Greetings PPU readers!
With parliament in recess and the summer holidays under way, there haven't been many political or legal developments in the world of digital rights. However, as always, ORG's Parliamentary and Policy Update is keeping you up to date with the most important stories of the week, even throughout August!
- Declassified documents detailing the NSA's bulk phone collection, reveal disregard for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court restrictions
- EU-Canadian trade deal documents leaked
- Google and Yahoo developing mail service with easy-to-use encryption tool
This is ORG's Parliamentary and Policy Update for the week beginning 11/08/2014
If you are reading this online, you can also subscribe to the email version.
There have been no official meetings this week, as most of our senior staff are away on annual leave.
NSA and GCHQ updates
The US government releases declassified documents relating to NSA bulk collection, court opinions reveal disregard of court rules
Following a declassification review by the American Department of Justice, the US government has released a series of documents relating to the NSA's bulk phone collection, which has now been discontinued.
In order to collect certain electronic metadata, the NSA had to seek approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Included in the documents leaked, there are a series of opinions from the court concerning the collection practice. On page 6, an Order and Supplemental Order of the FISC says
- "Given the apparent widespread disregard of [FISC imposed] restrictions, it seems clear that NSA's Office of General Counsel has failed to satisfy its obligation to ensure that all analysts with access to information derived from the PT/TT metadata receive appropriate training and guidance regarding the querying standard set out in paragraph c. above, as well other procedures and restrictions regarding the retrieval, storage, and dissemination, of such information"
On pages 21-22 of the documents also say "there in fact had been systemic overcollection since [redacted]" (EFF).
The documents are available online in PDF.
Consultations and departments
A full list of open consultations and Parliamentary events can be found on our Events
Manchester police seek access to personal medical data without individual consent
Manchester Chief Constable wants access to medical records without prior consent. Sir Peter Fahy said the data was needed to deal with the increasing number of cases of vulnerable people, such as those suffering from dementia or victims of domestic abuse. Mr Fahy said "It would give us a deeper understanding of those we are expected to help and their problems. The actions we take would be much improved if we had a better understanding of that history at the time we are called." Mr Fahy said he is in talks with the government to allow police access to greater amounts of personal information (The Guardian).
American civil society group files official complaint against 30 plus US tech companies for violating EU-US Safe Harbor agreement
The American Centre for Digital Democracy (CDD) have filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission over allegations that more than 30 US based tech firms are breaking a US-EU privacy agreement known as 'Safe Harbor'. The CDD said "these companies are compiling, using, and sharing EU consumers’ personal information without their awareness and meaningful consent, in violation of the Safe Harbor framework." (The Register)
Free Trade Agreements
EU-Canadian trade deal leaked
The document detailing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada has been leaked online. The trade agreement is thought to be very similar to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (between the EU and US), especially on the chapter concerning intellectual property rights (which was leaked in February 2014).
Similar to TTIP, CETA has been developed in secret, without giving an opportunity for public scrutiny. While there has currently been no analysis of the nearly 400 page document, article 5 may be of interest as it mentions digital rights management.
The document is available online in PDF.
Yahoo and Google to develop encryption tool for secure email service
The companies will develop an encryption tool based on a version of PGP ( Pretty Good Privacy) that will present the users of the email service with the option of turning encryption on and off (PC Magazine).
ORG Media coverage
See ORG Press Coverage for full details.
- 2014-08-14 - PC Advisor DRIP: What you need to know about the Government's controversial surveillance bill
- Author: Martyn Casserly
- Summary: A look at the effects of DRIP, with a quote from Jim Killock