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Police body worn cameras raise security and privacy concerns

By Javier Ruiz on Aug 21, 2015.

By Javier Ruiz Aug 21 2015

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Concerns have been raised over the handling of footage from police body worn cameras.

Should file sharers face ten years in gaol?

By Maxine Chng on Aug 05, 2015.

By Maxine Chng Aug 05 2015

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New proposals to make online copyright infringement a criminal offence risks punishing users who share links and files online more harshly than ordinary, physical theft.

Answers needed from the Copyright Police

By Maxine Chng on Jul 28, 2015.

By Maxine Chng Jul 28 2015

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The City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been the subject of controversy following take-down notices sent to overseas domain registrars. We believe they need to strengthen their commitments to due process, independence and transparency.

UK Court rules DRIPA unlawful

By Ed Johnson-Williams on Jul 22, 2015.

By Ed Johnson-Williams Jul 22 2015

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Last week, the High Court ruled that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) was inconsistent with EU law.

RUSI review adds to consensus for reform

By Jim Killock on Jul 14, 2015.

By Jim Killock Jul 14 2015

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The RUSI review offers few surprises, and has turned out to be less a trailblazer, and more an indication of what the security establishment believes the agencies might accept.

Caspar Bowden

By Jim Killock on Jul 10, 2015.

By Jim Killock Jul 10 2015

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We’d like to express our sorrow at Caspar Bowden’s passing, and to note some of his very remarkable achievements over the last few years. Caspar has been an active member of our Advisory Council since joining it in October 2013 and helped us greatly with our views on surveillance policy, security and European data protection.

DRIPA challenge in court today

By Jim Killock on Jul 09, 2015.

By Jim Killock Jul 09 2015

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The challenge to DRIPA brought by David Davis and Tom Watson was discussed in court today, as the government sought to refer key questions to the EU courts.

Net Neutrality in Europe in danger

By Ed Johnson-Williams on Jun 23, 2015.

By Ed Johnson-Williams Jun 23 2015

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Net neutrality is under threat in Europe and we urgently need your help before 29th June!

Anderson review: "It is time for a clean slate"

By Pam Cowburn on Jun 11, 2015.

By Pam Cowburn Jun 11 2015

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The UK's Independent Review of Terrorism Legislation has said, “it is time for a clean slate” when it comes to surveillance law in the UK. In his report published today, David Anderson QC condemned the current legislative framework as, “fragmented, obscure, under constant challenge and variable in the protections that it affords the innocent”.

Anderson was tasked with reviewing surveillance law as a requirement of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act – one of the concessions gained by Labour and the Lib Dems in return for their support in rushing the Bill through Parliament last July.

Anderson, unsurprisingly, does not condemn mass surveillance in principle and endorses bulk collection by the security services, but the report does call for a radical overhaul of how surveillance is regulated.

Here are some of the key points:

Legal reform: Since the Snowden revelations began two years ago, Parliament has further legislated for surveillance through DRIPA, the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and amendments to the Computer Misuse Act that legitimise hacking by the security services. Anderson's damning verdict that the law, "is variable in the protections that it affords the innocent” can't be ignored. The report says: "A comprehensive and comprehensible new law should be drafted from scratch, replacing the multitude of current powers and providing for clear limits and safeguards on any intrusive power that it may be necessary for public authorities to use."

Warrants: Under the current system, warrants for surveillance are signed off by government ministers, who are not independent. Anderson's recommendations that warrants should be signed off by judicial commissioners is a welcome shift away from politicial authorisation but it would be preferable for warrants to go through the courts and be signed by serving judges to help make sure that surveillance is 'necessary and proportionate'.

Snoopers' Charter: Anderson says that extending capabilities through a new Snoopers' Charter should only happen if there is, “a detailed operational case needs to be made out, and a rigorous assessment conducted of the lawfulness, likely effectiveness, intrusiveness and cost of requiring such data to be retained”. So far the Government hasn't made such a case. In addition, it has made a report by Sir Nigel Sheinwald top secret. That report is believed to have suggested that a new international treaty could be a legal alternative to the Snoopers' Charter.  Despite this, the Home Secretary Theresa May today told the House of Commons that the re-drafted Snoopers' Charter would be laid before Parliament in the autumn - although it would be scrutinised by a Joint Commitee.  

It is unlikely that Anderson's review and the Intelligence and Security Committee's Privacy and Security report would have happened were it not for Edward Snowden's revelations. Two years on, there are still many battles to be fought but one thing is certain - the status quo cannot continue. MPs from all parties must act to ensure that the UK has surveillance powers fit for a democracy.  

You can sign our petiton against the Snoopers Charter here.

Imagine the web without hyperlinks

By Ruth Coustick-Deal on May 22, 2015.

By Ruth Coustick-Deal May 22 2015

Comments (1)
ORG is working with an international coalition of over 70 digital rights organisations, from Creative Commons to Thunderclap, to protect our ability to share content. The campaign is called Save the Link.