Campaign group to challenge UK over surrender of passwords at border control | Politics | The Guardian

The move comes after its international director, Muhammad Rabbani, a UK citizen, was arrested at Heathrow airport in November for refusing to hand over passwords. Rabbani, 35, has been detained at least 20 times over the past decade when entering the UK, under schedule 7 of terrorism legislation that provides broad search powers, but this was the first time he had been arrested.

Fuente: Campaign group to challenge UK over surrender of passwords at border control | Politics | The Guardian


Gobiernos en guerra contra WhatsApp por su cifrado de extremo a extremo – El Mostrador

Tras el ataque al Parlamento Británico ocurrido la semana pasada, los políticos británicos han exigido que Whatsapp y otras aplicaciones de mensajería instantánea proporcionen acceso a la policía y fuerzas de seguridad para así poder monitorear conversaciones terroristas. Sin embargo, los expertos en tecnología discuten que abrir las “puertas traseras” de los servicios de mensajería popular, las cuales usan cifrado de extremo a extremo, arrojaría una serie de problemas.

Fuente: Gobiernos en guerra contra WhatsApp por su cifrado de extremo a extremo – El Mostrador


WikiLeaks publishes ‘biggest ever leak of secret CIA documents’ | Media | The Guardian

The US intelligence agencies are facing fresh embarrassment after WikiLeaks published what it described as the biggest ever leak of confidential documents from the CIA detailing the tools it uses to break into phones, communication apps and other electronic devices.

Fuente: WikiLeaks publishes ‘biggest ever leak of secret CIA documents’ | Media | The Guardian


In Major Privacy Victory, Top EU Court Rules Against Mass Surveillance

The European Union’s top court has severely undermined the British government’s mass surveillance powers in a new ruling that could rein in police and spy agency investigations.In a judgment handed down in Luxembourg on Wednesday, the European Court of Justice declared that the “general and indiscriminate retention” of data about people’s communications and locations was inconsistent with privacy rights. The court stated that the “highly invasive” bulk storage of private data “exceeds the limits of what is strictly necessary and cannot be considered to be justified, within a democratic society.”

Fuente: In Major Privacy Victory, Top EU Court Rules Against Mass Surveillance


U.K. Parliament Approves Unprecedented New Hacking and Surveillance Powers

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the new law is that it will give the British government the authority to serve internet service providers with a “data retention notice,” forcing them to record and store for up to 12 months logs showing websites visited by all of their customers. Law enforcement agencies will then be able to obtain access to this data without any court order or warrant. In addition, the new powers will hand police and tax investigators the ability to, with the approval of a government minister, hack into targeted phones and computers.

Fuente: U.K. Parliament Approves Unprecedented New Hacking and Surveillance Powers


‘Extreme surveillance’ becomes UK law with barely a whimper | World news | The Guardian

A bill giving the UK intelligence agencies and police the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world has passed into law with barely a whimper, meeting only token resistance over the past 12 months from inside parliament and barely any from outside.The Investigatory Powers Act, passed on Thursday, legalises a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US.

Fuente: ‘Extreme surveillance’ becomes UK law with barely a whimper | World news | The Guardian


HELP US FIGHT SWEEPING STATE HACKING POWERS | Privacy International

Following on from our recent victory against unlawful surveillance by the British intelligence services, Privacy International is taking the British Government to court again. Why? Because it is using ‘general warrants’ to hack the electronic devices (computers, phones, tablets, and the increasing number of things that ‘connect’ to the internet) of sweeping groups of unidentified people at home and abroad. General warrants permit the government to target wide categories of people, places or property (e.g. all mobile phones in London) without any individualised suspicion of wrongdoing.

Fuente: HELP US FIGHT SWEEPING STATE HACKING POWERS | Privacy International


Three New Scandals Show How Pervasive and Dangerous Mass Surveillance Is in the West, Vindicating Snowden

While most eyes are focused on the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, three major events prove how widespread, and dangerous, mass surveillance has become in the West. Standing alone, each event highlights exactly the severe threats that motivated Edward Snowden to blow his whistle; taken together, they constitute full-scale vindication of everything he’s done.

Fuente: Three New Scandals Show How Pervasive and Dangerous Mass Surveillance Is in the West, Vindicating Snowden


Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Will Consider Legality of Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden

Ten organizations – including Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Amnesty International – are taking up the landmark case against the U.K. government in the European Court of Human Rights (pictured above). In a 115-page complaint released on Thursday, the groups allege that “blanket and indiscriminate” surveillance operations carried out by British spy agencies in collaboration with their U.S. counterparts violate privacy and freedom of expression rights.

Fuente: Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Will Consider Legality of Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden


Bulk data collection vital to prevent terrorism in UK, report finds | World news | The Guardian

The bulk collection of personal data by British spy agencies is vital in preventing terrorist attacks, an independent review of draft security legislation has found.David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, concluded that laws giving MI5, MI6 and GCHQ the right to gather large volumes of data from members of the public had a “clear operational purpose”.

Fuente: Bulk data collection vital to prevent terrorism in UK, report finds | World news | The Guardian


Documents Reveal Secretive U.K. Surveillance Policies

NEWLY DISCLOSED DOCUMENTS offer a rare insight into the secretive legal regime underpinning the British government’s controversial mass surveillance programs.The London-based group Privacy International obtained the previously confidential files as part of an ongoing legal case challenging the scope of British spies’ covert collection of huge troves of private data.

Fuente: Documents Reveal Secretive U.K. Surveillance Policies


Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks' malware checklist / Boing Boing

Boing Boing is proud to publish two original documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, in connection with “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Extraordinary Rendition,” a short story …

Fuente: Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks’ malware checklist / Boing Boing


Big tech groups warn UK against spy bill – FT.com

Silicon Valley’s biggest companies have urged the UK government to reconsider swaths of its proposed surveillance law, saying it will have far-reaching implications for how other countries upgrade their spying regimes. In a rare show of unity,

Fuente: Big tech groups warn UK against spy bill – FT.com


Apple's Tim Cook defends encryption. When will other tech CEOs do so? | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian

More high-profile titans need to use their platforms to make crystal clear how important encryption is to users everywhere

Fuente: Apple’s Tim Cook defends encryption. When will other tech CEOs do so? | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian


Apple believes bill creates ‘key under doormat for bad guys’ – FT.com

Shortly after Theresa May introduced the draft Investigatory Powers bill in November to update the UK’s surveillance laws for the internet age, the home secretary met privately with Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive. He laid out a number of

Fuente: Apple believes bill creates ‘key under doormat for bad guys’ – FT.com


The hype over metadata is a dangerous myth – FT.com

Communications data — and the government’s powers to collect them — are at the heart of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill introduced by Theresa May, UK home secretary, which is currently under scrutiny. Such metadata are the digital exhaust of our

Fuente: The hype over metadata is a dangerous myth – FT.com


GCHQ conducted illegal surveillance, investigatory powers tribunal rules | UK news | The Guardian

GCHQ conducted illegal surveillance, investigatory powers tribunal rules | UK news | The Guardian.

 Documents relating to Sami al-Saadi must be destroyed, tribunal has ruled.Documents relating to Sami al-Saadi must be destroyed, tribunal has ruled. Photograph: Marco Longari/AFP

GCHQ, Britain’s national security surveillance agency, has been ordered to destroy legally privileged communications it unlawfully collected from a Libyan rendition victim.

The ruling marks the first time in its 15-year history that the investigatory powers tribunal has upheld a specific complaint against the intelligence services, lawyers have said. It is also the first time the tribunal has ordered a security service to give up surveillance material.

The IPT says GCHQ must destroy two documents which are legally privileged communications belonging to a former opponent of the Gaddafi regime, Sami al-Saadi, who was sent back to Libya in 2004 in a joint MI6-CIA “rendition” operation with his wife and four children under 12.

The tribunal, chaired by Mr Justice Burton, ruled that GCHQ must give an undertaking that parts of those documents must be “destroyed or deleted so as to render such information inaccessible to the agency in the future”. The agency has to submit a secret report within 14 days confirming that the destruction has been carried out.

GCHQ has also been ordered to hand over a hard copy of the papers to the interception of communications commissioner within seven days. They will be kept safe for five years in case there are further legal proceedings or an inquiry.

The tribunal says that although the two documents contain information covered by legal privilege they did not disclose or refer to any legal advice: “The tribunal, after careful consideration, is [also] satisfied that there was no use or disclosure of the privileged information for the purpose of defending the civil claim brought by [Saadi] and others.”

This is a compensation claim against Jack Straw, the then foreign secretary, and the Foreign Office, being brought by Saadi along with another prominent opponent of Gaddafi, Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his family, for their role in their rendition and subsequent torture in Libya in 2004.


Should the UK age restrict porn – and if so, is it even viable? | Technology | The Guardian

Should the UK age restrict porn – and if so, is it even viable? | Technology | The Guardian.

 pornAge verification of hardcore pornography is likely to damage free porn sites and may not be effective at stopping minors from accessing the adult content. But is it right to try? Photograph: Alamy

Access to pornography is recurring subject of much debate and strong views, and it’s back in the news again. The Conservatives have vowed to take existing filtering one stage further if they win the 2015 general election – if the party wins they plan to force adult content sites to employ strict age verification or be blocked from the internet. But is it possible, should it be done and is such a strict practice really needed?


Google loses UK appeal court battle over 'clandestine' tracking | Technology | The Guardian

Google loses UK appeal court battle over ‘clandestine’ tracking | Technology | The Guardian.

 GoogleThe judges ruled that claims for damages can now be brought over allegations of misuse of private information. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA

Google has failed in its attempt in the court of appeal to prevent British consumers having the right to sue the internet firm in the UK.

A group known as Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking wants to take legal action in the English courts over what it says is Google’s tracking of Apple’s Safari internet browser.

It has accused Google of bypassing security settings in order to track users’ online browsing and to target them with personalised advertisements.

Three judges have dismissed Google’s appeal over a high court decision against it and ruled that claims for damages can be brought over allegations of misuse of private information.

Friday’s ruling was a victory for Safari Users, including editor and publisher Judith Vidal-Hall, and Robert Hann and Marc Bradshaw, who are both IT security company directors. They say Google’s “clandestine” tracking and collation of internet usage between summer 2011 and early 2012 led to distress and embarrassment among UK users.

They accuse Google of collecting private information without their knowledge and consent by the use of “cookies” – a small string of text saved on the user’s device.


UK surveillance laws need total overhaul, says landmark report | US news | The Guardian

UK surveillance laws need total overhaul, says landmark report | US news | The Guardian.

 

The report was prompted by the revelations of Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency contractor. Photograph: The Guardian/AFP/Getty Images

Britain’s laws governing the intelligence agencies and mass surveillance require a total overhaul to make them more transparent, comprehensible and up to date, parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) has said in a landmark report prompted by the revelations of Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency contractor.

The 18-month inquiry finds that the existing laws are not being broken by the agencies and insists the bulk collection of data by the government does not amount to mass surveillance or a threat to individual privacy.

But it also says that the legal framework is unnecessarily complicated and – crucially – lacks transparency. The current laws could be construed as providing the agencies with a “blank cheque to carry out whatever actives they deem necessary”, it says.

In what it describes as its key recommendation it calls for all the current legislation governing the intrusive capabilities of the security and intelligence agencies to be replaced by a new, single act of parliament.

This new legal framework should for the first time explicitly set out surveillance capabilities, detailing the authorisation procedures, privacy constraints, transparency requirements, targeting criteria, sharing arrangements, oversight, and other safeguards.

The report will form a central pillar of the discussions in the next parliament on how to redraft UK surveillance laws, including a report from the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) commissioned by Nick Clegg and work being undertaken by the commissioner on intelligence law.

This inquiry, disrupted by the last-minute resignation of the committee chairman, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, over allegations concerning cash for influence, has always been viewed sceptically by libertarians, who regard the ISC as the democratic voice for the agencies as opposed to their scrutineers.


ARGENPRESS.info – Prensa argentina para todo el mundo: Espionaje de Estados Unidos: El cuento de nunca acabar

ARGENPRESS.info – Prensa argentina para todo el mundo: Espionaje de Estados Unidos: El cuento de nunca acabar.

lunes, 2 de marzo de 2015

Carmen Esquivel (PL)

Cuando aún está fresco en la memoria el escándalo por el espionaje masivo contra ciudadanos, instituciones y hasta dignatarios europeos, el tema vuelve a la palestra al revelarse ahora que otros objetivos estuvieron en la mira de los servicios de inteligencia estadounidenses.

El nuevo blanco de los ataques es la compañía holandesa Gemalto, primera de su tipo en el mundo en la fabricación de tarjetas SIM (Subscriber Identity Module), en español Módulo de Identificación de Abonados, usada en teléfonos celulares y módems.

Para dar una idea de la magnitud de lo que esto significa baste señalar que la firma produce cerca de dos mil millones de estos dispositivos al año para 450 empresas de telecomunicaciones, entre ellas T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange, Verizon y Sprint.

Gemalto trabaja, además, con unas tres mil instituciones financieras porque elabora chips para tarjetas de crédito.

De acuerdo con documentos filtrados recientemente por Edward Snowden, ex analista de la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad (NSA, por sus siglas en inglés), las inteligencias estadounidense y británica lograron apropiarse de las claves de la compañía, lo cual les abrió las puertas a los celulares de medio mundo.

La NSA y el Cuartel General de Comunicaciones del gobierno de Gran Bretaña (GCHQ) obtuvieron las llaves al acceder a los servidores centrales de Gemalto, valiéndose de información privada de algunos ingenieros, fabricantes de tarjetas y proveedores.

De esta manera pudieron espiar las llamadas, mensajes y correos electrónicos de una persona o empresa sin necesidad de pasar por una operadora o de obtener una orden judicial y, lo más alarmante, sin dejar ningún tipo de rastro.

“Es imposible saber cuántos códigos robaron la NSA y el GCHQ, pero si nos basamos en hipótesis modestas, el número es impresionante”, afirmó el sitio digital The Intercept, que filtró la información.


British refusal to cooperate with spy inquiry causes row in Germany | World news | The Guardian

British refusal to cooperate with spy inquiry causes row in Germany | World news | The Guardian.

Angela Merkel Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Downing Street and the German chancellery are embroiled in a worsening dispute over intelligence-sharing and the covert counter-terrorism campaign because of conflicts arising from the surveillance scandals surrounding the US National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ.

According to German newspaper reports citing government and intelligence officials in Berlin, the Bundestag’s inquiry into the NSA controversy is being jeopardised by Britain’s refusal to cooperate and its threats to break off all intelligence-sharing with Berlin should the committee reveal any UK secrets.

The weekly magazine Focus reported last month that a national security aide to David Cameron had written to Peter Altmaier, Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, refusing all requests for help in the inquiry and warning that Britain would cease supplying terrorism-related intelligence to the Germans unless Berlin yielded.

It emerged during the NSA revelations that the Americans had hacked into Merkel’s mobile phone, generating outrage in Germany and feeding growing anti-American sentiment.

Internationally, the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, is viewed as less than vigorous. In the secret war on terror, the Germans are said to be dependent on signals intelligence from the British and the Americans.


Gemalto Doesn't Know What It Doesn't Know – The Intercept

Gemalto Doesn’t Know What It Doesn’t Know – The Intercept.

Featured photo - Gemalto Doesn’t Know What It Doesn’t Know

Gemalto CEO Olivier Piou shows a cellphone SIM card before a press conference on February 25, 2015 in Paris.

Gemalto, the French-Dutch digital security giant, confirmed that it believes American and British spies were behind a “particularly sophisticated intrusion” of its internal computer networks, as reported by The Intercept last week.

This morning, the company tried to downplay the significance of NSA and GCHQ efforts against its mobile phone encryption keys — and, in the process, made erroneous statements about cellphone technology and sweeping claims about its own security that experts describe as highly questionable.

Gemalto, which is the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, launched an internal investigation after The Intercept six days ago revealed that the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ hacked the company and cyberstalked its employees. In the secret documents, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the intelligence agencies described a successful effort to obtain secret encryption keys used to protect hundreds of millions of mobile devices across the globe.

The company was eager to address the claims that its systems and encryption keys had been massively compromised. At one point in stock trading after publication of the report, Gemalto suffered a half billion dollar hit to its market capitalization. The stock only partially recovered in the following days.

After the brief investigation, Gemalto now says that the NSA and GCHQ operations in 2010-2011 would not allow the intelligence agencies to spy on 3G and 4G networks, and that theft would have been rare after 2010, when it deployed a “secure transfer system.” The company also said the spy agency hacks only affected “the outer parts of our networks — our office networks — which are in contact with the outside world.”

Security experts and cryptography specialists immediately challenged Gemalto’s claim to have done a “thorough” investigation into the state-sponsored attack in just six days, saying the company was greatly underestimating the abilities of the NSA and GCHQ to penetrate its systems without leaving detectable traces.

“Gemalto learned about this five-year-old hack by GCHQ when the The Intercept called them up for a comment last week. That doesn’t sound like they’re on top of things, and it certainly suggests they don’t have the in-house capability to detect and thwart sophisticated state-sponsored attacks,” says Christopher Soghoian, the chief technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. He adds that Gemalto remains “a high-profile target for intelligence agencies.”

Matthew Green, a cryptography specialist at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute, said, “This is an investigation that seems mainly designed to produce positive statements. It is not an investigation at all.”


In Historic Ruling, UK Surveillance Secrecy Declared Unlawful – The Intercept

In Historic Ruling, UK Surveillance Secrecy Declared Unlawful – The Intercept.

Featured photo - In Historic Ruling, UK Surveillance Secrecy Declared Unlawful

The United Kingdom’s top surveillance agency has acted unlawfully by keeping details about the scope of its Internet spying operations secret, a British court ruled in an unprecedented judgment issued on Friday.

Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, was found to have breached human rights laws by concealing information about how it accesses surveillance data collected by its American counterpart, the National Security Agency.

The ruling was handed down by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, a special court that handles complaints related to covert surveillance operations conducted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. In its 15-year history, the tribunal has never before upheld a complaint against any intelligence agencies.

The legal challenge was brought by human rights groups, including Privacy International and Liberty, following disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The groups alleged that GCHQ was unlawfully obtaining data through the NSA’s online spying program PRISM, which collects data stored by Internet giants such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The groups also focused on GCHQ’s role in obtaining private communications swept up by the NSA directly from internet cables, known as so-called “upstream” collection.


UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful ‘for seven years’ | UK news | The Guardian

UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful ‘for seven years’ | UK news | The Guardian.

Britain's Britain's GCHQ

 The legal challenge was the first of dozens of GCHQ-related claims to be examined in detail by the IPT. Photograph: Ho/Reuters

The regime that governs the sharing between Britain and the US of electronic communications intercepted in bulk was unlawful until last year, a secretive UK tribunal has ruled.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) declared on Friday that regulations covering access by Britain’s GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law.

Advocacy groups said the decision raised questions about the legality of intelligence-sharing operations between the UK and the US. The ruling appears to suggest that aspects of the operations were illegal for at least seven years – between 2007, when the Prism intercept programme was introduced, and 2014.

The critical judgment marks the first time since the IPT was established in 2000 that it has upheld a complaint relating to any of the UK’s intelligence agencies. It said that the government’s regulations were illegal because the public were unaware of safeguards that were in place. Details of those safeguards were only revealed during the legal challenge at the IPT.

An “order” posted on the IPT’s website early on Friday declared: “The regime governing the soliciting, receiving, storing and transmitting by UK authorities of private communications of individuals located in the UK, which have been obtained by US authorities … contravened Articles 8 or 10” of the European convention on human rights.


Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance | US news | The Guardian

Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance | US news | The Guardian.


British prime minister takes tougher line on internet companies than US president at White House talks on Islamist threats

In Washington, David Cameron announces the creation of a joint group between the US and the UK to counter the rise of domestic violent extremism in the two countries

Barack Obama and David Cameron struck different notes on surveillance powers after the president conceded that there is an important balance to be struck between monitoring terror suspects and protecting civil liberties.

As Cameron warned the internet giants that they must do more to ensure they do not become platforms for terrorist communications, the US president said he welcomed the way in which civil liberties groups hold them to account by tapping them on the shoulder.

Obama agreed with the prime minister that there could be no spaces on the internet for terrorists to communicate that could not be monitored by the intelligences agencies, subject to proper oversight. But, unlike Cameron, the president encouraged groups to ensure that he and other leaders do not abandon civil liberties.

The prime minister adopted a harder stance on the need for big internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more to cooperate with the surveillance of terror suspects. In an interview with Channel 4 News he said they had to be careful not to act as a communications platform for terrorists.


‘Freedom of expression’ anti-snooping campaign launched over Ripa changes | Politics | The Guardian

‘Freedom of expression’ anti-snooping campaign launched over Ripa changes | Politics | The Guardian.

Campaigners fear draft code of Ripa legislation will allow police sweeping powers to access phone and email records of journalists, lawyers and doctors
Armed police officers Houses of Parliament
Armed police officers inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

An urgent campaign has been launched for a “freedom of expression” law to protect confidential journalists’, MPs’ and lawyers’ phone and communications records being secretly snooped on by the police.

Senior editors and lawyers condemned as “wholly inadequate” safeguards put forward by Theresa May in December to meet concerns over the police use of surveillance powers in a code of practice linked to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (Ripa).

The critics of the draft code fear that the police will still have sweeping powers allowing them to authorise themselves to access the phone and email records of professionals such as journalists, lawyers, doctors, MPs and priests who handle privileged, confidential information.

More than 3,000 national and regional editors are being asked to sign a joint letter from the Society of Editors and Press Gazette, the industry’s journal, condemning the Home Office joint code for failing to recognise “the overarching importance of protecting journalists’ sources”.

The campaign comes as the prime minister, David Cameron, called for an extension of the laws that give snooping powers to security services with a plan to ban encrypted messages in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Paris attacks.


Why MI5 does not need more surveillance powers after the Paris attacks | Henry Porter | Comment is free | The Guardian

Why MI5 does not need more surveillance powers after the Paris attacks | Henry Porter | Comment is free | The Guardian.


The terrorists wanted to undermine liberty and openness. We must resist the urge to do the same
Andrew Parker, MI5 director general
MI5 director general Andrew Parker. ‘Be it monitoring the Kouachi brothers or Lee Rigby’s killers, the authorities had all the powers they needed.’ Photograph: MI5/PA

Soon after the attacks in Paris last week, the director general of MI5, Andrew Parker, said of the jihadi threat: “Whenever we lose visibility of what they are saying to each other, so our ability to understand and mitigate the threat they pose is reduced.”

Few would disagree with this sentiment, or in any way underestimate the enormous responsibility counter-terrorist agencies face after the killings, but the coded suggestion that MI5 needs further sweeping surveillance powers to track down terrorists is more controversial, because it doesn’t take into account the facts.

The Kouachi brothers were part of what is known as the Buttes-Chaumont network and were being watched, on and off, as far back as 2005. In terms of monitoring, much the same is true of the killers of Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale; the Boston bomber, Tamerlan Tsnarnaev; and the killer in the attack in Sydney late last year, Man Haron Monis. The authorities had all the powers they needed to monitor the activities of these men, both physically and electronically.

This is not to blame the agencies concerned, for it is impossible to predict the behaviour of any number of individuals – and agency resources, even in the US, are always going to be finite. The agencies have to make a call and sometimes that call will be wrong, which is all part of their extraordinarily difficult job. What is incoherent, and may be regarded as slightly opportunistic, is the agitation for new powers when they already have powers to observe and follow these individuals, and to intercept their communications.


Philip Hammond ‘confused’ about extent of UK surveillance powers | Politics | The Guardian

Philip Hammond ‘confused’ about extent of UK surveillance powers | Politics | The Guardian.

Foreign secretary accused by campaigners of not understanding warrants he has been signing into force

 

 

Philip Hammond answers questions at parliament’s intelligence and security committee in October. Source: ParliamentTV

 

Philip Hammond has been criticised for not understanding the legislation surrounding government powers to sweep up and analyse huge volumes of electronic communications such as email.

 

Eric King, from rights group Privacy International, said the foreign secretary appeared “confused” while giving evidence to parliament’s intelligence and security committee. The committee is reviewing the need for new legislation to regulate the UK’s electronic espionage agency, GCHQ, in light of revelations on bulk data collection by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for US intelligence.

 

The accusation follows a judgment on Friday that ruled the Tempora programme, for which Hammond signed the warrants, was legal, despite widespread concern from human rights groups.

 

“It is clear that he [Hammond] is unfortunately confused about the effect of the warrants he is signing into force, how they deal with British communications and the difference between so-called internal communications and external communications,” said King. “This is one of the huge problems with having ministers sign warrants.”

 

Campaigners say that in testimony to the intelligence and security committee in October, Hammond appeared not to understand the details of how the warrants he was signing worked – including whether or not they allowed the interception of communications of UK residents.

 

During the session, Hammond – who oversees the work of GCHQ and the foreign intelligence agency MI6 – initially appeared to say that any email exchange in which either the sender or recipient was based in the UK was treated as an internal communication and therefore any government agency wanting to access it was subject to stricter controls under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa).

 

Later he said that if either sender or recipient were outside the UK it was an external communication and therefore subject to a different warrant, which allows the foreign secretary to authorise much broader examination by the intelligence agencies than is the case with UK-based communications.


UK mass surveillance laws do not breach human rights, tribunal rules | UK news | The Guardian

UK mass surveillance laws do not breach human rights, tribunal rules | UK news | The Guardian.

Rights groups brought case against GCHQ after Snowden revelations on extent of electronic surveillance in UK and US

 

 

Satellite dishes at GCHQ outpost in Cornwall near where transatlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore
Satellite dishes at a GCHQ outpost in Cornwall, near where transatlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore. Snowden revealed that GCHQ taps such cables and shares vast quantities of personal information with the NSA. Photograph: Kieran Doherty/Reuters

 

Britain’s legal regime governing mass surveillance of the internet by intelligence agencies does not violate human rights, a tribunal has ruled.

 

But the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) said it had identified one area where it has concerns about the adequacy of legal safeguards.

 

The tribunal will decide whether the human rights groups that brought the case have had their communications intercepted unlawfully in the past and whether any interception discovered was proportionate. The judgment said: “We have left open for further argument the question as to whether prior hereto there has been such a breach.”

 

Human rights groups that brought the challenge said they would appeal to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg against the overall finding that the surveillance and information sharing with US agencies, such as the National Security Agency (NSA), is legal.


Edward Snowden to speak at Observer Ideas festival | US news | theguardian.com

Edward Snowden to speak at Observer Ideas festival | US news | theguardian.com.

NSA whistleblower Snowden will talk via videolink from Moscow this weekend about the future of privacy, surveillance technology and democratic oversight

Edward Snowden in Moscow, filmed by Laura Poitras in her documentary Citizen Four
Edward Snowden in Moscow, filmed by Laura Poitras in her documentary CITIZENFOUR.

Edward Snowden will make his first UK public appearance via satellite link this weekend more than one year since the Guardian published his revelations about mass surveillance and the NSA.

Appearing via video link from Moscow, Snowden will be speaking as part of the Observer Ideas festival on Sunday, being held at London’s Barbican Theatre.

His appearance will come two days after the world premiere of Laura Poitras’s documentary about the whistleblower’s revelations, CITIZENFOUR, at the New York Film Festival.

Snowden is also being tipped as one of the favourites to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which is also being announced tomorrow.

Although he has appeared by video at a small number of public events abroad, the Observer Ideas festival will be the first time he’s appeared in Britain. He will answer questions posed by Observer technology columnist John Naughton.

Naughton, who is also the professor of the public understanding of technology at the Open University, has been a keen observer of the impact of Snowden’s revelations said: “I’m tired of people endlessly rehashing the history of Mr Snowden’s revelations, and I’m sure he is too. What matters now is what happens next. He has performed a great service in revealing the astonishing extent and ambition of the national security state.”

“We need to figure out how (and whether) societies can reassert effective democratic control over our security agencies; whether the technology that has enabled comprehensive surveillance can be re-engineered to protect privacy; how our law-making in these areas could be improved, and whether citizens can be persuaded to take an interest in these matters before it’s too late.


UK privacy watchdog seeks 'stronger powers' and better funding | Technology | theguardian.com

UK privacy watchdog seeks ‘stronger powers’ and better funding | Technology | theguardian.com.

Snowden leaks, the right to be forgotten and the care data scare have swelled the workload of the Information Commissioner’s Offices, according to its annual report

 

 

Edward Snowden’s leaks around GCHQ’s access to citizens’ data have increased the ICO’s workload.
Edward Snowden’s leaks around GCHQ’s access to citizens’ data have increased the ICO’s workload. Photograph: The Guardian/AFP/Getty Images

 

The UK’s privacy regulator has asked for increased funding from government as it seeks to deal with a mounting workload sparked by a series of controversies around data security and privacy.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has been swamped with more complaints than ever before, according to its annual report released today, with its in-tray unlikely to clear any time soon.

That is partly due to a recent EU ruling on people’s right to have entries removed from Google’s search results as part of their “right to be forgotten”, which has since led to a heated debate about censorship of information that is in the public interest.

The ICO is also already dealing with a number of complaints around the data practices of social networks, including investigating a psychology study conducted by Facebook, in which researchers attempted to manipulate users’ moods.

Other factors cited by the ICO in its appeal for more funding include NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks about GCHQ’s access to British citizens’ data, and the government-led Care.data project, with its plans to give GPs and hospitals access to shared databases of people’s healthcare records also running into opposition.


The surveillance law is a threat to criminals, not privacy | Brian Paddick | Comment is free | theguardian.com

The surveillance law is a threat to criminals, not privacy | Brian Paddick | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

In this world there has to be a trade-off between security and civil liberties. But Lib Dem safeguards ensure it comes down on the right side

 

 

GCHQ Surveillance
GCHQ, Britain’s surveillance agency. ‘The new legislation does not create more intrusive powers, but ensures that existing powers can be exercised when data is handled abroad.’ Photograph: Greg Blatchford/Barcroft Media

 

Opponents of the new legislation on surveillance being pushed through parliament this week say that it contains “sweeping new powers” to require communications and internet companies overseas to respond to requests from British government agencies for data.

But two issues appear to have been confused. The first is that of privacy, and the extent to which it is being eroded. The second is the geographic scope of the legislation. At the moment, if you are suspected of a crime, the police, security services and other agencies can request details from your mobile phone company about, for example, the time and date of calls you made or received and, using cell site analysis, where you were when the calls were made. True, everyone’s data is kept and there is the potential for abuse. But it has proved invaluable as an investigative tool in many serious cases of crime and terrorism.

So the question is not about greater intrusion into people’s privacy but extending the reach of existing legislation. If terrorists email each other and the communication is handled by servers based overseas, there is currently some doubt that an interception warrant would be successful, whereas if the servers were in Britain there would be no problem. The new legislation does not create more intrusive powers, but ensures that existing powers can be exercised when data is handled abroad. This is not about blanket surveillance, but targeted surveillance on specific suspected criminals.

The civil liberties lobby should be pressing for stronger safeguards regarding the use of the data, rather than protesting against the storage of it under any circumstances. That is why Liberal Democrats in government have, since a recent judgment of the European court of justice, been negotiating hard to build in greater protections. We have taken the opportunity that the judgment has given us to insist on a fundamental review of surveillance legislation to establish what the current threats to security are, and what a proportionate response to those threats might look like. To make sure this is done, no matter who forms the next government the new legislation will expire at the end of 2016.


Emergency surveillance bill to be fast-tracked despite 49 MPs' opposition | Politics | theguardian.com

Emergency surveillance bill to be fast-tracked despite 49 MPs’ opposition | Politics | theguardian.com.

 

Parliament approves timetable motion for Drip bill as government accepts Labour amendments to strengthen safeguards
Tom Watson Labour MP

The Labour MP Tom Watson described the move to rush the bill through parliament as ‘democratic banditry’. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Forty-nine MPs have voted against rushing the government’s emergency surveillance legislation through all its Commons stages in just one day.

A deal between the three major parties, however, secured the fast-track timetable by 436 votes to 49, despite accusations from one Labour MP that the move amounted to “democratic banditry resonant of a rogue state”.

The vote on the timetable motion for the data retention and investigatory powers bill, known as the Drip bill, came as it emerged that the home secretary was to accept Labour amendments strengthening its safeguards.

The government has accepted that the promised longer-term review of all surveillance legislation, known as Ripa, should be written into the Drip bill to put it on a statutory footing, and that there should six-monthly reviews of its operation by the interception commissioner.

The former Tory shadow home secretary David Davis told ministers that the rush to push through the Drip bill undermined parliament’s role.


This surveillance bill puts our hard-won freedom in peril | Harry Leslie Smith | Comment is free | theguardian.com

This surveillance bill puts our hard-won freedom in peril | Harry Leslie Smith | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

All the data retention and investigatory powers bill will do is put a leash on the human spirit and deaden the hearts of those who desire to live in a free and liberal nation
A person writing a text on a mobile phone

‘It will needlessly compel phone and internet companies to retain our online lives, browsing history, texts, emails and intimate, mundane conversations with friends, family and colleagues.’ Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Politicians and the media are wont to tell us we live in a time rife with dangers, plots and calumnies. Since 9/11 we have received a daily barrage of news warning us of far-off countries populated by people who have no respect for human life or our democratic institutions. We have been lectured by newsreaders, prime ministers and security pundits that terrorism will invade our shores and take away our freedoms, unless we allow our state, spy agencies and police departments to monitor us through endless trawling of our meta data, emails and private phone conversations.

Yet despite this epidemic of fear, Britain is still sceptical about womb-to-tomb government observation. In fact, a recent Ipsos Mori poll found 68% of those surveyed were concerned about information being collected about them by the government. However, in spite of this overwhelming distrust by the public, the PM and his coalition, along with the Labour party, persist in telling us that there are dark forces which threaten our safety, requiring the government to enact and maintain this invasive, encompassing scrutiny of free citizens.

I grant that we live in perilous times, but I have encountered far worse. As a young man I witnessed the dark clouds of German bombers swarm like malevolent hornets above this country’s cities in the second world war, intent on obliterating every man jack of us. Today, despite the chaos that Isis, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram have created, we as a civilisation are not about to be annihilated by terrorism.

There are more pressing threats to national health and stability than fifth columnists and terrorist sleeper cells. Income inequality, the lack of opportunity for our young, the decline of the NHS, housing poverty, and food and fuel poverty are real dangers to this country’s ability to progress and thrive.

The introduction next week of the data retention and investigatory powers bill by this government is therefore disturbing because it will needlessly compel phone and internet companies to retain our online lives, browsing history, texts, emails and intimate, mundane conversations with friends, family and colleagues. It is being hammered through parliament because Cameron tells us he does not wish to see a catastrophic terrorist attack while he is in charge. I grant his intention is noble, but if parliament doesn’t properly, honestly debate this bill they will make a mockery of democracy and the Westminster system.


Cameron announcing emergency surveillance legislation: Politics live blog | Politics | theguardian.com

Cameron announcing emergency surveillance legislation: Politics live blog | Politics | theguardian.com.

• Details of the emergency surveillance legislation
• Miliband’s letter to Labour MPs explaining why Labour backs the bill
• Lunchtime summary, including highlights from the Cameron/Clegg press conference

 

 

David Cameron and Nick Clegg at a press conference, where they announced emergency surveillance legislation. David Cameron and Nick Clegg at a press conference, where they announced emergency surveillance legislation. Photograph: POOL/REUTER

 

 

 

Human Rights Watch has criticised the government for rushing this bill through parliament. This is from Izza Leghtas, a Human Rights Watch researcher.

Given what we know about the UK’s involvement in mass surveillance, it is outrageous that the government wants to rush through emergency legislation that allows the government to monitor people not suspected of any wrongdoing.

A proper debate about how to reform surveillance powers is long overdue and it has to happen now, not in 2016.


Surveillance legislation wins cross-party support but critics claim stitch-up | World news | theguardian.com

Surveillance legislation wins cross-party support but critics claim stitch-up | World news | theguardian.com.

Legislation aims to shore up powers requiring phone and internet companies to retain and hand over data to security services

 

 

Theresa May

Theresa May makes a statement in the House of Commons after emergency legislation was announced by David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Photograph: PA

 

David Cameron and his Liberal Democrat deputy, Nick Clegg, have unveiled emergency surveillance legislation that will shore up government powers to require phone and internet companies to retain and hand over data to the security services.

The emergency legislation – due to be debated on Tuesday and complete all its parliamentary stages by Thursday next week – will also confirm that foreign-based companies should hand over data harvested in the UK, a move that implicitly accepts the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden may have disclosed surveillance activities that did not have international legal authority.

The government said it was forced to act after a European court of justice ruling on 8 April and because a growing number of foreign-based, predominantly American, phone companies were threatening to stop handing over details of UK customers’ data.


Liam Fox calls for greater surveillance powers for security services | UK news | The Guardian

Liam Fox calls for greater surveillance powers for security services | UK news | The Guardian.

Former defence secretary says intelligence agencies must be allowed to gather more data on British citizens fighting abroad
Liam Fox

Liam Fox on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: ‘The whole area of intercept needs to be looked at.’ Photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA

Britain’s security services may need greater powers of surveillance to monitor British citizens who have gone to join the fighting in Syria andIraq, according to the former Conservative defence secretary Liam Fox.

As further details emerged about the latest young Britons to join Sunni insurgents, Fox said that the majority of people in the UK would accept that the level of the threat meant that officials would need greater powers to intercept the communications of extremists.

“The whole area of intercept needs to be looked at,” he said. “We have got a real debate, and it is a genuine debate in a democracy, between the libertarians who say the state must not get too powerful and pretty much the rest of us who say the state must protect itself.”

Asked whether this meant more surveillance and increasing the resources for the intelligence agencies, Fox told the BBC: “If required, it is the first duty of the state to protect its citizens … it is a real worry and it is a problem that is going to be with us for a very long time. At heart it is an ideological battle and we have to realise that we have to win the ideological battle as well.”


Online surveillance undermines trust in intelligence services, says Tory peer | World news | theguardian.com

Online surveillance undermines trust in intelligence services, says Tory peer | World news | theguardian.com.

Lady Neville-Jones backs calls for the law governing mass surveillance of the internet to be tightened up

 

 

Baroness Neville-Jones

Baroness Neville-Jones backs calls for the law governing mass surveillance of the internet to be tightened up. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/PA Archive/PA Photos

 

The UK government’s legal justification for mass surveillance of the internet risks undermining public confidence in the intelligence services, a former Conservative security minister has warned.

Speaking at a debate in University College London, Lady Neville-Jones, who has chaired Whitehall’s joint intelligence committee, backed calls for the law governing surveillance, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to be tightened up.

Neville-Jones, who served as security and counter-terrorism minister between 2010 and 2011, is normally a staunch defender of the way the security services operate.

Earlier this week an explanation of the legal basis on which GCHQ, the monitoring agency, intercepts emails as well as searches on Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, was published.

The government’s most senior security official, Charles Farr, said emails sent overseas or received from abroad, as well as most online searches, which use foreign servers, are deemed to be “external communications” and can therefore be monitored without the need for a specific intercept warrant. Critics accused him of exploiting a loophole in the law.