Category Archive: Campaigns and strategies

How a hacker congress in Hamburg shows that activism is the new political currency

By Simon Davies It became one of the most magnificent misjudgments of recent British political history. In October the notorious UK satirist and comic Russell Brand tapped the national psyche with a passionate call for a “revolution” of the political system – and then in the space of ten minutes spectacularly detonated his credibility. According …

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Privacy Surgeon offers a $1,000 bounty for capture of the DNA and fingerprints of spy chiefs

By Simon Davies The Privacy Surgeon is offering a $1,000 cash bounty for anyone who sends us an item – such as a drinking glass – with the DNA and fingerprints of any senior intelligence official of the “Five Eyes” alliance of spy agencies. The aim of this bounty-hunt is not to actually use the …

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A great campaigner gives advice from the grave to privacy advocates

By Simon Davies Anyone who survived through the soulless eighteen-year reign of Margaret Thatcher and John Major in Britain will probably recall the breathtaking mass-campaigns here against road development, airport extensions, live animal export and nuclear convoys. By 1997 – the Tory administration’s final turbulent year in office – television was feasting endlessly on images …

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How a surprising blog post helped shift Japan’s perception of civil liberties

By Simon Davies In recent days a rather odd sequence of events has unfurled in Japan which has led some observers to speculate that this endlessly surprising nation is starting to wake from its 40-year slumber over privacy and civil liberties. Over the past few decades the Japanese population has been ambivalent about rights issues, …

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How a forgotten wheelie-bin campaign may offer surprise insights into campaigning against PRISM

By Simon Davies It would be hard to overstate the extent of public outrage at the moment about the NSA PRISM scandal. I can’t recall an issue for many years that has triggered such widespread anger. The response is also noteworthy because it cuts across national boundaries and demographics. From the local pub in Hertfordshire …

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Campaign notebook: 2006: the US bank data scandal and the Grand-Uncle of PRISM

By Simon Davies Some readers will recall the 2006 controversy over SWIFT and the secret grab by US agencies for the world’s financial transaction data. These notes detailing one element of that campaign – like those I published yesterday on the 1997 ECHELON action – may be useful to PRISM campaigners.   Taking on Goliath …

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A lesson from history for those who strive to bring intelligence agencies to account

  By Simon Davies Sixteen years ago a high-profile campaign began in Europe to expose the NSA’s global spying operations – an activity which at the time was almost unknown to the world. The outcome of this prolonged campaign should be a warning from history to anyone who believes that reform of the intelligence services …

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The Big Brother Awards gears up for a renewed assault on the privacy invaders

By Simon Davies Fifteen years ago today, while drinking with friends in a chaotic London pub, I came up with a whacky idea that somehow ended up taking off around the world. The initiative that emerged from that day – the Big Brother Awards – has caused more grief for invasive organisations than any single …

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Privacy group commences legal action against UK government over export secrecy

The rights group Privacy International (PI) has filed an application for judicial review of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) over the UK government’s refusal to release information about the potentially unlawful export of Gamma International’s FinFisher surveillance technology to repressive regimes. This is the latest in a series of actions taken by PI to bring …

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Weekend reflection: why we should all celebrate the maverick activist

By Simon Davies I was delighted to read this weekend about the latest victory in the campaign to save America’s local post offices from closure. Local citizens have fought a long battle to rescue three offices from the axe and have just achieved a heartening success. Across the world and in every sphere of human …

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