security & surveillance

While offering vast opportunities for exercising and enhancing fundamental rights, the digital environment also offers both opportunities to commit new offences and to impose new restrictions on our online rights. Measures such as filtering, blocking and untargeted surveillance are often easy to implement and extremely difficult to rectify. EDRi therefore works to ensure that all security and surveillance measures are necessary, proportionate and implemented based on solid evidence.

20 May 2015

EDRi-gram 300: Digital rights news from 2025

By Kirsten Fiedler

We are proud to present the 300th edition of the EDRi-gram as an eBook entitled “Digital rights news from 2025″!

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Since 2003, the EDRi-gram is reporting on developments across Europe to raise awareness of attacks on freedom of expression and privacy as well as to highlight good news and best practice. The EDRi-gram publishes free speech and privacy advocates’ media stories from across Europe every two weeks. EDRi’s members, observers and guest authors frequently contribute with reports and analysis from their home countries.

To celebrate our 300th edition, we have collected articles from the brightest stars in the digital rights universe. In the articles, they imagine what they will be writing about in 2025.

Editors: Joe McNamee, Kirsten Fiedler, Heini Järvinen

With contributions by: Dunja Mijatović, Hans de Zwart, Simon Davies, Jillian C. York, Cory Doctorow, Katarzyna Szymielewicz, Joe McNamee, Jesper Lund, Kirsten Fiedler, Erich Moechel, Raegan MacDonald, Estelle Massé, Douwe Korff, Bogdan Manolea, Monica Horten and Annie Machon.

The anniversary edition is available in various formats, including a DRM-free ebook (.epub ), a .pdf version and is published under a CC-by-sa licence on our website and on all major retailers worldwide.

Get your copy:

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19 May 2015

Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg: Internet.org vs. Net Neutrality, Privacy and Security

By Maryant Fernández Pérez

On 18 May 2015, EDRi signed a joint open letter together with other 64 civil society organisations expressing concerns about Internet.org and asking Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to defend Net neutrality, Privacy, Security and other rights in relation to Internet.org. You can read the letter below:

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

We, the undersigned, share a common concern about the launch and expansion of Facebook’s Internet.org platform and its implications for the open Internet around the world. On that open Internet, all content, applications and services are treated equally, without any discrimination. We are especially concerned that access for impoverished people is construed as justification for violations of net neutrality.

It is our belief that Facebook is improperly defining net neutrality in public statements and building a walled garden in which the world’s poorest people will only be able to access a limited set of insecure websites and services. Further, we are deeply concerned that Internet.org has been misleadingly marketed as providing access to the full Internet, when in fact it only provides access to a limited number of Internet-connected services that are approved by Facebook and local ISPs. In its present conception, Internet.org thereby violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.

We support the goal of bringing affordable Internet access to the two-thirds of the world who currently lack it. Many of us have been working for years on initiatives to bridge the digital divide, such as building Internet access facilities in public libraries and telecentres, supporting community broadband, local telecom ventures, public investment in broadband infrastructure, making websites and services more accessible to people with feature-phones and more. We have always sought to provide non-discriminatory access to the full open Internet, without privileging certain applications or services over others and without compromising the privacy and security of users.

Internet.org appears to be taking another route.

In a May 4 video, you announced new rules pertaining to Internet.org and argued that net neutrality and Internet.org are not in conflict. However, on the accompanying website, the new rules explicitly state that “websites must be properly integrated with Internet.org to allow zero rating.”

Below we articulate our concerns about the current structure and implementation of Internet.org:

  • Net neutrality: Net neutrality supports freedom of expression and equality of opportunity by enabling people to seek, receive and impart information, and to interact as equals. It requires that the internet be maintained as an open platform on which network providers treat all content, applications and services equally, without discrimination. An important aspect of net neutrality states that everyone should be able to innovate without permission from anyone or any entity. We urge Facebook to assert its support for a true definition of net neutrality in which all applications and services are treated equally and without discrimination — especially in the majority world, where the next three billion Internet users are coming online — and to address the significant privacy and security flaws inherent in the current iteration of Internet.org.
  • Zero rating: Zero rating is the practice by service providers of offering their customers a specific set of services or applications that are free to use without a data plan, or that do not count against existing data caps. This practice is inherently discriminatory — which is why it has been banned or restricted in countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Chile. Zero rating is currently Internet.org’s basic model: Facebook is partnering with ISPs around the world to offer access to certain Internet applications to users at no cost. These agreements endanger freedom of expression and equality of opportunity by letting service providers decide which Internet services will be privileged over others, thus interfering with the free flow of information and people’s rights vis-a-vis networks.
  • Nomenclature: Internet.org misleadingly labels zero-rated applications the “Internet,” when in fact users only receive access to a tiny portion of it. The project acts as a “walled garden” in which some services are favored over others — again, a violation of net neutrality.
  • Freedom of expression: The project raises other freedom of expression risks. The censorship capability of Internet gateways is well established — some governments require ISPs to block access to sites or services. Facebook appears to be putting itself in a position whereby governments could apply pressure to block certain content, or even, if users must log in for access, block individual users. Facebook would find itself mediating the real surveillance and censorship threats to politically active users in restrictive environments. The company should not take on this added responsibility and risk by creating a single centralized checkpoint for the free flow of information.
  • Privacy: We are very concerned about the privacy implications of Internet.org.Facebook’s privacy policy does not provide adequate protections for new Internet users, some of whom may not understand how their data will be used, or may not be able to properly give consent for certain practices. Given the lack of statements to the contrary, it is likely Internet.org collects user data via apps and services. There is a lack of transparency about how that data are used by Internet.org and its telco partners.Internet.org also provides only a handful of applications and services, making it easier for governments and malicious actors to surveil user traffic.
  • Security: The current implementation of Internet.org threatens the security of users. The May 4 update to the program prohibits the use of TLS (Transport Layer Security), Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or HTTPS encryption by participating services. This inherently puts users at risk, because their web traffic will be vulnerable to malicious attacks and government eavesdropping.
  • Two-tiered Internet: The economic boom and revolution in connectivity that the Internet created in developed countries needs to be shared equally with the next three billion people. Internet.org’s model — giving users a taste of connectivity before prompting them to purchase pricey data plans — fails to acknowledge the economic reality for millions of people who can’t afford those plans. These new users could get stuck on a separate and unequal path to Internet connectivity, which will serve to widen — not narrow — the digital divide.Facebook, in its stated intentions to connect billions to the Internet, should strongly support and advocate for safeguarding the principle of net neutrality, privacy, security and other user rights in its discussions with national governments and regulators, while also applying these standards to its business initiatives.

Signed,

18MillionRising.org – US
Access – Global
Ageia Densi Colombia – Colombia
Baaroo Foundation – Netherlands
Bits of Freedom – Netherlands
Center for Media Justice – US
Centre Africain D’Echange Culturel (CAFEC) – Democratic Republic of Congo
Coding Rights – Brazil
Coletivo Intervozes – Brazil
Colnodo – Colombia
ColorofChange.org – US
Community Informatics Network – Global
Data Roads Foundation – Global
Digital Rights Foundation – Pakistan
Digitale Gesellschaft – Germany
European Digital Rights (EDRi) – EU
Fight for the Future – US
Förderverein freie Netzwerke e.V. / freifunk.net – Germany
Free Press Unlimited – EU
Fundacion Karisma – Colombia
Fundacion para la Libertad de Prensa – Colombia
Future of Music Coalition – US
Global Voices Advocacy – Global
Greenhost – Netherlands
i freedom Uganda – Uganda
ICT Watch – Indonesia – Indonesia
Initiative für Netzfreiheit – Austria
Instituto Bem Estar Brasil – Brazil
Instituto Beta para Internet e Democracia – IBIDEM – Brazil
Instituto NUPEF – Brazil
Integrating Livelihoods through Communication Information Technology for Africa – Uganda
International Modern Media Institute – Iceland
Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan – Pakistan
IPANDETEC – Panama
IT for Change – India
IT-Pol Denmark – Denmark
Just Associates Southern Africa – Africa
KICTANet – Kenya
Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet – South Korea
Media Alliance – US
Media Matters for Democracy (Pakistan) – Pakistan
Media Mobilizing Project – US
MediaNama – India
Movimento Mega – Brazil
Open Wireless Network of Slovenia – Slovenia
OpenMedia – Global
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria – Nigeria
Popular Resistance – US
Protege Qv – Cameroon
Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales (R3D) – Mexico
RedPaTodos – Colombia
RIght 2 Know Campaign – South Africa
RootsAction.org – US
Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) – Canada
SavetheInternet.in – India
Savvy System Designs – US
Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network/Safenet – Southeast Asia
TEDIC – Paraguay
The Agency League of Musicians – US
The Heliopolis Institute – Egypt
The Media Consortium – US
Unwanted Witness – Uganda
Usuarios Digitales – Ecuador
Vrijschrift – Netherlands
WITNESS – Global
xnet – Spain
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum – Zimbabwe

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11 May 2015

Digital rights at re:publica 2015

By Heini Järvinen

The re:publica 2015, one of the biggest digital culture conferences in the world, took place on 5-7 May in Berlin, Germany. Many EDRi members and observers contributed to this year’s event motto “Finding Europe”. We have therefore collected the most exciting talks from our network:

Internet censorship around Europe since ACTA (in English)

Joe McNamee & Kirsten Fiedler, European Digital Rights

Disrupting the Surveillance Ecosystem (in English)

Jérémie Zimmermann, La Quadrature du Net; Raegan MacDonald, Access; Parker Higgins, Electronic Frontier Foundation

The NSA are not the Stasi: Godwin for mass surveillance (in English)

Cory Doctorow, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Who is more real: me or my digital profile? (in English)

Katarzyna Szymielewicz, Panoptykon Foundation

Copyright reform, state of play (in English)

Walter van Holst, Vrijschrift; Ásta Helgadóttir, IMMI

Spy Animals! (in English)

Jillian York, Electronic Frontier Foundation; Claudio Guarnieri

Finding a European way on internet governance (in English)

Frederic Dubois, Internet Policy Review; Andrea Calderaro, Institute for Internet & Society; Amelia Andersdotter, Pirate Party (Sweden); Maciej Tomaszewski, DG CONNECT, European Commission; Raegan MacDonald, Access

Next up on the political agenda: Cybersecurity (in English)

Anita Gohdes, Uni Mannheim / HRDAG; Becky Kazansky, Tactical Tech; Jillian York, Electronic Frontier Foundation; Cathleen Berger, Federal Foreign Office

Netzneutralität – Endspurt in Europa (in German)

Thomas Lohninger, Initiative für Netzfreiheit

Netzpolitischer Abend des Digitale Gesellschaft e.V. (in German)

Die Netzgemeinde ist am Ende. Jetzt geht’s los. (in German)

Markus Beckedahl, netzpolitik.org & Digiges; Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin

Podcast: Demystifying the algorithm: who designs your life? (in English)

Hans de Zwart, Bits of Freedom

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06 May 2015

You can now become an official EDRi Supporter

By Heini Järvinen

You don’t have much time but you want to contribute to the fight for your rights and freedoms? We have launched a “Supporter” status for those motivated individuals who want to support our work for net neutrality, strong privacy protections and a reform of copyright rules in Europe.

All the Supporters receive exclusive updates, and our goodies – for example stickers and bags. The donations are collected monthly via SEPA direct debit mandates. Supporters can choose from four categories: “Valued supporter” (5 euro per month), “Epic supporter” (20 euro per month), “Legendary supporter” (50 euro per month) and “Random supporter” (amount of your own choice).

Since its creation in 2002, EDRi has been defending and promoting human rights and freedoms in the digital environment, having evolved from being a decentralised alliance with no staff to an influential organisation with a Brussels office and professional staff with standing and credibility in key European policy circles. Today, six full-time employees in the Brussels office are working hard to defend your online rights and freedoms. At the same time, the number of legislative proposals has been continuously increasing, and industry lobbyists in Brussels still have vastly more resources in order to influence EU policy making. Regular contributions are now needed more than ever, to redress the balance, and to keep the voice of civil society heard in the EU decision making.

If becoming a Supporter feels like too big a commitment, there is a possibility to make a one-off-donation via PayPal, Credit Card, Bitcoin, Flattr or bank transfer. For those who don’t have the means to participate financially, we welcome and greatly appreciate help with translations, as well as distributing our articles, booklets and other material though social networks. If you could consider volunteering, don’t hesitate to contact us by e-mail at brussels(at)edri.org, to find out which would be the best way for you to get involved.

Become a Supporter
https://edri.org/supporters/

Make a one-off-donation
https://edri.org/donate/

Donation FAQ
https://edri.org/donation-faq/

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06 May 2015

Slovakia: Mass surveillance of citizens is unconstitutional

By Guest author

Slovakia’s data retention law is now history. On 29 April, the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic ruled that the mass surveillance of citizens is unconstitutional. The decision was made in the context of proceedings initiated by 30 Members of the Parliament on behalf of the European Information Society Institute (EISi), a Slovakia-based think-tank.

In a non-public session, the Grand Chamber of the Constitutional Court (PL. ÚS 10/2014) ruled that provisions of Act on Electronic Communications (Act No. 351/2011 Coll.), which until now required mobile network providers to track the communication of their users, as well as provisions of the Penal Code (Act No. 301/2005 Coll.), and the Police Force Act (Act No. 171/1993 Coll.), which allowed access to this data, to be in contradiction to the constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens to privacy and personal data. As a consequence, these provisions lost their binding effect.

According to now invalid provisions of the Electronic Communications Act, the providers of electronic communications were obliged to store traffic data, location data and data about the communicating parties for a period of six months (in the case of Internet, email or Voice over IP (VoIP) communications) or for a period of 12 months (in case of other communications). Data about unsuccessful calls was also stored for the same periods. Moreover, the legal framework regulating the access to data retention data was completely arbitrary and considerably less stringent than comparable provisions on wire-tapping.

In the opinion of EISi, the introduction of these obligations constituted a substantial encroachment upon the private life of individuals – especially because this mandated a blanket monitoring of all inhabitants of Slovakia, regardless of their innocence or prior behaviour. The data retention requirements mandated that every day the data about every inhabitant of Slovakia must be collected, amassing a profile of who called whom, to whom someone sent an SMS or email, when the person sent it, from which location, using what type of device or service, how long the communication took, and many others details. It almost goes without saying that combining of all this information made it possible to perfectly analyse the movements of every inhabitant of Slovakia using a mobile phone or the internet. This allowed the behaviour, circle of acquaintances, hobbies, health, sexuality and other information that citizens might prefer to keep to themselves to be predicted.

The decision marks an end to EISi’s five-year battle against mass surveillance. Soon after the launch of the now unconstitutional data retention requirements, EISi authored a short report pointing out the basic discrepancies between the Act on Electronic Communications (“the Act”) and its data retention provisions, and the fundamental rights embodied in the Slovak constitution, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This report was then presented in the form of a motion to two local authorities, which, despite the evidence, reached the view that the data retention provisions do not lead to an interference with the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. , and no proceedings before the Constitutional Court were initiated.

EISi then put together a submission for the Constitutional Court, and started asking for the support of the Members of the Parliament, who can also initiate such a constitutional review. The submission gained the support of the required number of MPs, 30 signatures, and a motion was filed before the Constitutional Court successfully.

The decision of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic was issued almost a year after the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) proclaimed the Data Retention Directive invalid in the spring of 2014. At that time, the Constitutional Court of Slovakia promptly reacted by suspending the collection of data through a preliminary measure. By the virtue of the decision on 29 April, data collection was completely cancelled.

So far, only the final outcome of the decision is known. The reasoning of the court is expected to be available within three months.

EISi’s press release: The Slovak Constitutional Court cancelled mass surveillance of citizens (29.04.2015)
http://www.eisionline.org/index.php/en/projekty-m-2/ochrana-sukromia/109-the-slovak-constitutional-court-cancelled-mass-surveillance-of-citizens

Slovak Constitutional Court Suspends Data Retention Legislation (23.04.2015)
http://www.eisionline.org/index.php/en/projekty-m-2/ochrana-sukromia/74-us-data-retention-suspension

Data Retention before the Slovak Constitutional Court
http://www.eisionline.org/index.php/en/projekty-m-2/ochrana-sukromia/49-slovak-case-on-data-retention

The quest for privacy in Slovakia: The case of data retention
www.giswatch.org/en/country-report/communications-surveillance/slovak-republic

(Contribution by Matej Gera, European Information Society Institute – EISi, Slovakia)

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06 May 2015

Privacy Cafés launched to improve secure communications in the EP

By Heini Järvinen

Ever since the publication of documents from the Snowden archive, which indicate that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK Government Communications Headquarters (CGHQ) were behind the cyber-attacks on the European institutions, an improvement of the European Parliament’s IT security was to be expected. The report by Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes on mass surveillance therefore called on Directorate-General for Innovation and Support (DG ITEC), the service in charge of security in the European Parliament, to carry out a thorough analysis, to make recommendations and to present a final report in June 2015. Unfortunately, the developments have been rather slow so far. Two years after the first revelations, Parliamentarians are still not able to receive or send encrypted communications.

Therefore, on 21 April 2015, EDRi organised, together with EDRi members Liga voor Mensenrechten and Access, the first Privacy Café in the European Parliament (EP). The goal of the Privacy Café was to give Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and their assistants an overview on the importance of protecting their privacy, and to introduce a selection of practical tools to improve the privacy of their private and professional communications. After the introductory presentation, each participant could join one or several hands-on workshops, to learn about email encryption, mobile messaging or private browsing. The instructors went through the installation of the tools, and offered advice and practical help to the participants. Step-by-step instructions for each tool were also available in printed format.

The European Parliament has a lot to improve from the point of view of privacy and secure communications; the default solutions on the professional devices for browsing the Internet, document sharing and sending internal emails are often not privacy friendly, and installing add-ons or software enhancing privacy (such as GPG4Win) is made difficult or impossible.

The event raised a lot of interest and positive attention. To continue the work to increase awareness of privacy issues within the EP, more Privacy Cafés are being planned. Among the participants were representatives from the DG ITEC, the body responsible for providing IT support to MEPs and Political Groups, and for running of the European Parliament computing and network centre. EDRi is now in contact with them, to investigate the possibilities to discuss for improvements to the current tools and practices in place in the EP.

EDRi-gram: EDRi launches privacy trainings in the European Parliament (28.01.2015)
https://edri.org/edri-launches-privacy-trainings-in-the-european-parliament/

Belgacom Attack: Britain’s GCHQ Hacked Belgian Telecoms Firm (20.10.2013)
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/british-spy-agency-gchq-hacked-belgian-telecoms-firm-a-923406.html

Parliamentary question: Regin malware used in cyber attacks on EU institutions and Belgacom (05.12.2014)
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2014-010269+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
Hand-out: What Is Encryption?
https://edri.org/files/PrivacyCafe_20150421_Encryption.pdf

Hand-out: How to use PGP on a Windows PC
https://edri.org/files/PrivacyCafe_20150421_PGPWindows.pdf

Hand-out: How to use RedPhone on Android
https://edri.org/files/PrivacyCafe_20150421_RedPhone.pdf

Hand-out: How to use Signal – Private Messenger
https://edri.org/files/PrivacyCafe_20150421_Signal.pdf

Hand-out: How to use TextSecure on Android
https://edri.org/files/PrivacyCafe_20150421_TextSecure.pdf

Hand-out: How to leave fewer traces while you’re surfing
https://edri.org/files/PrivacyCafe_20150421_FewerTraces.pdf

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06 May 2015

Emotion tracking company gets funding from the European Commission

By Guest author

Realeyes is a London based start-up company that tracks people’s facial reactions through webcams and smartphones in order to analyse their emotions. The analysed data is used to help companies maximise the impact of their advertising and market research campaigns. The technology allows the companies to know how consumers feel when they view the video content.

Realeyes has just received a 3,6 million euro funding from the European Commission to further develop emotion measurement technology. This grant is part of Horizon 2020, an EU research and innovation programme designed to encourage European competitiveness. This is happening at the same time as, the EU is trying to reform the current data protection legislation. In the absence of a meaningful update of the current legal framework, it is questionable whether the current data protection law can provide an adequate level of protection, and be effective in balancing different interests when it comes to profiling.

The technology is based on six basic emotional states that, according to the research of Dr Paul Ekman, a research psychologist, are universal across cultures, ages and geographic locations. The automated facial coding platform records and then analyses these universal emotions: happiness, surprise, fear, sadness, disgust and confusion. The company is planning to develop the technology so that in the future even liking, boredom or attraction could be measured.

According to those supporting the use of such technology, this technological development could be a very powerful tool not only for advertising agencies, but as well for improving classroom learning, increasing drivers’ safety, or to be used as a type of lie detector test by the police. To participate in the study for testing and developing the tool, people are asked to give their consent and then share their subconscious responses to the content presented by simply using the webcam.

However, the technology raises some serious privacy concerns regarding the usage, storage and control of the data collected. First of all, the software not only detects consumers’ facial expression, but also a person’s gender and age bracket. Furthermore, according to the Realeyes privacy policy, even IP addresses and website usage information are being collected by placing cookies on consumers’ computers. All the collected data is being stored in a massive database, and the company has the possibility to combine all the data sets in order to build a more specific profile of a person. Lastly, the vague definition of retention period does not provide any degree of control or predictability to consumers, since the privacy policy says that personal information will be stored “for as long as it is required” for their research and business purposes. According to Anna Fielder, board chair of Privacy International, it is questionable whether the consumers, when consenting to the study, can truly understand how the technology was being implemented.

Profiling represents one of the biggest challenges for privacy due to the mass surveillance and technological capabilities of linking and analysing all the widely available data. Bearing in mind, for example, that the European Commission, in its proposal for the update of data protection legislation, introduced an option for Member States not to implement protections against profiling, its approach to this important issue seems profoundly reckless.

Emotion tracking start-up gets EU funding boost (17.04.2015.)
http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/04/17/emotion-tracking-startup-gets-eu-funding-boost/

Webcam-based emotion ad tracking is a real thing and big brands are doing it (27.04.2015.)
http://adexchanger.com/online-advertising/webcam-based-emotion-ad-tracking-is-a-real-thing-and-big-brands-are-doing-it/

Realeyes FAQs
http://www.realeyes.me/faqs

Realeyes Privacy Policy
http://www.realeyes.me/privacy

Googling your brain: latest “data protection” proposals from Council (14.01.2015.)
https://edri.org/googling-your-brain-latest-data-protection-proposals-from-council/

(Contribution by Morana Perušić, EDRi intern)

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06 May 2015

Turkish student sentenced for re-tweeting satirical news

By Heini Järvinen

A Turkish university student was sentenced for one year for re-tweeting a satirical article that appeared on “Zaytung”, a popular Turkish website which publishes false and satirical stories in a journalistic style.

Meral Tutcali, a student in Anadolu University, was sentenced by the provincial court of Adana to one year in jail for “insulting a public official”, after she re-tweeted Zaytung’s article, which reported satirically that former Adana governor Huseyin Avni Cos declared his autonomy. The article included an illustration showing the Governor in a military vehicle, surrounded by guards. The picture was taken during a national holiday during which it’s customary for governors to appear in such parades. Tutcali’s house was raided twice by police for her retweet.

The court later suspended the sentence, as Tutcali had no previous criminal record. She was, however, warned that if she commits another similar offence in the next five years, the sentence will be imposed. Zaytung was not prosecuted for it’s original article.

Zaytung
http://www.zaytung.com/

Turkish college student convicted for tweeting satirical news story (23.04.2015)
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/world/europe/turkish-college-student-convicted-for-tweeting-satirical-news-story.html?_r=0

Turkish student gets suspended jail sentence for retweeting satirical article on Twitter (23.04.2015)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkish-student-gets-suspended-jail-sentence-for-retweeting-satirical-article-on-twitter-10198146.html

University student sentenced to jail for retweeting satirical article (22.04.2015)
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/university-student-sentenced-to-jail-for-retweeting-satirical-article.aspx?pageID=238&nID=81411&NewsCatID=341

Turkish student sentenced to prison for retweeting satirical article (22.04.2015)
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-22/turkish-student-sentenced-prison-retweeting-satirical-article

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06 May 2015

Digital Single Market: A missed opportunity

By Heini Järvinen

The European Commission (EC) published its Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy on 6 May 2015. EDRi is thoroughly studying the DSM strategy and its impacts on European citizens’ digital rights.

A day before the official publication of the strategy, EDRi issued a press release expressing concerns based on the analysis of the leaked drafts (Draft Communication and Evidence Note). EDRi identified a number of points that raise concerns regarding, inter alia:

Privatised law enforcement

  • We have concerns regarding Commissions’ plans for “ad hoc” enforcement activities by internet intermediaries that already lead to restrictive measures imposed outside the rule of law.
  • The Commission seems eager to outsource online law enforcement through “self-regulation” projects, while ignoring the risks that the sanctions imposed by intermediaries pose for the fundamental rights of citizens, the risk that such measures are not effective, proportionate or effective and the lack of safeguards, to prevent abuses.

“Intellectual Property Rights” infringements

  • The Commission has decided to adopt an undefined “follow the money approach”, which may be little more than an approval of the “right” of foreign payment providers and advertising networks to arbitrarily withdraw their services, if they fear that foreign laws are being breached.
  • The Commission continues to offer its intention to restrict enforcement measures to “commercial scale infringements”, as some form of safeguard. It is doing this despite its own public admission that this term needs a clearer definition.

Copyright

  • We welcome the Commission’s intention to create an EU legal framework on text and data mining.
  • The Commission calls for the harmonisation of exceptions and limitations in EU copyright law, but without any indication of what this will mean in practice. What are the negative experiences that would hold the Commission back from making all existing exceptions and limitations mandatory?

Geoblocking

  • The text expressed a positive approach towards removal of geoblocking, although its reference to “unjustified” geoblocking means that everything or nothing could be ultimately proposed by the Commission.

Data protection and the right to privacy

  • The Commission acknowledges that massive amount of personal data are being collected and analysed (Big Data) and calls for the exploitation of these data without effective safeguards.
  • The Commission seems to seek to reinforce “trust and security in the handling of personal data”. To do that, it proposes an unspecified “review” of the e-Privacy Directive with no goal other than the vague “level playing field” that certain operators have lobbied for. The analysis is so vague that even a repeal of the Directive is possible.

Telecommunications

  • The Digital Single Market’s success greatly depends on the outcome of the Telecommunications Single Market Regulation. However, it appears increasingly clear that the Commission is prepared to accept any outcome, for the sake of closing the file, regardless of possible negative effects on European citizens or the European economy.

“The European Commission isn’t leading; it’s following,” said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights. “The Commission has caved in to every lobby that has turned up on the steps of the Berlaymont, leaving us with a set of limited, unambitious plans for proposals,” he added.

Our comprehensive analysis of the official Digital Single Market strategy will be published shortly.

EDRi Press release: Digital Single Market: Will citizens be at the centre of the Commission’s plans (05.05.2015)
https://edri.org/digital-single-market-will-citizens-be-at-the-centre-of-the-commissions-plans/

EC Digital Single Market strategy
http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/index_en.htm

EC Press release: A Digital Single Market for Europe: Commission sets out 16 initiatives to make it happen (06.06.2015)
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4919_en.htm

Leaked draft DSM Communication (pdf) (12.04.2015)
http://keionline.org/misc-docs/1/DSMscan-Communication-12-04-2015-OCR.pdf

Leaked Draft Evidence Note (pdf) (20.04.2015)
http://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Digital-Single-Market-Evidence.pdf

Joint stakeholder letter on intermediary liability protections (pdf) (27.04.2015)
https://www.ccianet.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Open-Stakeholder-intermed-liability-protections.pdf

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05 May 2015

Digital Single Market: Will citizens be at the centre of the Commission’s plans?

By Heini Järvinen

PRESS RELEASE. The European Commission is expected to publish its Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy tomorrow, 6 May. Based on our analysis of the leaked drafts (Draft Communication and Evidence Note), the strategy is likely to include a number of points that raise concerns regarding, inter alia:

Privatised law enforcement

  • We have concerns regarding Commissions’ plans for “ad hoc” enforcement activities by internet intermediaries that already lead to restrictive measures imposed outside the rule of law.
  • The Commission seems eager to outsurce online law enforcement through “self-regulation” projects, while ignoring the risks that the sanctions imposed by intermediaries pose for the fundamental rights of citizens, the risk that such measures are not effective, proportionate or effective and the lack of safeguards, to prevent abuses.

“Intellectual Property Rights” infringements

  • The Commission has decided to an undefined “follow the money approach”, which may be little more than an approval of the “right” of foreign payment providers and advertising networks to arbitrarily withdraw their serivces, if they fear that foreign laws are being breached.
  • The Commission continues to offer its intention to restrict enforcement measures to “commercial scale infringements”, as some form of safeguard. It is doing this despite its own public admission that this term needs a clearer definition.

Copyright

  • We welcome the Commission’s intention to create an EU legal framework on text and data mining.  The Commission calls for the harmonisation of exceptions and limitations in EU copyright law, but without any indication of what this will mean in practice. What are the negative experiences that would hold the Commission back from making all existing exceptions and limitations mandatory.

Geoblocking

  • The text expressed a positive approach towards removal of geoblocking, although its reference to “unjustified” geoblocking means that everything or nothing could be ultimately proposed by the Commission.

Data protection and the right to privacy

  • The Commission acknowledges that massive amount of personal data are being collected and analysed (Big Data) and calls for the exploitation these data without effective safeguards.
  • The Commission seems to seek to reinforce “trust and security in the handling of personal data”. To do that, it proposes an unspecified “review” of the e-Privacy Directive with no goal other than the vague “level playing field” that certain operators have lobbied for. The analysis is so vague that even a repeal of the Directive is possible.

Telecommunications

  • The Digital Single Market’s sucess greatly depends on the outcome of the Telecommunications Single Market Regulation. However, it appears increasingly clear that the Commission is prepared to accept any outcome, for the sake of closing the file, regardless of possible negative effects on European citizens or the European economy.

“The European Commission isn’t leading; it’s following” said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights. “The leaks are represent a homeopathic approach to policy-making – dilution until only the faint echo of the original ambition remains,” he added.

Read more:
EC Digital Single Market strategy – to be “unveiled” on 6 May
Leaked draft DSM Communication (pdf) (12.04.2015)
Leaked Draft Evidence Note (pdf) (20.04.2015)
Joint stakeholder letter on intermediary liability protections (pdf) (27.04.2015)

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