Category Archive: Privacy advocacy

We ignore Pakistan’s struggle for freedom at our own peril

By Simon Davies The global outpouring of public support over the Turkish government’s latest incursion on freedom of expression has been breathtaking. International media have extensively covered the issue, providing fuel for citizen-led initiatives to oppose or circumvent the Twitter ban. This support, however, throws into sharp relief the dearth of activity around ongoing censorship …

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Is it possible that the Snowden revelations have become bad news for privacy?

By Simon Davies In some respects, 2013 was a landmark year for privacy awareness. Never before has so much attention been paid at a global level to privacy issues, and rarely has privacy moved so swiftly into the public policy mainstream. That said, we shouldn’t confuse activity with progress. The outlook for privacy reform, globally, …

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As anti-Google protests turn nasty, privacy campaigners need to ponder the ethics of law-breaking

Simon Davies Recent international outcry over the NSA’s transgressions has taken a noteworthy turn. Over the past few weeks, Google has been the target of increasingly vicious public protests over both its complicity in the activity of the security agencies and its role in the global corrosion of privacy. These are not peaceful demonstrations. Activists …

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Why privacy campaigners for NSA reform must be uncompromising

By Simon Davies Thailand’s tourist authority is fond of marketing its country as the “Land of Smiles”, however in recent years the place has been anything but. “Seething cauldron” might be a more apt slogan. Widespread anger at alleged corrupt activities of former Prime Minister Thakskin Shinawatra has fueled a mass movement against the military …

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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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For the sake of privacy it’s time to ditch the expression “Mass Surveillance”

By Simon Davies For more than forty years privacy scholars have made a core distinction between targeted surveillance (directed at individuals and small groups) and mass surveillance (directed against large populations). Experts agreed that the world was moving toward an era of mass surveillance in which there was a reversal of the onus of proof, …

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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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Why Edward Snowden should receive the Sakharov prize – and why he’s unlikely to get it

By Simon Davies In recent weeks there has been a groundswell of support for US whistleblower Edward Snowden to receive the Sakharov Prize, which since 1988 has been awarded by the European Parliament to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought. The European Green party …

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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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