07 Dec 2016

#6 Freedom to stay anonymous: How to defend yourself against online surveillance


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


Online anonymisation: What is it and how does it work?

There are many ways in which you are identified when you use the internet, like tracking cookies, comparing data about your emails, SMS and chats, and the information you voluntarily give out (such as Facebook “likes”). Today we are online and connected, one way or another, most of the time, and exposing your identity can be a threat to your online freedoms. That’s why more and more people use online anonymisation tools to use the internet without being identified.

Online anonymisation can limit your exposure to mass surveillance. There’s an increasing number of initiatives around the world to attack our privacy with different excuses, such as “fighting terrorism”. That’s why the need to defend yourself from surveillance is more important than ever before. Although no measure is perfect, and it’s very difficult to protect yourself from targeted surveillance, using these tools can improve your privacy to a great extent.

How to claim back your freedom to stay anonymous

There are many ways of making identifying you online more difficult.

You should always delete your cookies and not save your browsing history (you can change this in the settings or preferences of your browser). Other easy solution to bring anonymity to your life is to start using Tor browser and search engines like DuckDuckGo or Startpage. Also, the use of privacy protective Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) is becoming more common among those who want to keep their internet use private.

Ricochet is an anonymous peer-to-peer instant messaging application which also anonymises your communication metadata.

Traditional cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox can be replaced with Spideroak Semaphor, as this provides better privacy and anonymity protection.

When you don’t want to store the file, but just share it with a group of people anonymously, you can use Onionshare. It allows you to securely share files of any size over a Tor network.

If you want to tackle the issue of anonymity at the operating system level, you should consider using Whonix along with QubesOS.

In the first episode of the “Do Not Track” webseries produced by ARTE TV, you will find more useful information about how much data we generate every day and how online tracking exposes a lot of private information:


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 deals 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?

Read our previous blogposts here, and stay tuned to our next blogposts to know more about your freedoms online, and how they are threatened!


28 Nov 2016

European and Canadian civil society groups call for rejection of CETA

By Maryant Fernández Pérez

Today, on 28 November 2016, European Digital Rights (EDRi) co-signed a statement together with over 450 civil society organisations. In the statement, civil society from both Europe and Canada express concerns about the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and therefore call for its rejection. CETA should be renegotiated, but for that to happen, there must be political will to do so.


You can read the statement below. The statement is also available in Czech, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Polish and Romanian:

We, the undersigned civil society organisations from Canada and Europe, hereby express our deep concern about the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. During the long process of the deal’s negotiations and legal check, we repeatedly pointed out major problems with the CETA text. We provided concrete inputs, which could have triggered a shift towards a more transparent and democratic trade policy with the protection of the environment and people’s fundamental rights at its core. But our concerns have not been addressed in the CETA as signed in October 2016. This is why we are stating our firm opposition to the ratification of the agreement.

Our objections are shared by a growing number of citizens on both sides of the Atlantic. A record 3.5 million people from all over Europe have signed a petition against CETA and its twin agreement, the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.[i] Over 2,100 local and regional governments have declared themselves TTIP- and CETA-free.[ii] Constitutional challenges against CETA have been filed in Germany[iii] and Canada [iv] and the legality of CETA’s controversial privileges for foreign investors will likely be ruled on by the Court of Justice of the European Union.[v]

On both sides of the Atlantic, farmers, trade unions, public health, consumer, environmental and digital rights groups, other NGOs, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have rejected the agreement.[vi] In October 2016, concerns in four sub-federal Belgian governments about the agreement’s negative impacts, and, in particular, its dangerous “investment court system”, nearly stopped their federal government from signing CETA.

Despite the controversy, the Canadian government and the EU institutions are trying to expedite CETA’s ratification. In Canada, legislation that would bring the agreement into force has already been introduced, without allowing time for any public consultation on the final agreement. The European Parliament also seems set to cut short its internal consultation processes, thereby limiting debate over ratifying the 1,600-page-long CETA text. After that, large parts of the agreement would be brought into force provisionally – long before the parliaments of all 28 EU member states have had their say.

To gain support for CETA ratification and allay concerns, numerous declarations have been attached to the text in the past months. But not a letter of the CETA text has been changed since its final version was published in early 2016. And the accompanying statements, including an EU-Canada “Joint Interpretative Instrument”, do nothing to fix the problems arising from the problematic CETA text, as experts have demonstrated.[vii]

We wish to highlight some of our fundamental concerns about the agreement as signed:

  • CETA would empower thousands of corporations to sue governments over legitimate and non-discriminatory measures to protect people and the planet. Nothing in the agreement or the accompanying declarations would stop corporations from using CETA’s investor rights to bully decision-makers away from public interest regulation, for example to tackle climate change. CETA even leaves the door open to “compensating” corporations for unrealised future profits when a change in policy affects their investment. Far from “radically” reforming the investor-state dispute settlement process, CETA expands and entrenches it.[viii]
  • CETA’s Investment Court System (ICS) grants highly enforceable rights to investors – but no corresponding obligations. It does not enable citizens, communities or trade unions to bring a claim when a company violates environmental, labour, health, safety, or other rules. It risks being incompatible with EU law as it establishes a parallel legal system, allowing investors to circumvent existing courts. The ICS is discriminatory because it grants rights to foreign investors that are neither available to citizens nor to domestic investors.[ix]
  • In stark contrast to the rights for corporations, CETA’s provisions on labour rights and sustainable development cannot be effectively enforced through sanctions. They remain empty statements with no bearing on the dangers that other chapters in the agreement pose to workers’ rights, environmental protection and measures to mitigate climate change.[x]
  • CETA severely limits governments’ ability to create, expand, and regulate public services and reverse failed liberalisations and privatisations. CETA is the first EU agreement which makes the liberalisation of services the rule and public interest regulation the exception. This threatens people’s access to high-quality services such as water, transport, social and health care, as well as attempts to provide public services in line with public interest goals.[xi]
  • An independent study of CETA’s economic impacts predicts jobs would be lost in both Canada and Europe, economic growth would be slower than without the deal, and the rather small income gains would go overwhelmingly to capital owners – not workers. As a result, inequality is expected to be higher under CETA than without the agreement.[xii]
  • CETA makes Canada and the EU more vulnerable to financial crises by further liberalising financial markets and severely restricting reforms aimed at removing key causes of financial instability and ensuring better protection of consumers and the economy as a whole.[xiii]
  • CETA would drive up Canadian prescription drug costs by at least Can$850 million per year (€583 million). It would negatively impact fundamental rights, such as the right to privacy and data protection and limit the EU’s and Canada’s ability to roll back excessive intellectual property rights (IPR) that limit access to knowledge and innovation. Some of CETA’s IPRs resemble closely the text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which was rejected by the European Parliament in 2012.[xiv]
  • CETA’s rules on regulatory cooperation and domestic regulation will put additional burdens on regulators and strengthen the role of corporate lobbyists in the policy-making process, potentially undermining much-needed public interest policy-making.[xv]
  • On both sides of the Atlantic, CETA would expose farmers to competitive pressures that undermine their livelihoods with little gain to consumers; increase corporate control over seeds; obstruct buy-local food policies; and threaten high food processing and production standards, undermining efforts to boost sustainable agriculture.[xvi]
  • Precautionary measures to protect consumers, public health and the environment could be challenged under CETA based on claims that they are overly burdensome, not “science based” or are disguised trade barriers. Nothing in the CETA text or accompanying declarations effectively protects the role of the precautionary principle in European regulatory policy, while some sections even refer to conflicting principles.[xvii]

CETA is the result of a largely secret negotiation process between the previous Canadian government and the previous European Commission. The final CETA text and accompanying declarations ignore almost all of the reasonable and very specific amendments proposed by civil society [xviii] to address the flaws of the agreement. The most recent attempts to re-open the negotiations, by the government of the Walloon region in Belgium, were blocked. Now, only a ‘take it or leave it’, yes or no vote on the 1,600-page agreement is possible.

We urge:

  • the European Parliament, the Canadian Parliament, as well as national, provincial and regional parliaments, which have a say in the ratification, to defend the rights and interests of the people they represent against the threats posed by CETA by voting against the ratification of the agreement;
  • the many municipal and other regional and provincial governments that have raised concerns over CETA to make their voices heard in the ratification process;
  • these parties to begin a thorough, democratic consultation, including of civil society, on the foundations of a new, fair and sustainable trade agenda.

As it stands, CETA is not a progressive trade deal. It would be a mistake to adopt this treaty with its many worrying provisions as a model for agreements to come. CETA is a backward-looking and even more intrusive version of the old free trade agenda designed by and for the world’s largest multinationals. We need a paradigm shift toward a transparent and inclusive trade policy founded on the needs of people and our planet. Ratifying CETA will take us many steps further away from this much needed change.



Center for International Environmental Law, International
FIAN International, International
GRAIN, International
International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), International
IATP – Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, International
IOGT International, International
Naturefriends International, International
Public Services International (PSI), International
SumOfUs, International
ActionAid International, International
No Vox International, International

European organisations

ClientEarth, Europe
Compassion in World Farming, Europe
European Digital Rights (EDRi), Europe
European Environmental Bureau, Europe
European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), Europe
European Transport Workers’ Federation, Europe
European Secretariat of the World March of Women, Europe
Federation of Young European Greens, Europe
Food & Water Europe, Europe
Foodwatch, Europe
Friends of the Earth Europe, Europe
Greenpeace, Europe
Seattle to Brussels network, Europe
The Health and Trade Network, Europe
UNI Europa, Europe

Canadian organisations

Breaking the Silence Maritime Guatemala Solidarity Network PEI Chapter, Canada
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canada
Canadian Environmental Law Association, Canada
Canadian Health Coalition, Canada
Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canada
Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canada
Citizens in Action, Canada
Common Frontiers, Canada
Cooper Institute, Canada
Coordination québécoise de la Marche mondiale des femmes, Canada, Quebec
Council of Canadians, Canada
Don’t Frack PEI, Canada
Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island (ECO-PEI), Canada
Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), Canada
Green Economy Network, Canada
Group of 78, Canada
MacKillop Centre for Social Justice, Canada
MiningWatch Canada, Canada
National Farmers Union, Canada
National Union of Public and General Employees, Canada
OpenMedia, Canada
PEI Coalition for a Poverty Eradication Strategy, Canada
PEI Federation of Labour, Canada
PEI Health Coalition, Canada
People’s Health Movement Canada/Mouvement populaire pour la santé au Canada, Canada
PharmaWatch Canada, Canada
Prince Edward Island Food Security Network, Canada
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Canada
Save Our Seas and Shores, Canada
Seafarers International Union of Canda, Canada
Trade Justice Network, Canada
Unifor, Canada
United Steelworkers, Canada
Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS), Canada, Quebec
Alternatives, Canada, Quebec
AmiEs de la Terre Québec, Canada, Quebec
Association canadienne des avocats du mouvement syndical (ACAMS-CALL), Canada, Quebec
Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI), Canada, Quebec
Attac-Québec, Canada, Quebec
Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD), Canada, Quebec
Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), Canada, Quebec
Centre international de solidarité ouvrière (CISO), Canada, Quebec
Centre justice et foi, Canada, Quebec
Chapitre montréalais du Conseil des Canadiens, Canada, Quebec
Coalition des associations de consommateurs du Québec (CACQ), Canada, Quebec
Coalition Solidarité Santé, Canada, Quebec
Collectif pour un Québec sans pauvreté, Canada, Quebec
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL), Canada, Quebec
Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), Canada, Quebec
Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain (CCMM-CSN), Canada, Quebec
Eau Secours! la coalition québécoise pour une gestion responsable de l’eau, Canada, Quebec
Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ), Canada, Quebec
Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), Canada, Quebec
Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ), Canada, Quebec
Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), Canada, Quebec
Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), Canada, Quebec
Génération nationale, Canada, Quebec
L’R des centres de femmes du Québec, Canada, Quebec
L’Entraide missionnaire, Canada, Quebec
Ligue des droits et libertés, Canada, Quebec
Mouvement d’éducation populaire et d’action communautaire du Québec (MÉPACQ), Canada, Quebec
Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes (RQGE), Canada, Quebec
Réseau québécois sur l’intégration continentale (RQIC), Canada, Quebec
Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (SCFP-Québec), Canada, Quebec
Syndicat des Métallos, Canada, Quebec
Syndicat des professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ), Canada, Quebec
Unifor Québec, Canada, Quebec
Union des consommateurs, Canada, Quebec
Union des employés et employées de service section locale 800 (UES 800), Canada, Quebec
Union paysanne, Canada, Quebec

EU member state organisations

AK EUROPA, Austria
3 F Frederiksborg, Denmark
A contre-courant, Belgium
AB “Švyturys” trade union, Lithuania
ActiveWatch, Romania
ACV-CSC, Belgium
AEFJN, Belgium
Afrika Kontakt, Denmark
Aire, Spain
AITEC, France
AK Fracking Braunschweiger Land, Germany
Aktion gegen arbeitsunrecht (action against labour injustice), Germany
aktion21-austria, Austria
Alcohol Policy Youth Network, Slovenia
ALEBA – Association Luxembourgeoise des Employés de Banque et Assurance, Luxembourg
Alliance D19-20, Belgium
Alliance for Cancer Prevention, United Kingdom
Amis de la Terre, France
AMPOS – Association of Professional Musicians of Symphonic Orchestras, Spain
An Claíomh Glas, Ireland
An Taisce, Ireland
Animalia, Finland
ANSOL – Associação Nacional para o Software Livre, Portugal
Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL), Germany
Arran Lleida, Spain
Asamblea de andalucia (ada), Spain, Andalucia
ASiA- Associació Salut i Agroecologia, Spain
Asociația Mai Bine, România
Asociația Pro Educatie, Istorie si Cultură Corvinias, Romania
Asociaţia România Vie / Romania Alive Society, Romania
Associació Catalana de Juristes Demòcrates, Spain Catalunya
Asociación Profesional Elite Taxi, Spain
Ateneu Cooperatiu La Baula, Spain – Lleida (Catalonia)
Ateneu Popular Garriguenc, Spain Catalunya
Attac Austria, Austria
Attac DG, Belgium
Attac Finland, Finland
Attac France, France
Attac Germany, Germany
Attac Hungary, Hungary
Attac Ireland, Ireland
Attac Italia, Italy
Attac Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Attac Norway, Norway
Attac Spain, Spain
AVALOT -Joves de la UGT de Catalunya-, Spain
Balkani Wildlife Society, Bulgaria
Baloldali Alternatíva Egyesülés, Hungary
Berufsvereinigung der bildenden Künstler Österreichs, Zentralverband, Austria
Biodynamiske Forbrugere, Denmark
Bio-Lëtzebuerg, Luxemburg
Blue 21 e.V., Germany
Both ENDS, The Netherlands
Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), Friends of the Earth Germany, Germany
Bündnis TTIP Stoppen, Austria
Campact e.V., Germany
Campagna Stop TTIP Italia, Italy
Campaign against Climate Change, United Kingdom
Campaña #NoalTTIP, Spain
Cancer Prevention & Education Society, United Kingdom
Casal d’amistat amb Cuba de Lleida, Spain Catalonia
CEDD – Centrul de Excelenta pentru Dezvoltare Durabila, Romania
CEDSALA, Spain Valencia
Centar za životnu sredinu/ Friends of the Earth Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Center for Encounter and Active Non-Violence, Austria
Centre for Global Education, Ireland
CGIL (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro), Italy
CGT, France
CGT Lleida, Spain
Christliche Initiative Romero (CIR), Germany
CIG, Spain Galicia
Civilek Mecsekért Mozgalom, Hungary
Clare Says No To TTIP & CETA, Ireland
Clean Air Action Group, Hungary
CLIAB, Spain
Climaxi, Belgium
CNCD-11.11.11, Belgium
COAG, Spain
Colla Ecologista d’Almassora, Spain
Collectif amainte, France
Collectif Roosevelt, France
Comhlámh, Ireland
Comúdelleida, Spain
Confederacion de Autonomos del Taxi de la Comunidad Valenciana, Spain Valencia
Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT-Spain), Spain
Confederación General del Trabajo de Almería CGT-Almería, Spain
Confederación Intersindical, Spain
Coomhola Salmon Trust, ltd., Ireland
Coordinadora d’ONGD i aMS de Lleida, Spain
Coordination Climat Justice Sociale Genève, Switzerland
Coordination Rurale, France
CorA Network for Corporate Accountability, Germany
Corporate Europe Observatory, Belgium
COSPE Onlus, Italy
CRASH – Coalition for Research and Action for Social Justice and Human Dignity, Finland
Csalán Környezet- és Természetvédő Egyesület, Hungary
Csermely Környezetvédelmi Egyesület, Hungary
de-clic.ro, Romania
Den Haag TTIP-vrij, The Netherlands
Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR), Germany
Distretto di Economia Solidale Altro Tirreno, Italy
Eco Ruralis – In support of peasant farming, Romania
ECOAR))), Spain Galicia
Ecocity, Greece
Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
Economistas Sin Fronteras, Spain
EH TTIP/CETA Ez Kanpaina, Spain, Basque Country
Ekologistak Martxan, Spain, Basque Country
ELA (Basque Workers Solidarity), Spain, Basque Country
Emmaus Aurinkotehdas, Finland
End Ecocide On Earth, Austria
Entrepueblos/entrepobles/entrepobos/herriarte, Spain
Environmental Planning and Education Network, Hungary
Estonian Society for Nature Conservation, Estonia
European Anti Poverty Network Ireland, Ireland
“Europe and We” Association, Bulgaria
EWHN, European Work Hazards Network Denmark, Denmark
Fairtrade Lëtzebuerg, Luxembourg
Fairwatch, Italy
Fauna Alapítvány, Hungary
Fédération Artisans du Monde, France
Federation of Independent Trade Unions in Education (FSIE), Romania
Federation Syndicale Unitaire (FSU), France
Fem Poble (Sant Pere de Ribes), Spain
FENPROF, Portugal
FIAN Deutschland, Germany
FIAN Österreich, Austria
FIAN Sweden, Sweden
FÍS NUA, Ireland
FNCTTFEL, Luxembourg
Focus, association for sustainable development, Slovenia
Fondation COPERNIC, France
Forebyggelses-og Patientraadet.FPR, Denmark
Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika e.V., Germany
Forum Umwelt & Entwicklung, Germany
Foundation Bluelink, Bulgaria
Foundation for the environment and agriculture, Bulgaria
Frack Free Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom
Fracking Free Bulgaria, Bulgaria
Friends of the Earth Cyprus, Cyprus
Friends of the Earth Finland – Maan ystävät ry, Finland
Friends of the Earth Ireland, Ireland
Friends of the Earth Malta, Malta
Friends of the Earth Spain, Spain
Friends of the Earth Sweden / Jordens Vänner, Sweden
Friends of the Landless, Finland
FUGEA, Belgium, Wallonia
Fundació Ateneu Pere Mascaró, Spain, Illes Balears
Fundacio nous horitzons, Spain
Fundacion mundubat, Spain
Fundacja Kuźnia Kampanierów, Poland
Fundacja Strefa Zieleni, Poland
Fundacja Zielone Światło / Green Light Foundation, Poland
G3W-M3M, Belgium
GAIA – Environmental Action and Intervention Group, Portugal
GegenStrömung, Germany
Gen-ethisches Netzwerk, Germany
GENUK, Gemeinnütziges Netzwerk für Umweltkranke e.V., Germany
Giligan Nature Conservation and Tradicion Preserve Association, Hungary
GLOBAL 2000 – Friends of the Earth Austria, Austria
Global Justice Now, United Kingdom
GMB Trade Union, United Kingdom
GMO Free Bulgaria, Bulgaria
GRECS-Grup de Recerca Exclusió i Control Social-Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
Green Budget Europe, Belgium
Green Economy Foundation, Ireland
Green Foundation Ireland, Ireland
Green institute, Greece
Green Liberty, Latvia
Greentourism Ecologic Association, Romania
4th Group of the United Left – Social movements and individuals, Slovenia
Grupo espeleologico merindades, Spain
Hazards Campaign, United Kingdom
Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Europe
Health and Environment Justice Support, Germany
Hungarian Network of Social Forum, Hungary
Icv terres de lleida, Spain
Initiativ Liewensufank- IBFAN Luxemburg, Luxemburg
Initiative Wissenschaft gegen TTIP, Germany
Initiativplattform TTIP stoppen Oberoesterreich, Austria
INKOTA-netzwerk e.V., Germany
Inspi-Ráció Egyesület, Hungary
Institut za trajnostni razvoj – Institute for Sustrainable Development, Slovenia
Institute of Global Responsibility (IGO), Poland
Instytut Spraw Obywatelskich INSPRO, Poland
International Presentation Association, Ireland
International Small Business Alliance, Ireland
Intersindical Valenciana, Spain País Valencià
Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Ireland
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association, ICSA, Ireland
Iuridicum Remedium, z. s., Czech Republic
Joves d’Esquerra Verda, Spain
Karl Marx Society, Hungary
Kauno regiono energetinių įmonių jungtinė darbininkų profsąjunga, Lithuania
Keep Ireland Fracking Free, Ireland
Kehys – The Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU, Finland
KMU gegen TTIP, Austria
Közép-dunántúli Biokultúra Egyesület, Hungary, Europe
Kulturrat Österreich, Austria
La Casa Azul del Occidente, Spain
Les Amis de la Terre, Belgium
Letterbreen and Mullaghdun Community, United Kingdom
Links Ecologisch Forum (LEF), Belgium
Lithuanian Industry Trade Union Federation, Lithuania
Lithuanian Seafarers’ Union, Lithuania
Lithuanian Trade Union of Health Care Employees, Lithuania
LobbyControl, Germany
LRT darbuotojų profesinė sąjunga, Lithuania
Luonto-Liitto / The Finnish Nature League, Finland
Magosfa Foundation, Hungary
Magyar Antifasiszta Liga, Hungary
Mandate Trade Union, Ireland
Marchas de la dignidad-madrid, Spain
Marea Blanca de Ponent i Pirineus, Spain Catalonia
Mareas ciudadanas, Spain
May Day, Denmark
Mediterranean Antinuclear Watch (MANW ), Greece
MedSOS, Greece
Meer Democratie, The Netherlands
Mehr Demokratie, Germany
Mercy International Association, Ireland
Milieudefensie, The Netherlands
MOC, Belgium
Moral Cerdit Association, Hungary
Mouvement Ecologique, Luxembourg
Mouvement politique des objecteurs de croissance (mpOC), Belgium
Mouvement Rural de Jeunesse Chretienne, France
Mouvement Utopia, France
Movement for Just Society (Gibanje za pravično družbo- GPD), Slovenia
MTVSZ / Friends of the Earth Hungary, Hungary
Mundubat, Spain Basque Country
Nacion humana universal, Spain
National Justice and Peace Network, United Kingdom
Naturefriends Greece, Greece
NaturFreunde Deutschlands, Germany
New Wind Association, Finland
No Transat !, Belgique / Belgium
NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark, Denmark
Non ao TTIP Galiza, Spain Galicia
ÖBV – Via Campesina Austria, Austria
ÖGB – Austrian Trade Union Federation, Austria
OGM dangers, France
Oikos – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento, Portugal
OMAL, Spain
Open Cages, Lithuania
Organisation des producteurs de lait, France
Padrines i Padrins Flautes de Mallorca, Spain
Paz con Dignidad, Spain
PCS, United Kingdom
PEAH – Policies for Equitable Access to Health, Italy
Pénzügyi Szervezetek Lakossági Figyelője Egyesület, Hungary
People Before Profit, United Kingdom
People’s Front, Hungary
Peoples Movement, Ireland
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Finland, Finland
Plataforma Algarve Loivre de Petróleo, Portugal
Plataforma Não ao Tratado Transatlântico, Portugal
Plataforma no al TTIP Sevilla, Spain
Plataforma pel Dret a Decidir del País Valencià, Spain País Valencià
Plataforma STOP CETA Ponent i Pirineus, Spain
Plateforme Stop CETA & TTIP, Luxembourg
Platform Aarde Boer Consument, The Netherlands
Polyán Egyesület, Hungary
PowerShift e.V., Germany
Presentation Interprovincial Justice Desk, Ireland and the UK
Procés Constituent, Spain (Catalonia)
Protestival, Slovenia
Quercus – Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza, Portugal
Quintessenz – Verein zur Wiederherstellung der Bürgerrechte im Informationszeitalter, Austria
Red andaluza no al TTIP, Spain
Réseau Semences Paysannes, France
Rettet den Regenwald, Germany
Right2Water Campaign Ireland, Ireland
Skiftet, Sweden
Slow Food Ireland, Ireland
Slow Food Italy, Italy
Social movement for Sustainable Development of Slovenia – TRS (Drštvo Gibanje TRS9), Slovenia
Social Justice Ireland , Ireland
Sociedad cultural gijonesa, Spain
Solidary Bulgaria, Bulgaria
Som lo que Sembrem, Spain Catalonia
STEI Intersindical, Spain Balearic Islands
Stop CETA Alliance Ireland, Ireland
STOP Desahucios Hernani, Spain
Stop TAFTA Luxembourg, Luxembourg
StopTTIP uk, United Kingdom
STOP TTIP CETA TiSA Greece, Greece
Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczne EKO-UNIA, Poland
Students against TTIP UK, United Kingdom
Susivienijimas ŽALI.LT, Lithuania
Sustainable Water Network, Ireland
SZAB, Hungary
Technical Engineering and Electrical Union, Ireland
The Barn Owl Foundation, Hungary
The Danish Ecological Council, Denmark
The Environmental Pillar, Ireland
The Irish Food Writers’ Guild, Ireland
The Irish Wildife Trust, Ireland
Tid til fred – aktiv mod krig, Denmark
Towards Sustainability Association, Hungary
Trade Justice Movement, United Kingdom
Trade union of Lithuanian food producers, Lithuania
Trades Union Congress, United Kingdom
transform! italia, Italy
Transitie Nederland, The Netherlands
Transnational Institute (TNI), The Netherlands
Trócaire, Ireland
TTIP and Agriculture coalition, The Netherlands
TTIP Network Finland, Finland
TTIPunfairHandelbar, Germany
UAB Siauliu energetikos statyba profesine sajunga, Lithuania
UFISC, France
UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores), Spain
UGT de Catalunya, Spain
UGT LLEIDA, Spain – Lleida Catalonia
ULC Union Luxembourgeoise des Consommateurs nouvelle a.s.b.l., Luxembourg
Umanotera, Slovenia
Umweltinstitut München e.V., Germany
Unconditional Basic Income Europe, Belgium
Unión Sindical Obrera (USO), Spain
Union Syndicale Fédérale, Europe
Union syndicale Solidaires, France
UnternehmensGrün e.V., Germany
USTEA (Unión de Sindicatos de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores en Andalucía), Spain
Utopia, Slovakia
Vaistinių darbuotojų profesinė sąjunga, Lithuania
Védegylet Egyesület, Hungary
Vida, Austria
Visnyeszéplaki Faluvédő és Közművelődési Egyesület, Hungary
Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment, Ireland
Vrijschrift, The Netherlands
War on Want, United Kingdom
WEED – World Economy, Ecology & Development, Germany
Wicklow (Eire)&Friends Against TTIP/CETA, Ireland
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Netherlands, The Netherlands
World March of Women(WMW)- Cordination CATALONIA, Spain Catalonia
wwoof italia, Italy
XminY het actiefionds, The Netherlands
Young Friends of the Earth Cyprus, Cyprus
Za Zemiata, Friends of the Earth Bulgaria, Bulgaria
Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia, Croatia
ZERO – Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System, Portugal
Zivilcourage Innviertel, Austria
Zöld Akció Egyesület (Green Action), Hungary
Zold Volgyert Egyesulet, Hungary


[i] Interactive map of the European initiative against TTIP and CETA

[ii] TTIP and CETA free zones in Europe

[iii] Information on the constitutional challenge against CETA at Germany’s constitutional court

[iv] Constitutional challenge against CETA at the Federal Court of Canada

[v] See, for example: Investment Court System in CETA to be judged by the ECJ

[vi] See, for example: Civil society groups call on European governments to reject the CETA agreement; Joint Canadian Trade Union statement on CETA; Small and medium-sized enterprise from across Europe call on European governments to reject the CETA agreement

[vii] See, for example: The Great CETA swindle; The EU-Canada Joint Interpretive Declaration/Instrument on the CETA; CETA to be signed unchanged, but less likely to be ratified after Wallonian resistance

[viii]See, for example: CETA – Trading away democracy

[ix] See, for example: The Zombie ISDS. Rebranded as ICS, rights for corporations to sue states refuse to die

[x] See, for example: “Labour rights”, in: Making sense of CETA

[xi] See, for example: CETA and Public Services

[xii] CETA without blinders: how cutting ‘trade costs and more’ will cause unemployment, inequality and welfare losses

[xiii] See, for example: “The financial services chapter: Inflating bank profits at the expense of citizens”, in Making sense of CETA

[xiv] See, for example: ACTA-CETA similarities; Trade and Privacy: Complicated bedfellows? How to achieve data protection-proof free trade agreements?; and “Patents, copyright and innovation” and “Canada-specific concerns”, in Making sense of CETA

[xv] See, for example: “Limiting how and what government regulates” and “More cooperation for less regulation”, in Making sense of CETA; and CIEL letter to Minister-President Magnette

[xvi] See, for example: “CETA’s threat to agricultural markets and food quality”, in Making sense of CETA

[xvii] CETA, TTIP and the EU precautionary principle

[xviii] For examples of specific amendments put forward by trade unions and environmental organisations, see: Protocol on Dispute Settlement and Institutional Mechanisms for the trade and sustainable development and trade and labour provisions; Understanding on the Provision of Public Services and Procurement; Protocol on Investment Protection; Understanding on the Precautionary Principle; BUND proposals for amendments on public services, the precautionary principle and the promotion of renewable energy.


25 Nov 2016

New leaks confirm TiSA proposals that would undermine civil liberties

By Heini Järvinen

Today, on 25 November 2016, German blog Netzpolitik.org in association with Greenpeace published new leaked documents concerning the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), a “trade” agreement that is currently being negotiated between 23 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including the European Union.

The new leaks confirm the problems identified in previous leaks, including serious threats to freedom of expression and protection of personal data of European citizens.

The proposals on privatised censorship are particularly worrying

said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights (EDRi).

Creating a power to undermine our free speech with no accountability is reckless and contrary to literally all relevant provisions of international law.

In September 2016, Wikileaks and Greenpeace Netherlands published other documents on TiSA. In the light of today’s leaks, what’s new from a civil liberties perspective?

  1. Liability protections: while having provisions to promote freedom of expression will be a step forward, the latest US made a proposal in TiSA which does not respect the rule of law and would remove rights to freedom of expression. The proposal is that internet companies would not be liable for any damage caused by voluntary restrictions of individuals’ free speech if they undertake such restrictions “in good faith” because they feel that the communications are “harmful or objectionable”. The proposal even extends to when this damage is caused implementing regulation-by-algorithm – in other words when using technical means, such as automatic filtering, to do so. This would privatise the regulation of the human right to receive, impart and seek information. It would almost inevitably lead into privatised censorship of completely legal information by governments (through pressures to online companies), or online companies themselves (acting in their own commercial interest).
  2. Net neutrality: The EU had taken a step towards the right direction and proposed some improvements to the text on net neutrality, the principle that all the internet traffic has to be treated equally, which is crucial for fair competition between online services, for innovation, and for freedom of expression. The leaks show that the US and Colombia proposal officially oppose these improvements. The US has net neutrality rules and this position was taken before the elections. Why hasn’t it supported the EU here?
  3. Data flows: The leaks show that the pressure to include “data flows” and “free flow of data” in the agreement is persistent. The European Commission announced previously that data protection will be left out of TiSA. However, the European Commission Directorate General for Trade (DG Trade) has stated that they will ensure free data flows and provisions against data localisation. Bringing these topics into the discussions will almost inevitably bring data protection and privacy onto the negotiation table.

A big coalition of organisations around the world is worried about the proposals in the draft core text, the e-commerce, telecommunications, financial services and localisation annexes of TiSA. These leaks are not reassuring.


TiSA is being negotiated formally since March 2013. A Ministerial Meeting to conclude the talks was scheduled on 5-6 December. The meeting has been cancelled due to outstanding issues and the recent developments in the US.

Read more:

TiSA-leaks: Fundamental rights shall be levered out for free trade – also in the internet (25.11.2016)

Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), Annex on Electronic Commerce (25.11.2016)

Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), Annex on Telecommunications Services (25.11.2016)

Global letter on TiSA, data protection and privacy (02.11.2016)

Corporate-sponsored privacy confusion in the EU on trade and data protection (12.10.2016)

TiSA leaks set alarm bells ringing (20.09.2016)

EDRi analysis of the TiSA leaks of September 2016 (20.09.2016)

EDRi’s position paper on TiSA (January 2016)

Study launch: The EU can achieve data protection-proof trade agreements (13.07.2016)


24 Nov 2016

Terrorism Directive: Document pool

By Maryant Fernández Pérez

I am convinced that the only effective way to tackle terrorism is firmly rooted in the respect of fundamental and human rights.

EU Security Union Commissioner Sir Julian King, 14 November 2016.

The European Commission proposed the Draft Directive on Combating Terrorism (the “Terrorism Directive”) in December 2015. Since then, the legislative process to adopt it has been fast-tracked, which reduces the space for meaningful public participation, transparency and accountability.

The Directive is expected to be finalised by the end of 2016. On 17 November, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the European Commission concluded the so-called “trilogue“. This means that a political agreement has been reached among the very few people representing the three institutions. Next, both the Council and the Parliament will have to formally adopt the Directive. Amendments are possible, in theory. However, their adoption will be in practice close to impossible. After the Directive is finalised in Brussels, EU Member States will have to give meaning to vague and unclear wording when implementing the Directive.

If changes are not introduced in the Terrorism Directive, abuses to freedom of expression and privacy will be made in your Member State!

EDRi doesn’t give up and keeps pushing for a human rights agenda in the Terrorism Directive. In this document pool, you will find the relevant information, documents and analyses of the Terrorism Directive. We’ll update this document pool as the process advances. Last update: 30 November 2016.

Legislative Texts

More information in PRELEX (EU Database on preparatory acts), OEIL (European Parliament’s Legislative Observatory) and IPEX (Interparliamentary Exchange Platform).

EDRi’s analyses and recommendations

EDRi statements

(Click image to see the full sized infographics, or download the PDF here.)


23 Nov 2016

#5 Freedom not to be labelled: How to fight profiling


This is the fifth 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.


Profiling: What is it and how does it work?

Algorithms gather data from your social media activities, emails, browsing history and so on. Now that the Internet of Things is becoming more and more used, it adds its share to the amount of information collected and stored. As a result of all this data available about your personality, preferences and activities, you can be more and more easily labelled and placed in categories.

These categories may or may not be correct. You might end up “mislabelled” and put into a wrong category. For example, according to a French government website, you might be in the process of being radicalised if you change your eating habits, leave full-time education or stop your sporting activities and stop watching TV. Of course, you might just be a student writing your thesis.

Research has shown that for example a person’s ethnic group, sexual orientation, religion or relationship status can be surprisingly accurately guessed from simply assessing their Facebook “likes”. These insights are possible, even though many users avoid clicking on links that would obviously reveal these details.

Based on this “labelling”, decisions can be taken about you: if you will be selected for a job interview, or picked for a special security screening at the airport. Or you could be offered either a discount or higher prices for a service or a product.

How to claim back your freedom not to be labelled

If you believe that a profiling measure has produced legal effects or significantly affected you (credit worthiness, reliability, conduct) you can contact Data Protection Authorities (DPA) to exercise your rights, such as the right to object to automatic decision-making and the right access to the information collected about you. Unfortunately, not all the DPAs have a user-friendly approach, and issuing a request can be fairly complex in some countries, such as Belgium. However, in other countries like France, the authorities offer a template-based model to simplify the complaint system for their citizens. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is due to become binding law in all EU Member States in 2018, will strengthen and clarify both these rights and the ability of national data protection authorities to implement them.

Random Agent Spoofer is an add-on for Firefox browser. It hinders browser fingerprinting – collecting information that allows to identify you – by allowing you to automatically choose random browser profiles.

Self-Destructing Cookies is an add-on that removes the general purpose cookies when they are no longer used by open browser tabs. Also, it detects and removes the tracking cookies as soon as they are spotted.

$heriff allows you to know differential pricing in real time.

In the webseries “Do Not Track”, produced by ARTE TV in collaboration – with Mozilla, you can discover more about profiling, for example how much data you provide when “liking” things on Facebook, and how that affects not only you but also your friends and relatives. Watch the third episode, “Like mining” here:


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 deals 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?

Read our previous blogposts here, and stay tuned to our next blogposts to know more about your freedoms online, and how they are threatened!

Read more:

6 times it’s more expensive to be a woman (12.04.2016)

Need a Reservation? That Could Depend On How Big You Are on Twitter (Really) (30.09.2010)

Is social profiling discrimination? (03.05.2012)

The dangers of high-tech profiling, using Big Data (07.08.2014)

Do Not Track: Episode 3 – Like Mining


07 Nov 2016

#4 Freedom not to be manipulated: How to fight weapons of math destruction*


This is the fourth 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.


Algorithms: What are they and how do they work?

When we use social networks like Facebook or video sharing platforms like YouTube, a lot of sensitive data about us is generated and stored. It can be used for different purposes by those companies and by other companies with which the data might be shared. For example, they can decide that, since you accepted their terms of service, they can do “research” based on the information you posted. This has already happened: Facebook did an experiment with thousands of users to work out if they could manipulate people to make them feel more or less positive, by using an algorithm that showed different information in different people’s timelines.

It has been proved that only the fact of showing people in their social media timeline that their friends went to vote, can make people vote, and increase the turnout of an election – and this means by showing certain people this information could favour one side or another in an election. This gives a lot of power to corporations. Ultimately, there is nothing to stop such a company from using its influence to favour one candidate or another, or threatening to do so in order to gain political leverage.

Our sensitive data can also end up in the wrong hands. The Google flu trends experiment used information about what people were searching online to guess when flu outbreaks were about to happen. This type of information could be used to prevent catastrophes and aid public health, for example an epidemic crisis. But people’s sensitive data, such as health-related information, should be used very cautiously.

How to claim back your freedom not to be manipulated

If you browse the internet while being logged into a social network, you may be sharing far more information that you might expect. You should also carefully consider with whom you want to share sensitive data like information about your health, sexual orientation, or political opinions, either explicitly or implicitly.

DuckDuckGo‘s privacy policy explains that it does not collect or share any personal information. You can make it your search engine by default on your personal computer and smartphone. Apart from its strong privacy commitments, DuckDuckGo has some useful features like “!bangs” which can make your searches quicker. Do you need to look for EDRi in Wikipedia? Just type “edri !w” and you’ll be in our Wikipedia page in no time!

John is also dealing with his sensitive personal data in this video, prepared by our member Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) – Romania:


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 deals 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?

Read our previous blogposts here, and stay tuned to our next blogposts to know more about your freedoms online, and how they are threatened!

Read more:

*The term “weapons of math destruction” is part of the title of a book by Cathy O’Neil

Algorithmic Accountability and Transparency in the Digital Economy debate (7.11.2016)

How algorithms rule our working lives

The rise of data and the death of politics (20.07.2014)

Commission to open probe into tech companies’ algorithms next year (08.11.2016)


26 Oct 2016

#3 Freedom to make mistakes: How to defend yourself from abuses


Lee este artículo en español

This is the third 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.


Public availability of sensitive information: What is that and how it works?

In the online environment we constantly feed companies and institutions with our personal information. In most cases, we are not in control of the use of that information. The information we consciously provide can be combined with other pieces of information and create completely new information that we did not even know could be created. This can cause risks for our freedoms, also offline.

Nowadays a big part of our social interaction happens online, in social media like Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Apart from the information you post or send via these services, they can also collect other information from your devices, such as location data, battery levels, and the list of apps you have installed in your phone. By combining all this data, it is easy to connect this information to you even even if you used a pseudonym. Being anonymous online is far more difficult than it seems.

And the internet does not forget. Think about it: anything you post online now (or that you posted years ago!) could be later tracked back to you, by anyone who happens to get access to it. An old online communication that you thought was private could come up in a job interview, and affect your chances to get employed. The threats are even greater in countries where freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are not respected. In the worst cases, the information about you could be used to damage your financial or even personal security.

How to claim back your freedom to make mistakes

When you post something online, you need to be sure to use the best available tools to protect yourself from others snooping on your private life. One of the best ways to reduce risks is the use of encryption messaging apps and add-ons that can protect your privacy.

Install TOR and use it to browse the web anonymously and easily: TOR is used by activists and journalists all around the world. The technology is both easy to use and it is regularly updated by experts.

Install Signal. Recommended by whistleblower Edward Snowden as one of the best available apps, this application allows you to chat securely. All the communications are encrypted end-to-end by default, including group chats and attachments. This means that nobody but the person to whom you send the message will be able to read its contents. Sometimes it is a pain to change to a different technology. However, the more people that use Signal, the more people will use Signal! Privacy and security needs leaders to set an example… Try Signal, it’s as easy as any other instant message app! Ask the five people with whom you are in contact the most regularly to start using it, too, and you’ll be able to chat with them, with no risk to your privacy and security.

John is also dealing with the risks of re-identification in this video, prepared by our member Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) – Romania:


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?

Read our previous blogposts here, and stay tuned to our next blogposts to know more about your freedoms online, and how they are threatened!

Read more:

Facebook researchers are trying to predict when you and your spouse will break up (28.10.2013)

Ever liked a film on Facebook? You’ve given the security services a key to your soul (13.01.2015)

In insurance Big Data could lower rates for optimistic tweeters (23.10.2016)

Quiz: Can we guess your age and income, based solely on the apps on your phone? (03.03.2016)


17 Oct 2016

EDRi’s privacy for kids booklet: Your guide to the Digital Defenders


Today, we are publishing a booklet “Your guide to Digital Defenders vs. Data Intruders – Privacy for kids!“, to help young people between 10-14 years to protect their privacy.

The internet is an amazing opportunity for young people to learn, communicate and to explore new worlds. Our booklet will help them enjoy all the benefits of the internet while protecting their personal information.

said Kirsten Fiedler, Managing Director of European Digital Rights.

Children’s freedom to explore and develop should not be limited due to lack of awareness of privacy-protecting strategies. The booklet helps them make safer and more informed choices about what to share and how to share online. It includes chapters on what privacy actually is, how to use safer messaging systems and how to improve the security of smartphones.


The booklet is the outcome of an international project with contributions by EDRi’s network (Bits of Freedom, Open Rights Group, Chaos Computer Club, Digitale Gesellschaft, ApTI Romania, Mediamocracy and many more). In the parallel universe of the booklet, a team of superheroes (the Digital Defenders) fights a group of villains (the Intruders). They were created by German comic artist and illustrator Gregor Sedlag.

The original language is English, but we have started to coordinate translations to make it available in as many languages as possible. The booklet is available under a creative commons (CC-BY) licence and can be freely downloaded and re-distributed. Donations to cover printing costs as well as translations are accepted here. If you want to help with translations, or if you want to print it and distribute it at schools please contact us!


(Or donate via PayPal, Bitcoin, Flattr, or bank transfer: https://edri.org/donate/)

Download in other languages:

Read more:
Educate and empower children on online privacy


12 Oct 2016

Corporate-sponsored privacy confusion in the EU on trade and data protection

By Maryant Fernández Pérez

After the “Privacy shield” was adopted on 12 July 2016, the European Commission started internal discussions about whether or not to include “data flows” and “data localisation” clauses in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and in the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). It appears that the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (DG Justice) initially accepted the inclusion of clauses on forced, unjustified “data localisation”, but not on transfers of data. However, according to EurActiv, DG Justice has backed down and accepted a weakening of its position on data protection and privacy in order to placate industry, after a campaign based on dubious assertions and backed up by the US government.

Now, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Vice-President Frans Timmermans seem to be prepared to defend core principles of EU law and the rights of EU citizens. They are allegedly blocking the “compromise” to water down protections because “the deal might poke holes in the EU data protection rules that are set to go into effect in 2018”. Weakening privacy and data protection of European citizens through the inclusion of “data flows” in trade agreements has global corporate sponsorship. The EU should resist. There are three main reasons for this:

1. Data flows must not be part of trade agreements

Trade negotiations are not suitable for shaping rules affecting the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection. If the EU was unable to ensure protections of fundamental rights in the Privacy Shield (see here, here and here), on what basis could it think that trade agreements would achieve a better result? Is the apparently ideological rush to include “data flows” in trade agreements worth the risk of making a dubious compromise that would put the whole agreement in doubt?

Data transfers are and can be ensured in other legal fora. Personal data flows are ensured in the EU legal framework by several mechanisms, such as binding corporate rules, modal clauses, adequacy decisions or special arrangements, of which the EU-US Privacy Shield is an example, albeit not a stellar one. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) even provides more alternatives to transfer data of EU citizens abroad, such as self-certification. In addition, the European Commission is expected to issue a “Free flow of data initiative”, apparently only for commercial data.

2. Including data flows in trade agreements like TTIP or TiSA would have huge implications

On 13 July 2016, the University of Amsterdam issued an independent study that EDRi, BEUC, TACD and CDD commissioned in order to ascertain whether fears with regard to both privacy and data protection in trade agreements were founded. The study concluded the risks are real, and a great deal of effort needs to be put into making trade agreements data protection- and privacy-proof. This is our take:

Unless parties want to change their legal framework to truly protect human rights online, trade agreements’ vague commitments to protect data protection and privacy will be meaningless in practice.

Exceptions and safeguards protecting personal data and privacy are being suggested as a means to address the concerns about fundamental rights. However, these clauses can only be activated if certain conditions are complied with, such as:

  • that privacy and data protection measures cannot be inconsistent with other obligations of the agreement. Would the EU legal measures on data protection be inconsistent with the obligation to ensure “a free flow of data”? According to the lobby group CCIA, the response could well be “yes” (cf. “Europe might want to consider whether its 20th century localised data protection framework is well suited in the 21st century interconnected digital world”). To guard against such extreme positions, the European Parliament asked the Commission not to include such conditionality; or
  • that privacy and data protection measures should take “international standards” into consideration. As the EU is a standard setter in privacy and data protection, this creates the risk of a race to the bottom and could prevent other countries from adopting measures which defend privacy and data protection as much as (or more than) the EU.

Even if trade agreements had strong exceptions and safeguards, they could be undermined by:

  •  trade dispute settlement mechanisms of trade agreements, as the Charter of Fundamental Rights will obviously not be considered; and by
  • national security exceptions. Trade agreements contain exceptions on “essential security interests” that establish that nothing in the trade agreement shall prevent any Party to the agreement from adopting measures to protect “essential security interests”. This means that if a party to the agreement wanted to conduct mass surveillance, for example, the trade deal would not ensure the protection of the privacy and personal information of individuals. This is very worrisome, as the Snowden revelations and other scandals have shown. The European Parliament has warned the Commission that their consent to TTIP could be endangered if “US blanket mass surveillance activities are not completely abandoned”.

Conditions, suspensions or prohibitions of transfers of EU citizens’ personal data outside the EU must be possible if fundamental rights are violated or circumvented, as the European Parliament has proposed to the Commission. This position is absent from all of the clauses seen in current trade proposals. In fact, the EU is currently negotiating on trade agreements whose drafts include provisions on data protection that are fundamentally broken. The existence, application or enforcement of the laws adopted by the Parties to a trade agreement relating to their fundamental rights requirements must not be considered as a violation of any trade agreement.

3. Blackmail tactics of industry lobbyists

The hollow-sounding and specious arguments that the “global tech sector” use, such as that they take “the fundamental right to privacy very seriously”; and that without data flows (as if they would suddenly, mysteriously, stop), no trade agreements will be or can be concluded; or that the EU could be perceived as “data protectionist” are far from credible. Even some industry actors (e.g. eBay) had admitted to the Commission that the inclusion of data flows are not a priority for them because they rely on binding corporate rules to transfer data from EU citizens.

Having lobbied unsuccessfully against the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), having successfully lobbied for a flawed, inevitably temporary “Privacy Shield”, having incomprehensibly asked the Commission to repeal the e-Privacy Directive, it is understandable that industry lobbyists, backed by the US government want to:

  • ensure there are legal means available to challenge privacy and data protection measures, with the weak excuse that fundamental rights are barriers to trade;
  • prevent other countries to adopt high standards on data protection and privacy; and
  • make sure whatever protections on privacy and personal data are contingent on a nebulous and unpredictable understanding of “necessity” and “proportionality” in trade agreements, whereby fundamental rights will always be deprioritised compared with trade concerns.

It is also understandable that after hearing that the Commission was opposing to include data flows, they increased their lobbying and resorted to “independent” “think tanks” like ECIPE to multiply their message.

The European Commission should do better. As Evgeny Morozof argues, when policy is dictated by corporations, the protection of your privacy starts being seen as a barrier to economic growth. By defending the protection of privacy and personal information of all, the EU will gain influence and credibility. Data protection and privacy are not barriers to trade. Quite the opposite, privacy is an asset of economic growth; it’s a business opportunity to regain trust. Making void assurances and general statements that are not reflected in the actual text of the agreements would not be enough. The European Parliament has strongly reiterated this approach and even asked the Commission to “immediately and formally oppose the US proposals on movement of information”.

This is exactly what the EU should do.


11 Oct 2016

#2 Freedom to have secrets: How to keep your information private


Lee este artículo en español

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

In our previous blogpost we described “cookies” and how they help to make a profile of your personality. This time we explain how your freedom to have secrets is at risk.


Big Data Surveillance: What is that and how it works?

Today, more and more devices and appliances connect to the internet, and most of our communications are in the hands of private companies. These companies often collect data about us: Your “free” email service is very probably routinely screening the contents of your emails, and using this information for advertising purposes. Based on your mobile phone’s location data, it’s not very difficult for companies to find out where you are at every moment, guess what you might be interested in, and who your friends are.

Could you imagine that a toothbrush or a television could be used to spy on you? Or that searching for a recipe to cook lentils could lead into anti-terror squads raiding your home?

If companies are able to read your emails, sms and chats, and to know constantly where you are, and with whom you have close relationships, how can you keep anything to yourself, or to share only with those who you choose? This kind of snooping is a threat to your freedom to have secrets! Even if the companies have no bad intentions, creation of databases with vast amounts of personal data generates huge security risks.

How to claim back your freedom to have secrets

To keep some of your information private, disable location in your smartphone, and check out these tools:

Signal: Recommended by whistleblower Edward Snowden as one of the best available apps, this application allows you to chat securely. All the communications are encrypted end-to-end by default, including group chats and attachments. This means that nobody but the person to whom you send the message will be able to read its contents. Sometimes it is a pain to change to a different technology. However, the more people that use Signal, the more people will use Signal! Privacy and security needs leaders to set an example… Try Signal, it’s as easy as any other instant message app! Ask the five people with whom you are in contact the most regularly to start using it, too, and you’ll be able to chat with them, with no risk to your privacy and security.

Want to go a step further? Why not encrypting your smartphone? Check the full disk encryption options in Android security settings, and check the “data protection” options in iPhones and iPads to improve your security beyond the defaults.

See more advice from our member organisation, the EFF, about how to keep your information safe here.

You can find more tools in the surveillance self-defense guide by the EFF.

John is dealing with location surveillance in this video, prepared by our member Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) – Romania:


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 privacy and security?

Read our previous blogposts here, and stay tuned to our next blogposts to know more about your freedoms online, and how they are threatened!