"snoopers charter"

British government will (unsuccessfully) ban end-to-end encryption

Home Secretary Theresa May has introduced the long-awaited, frequently assayed Snoopers' Charter, and it is a complete disaster.

UK spies claim Russians know how to break the crypto they say is unbreakable, even on unavailable files

Mere moments after publications of an independent report condemning UK's mass surveillance programme, sources in the UK spy agencies -- who are pushing for massively expanded surveillance powers through the Snoopers' Charter -- leaked an evidence-free story claiming the Russians and Chinese had magically gained the ability to decrypt the files Snowden took with him from the NSA. Read the rest

Triumphant Tories vow to ram through mass spying bill -- you can stop them!

Ed from the Open Rights Group writes, "The Conservatives have won an absolute majority in the General Election. The Home Secretary Theresa May has already said that she will use this majority to pass a new Snoopers' Charter." Read the rest

Snooper's Charter is dead: let's hammer a stake through its heart and fill its mouth with garlic

We killed the dreadful Snooper's Charter last week, again, for the third or fourth time, depending on how you count -- now how do we keep it from rising from the grave again and terrorizing Britain with the threat of total, ubiquitous, uncontrolled state spying? Read the rest

Last chance for an ORGCon2013 ticket!

Ruth from the Open Rights Group writes,

There are still some tickets left for ORGCon2013!

Don't miss out on a rare opportunity to hear John Perry Barlow speak in London, this Saturday June 8th! John Perry Barlow, co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, will be headlining ORGCon2013 along with writer of The Master Switch, Tim Wu.

Debate the big issues hitting the headlines, including the cry for a Snoopers' Charter revival following the Woolwich attack, and the calls for new Internet filters in the light of April Jones' murder. As politicians use the latest tragic news stories as an excuse to regulate the Internet, now is the time to get involved with digital rights!

The final programme has the perfect mix of panel debates, workshops, rapid fire talks and guest lectures! You can look forward to sessions on the Digital Arms Trade, freedom of speech, child protection on the internet, online censorship, copyright, creative citizenship...

Plus, hear from an impressive line-up of speakers including David Allen Green of #twitterjoketrial, Jeni Tennison, Policy Head at the Open Data Institute, Richard Allan Policy Director at Facebook, Diane Duane, Star Trek and Young Wizards writer, and many more!

Individual tickets are priced at £28, £16 for ORG supporters and just £6 for students. FREE tickets if you join ORG today!

Open Rights Group - Join us at ORGCon2013!

(Thanks, Ruth!)

(Disclosure: I co-founded the Open Rights Group and am pleased to serve as a volunteer advisor to it) Read the rest

ORGCon 2013 - the UK's only digital rights conference, this year with John Perry Barlow and Tim Wu!

Jim from the Open Rights Group writes in with the announcement for this year's ORGCon, a brilliant UK digital rights event:

Legends of digital rights, Tim Wu and John Perry Barlow, will be leading Open Rights Group's 3rd national conference on June 8th. Join us for ORGCon2013 at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, London for the UK's biggest digital freedoms event. ORGCon has always been a sell-out event so grab your tickets now before they all go!

This year topics covered include:

Snoopers' Charter: What's the situation now? Jim Killock and the author's of the Digital Surveillance report on what the Government are planning next after the defeat of the Comms Data Bill.

Lessons from creative citizens: How to win at the Internet Sci-fi author Diane Duane (Star Trek, Young Wizards), Simon Indelicate (The Indelicates) and bassist Steve Lawson will be talking about the creative ways they have developed successful artistic careers in the digital age.

What exactly is ORG anyway? Who we are and what we do ORG staff, volunteers, Advisory Council and Board will be sharing their role in ORG and explaining what our work is all about.

Who wins when copyright and free speech clash? Internet law expert Graham Smith (author of the mighty tome Internet Law and Regulation) and Article 19's legal officer, Gabrielle Guillemin, will be tackling this challenging question and looking at some of the conflicting principles.

How to wiretap the Cloud (without anybody noticing) Caspar Bowden, privacy expert, will be giving explaining the serious threat to European citizens' rights from the American law, FISAA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act).

Read the rest

Why do governments get Internet surveillance so wrong?

The UK Open Rights Group has just published "Why the Snoopers’ Charter is the wrong approach: A call for targeted and accountable investigatory powers," a digital paper on why and how governments go terribly wrong with Internet surveillance proposals, and what a reasonable and accountable form of surveillance would look like. Jim Killock from ORG sez,

After the Snoopers' Charter debacle, the Open Rights Group asks why intrusive new laws are being suggested, if they are needed at all and what the alternatives are. Some of the UK's most prominent surveillance experts examine the history of UK surveillance law and the challenges posed by the explosion of digital datasets. Contributors include journalist Duncan Campbell, legal expert Angela Patrick from Justice, Richard Clayton of Cambridge University Computer Labs and Peter Sommer, Visiting Professor at De Montfort University.

Digital Surveillance

(Thanks, Jim!)

(Disclaimer: I am proud to have co-founded the Open Rights Group, and to volunteer on its advisory council) Read the rest

Britons! Stop the Snoopers' Charter, end the government's spying plan!

On Saturday, the UK Open Rights Group held a London training session for activists who want to fight the "Snoopers' Charter."

UK-wide workshops on how to talk to your MP about Internet spying and censorship

As the UK government ramps up to pass the snooper's charter -- a sweeping, unaccountable regime of tax-funded, warrantless snooping on all online activity -- the Open Rights Group is offering workshops across the country on how to talk to your MP about this proposal. Workshops are coming up in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham and Bristol.

We're running these training sessions that will help you learn about two of the biggest current digital rights issues and practice how to discuss them with your MP. We'll be covering two big topics:

1. The “Snoopers’ Charter” - aka the Communications Data Bill - was announced in the Queen's speech and is about to be published by the government. The bill will create new powers to intercept and collect information about who you talk to online. Your communications via Google, Facebook or Skype will now be open to what may be a large number of government officials. We want to see the powers to collect and access communications data tightened up, not extended ever further.

2. Internet censorship. The government is considering whether Internet Service Providers should have to block websites that contain 'adult content' by default, with an 'opt out' for uncensored access. That would mean an infrastructure of censorship that could, through mistakes, abuse or mission creep, lead to more and more content being blocked for people in the UK. Our research on mobile Internet censorship recently showed how often the wrong websites can be filtered, for example. We want to prevent this further move towards private policing of the internet and free speech, and recommend better ways to help parents manage their children's Internet access.

Read the rest

Tories divided over UK spying bill, Home Secretary dismisses critics as "conspiracy theorists" who want to protect freedom for "criminals, terrorists and paedophiles"

The UK Conservative party is embroiled in a public internal squabble as its libertarian wing contemplates the "snoopers' charter," a proposed warrantless Internet spying bill that will require ISPs to store fantastic amounts of your online activity and make it accessible to police and government without a warrant, at a cost of billions of pounds that the ISPs can bill the government for. The Tories fought a nearly identical proposal from Labour in the last parliament. Home Secretary Theresa May has dismissed critics of the bill as "conspiracy theorists" who are unaccountably exercised over trivia like accountability, judicial review, and the principle of surveillance being limited to people who have done something suspicious. She says that these freedoms are only of use to "criminals, terrorists and paedophiles."

Alan Travis writes in The Guardian:

May dismissed critics of the new powers, which will allow police and intelligence services to track Facebook, Twitter, email and other web use, as "conspiracy theorists". She defended the 550,000 individual requests for data each year made by security officials as a vital tool to catch serious criminals and terrorists.

She told the Sun: "I just don't understand why some people might criticise these proposals. I have no doubt conspiracy theorists will come up with some ridiculous claims about how these measures are an infringement of freedom. But without changing the law, the only freedom we would protect is that of criminals, terrorists and paedophiles..."

"It's not content, but it's incredibly intrusive," [former Conservative shadow home secretary, David] Davis told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Read the rest

UK government offers unlimited budget to pay ISPs to spy on us

The other shoe is slowly dropping on the "Snooper's Charter" -- the proposed UK Internet spying legislation that will require ISPs to harvest and retain fantastic quantities of user activity and make it available to government and law enforcement without a warrant. In a bid to win support for the proposal, the government has offered a "blank cheque" to ISPs, with an offer to pay for additional equipment required to effect this mass surveillance system. They also continue to draw a wholly artificial distinction between "metadata" and "content" -- the URL of a web-page you visit can be had with out a warrant, but the content of the page can't be (unless the police then go look at that page). This obfuscation is intended to make spying into every corner of our digital lives without judicial review -- without suspicion -- somehow less terrifying.

The communications data police and others may seek about an individual includes email addresses and phone numbers of people who have been in contact, when this happened, and where, the details giving the police records of suspects' associates and activities.

Online privacy: Home Office to write blank cheque for 'snoopers' charter' Read the rest

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