ISPs in the UK are required to censor a wide swathe of content: what began as a strictly limited, opt-in ban on depictions of the sexual abuse of children has been steadily expanded to a mandatory ban on "extreme" pornography, "terrorist content," copyright and trademark infringement, and then there's the on-again/off-again ban on all porn sites unless they keep a record of the identity of each user and the porn they request..
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The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the UK spy agency GCHQ acted illegally when it engaged in mass-scale domestic surveillance of every Briton's electronic communications, a programme that was revealed by documents supplied to journalists by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
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The UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal has ruled that GCHQ (the UK's domestic surveillance apparatus) illegally engaged in mass surveillance for more than a decade (starting after 9/11), during which time the foreign secretaries who were supposed to be overseeing their activities "delegated powers without oversight," allowing the spies to police their own activities. (Images: Defense Images, CC-BY-SA; Cryteria, CC-BY)
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Officials with the British government complained to the White House today after Donald Trump's spokesliar Sean Spicer cited a bogus Fox News report claiming that former President Barack Obama got help from U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ to spy on Donald Trump.
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Le Monde has published a new collection of documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden, showing that the British spy agency GCHQ targeted the leaders of allied countries in Africa, as well as business executives and employees of telecommunications companies, whose accounts were a means to gaining access to communications infrastructure across the continent. Read the rest
The independent tribunal ruled on a case brought by Privacy International, concluding that the UK spy agency GCHQ was acting illegally for 17 years while it amassed huge databases of "bulk collection" data of cellphone location and call-data -- a practice revealed by the Edward Snowden docs. Read the rest
In 2010, the UK spy agency MI5 drafted memos informing top UK officials that its dragnet surveillance programme was gathering more information than it could make sense of, and warning that its indiscriminate approach to surveillance could put Britons at risk when signals about dangerous terror attacks were swamped by the noise of meaningless blips from the general population. Read the rest
Privacy International won a lawsuit forcing the UK government to publish thousands of pages of records on the use of "Bulk Personal Datasets" by the spy agencies GCHQ, MI5 and MI6. Read the rest
GCHQ, the UK's spy agency, designed a security protocol for voice-calling called MIKEY-SAKKE and announced that they'll only certify VoIP systems as secure if they use MIKEY-SAKKE, and it's being marketed as "government-grade security." Read the rest
Ed from the UK Open Rights Group writes, "Right now, the Government is ramming a new snooping law through Parliament. The Investigatory Powers Bill would force companies such as Sky, BT, Google and Facebook to keep detailed records of what we do online for a year -- even if we are not suspected of committing any crime whatsoever." Read the rest
Edward Snowden said that Britain's spies have "some of the most extensive surveillance powers in the world," and those powers are about to be dramatically expanded if the Snoopers Charter passes Parliament. Read the rest
UK Home Secretary Theresa May stood before Parliament on Wednesday, and, with a straight face, said: "The UK does not undertake mass surveillance. We have not, and we do not, undertake mass surveillance, and that is not what the Investigatory Powers Bill is about." Read the rest
Ministers are lobbying to make it a criminal offense for a tech company to inform a user that the UK government is spying on them. Read the rest
Gaffer is a graph database "optimised for retrieving data on nodes of interest" developed by the notorious UK spy agency GCHQ, and now you can download, run and improve it because they've posted it to Github under the permissive, free/open Apache license. Read the rest
James Bridle's new essay (adapted from a speech at the Through Post-Atomic Eyes event in Toronto last month) draws a connection between the terror of life in the nuclear shadow and the days we live in now, when we know that huge privacy disasters are looming, but are seemingly powerless to stop the proliferation of surveillance. Read the rest
In 1966, UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson told MPs that the UK spy agencies weren't allowed to tap their phones and that if that changed, he'd tell them about it first. In 1997, Prime Minister Tony Blair asserted that this applied to electronic communications. This Monday, UK Home Secretary Theresa May asserted that the "Wilson Doctrine" still applied to MPs. Then, on Wednesday, the investigatory powers tribunal ruled that this was all rubbish. Read the rest
Historically, US companies have been able to get around the (relatively stringent) European data-protection rules thanks to a "Safe Harbor" agreement between the US and the EU -- but Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy activist, has successfully argued that the NSA's mass surveillance programs violate European law and invalidates the Safe Harbor. Read the rest