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 Offsite Article: The dangerous trend for automating censorship, and circumventing laws...


Link Here 22nd February 2018
openmedia logo Deals between companies and governments to automate acceptable content online are too common. By Ruth Coustick-Deal

See article from openmedia.org

 

 Offsite Article: Germany edges toward Chinese-style rating of citizens...


Link Here 18th February 2018
schufa logo China is experimenting with a dystopian social credit system which grades every citizen based on their behavior. Germany is sleepwalking in the same direction. By Heike Jahberg

See article from global.handelsblatt.com

 

 Offsite Article: We already give up our privacy to use phones, why not with cars too?...


Link Here 15th February 2018
surveillance The future of transport looks like a sensor-riddled computer

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

  How Apple is Paving the Way to a Cloud Dictatorship in China...

So who'll trust the Chinese government with their cloud data?


Link Here 12th February 2018  full story: Mass snooping in China...Internet and phone snooping in China

global voices logo The US-based global tech giant Apple Inc. is set to hand over the operation of its iCloud data center in mainland China to a local corporation called Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) by February 28, 2018. When this transition happens, the local company will become responsible for handling the legal and financial relationship between Apple and China's iCloud users. After the transition takes place, the role of Apple will restricted to an investment of US one billion dollars, for the construction of a data center in Guiyang, and for providing technical support to the center, in the interest of preserving data security.

GCBD was established in November 2014 with a RMB 235 million yuan [approximately US$ 37.5 million] registered capital investment. It is a state enterprise solely owned by Guizhou Big Data Development and Management Bureau. The company is also supervised by Guizhou Board of Supervisors of State-owned Enterprises.

What will happen to Apple's Chinese customers once iCloud services are handed over to GCBD? In public statements, Apple has avoided acknowledging the political implications of the move:

This will allow us to continue to improve the speed and reliability of iCloud in China and comply with Chinese regulations.

Apple Inc. has not explained the real issue, which is that a state-owned big data company controlled by the Chinese government will have access to all the data of its iCloud service users in China. This will allow the capricious state apparatus to jump into the cloud and look into the data of Apple's Chinese users.

Apple Inc. has not explained the real issue, which is that a state-owned big data company controlled by the Chinese government will have access to all the data of its iCloud service users in China.

Over the next few weeks, iCloud users in China will receive a notification from Apple, seeking their endorsement of the new service terms. These "iCloud (operated by GCBD) terms and conditions" have a newly added paragraph, which reads:

If you understand and agree, Apple and GCBD have the right to access your data stored on its servers. This includes permission sharing, exchange, and disclosure of all user data (including content) according to the application of the law.

In other words, once the agreement is signed, GCBD -- a company solely owned by the state -- would get a key that can access all iCloud user data in China, legally.

Apple's double standard

Why would a company that built its reputation on data security surrender to the Chinese government so easily?

I still remember how in February 2016, after the attack in San Bernardino, Apple CEO Tim Cook withstood pressure from the US Department of Justice to build an iPhone operating system that could circumvent security features and install it in the iPhone of the shooter. Cook even issued an open letter to defend the company's decision.

Apple's insistence on protecting user data won broad public support. At the same time, it was criticized by the Department of Justice , which retorted that the open letter "appears to be based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy."

This comment has proven true today, because it is clear that the company is operating on a double standard in its Chinese business. We could even say that it is bullying the good actor while being terrified by the bad one.

Apple Inc. and Tim Cook, who had once stayed firm against the US government, suddenly have become soft in front of Chinese government. Faced with the unreasonable demand put forward by the Chinese authorities, Apple has not demonstrated a will to resist. On the contrary, it is giving people the impression that it will do whatever needed to please the authorities.

Near the end of 2017, Apple lnc. admitted it had removed 674 VPN apps from Chinese App Store. These apps are often used by netizens for circumventing the Great Firewall (blocking of overseas websites and content). Skype also vanished from the Chinese App Store. And Apple's submission to the Chinese authorities' requests generated a feeling of "betrayal" among Chinese users.

Some of my friends from mainland China have even decided to give up using Apple mobile phones and shifted to other mainland Chinese brands. Their decision, in addition to the price, is mainly in reaction to Apple's decision to take down VPN apps from the Chinese Apple store.

Some of these VPN apps can still be downloaded from mobile phones that use the Android system. This indicates that Apple is not "forced" to comply. People suspect that it is proactively performing a "obedient" role.

The handover of China iCloud to GCBD is unquestionably a performance of submission and kowtow. Online, several people have quipped: "the Chinese government is asking for 50 cents, Apple gives her a dollar."

Selling the iPhone in China

Apple says the handover is due to new regulations that cloud servers must be operated by local corporation. But this is unconvincing. China's Cybersecurity Law, which was implemented on June 1 2017, does demand that user information and data collected in mainland China be stored within the border . But it does not require that the data center be operated by a local corporation.

In other words, even according to Article 37 of the Cybersecurity Law, Apple does not need to hand over the operation of iCloud services to a local corporation, to say nothing of the fact that the operator is solely owned by the state. Though Apple may have to follow the "Chinese logic" or "unspoken rule", the decision looks more like a strategic act, intended to insulate Apple from financial, legal and moral responsibility to their Chinese users, as stated in the new customer terms and conditions on the handover of operation. It only wants to continue making a profit by selling iPhone in China.

Many people have encountered similar difficulties when doing business in China -- they have to follow the authorities' demands. Some even think that it is inevitable and therefore reasonable. For example, Baidu's CEO Robin Li said in a recent interview with Time Magazine, "That's our way of doing business here".

I can see where Apple is coming from. China is now the third largest market for the iPhone. While confronting vicious competition from local brands, the future growth of iPhone in China has been threatened . And unlike in the US, if Apple does not submit to China and comply with the Cybersecurity Law, the Chinese authorities can use other regulations and laws like the Encryption Law of the People's Republic of China (drafting) and Measures for Security Assessment of Cross-border Data Transfer (drafting) to force Apple to yield.

However, as the world's biggest corporation in market value which has so many loyal fans, Apple's performance in China is still disappointing. It has not even tried to resist. On the contrary, it has proactively assisted [Chinese authorities] in selling out its users' private data.

Assisting in the making of a 'Cloud Dictatorship'

This is perhaps the best result that China's party-state apparatus could hope for. In recent years, China has come to see big data as a strategic resource for its diplomacy and for maintaining domestic stability. Big data is as important as military strength and ideological control. There is even a new political term "Data-in-Party-control" coming into use.

As an Apple fans, I lament the fact that Apple has become a key multinational corporation offering its support to the Chinese Communist Party's engineering of a "Cloud Dictatorship". It serves as a very bad role model: Now Apple that has kowtowed to the CCP, how long will other tech companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon be able to resist the pressure?

 

 Offsite Article: Gagging orders: The internet surveillance nobody can talk about...


Link Here 10th February 2018  full story: Snooper's Charter Plus...2015 Cameron government expands the Snooper's Charter
stasi uk The Investigatory Powers Act has heralded a new era of secret state surveillance

See article from alphr.com

 

  The CLOUD Act...

A Dangerous Expansion of US Police Snooping on Cross-Border Data


Link Here 9th February 2018  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Snooping continues after Snowden revelations

US SenateThis week, Senators Hatch, Graham, Coons, and Whitehouse introduced a bill that diminishes the data privacy of people around the world.

The Clarifying Overseas Use of Data ( CLOUD ) Act expands American and foreign law enforcement's ability to target and access people's data across international borders in two ways. First, the bill creates an explicit provision for U.S. law enforcement (from a local police department to federal agents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to access "the contents of a wire or electronic communication and any record or other information" about a person regardless of where they live or where that information is located on the globe. In other words, U.S. police could compel a service provider--like Google, Facebook, or Snapchat--to hand over a user's content and metadata, even if it is stored in a foreign country, without following that foreign country's privacy laws.

Second, the bill would allow the President to enter into "executive agreements" with foreign governments that would allow each government to acquire users' data stored in the other country, without following each other's privacy laws.

For example, because U.S.-based companies host and carry much of the world's Internet traffic, a foreign country that enters one of these executive agreements with the U.S. to could potentially wiretap people located anywhere on the globe (so long as the target of the wiretap is not a U.S. person or located in the United States) without the procedural safeguards of U.S. law typically given to data stored in the United States, such as a warrant, or even notice to the U.S. government. This is an enormous erosion of current data privacy laws.

This bill would also moot legal proceedings now before the U.S. Supreme Court. In the spring, the Court will decide whether or not current U.S. data privacy laws allow U.S. law enforcement to serve warrants for information stored outside the United States. The case, United States v. Microsoft (often called "Microsoft Ireland"), also calls into question principles of international law, such as respect for other countries territorial boundaries and their rule of law.

Notably, this bill would expand law enforcement access to private email and other online content, yet the Email Privacy Act , which would create a warrant-for-content requirement, has still not passed the Senate, even though it has enjoyed unanimous support in the House for the past two years .

The CLOUD Act and the US-UK Agreement

The CLOUD Act's proposed language is not new. In 2016, the Department of Justice first proposed legislation that would enable the executive branch to enter into bilateral agreements with foreign governments to allow those foreign governments direct access to U.S. companies and U.S. stored data. Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post broke the story that these agreements (the first iteration has already been negotiated with the United Kingdom) would enable foreign governments to wiretap any communication in the United States, so long as the target is not a U.S. person. In 2017 , the Justice Department re-submitted the bill for Congressional review, but added a few changes: this time including broad language to allow the extraterritorial application of U.S. warrants outside the boundaries of the United States.

In September 2017, EFF, with a coalition of 20 other privacy advocates, sent a letter to Congress opposing the Justice Department's revamped bill.

The executive agreement language in the CLOUD Act is nearly identical to the language in the DOJ's 2017 bill. None of EFF's concerns have been addressed. The legislation still:

  • Includes a weak standard for review that does not rise to the protections of the warrant requirement under the 4th Amendment.

  • Fails to require foreign law enforcement to seek individualized and prior judicial review.

  • Grants real-time access and interception to foreign law enforcement without requiring the heightened warrant standards that U.S. police have to adhere to under the Wiretap Act.

  • Fails to place adequate limits on the category and severity of crimes for this type of agreement.

  • Fails to require notice on any level -- to the person targeted, to the country where the person resides, and to the country where the data is stored. (Under a separate provision regarding U.S. law enforcement extraterritorial orders, the bill allows companies to give notice to the foreign countries where data is stored, but there is no parallel provision for company-to-country notice when foreign police seek data stored in the United States.)

The CLOUD Act also creates an unfair two-tier system. Foreign nations operating under executive agreements are subject to minimization and sharing rules when handling data belonging to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and corporations. But these privacy rules do not extend to someone born in another country and living in the United States on a temporary visa or without documentation. This denial of privacy rights is unlike other U.S. privacy laws. For instance, the Stored Communications Act protects all members of the "public" from the unlawful disclosure of their personal communications.

An Expansion of U.S. Law Enforcement Capabilities

The CLOUD Act would give unlimited jurisdiction to U.S. law enforcement over any data controlled by a service provider, regardless of where the data is stored and who created it. This applies to content, metadata, and subscriber information -- meaning private messages and account details could be up for grabs. The breadth of such unilateral extraterritorial access creates a dangerous precedent for other countries who may want to access information stored outside their own borders, including data stored in the United States.

EFF argued on this basis (among others) against unilateral U.S. law enforcement access to cross-border data, in our Supreme Court amicus brief in the Microsoft Ireland case.

When data crosses international borders, U.S. technology companies can find themselves caught in the middle between the conflicting data laws of different nations: one nation might use its criminal investigation laws to demand data located beyond its borders, yet that same disclosure might violate the data privacy laws of the nation that hosts that data. Thus, U.S. technology companies lobbied for and received provisions in the CLOUD Act allowing them to move to quash or modify U.S. law enforcement orders for extraterritorial data. The tech companies can quash a U.S. order when the order does not target a U.S. person and might conflict with a foreign government's laws. To do so, the company must object within 14 days, and undergo a complex "comity" analysis -- a procedure where a U.S. court must balance the competing interests of the U.S. and foreign governments.

Failure to Support Mutual Assistance

Of course, there is another way to protect technology companies from this dilemma, which would also protect the privacy of technology users around the world: strengthen the existing international system of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs). This system allows police who need data stored abroad to obtain the data through the assistance of the nation that hosts the data. The MLAT system encourages international cooperation.

It also advances data privacy. When foreign police seek data stored in the U.S., the MLAT system requires them to adhere to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirements. And when U.S. police seek data stored abroad, it requires them to follow the data privacy rules where the data is stored, which may include important " necessary and proportionate " standards. Technology users are most protected when police, in the pursuit of cross-border data, must satisfy the privacy standards of both countries.

While there are concerns from law enforcement that the MLAT system has become too slow, those concerns should be addressed with improved resources, training, and streamlining.

The CLOUD Act raises dire implications for the international community, especially as the Council of Europe is beginning a process to review the MLAT system that has been supported for the last two decades by the Budapest Convention. Although Senator Hatch has in the past introduced legislation that would support the MLAT system, this new legislation fails to include any provisions that would increase resources for the U.S. Department of Justice to tackle its backlog of MLAT requests, or otherwise improve the MLAT system.

A growing chorus of privacy groups in the United States opposes the CLOUD Act's broad expansion of U.S. and foreign law enforcement's unilateral powers over cross-border data. For example, Sharon Bradford Franklin of OTI (and the former executive director of the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board) objects that the CLOUD Act will move law enforcement access capabilities "in the wrong direction, by sacrificing digital rights." CDT and Access Now also oppose the bill.

Sadly, some major U.S. technology companies and legal scholars support the legislation. But, to set the record straight, the CLOUD Act is not a " good start ." Nor does it do a " remarkable job of balancing these interests in ways that promise long-term gains in both privacy and security." Rather, the legislation reduces protections for the personal privacy of technology users in an attempt to mollify tensions between law enforcement and U.S. technology companies.

Legislation to protect the privacy of technology users from government snooping has long been overdue in the United States. But the CLOUD Act does the opposite, and privileges law enforcement at the expense of people's privacy. EFF strongly opposes the bill. Now is the time to strengthen the MLAT system, not undermine it.

 

  Government abusers...

Appeals court finds that the Government's snooping law is an abuse of rights


Link Here 31st January 2018  full story: Snooper's Charter Plus...2015 Cameron government expands the Snooper's Charter
Old BaileyThe UK's mass digital surveillance regime preceding the snoopers charter has been found to be illegal by an appeals court.

The case was brought by the Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson in conjunction with Liberty, the human rights campaign group.

The three judges said Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (Dripa), which paved the way for the snooper's charter legislation, did not restrict the accessing of confidential personal phone and web browsing records to investigations of serious crime, and allowed police and other public bodies to authorise their own access without adequate oversight. The judges said Dripa was inconsistent with EU law because of this lack of safeguards, including the absence of prior review by a court or independent administrative authority.

Responding to the ruling, Watson said:

This legislation was flawed from the start. It was rushed through parliament just before recess without proper parliamentary scrutiny. The government must now bring forward changes to the Investigatory Powers Act to ensure that hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are innocent victims or witnesses to crime, are protected by a system of independent approval for access to communications data. I'm proud to have played my part in safeguarding citizens' fundamental rights.

Martha Spurrier, the director of Liberty, said:

Yet again a UK court has ruled the government's extreme mass surveillance regime unlawful. This judgement tells ministers in crystal clear terms that they are breaching the public's human rights. She said no politician was above the law. When will the government stop bartering with judges and start drawing up a surveillance law that upholds our democratic freedoms?

Matthew Rice of the Open Rights Group responded:

Once again, another UK court has found another piece of Government surveillance legislation to be unlawful. The Government needs to admit their legislation is flawed and make the necessary changes to the Investigatory Powers Act to protect the public's fundamental rights.

The Investigatory Powers Act carves a gaping hole in the public's rights. Public bodies able to access data without proper oversight, and access to that data for reasons other than fighting serious crime. These practices must stop, the courts have now confirmed it. The ball is firmly in the Government's court to set it right.

 

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