27 Sep 2016

#1 Freedom to be different: How to defend yourself against tracking

By EDRi

This is the first blogpost of our series dedicated to privacy, security and freedoms. In the next weeks, we will explain how your freedoms are under threat, and what you can do to fight back.

01_freedom_to_be_different

Cookies: What are they and how do they work?

One of the ways you leave digital traces behind while surfing online are cookies. They are bits of information that get automatically installed into your device while visiting websites. Sometimes they are useful; for example, when shopping online, the website needs to remember what you have added to your shopping basket, so that you can later check out and do the payment.

But most of the times cookies are placed by advertisers that want to collect data about which websites you visit, to target ads at you. This could seem harmless, but it creates risks. For example, when you are categorised (“profiled”) as someone who earns a good salary, you are likely to see higher prices for the things you want to buy. Or on the contrary, if you are profiled as someone who hasn’t got much money, you could end up paying more for your insurance since an insurance company might considered you a “risk”. Online tracking limits your freedom to be different.

How to claim back your freedom to be different

These tools will enable you to wipe most of the digital traces of your browsing activity:

firefox_thumbnail
Install Firefox – a browser that is more secure than others and whose features can be enhanced by numerous add-ons. Start using it now!

Install the following add-ons in your browser:

privacy_badger_thumbnail
Privacy Badger: this add-on for your browser puts you back in control by spotting and then blocking third-party domains that seem to be tracking your browsing habits (that is, when advertisers and websites track your browsing activity across the web without your knowledge, control, or consent). Although it blocks many ads in practice, it is more a privacy tool than a strict ad blocker. You can easily download it here.

https_everywhere_thumbnail
HTTPS Everywhere: This tool is, again, an add-on for Firefox (both desktop and Android), Chrome, and Opera that makes your browser use HTTPS to encrypt its communication with websites to the greatest extent possible. You can easily download it here.

If you want to find out more tools to defend yourself online, check out the excellent Surveillance Self-defense instructions by the EFF.

John is also dealing with cookies and online tracking in this video, prepared by our member Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) – Romania:

cookie_thumbnail

What can politicians do to safeguard your freedoms online?

The rules on online privacy in the EU (ePrivacy Directive) will be soon updated. This law is dealing with privacy and confidentiality of communications for the entire EU, and it affects tracking and other issues related to your freedoms online. Are politicians ready to fight for your protection?

Stay tuned to our next blogposts to know more about your freedoms online, and how they are threatened!


Read more:

Behavioural Sciences and the Regulation of Privacy on the Internet
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2513771

Article 29 Working Party: Opinion 04/2012 on Cookie Consent Exemption
http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/article-29/documentation/opinion-recommendation/files/2012/wp194_en.pdf

Twitter_tweet_and_follow_banner

close
21 Sep 2016

Joint Referral Platform: no proof of diligent approach to terrorism

By Maryant Fernández Pérez

On 28 April 2016, EDRi asked the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission (DG Home) to release more information about a new initiative announced in April 2016, the Joint Referral Platform.

What we knew already (or thought we knew)

The existence of the Joint Referral Platform was disclosed on 20 April 2016 in the European Commission’s Communication (EU) 2016/230. The alleged objective of this project is to ensure that “material removed from one site [is not] uploaded elsewhere” (i.e. informal mass censorship of uploads). The Commission added that the Joint Referral Platform is “being developed by the internet industry with full Europol involvement”. While being led by (unspecified) companies, the Commission will be providing €10 million Euro, money which will also be used to “maximise the effectiveness of alternative narrative campaigns”.

................................................................. Support our work with a one-off-donation! https://edri.org/donate/ .................................................................

Another document of the Council of the European Union (dated 4 July 2016) clarifies that the targeted content is criminal (seemly only regarding terrorism). However, the Council document confused us by saying that the “participants/members guarantee that they will not upload criminal content.” Who are these “participants/members”? Wasn’t the purpose of this to implement something similar to Google’s flawed Content-ID? If individuals are apparently uploading criminal content, what is the role of states, how will highly sensitive evidence be stored and communicated? Does anyone care?

What we now know

After extensive delays, the European Commission responded to our freedom of information request on 27 June 2016 (although we didn’t actually receive it until 11 July). What we now know is still not much. Mainly three things:

Firstly, industry is (again!) taking the lead, despite the criminal nature of the content that is ostensibly being targeted.

Secondly and not surprisingly, no invitation has been extended to civil society to participate, contrary to the assertions of the Commission that: “[the] Joint Referral Platform [will] be developed by the internet industry with the contribution of different stakeholders.” It seems that civil society is not an stakeholder relevant for the discussions. In addition, it seems that Europol is not that “fully involved”. In fact, the Commission stated that “once [it has] sight of the industry’s proposal, discussions will then take place with Europol to determine its exact role.” Perhaps if law enforcement is not involved in discussions about criminal content, it should not be surprising that other “stakeholders” are also being filtered out of the discussions with the companies that are now in charge of criminal law enforcement online.

Thirdly, the Commission announced the Joint Referral Platform, but it told us it has not been launched and it seems it does not know where it will go or does not want to communicate whether the technology would be able to avoid circumventing tools, such as those widely used for copyright infringements. Of course, as long as the internet is the internet, the answer is that of course they can be circumvented.

What we still don’t know

First, since the Joint Referral Platform has not been “launched”, the Commission argued it did not possess some of the information we asked for. It recognised, however, that it holds relevant documents. Yet, the Commission did not publish any documents because this can undermine public security, commercial interests of the internet industry involved, “jeopardise the protection of integrity of their managers” and undermine a “highly sensitive on-going process”. We would tend to agree that privatising criminal enforcement and putting it in the hands of – generally foreign – internet companies would undermine public security, although this may not be what the Commission meant.

Second, when we asked the Commission about the goals and (legal) principles under which this Joint Referral Platform will be launched, the Commission omitted any information about the legal basis for this. It solely restated the wording of the the Communication of 20 April 2016.

Third, we are unaware of which “internet industry” is involved. Has the Commission resorted to limiting itself to big US corporations only, yet again?

What we hope to know next

We hope to know more in the future and to be able to take action accordingly. Most importantly, we hope the European Commission will take responsibility to ensure that, in this initiative, companies will report back to Member State authorities in order to investigate and prosecute potential terrorists (if this is the real purpose of this initiative). Otherwise, the ostensible public policy objective (preventing terrorism) will clearly not be achieved. There is a huge risk of counter-productive effects if the stress is on fighting criminal content and not the criminal. And yet, in its response to the relationship between the EU Internet Referral Units set by Europol and the Joint Referral Platform, the Commission stated that “the role of the EU IRU is to support the companies in optimising the referral process and reducing accessibility to terrorist content online, not to initiate investigations.” “[Y]ou would need to ask Member States about follow-up by their law enforcement authorities after content has been removed”, the Commission added. We have to ask the Member States because, it appears, the Commission forgot. It isn’t like it is a matter of life or death, is it?

EDRi’s Freedom of information request to DG Home on the Joint Referral Platform (28.04.2016)
https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/joint_referral_platform

European Commission (DG Home)’s response (11.07.2016)
https://edri.org/files/foia_jointreferralplatform_commissionresponse_11072016.pdf

European Commission’s Communication on the (updated) European Agenda on Security (20.04.2016)
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-security/legislative-documents/docs/20160420/communication_eas_progress_since_april_2015_en.pdf

Council of the European Union: Outcome of proceedings to the Terrorism Working Party (04.07.2016)
http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-10218-2016-INIT/en/pdf

YouTube’s Content ID (C)ensorship Problem Illustrated (02.03.2010)
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/03/youtubes-content-id-c-ensorship-problem

European Commission’s FAQs: Stronger action at EU level to better tackle violent radicalisation (14.06.2016)
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-16-2179_en.htm

New documents reveal the truth behind the Hate Speech Code (07.09.2016)
https://edri.org/new-documents-reveal-truth-behind-hate-speech-code/

(Contribution by Maryant Fernández Pérez, EDRi)

EDRi-gram_subscribe_banner

Twitter_tweet_and_follow_banner

close
20 Sep 2016

Commission’s proposal for a new Regulation on dual-use goods

By Guest author

In the upcoming weeks the Commission should release a proposal for a new Directive that will establish new rules related to the export of dual-use goods. Dual-use goods are defined as products and technology that can be used for civil purpose but also military applications.

On 22 July Euractiv published a leaked proposal from the European Commission (EC) related to a new Regulation on dual-use goods that will amend the previous one (REG.(EC) N.428/2009). The trigger of this proposal of the Commission came up after the campaign initiated by NGOs, mass media and MEPs following the information published about Hacking Team, an Italian IT company specialised in selling intrusive surveillance software.

................................................................. Support our work with a one-off-donation! https://edri.org/donate/ .................................................................

In October 2013 the Commission sent a comprehensive Report to the Council and the Parliament on the topic, followed up by a Communication in 2014 and an Impact Assessment in 2015, just before a vote in the European Parliament (EP).

On 8 September 2015 the European Parliament approved Marietje Schaake´s Report on Human rights and technology: the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in third countries (2014/2232(INI)) that underlined the risks for citizens created by the sale of these tools.

When we consider export controls of dual-use goods we should take into account that EU Member States (MS) are already part of the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA), an international multilateral export control regime agreement on Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies. This agreement had already been heavily criticised from different perspectives, not least the non-binding character of the Agreement. The leaked proposals seem to have taken into consideration the criticism of the WA and of the previous EU Regulation

Reconciling trade and human rights is one of the aims of the text. In order to achieve this, the draft Regulation envisages the creation of a new EU General Export Authorisation (EUGEAs) in order to harmonise the European system of authorisation within all the MS. This aims to make the authorisation process easier.

The draft Regulation has updated a comprehensive list of dual-use goods with a re-definition of the terminology and has introduced a catch them all mechanism. According to this instrument, also non-listed items could be subject to control in case this is needed in the light of the objectives of the Regulation.

On this specific issue, some organisations like Privacy International have criticised the inclusion of Forensic Tools in the list of goods that require a specific authorisation process.

In conclusion, the draft text of the Commission has taken into account the remarks of the European Parliament – at least in relation to the protection of human rights. The text also includes the opinions presented by many of the stakeholders during the Public Consultation. The new Regulation aims to ensure new safeguards for individuals and to make it easier for industries to make it through the authorisation process.

The new regulatory settlement is designed not to affect law enforcement investigations. The evaluation related to the inclusion of items in the list of products that will require a specific authorisation process should be made carefully.

Euractive: Commission plans export controls for surveillance technology (22.07.2016)
https://www.euractiv.com/section/trade-society/news/technology-companies-face-export-hurdles-under-draft-eu-rules/

Leak of the new directive proposal on export control of dual use-goods (22.07.2016)
http://www.euractiv.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/07/dual-use-proposal.pdf

Wassenaar Agreement
http://www.wassenaar.org/

EP Report: Human rights and technology: the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in third countries (08.09.2015)
http://www.euractiv.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/07/dual-use-proposal.pdf

Privacy International: Landmark changes to EU surveillance tech export policy proposed, leaked document shows (28.07.2016)
https://www.privacyinternational.org/node/909

(Contribution by Alessandro Bruni, EDRi intern)

EDRi-gram_subscribe_banner

Twitter_tweet_and_follow_banner

close
20 Sep 2016

EDRi invites you to the Big Brother Awards Belgium

By Kirsten Fiedler

On 6 October, the Belgian Big Brother Awards – a negative prize for the worst privacy abuser – will take place in Brussels. There are many other such award ceremonies around the globe, many of which are being organised by EDRi’s members. EDRi is proud to be one of the partners of the Belgian event, organised by its member Liga voor Mensenrechten.

We will be the organiser of a “Privacy Salon” – a panel discussion which will focus on online tracking activities and the upcoming reform of European privacy rules (ePrivacy Directive). You can register to attend the event by visiting this link.

The event will take place on:

When: 6 October.
Where: KVS , the Brussels City Theatre.

Doors open at 19:00, the program starts at 19:30.
The debate is scheduled from 19:45 until 21:00


Confirmed speakers:

Stephen Deadman (Facebook)
Matthias Matthiesen (IAB)
Brendan Van Alsenoy (Privacy Commission, DPA Belgium)
Estelle Massé (AccessNow)
Dr. Frederik Borgesius (University Amsterdam)
Moderator: Joe McNamee (EDRi)

Background on the nomination:

Facebook is engaging in the same type of mass surveillance that the US National Security Agency NSA is doing – its spying on people all around the world, just via different means. There are three main reasons for our nomination:

1. Facebook has access to a wide range of personal data; for example it accesses your phone number and gives out your name out to strangers.The social network started taking mobile numbers from other, less direct, sources (like WhatsApp) or from you phone to add them to profiles and use them as public identifiers for individuals.

2. Facebook tracks your movements across the web. It doesn’t matter if you are logged in or not. Every time you see a “like” button on a website, your internet browser is talking to Facebook. It tells the social network what pages you are visiting and what kind of browser you’re using in order to target advertising at you.

3. Last but not least, the devil is in the default: Facebook supposes you have nothing against your data being sold, and automatically opts you in. You are expected to navigate Facebook’s complex web of settings (which include “Privacy”, “Apps”, “Ads”, “Followers”, etc.) in search of possible opt-outs.

What can Facebook do with all this information?

Facebook has gained the power to control directly who you are, the social network can “engineer the public” without the users’ knowledge. For years, Facebook has been carrying out experiments, for example to influence the mood of its users, or to manipulate their voting behavior.

EDRi-gram_subscribe_banner

Twitter_tweet_and_follow_banner

close
20 Sep 2016

Privacy Training Center empowers you to protect your online freedom

By Guest author

New non-profit organisation offers privacy workshops for everyone

Most people know that surfing the internet has serious privacy implications. What many don’t know is how to protect themselves, their family, colleagues and friends. Meet the Privacy Training Center in Brussels the new not-for-profit training organisation.

The PTC aims to fill the knowledge gap by providing regular workshops about online privacy and data protection. Think of it as a targeted and structured way of doing crypto parties. Workshop participants learn about intrusive online advertising, digital criminals and governments’ digital prying eyes – and how to better protect themselves online.

................................................................. Support our work - make a recurrent donation! https://edri.org/supporters/ .................................................................

The curriculum ranges from raising beginners’ awareness for the privacy implications of using social media apps to supporting the roll-out of e-mail encryption in small organisations. Courses cover online security best practices and tons of useful apps and tools for things like secure file sharing, encrypted messaging and calls, anonymity and web tracking protection. We propose free software wherever possible.

As a non-profit, the PTC first and foremost targets are other non-profits, journalists and citizens, but the PTC also develops tailor-made staff training for businesses. After all, what good is the most secure software environment when employees post sensitive stuff on Facebook? Our workshops can also be embedded in conferences, public library programs, schools or universities. Feel free to ask!

The PTC is an initiative run by a group of IT consultants, programmers, privacy researchers and policy geeks and is the offspring of two Privacy Cafés held in the European Parliament together with EDRi and AccessNow in 2015. Our workshops continue to be available to policy makers from all institutions and political parties.

Website of the Privacy Training Center
https://www.privacytraining.org

EDRi announcement of 2015 European Parliament trainings
https://edri.org/privacy-cafe-2-0-improving-the-security-of-online-communications/

(Contribution by Jan Weisensee)

EDRi-gram_subscribe_banner

Twitter_tweet_and_follow_banner

close
20 Sep 2016

EU is now giving Google new monopolies

By Joe McNamee

Originally published on The European Sting

There is a lot of noise in the press and among lobbyists about an alleged hostility of the EU towards big American internet companies. Reality is more nuanced and more surprising – the policies appear to be hell-bent on giving Google new monopolies, to the detriment of European citizens and European internet companies.

The most astonishing of these policies is the proposal in the new Copyright Directive for mass, preventive filtering of information as it is being uploaded to the internet in Europe – a policy so restrictive and absurd that even China or Russia would baulk at the notion. An anti-Google measure? Hardly. Google actively lobbied the Vice-President of the European Commission about the alleged virtues of its content identification system (“contentID”), even if they hadn’t expected the Great Firewall of Europe to be the result.

ansip_tweet_platforms_copyright

If the proposal gets adopted, Google owns the contentID technology, so would become the sole provider in a position to comply with the new rules without additional investment. Also, after investing tens of millions of dollars into developing the technology, it is uniquely placed to license such software to European internet providers. If European companies were obliged to adopt similar tools, they would be dependent on Google software or otherwise would have to invest high amounts to deploy a similar one – or risk getting sued for using less effective technology. Google currently uses contentID for ex post checks of uploads, allowing big content providers to delete users’ videos that include some copyrighted material, even if the material is fully compliant with copyright law.

The draft Directive is, unsurprisingly, somewhat incoherent. While imposing a general obligation to monitor uploads, it also indicates that an existing rule that prohibits a general obligation to monitor also stays in place. So, companies will have to invest in tools that have this functionality and will only have the opportunity, but possibly not the obligation (depending on how courts interpret the obtuse text of the Directive), to use it. It just happens that using this functionality gives them more safety from liability. As the rules are currently drafted, companies will have an obligation if they exceed an unspecified level of active engagement with the content.

................................................................. Support our work - make a recurrent donation! https://edri.org/supporters/ .................................................................

In the same Directive, there is a proposal for a new “ancillary copyright,” whereby news outlets would be able to negotiate a fee for snippets of content to be used by services such as Google News or, possibly,Twitter – a policy often referred to as a “Google tax”. Hardly a pro-Google policy, right? Wrong. In Germany, where this policy has already been adopted, Google has the economic muscle to simply refuse to pay and suddenly it is not Google, but the publishers, who have a problem. Publishers put their content online in order for people to view it and to make money from advertising that is on their sites. They need Google News more than Google News needs them. So, the outcome is that everybody pays except Google. The Spanish government came up with a cunning plan, they passed a similar law to the one in Germany, but required Google News to pay. Result: Google News Spain shut down, to the detriment of smaller Spanish news outlets in particular and, again, everyone except Google loses.

The new legislative proposal is even worse than it seems. Despite the Commission’s best efforts, the EU recently adopted a world-leading Regulation that requires internet access companies to treat all internet traffic equally. Despite numerous complaints of discriminatory behaviour by the big online monopolies, no such obligation exists for Google to be non-discriminatory (i.e. not to sort content on the basis of its own business interests) in how it presents search results, ratings of businesses, news and so on. With the new copyright rules, Google will have a new legal obligation to have tools in place to interfere with content uploaded to its services, in real time, it will have a new legal obligation to agree (or not) to include news outlets in Google News. It is more than a little Faustian to believe that you do a deal to ask Google to be non-neutral, whenever this is to achieve whatever the European politicians want it to achieve and hope that Google will “do no evil” and not take advantage of its monopoly and legally mandated content regulation for its own benefit, to the detriment of European business, European citizens and the European online ecosystem.

Similarly, this Faustian deal, if adopted by the European Parliament and Council, would be to the detriment of freedom and democracy around the world. What credibility would Europe have when talking to Russia or China about online freedoms? Restrictions that have already been imposed, such as mass surveillance and data retention, are already thrown back at EU diplomats by foreign governments. Why, Beijing will ask, is the Great Firewall of China so bad, when this (from their perspective) implemented for the good of the society as a whole, when the Great Wall of Google is only designed to help a few copyright holders and, indirectly, Google itself.

Next stop for the proposal – approval, amendment or rejection by the European Parliament and the EU Member States. What should they say? In this bleak scenario, the words “Goethe” and “hell” spring to mind.

EU is now giving Google new monopolies to the detriment of European citizens and Internet companies (16.09.2016)
https://europeansting.com/2016/09/16/eu-is-giving-now-google-new-monopolies-to-the-detriment-of-european-citizens-and-internet-companies/

(Contribution by Joe McNamee, EDRi)

EDRi-gram_subscribe_banner

Twitter_tweet_and_follow_banner

close
20 Sep 2016

ENDitorial: “Hate speech”: Who’s the German for hypocrisy

By Joe McNamee

German interior minister Thomas De Maizière has a simple solution for “hate speech”. He believes that other people should stop it. He believes that someone (else) should do something. In particular, he is very keen that American internet companies should become much more involved in policing, suppressing and punishing what they consider to be “hate speech” in Europe. “Public incitement to hatred… must be removed from the internet” he explained. He believes that action should be taken – as long as the action is not taken by him.

................................................................. Support our work with a one-off-donation! https://edri.org/donate/ .................................................................

What does public incitement to hatred look like? Well, imagine the hatred behind a suggestion on Twitter that people fleeing war and torture could be dissuaded from coming to Europe by a frontier of pigs’ heads impaled on sticks. Xenophobia mixed with islamophobia, creating a suggestion that attacking refugees through their religion would be an effective way to avoid helping desperate, impoverished men, women and children fleeing war.

The proposal was not made by some anonymous, hateful troll. It was made by Hungarian Member of the European Parliament György Schöpflin. Mr Schöpflin’s political group is the European People’s Party, which is the same one as Thomas De Maizière’s CDU party. The reaction of the CDU and from Minister De Maizière to “xenophobic filth” from this ally has been complete silence. Furthermore, the reaction of the whole EPP Group in the European Parliament has been complete silence – a sad and blatant contradiction to previously strong opposition to discrimination by the EPP, demonstrated most notably by former Commissioner Viviane Reding‘s courageous defence of the Roma.

Mr Schöpflin subsequently “explained” that this had been a “thought experiment”. Oddly enough, the European Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia, which criminalises hate speech, does not have an exception for “thought experiments”.

Maybe Thomas De Maizière doesn’t know what to do about hate speech originating from his ally because he has not asked Facebook yet about what his opinion should be.

Hungarian MEP’s pig heads along border idea leads to Twitter dispute (22.08.2016)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/22/hungarian-mep-pig-heads-along-border-twitter-gyorgy-schopflin-refugees-eu

European Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A32008F0913

Roma deportations by France a disgrace, says EU (14.09.2016)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/sep/14/roma-deportations-france-eu-disgrace

(Contribution by Joe McNamee, EDRi)

EDRi-gram_subscribe_banner

Twitter_tweet_and_follow_banner

close
20 Sep 2016

Member Spotlight: Electronic Frontier Finland

By Guest author

This is the fourth article of the series “EDRi member in the Spotlight” in which our members have the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work in depth.

Today we introduce our Finnish member Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi).

Member_spotlight_banner

Member_spotlight_Effi

Effi’s Chairman Timo Karjalainen and the Winston Smith trophy, and Vice Chairman Leena Romppainen with the 2016 Big Brother Award.

1. Who are you and what is your organisation’s goal and mission?

We are Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi), the Finnish digital rights organisation. We focuse on all kinds of digital rights issues including, but not limited to freedom of speech, privacy, cyber intelligence, information security, copyright, open data, and digital public services.

2. How did it all begin, and how did your organisation develop its work?

This year Effi celebratesits 15th anniversary. Effi was founded on 5 September 2001, after a young researcher had been on exchange in USA. The founders of Effi were impressed with Electronic Frontier Foundation <www.eff.org/> and decided that Finland needed its own digital rights organisation. Effi is also a founding member of EDRi.

Our membership has stabilised to approximately 1500 members, which is very good considering the entire population of the country is about 5,5 million. Our activities are funded by membership fees and donations.

Effi has become the leading digital rights organisation in Finland: we are contacted whenever media needs comments on our topics, parliament committees request statements on legislation- and when citizens ask for our help when faced with digital rights issues.

Having functioned so far as an entirely volunteer-based organisation, we have grown bigger, and we are now looking forward to hiring some part-time staff to help us become more efficient and to further develop our work.

3. The biggest opportunity created by advancements in information and communication technology is…

… the collaboration between people all around the world that makes amazing things possible. We are living in an era of unprecedented opportunities in many ways.

4. The biggest threat created by advancements in information and communication technology is…

… that monitoring digital communication is too easy, governments are too willing to snoop, and power over the internet is rather unbalanced. Big companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are in many ways training people not to care.

5. Which are the biggest victories/successes/achievements of your organisation?

“Lex Nokia” counter ads on TV in 2009 that generated lots of public discussion. For a long time, there were significant efforts to push through legislation regarding e-voting, but it is not on the current government’s agenda, in large part thanks to us.

6. If your organisation could now change one thing in your country, what would that be?

We’d love for ordinary people to be more aware of digital rights issues.

7. What is the biggest challenge your organisation is currently facing in your country?

The hot topic in Finland in 2016 in our field is cyber intelligence legislation, i.e. snooping law, which is being pushed forward by current government. The opportunity to affect this national level legislation is the EU General Data Protection Regulation, and the changes it brings.

8. How can one get in touch with you if they want to help as a volunteer, or donate to support your work?

Effi can be contacted by mail: effi@effi.org. Our website is pretty much in Finnish only. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi)
https://effi.org

Effi Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/groups/electronicfrontierfinland/

Effi Twitter
https://twitter.com/Effi_ry

(Contribution by EDRi member Electronic Frontier Finland, Finland)

EDRi-gram_subscribe_banner

Twitter_tweet_and_follow_banner

close
20 Sep 2016

TiSA leaks set alarm bells ringing

By Maryant Fernández Pérez

Read this in German.

Despite the rumours and assertions by several Member States that Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is dead, the fight for safeguarding citizens’ rights and freedoms via so-called “trade agreements” is far from over. Now it is time to address the threat from the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Just days after Wikileaks made public some key negotiating documents concerning TiSA, Greenpeace Netherlands has released another batch of crucial and worrying documents.

TiSA is the perfect example on how the new generation of trade agreements is threatening our security and privacy online and non-discriminatory internet access. We’re outraged that trade negotiators are ignoring advice from civil society and agreeing to measures that will undermine our rights and freedoms,

said Maryant Fernández, Advocacy Manager of European Digital Rights (EDRi).

EDRi has found that:

  1. The leaks show plans for an increase of corporate influence on policy-makers, through new proposals for institutionalised lobbying.
  2. Governments, influenced by big corporations, want to relax the privacy safeguards that the European Union has long fought for and recently strengthened in the General Data Protection Regulation. EU privacy and data protection standards are endangered and diminished in 6 out of the 9 analysed documents.
  3. Exceptions for “essential security interests” are a Damocles sword over every single part of the agreement, endangering even the most positive aspects of TiSA.
  4. In relation to Net Neutrality, and despite the efforts of the European Union (EU), the door is still open to some forms of online discrimination, such as zero-rating.
  5. There’s a general lack of ambition regarding Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Messages (e.g. spam e-mail), and a risk that the EU will be in contradiction with its current e-Privacy Directive.
  6. TiSA can limit the access and transfer of software source code.

These findings are a result of the analysis of the Core Text, the Transparency Annex, the Telecommunications Annex, an internal note of the European Commission to the European Parliament, the EU proposals on dispute settlement and institutional aspects of TiSA released by Wikileaks. In addition, we reviewed the annexes on e-Commerce, Financial Services as well as the New Provisions applicable to all services, published by Greenpeace Netherlands.

EDRi will keep fighting to defend our civil liberties and rights online. In this regard, we express our gratitude and support to everyone involved in the release of these documents, without whom citizens will not be able to know the truth and influence the negotiations.

Read more:

Wikileaks TiSA (15.09.2016)
https://wikileaks.org/tisa/document/#september-publication

Greenpeace Netherlands TiSA leaks (20.09.2016)
www.tisa-leaks.org

EDRi analysis of the leaks (20.09.2016)
https://edri.org/files/tisaleaks_edrianalysis_20092016.pdf

EDRi’s position paper on TiSA (January 2016)
https://edri.org/files/TiSA_Position_Jan2016e.pdf

Study launch: The EU can achieve data protection-proof trade agreements (13.07.2016)
https://edri.org/study-launch-eu-can-achieve-data-protection-proof-trade-agreements/

Twitter_tweet_and_follow_banner

close
14 Sep 2016

Press Release: New copyright directive fails at every level

By Diego Naranjo

The European Commission has proposed a Copyright Directive that could not conceivably be worse. The text that was launched today, on 14 September, includes a proposal to potentially filter all uploads to the Internet in Europe. The draft text would destroy users’ rights and legal certainty for European hosting companies. The new Directive’s proposal for a new 20-year “ancillary copyright” for “news” outlets repeats painful mistakes made in Germany and Spain, which hurt publishers and Internet users alike.

We need a copyright reform to make Europe fit for the 21st century. We now have a proposal that is poison for European’s free speech, poison for European business and poison for creativity,

said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights.

It could not conceivably be worse.

Over the coming months, the European Parliament and Member States will need to propose amendments to the draft Directive -or reject the whole failed project. Citizens need to contact their national parliaments, their national governments, their European Parliamentarians and say STOP! We would hardly expect obligatory filtering of all uploads to the Internet from the world’s worst dictatorship, let alone from the European Union.

Do you want Google to filter and delete your videos if you include a clip of music or video in your creation? Do you want it to become almost impossible for a European web hosting company to survive? Do you want the right to link -the most fundamental aspect of how the Internet works- to be restricted?

The EU’s copyright legislation is more than half as old as the worldwide web itself. It is severely out of date and urgently needs meaningful reform. However, instead of a reform that respects the rights and values of European citizens, the proposed reform panders to a small number of lobbying interests. There is a “values gap” between the Commission and Europe’s citizens.

During our copyfails blogpost series we described how badly the EU copyright regime is broken, and how these failures could be fixed if the political will existed. However, EU policy-makers do not seem to think it is worth the effort to bring copyright to the 21st century. Ignoring the results of the copyright consultation of 2014, and despite not having published the analysis on the results on the public consultation on ancillary copyright and freedom of panorama, the Commission has a plan: Let’s ignore all facts (even those previously identified) and avoid a real reform at all costs.

Read more:

Towards a corporate copyright reform in the EU? (31.08.2016)
https://edri.org/towards-corporate-copyright-reform-eu/

Copyfails: Time to #fixcopyright!
https://edri.org/copyfails/

For additional information, please contact:
Heini Jarvinen
heini.jarvinen@edri.org
Tel: +32 2 274 25 70
https://edri.org
@edri

European Digital Rights (EDRi) is a not-for-profit association of digital civil rights organisations. Our objectives are to promote, protect and uphold civil rights in the field of information and communication technology.

Twitter_tweet_and_follow_banner

close