editor's picture

We hear all the time that the British public don't care about mass surveillance, privacy and Edward Snowden, but we know that's not true. It may be that those inside the Westminster bubble have been able to hide from how people really feel up to now, but it's time to change that.
It's time for members of Parliament to stand up, be counted, and support our freedoms.

We are asking you to contact your Member of Parliament to ask them to support Early Day Motion 147. It need not take long, the important thing is you tell them how you feel on this issue. Not all MPs can sign EDMs, front benchers don't as a rule, but it is still important that you take this opportunity to let them know you care about mass surveillance.

Victory For Euro Consumers As EU Votes To End Roaming Charges, Guarantee Net Neutrality

 Some big advances today in the often frustrating, slow moving world of communications regulation: the European Union has voted in favor of ending mobile roaming charges, and also in favor of guaranteeing net neturality on data networks....

  

Wednesday, 9 April, 2014 - 03:30

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