Some folks asked me to translate my latest column for the Dutch Financial Times. This is a somewhat expanded version of the column.
After the Brexit vote, politicians, businesses and citizens are all wondering what’s next. In general legal uncertainty permeates the Brexit, but in the world of bits and bytes Brussels and London have in fact been on a collision course at least since the 90s. And the new British prime minister Theresa May has been personally responsible a deepening divide across the North Sea on data and communication policy. While EU citizens will see stronger privacy and cybersecurity protections through EU law after the Brexit, multinational companies should be particularly worried about how future regulation will treat the loads of data they traffic about customers, employees and deals between the EU and the UK. Continue reading Brexit Exposes Old and Deepening Data Divide between EU and UK
Published 5 December 2014 on Freedom to Tinker.
Today, the vulnerable state of electronic communications security dominates headlines across the globe, while surveillance, money and power increasingly permeate the ‘cybersecurity’ policy arena. With the stakes so high, how should communications security be regulated? Deirdre Mulligan (UC Berkeley), Ashkan Soltani (independent, Washington Post), Ian Brown (Oxford) and Michel van Eeten (TU Delft) weighed in on this proposition at an expert panel on my doctoral project at the Amsterdam Information Influx conference. Continue reading Expert Panel Report: A New Governance Model for Communications Security?
This post was published on Freedom to Tinker on 11 July 2014.
CBS News and a host of other outlets have covered my new paper with Sharon Goldberg, Loopholes for Circumventing the Constitution: Warrantless Bulk Surveillance on Americans by Collecting Network Traffic Abroad. We’ll present the paper on July 18 at HotPETS [slides, pdf], right after a keynote by Bill Binney (the NSA whistleblower), and at TPRC in September. In the CBS piece, the NSA responds to our paper in a clever way that avoids addressing what our paper is actually about – here’s our reaction. Continue reading New Paper “Loopholes for Circumventing the Constitution”, the NSA Statement, and Our Response
An English version of this post was published on Freedom to Tinker on 12 May 2014.
Vandaag komt het langverwachte boek van Glenn Greenwald uit, ‘No Place to Hide’. Naast persoonlijke verhalen over samenwerken met klokkenluider Edward Snowden, belooft Greenwald nieuwe onthullingen van surveillance praktijken van Westerse inlichtingendiensten. In de laatste weken, heb ik samen met Sharon Goldberg (Computer Science, Boston University) een publicatie voorbereid over ‘Executive Order 12333’. Volgens de NSA is dit besluit van President Reagan de ‘belangrijkste juridische grondslag’ voor massale surveillance buiten de V.S. In ons paper beargumenteren we dat ‘EO 12333’ juridische mazen mogelijk maakt in de Amerikaanse Grondwet, waardoor diensten als de NSA vrij van toezicht door het V.S. Congres of de rechter en andere juridische waarborgen Amerikaanse communicatie kunnen afluisteren en analyseren.
Als onafhankelijke onderzoeker, kunnen we natuurlijk niet weten wat Amerikaanse diensten precies uitvoeren. Maar ons centrale punt is, dat de wetten en de techniek het mogelijk maken om de Amerikaanse Grondwet, die overigens alleen bescherming biedt voor Amerikanen, te omzeilen. Hiermee willen we de wetenschappelijke en de politieke discussie in Amerika informeren: denk niet dat nationaliteit een waarborg is tegen de sleepnetten van je eigen diensten.
Sharon en ik vragen ons nu af: zal het nieuwe boek van Greenwald onze theoretische bevindingen bevestigen met nieuwe onthullingen? Gisteren publiceerde Greenwald ineens een flarde over het hacken van routers, die bestemd zijn voor het buitenland. Het zou dus zomaar kunnen. Hier de samenvatting van ons paper, volgende week de eerste versie online. Continue reading Hoe NSA Surveillance van Amerikanen Vanuit Buitenland de V.S. Grondwet Omzeilt [Nieuw Paper]
Published 20 February 2014 on Freedom to Tinker.
Governments around the world are increasingly hacking into IT-systems. But for every apparent benefit, government hacking creates deeper problems. Time to unpack 9 of them, and to discuss one unique perspective: in response to a proposed hacking law in 2008, the German Constitutional Court created a new human right protecting the ‘confidentiality and integrity of IT-systems’. The rest of the world should follow suit, and outlaw government hacking until its deep problems are addressed. Continue reading 9 Problems of Government Hacking: Why IT-Systems Deserve Constitutional Protection
So. The NSA and GCHQ piggyback on Angry Birds to spy on its 1.7 billion
users. potential terrorists. Not only that, but everything on smartphones can be compromised: “if its on the phone, we can get it”. Will it ever stop? A few days ago, the European Court of Human Rights (‘ECHR’) made the unique move to fast-track a case on the legality of mass surveillance practices by the GCHQ. A judgement is now expected in months, rather than years – in time to have a huge impact on the global debate on mass surveillance. Time for some analysis. Continue reading ECHR Fast-tracks Court Case on PRISM and TEMPORA (and VERYANGRYBIRDS?)
Published 30 Oct. 2013 at Freedom to Tinker.
Quite often, especially since the Snowden revelations began, tech policy academics will be approached by NGO’s and colleagues to sign petitions ‘to end mass surveillance’. It’s not always easy to decide whether you want to sign. If you’re an academic, you might want to consider co-signing one initiative launched today. Continue reading Signing Mass Surveillance Declarations and Petitions: Should Academics Take a Stance?
Published 13 Dec. 2013 at Freedom to Tinker.
The Wall Street Journal headlines: “EU Court Opinion: Data Retention Directive Incompatible With Fundamental Rights”. The Opinion is strong, but in fact not yet an outright victory to privacy and civil liberties. The jury is out: the Opinion is a non-binding, but influential advice to the E.U. Court, that will deliver its final judgment come next spring. Now is a perfect moment to analyze the Opinion, as well as the institutional politics of the E.U. Court — critical in understanding the two-tier approach to surveillance and fundamental rights in Europe. The two-tier approach converges, after 60 years, when the E.U. accedes to the European Convention of Human Rights anytime soon. Amidst the Snowden revelations, these are the fundamental legal developments that will ultimately answer the question whether European law can end mass surveillance. Continue reading The Politics of the EU Court Data Retention Opinion: End to Mass Surveillance?
Over the weekend, two new NSA documents revealed a confident NSA SIGINT strategy for the coming years and a vast increase of NSA-malware infected networks across the globe. The excellent reporting overlooked one crucial development: constitutional compliance will increasingly be outsourced to algorithms. Meaningful oversight of intelligence practises must address this, or face collateral constitutional damage. Continue reading NSA Strategy 2012-16: Outsourcing Compliance to Algorithms, and What to Do About It
Published 30 Oct. 2013 at Freedom to Tinker.
The other day, I was re-reading the 2008 Liberty vs. The United Kingdom ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (‘ECHR’). The case reads like any BREAKING / REVEALED news report on Edward Snowden’s disclosures, and will play a crucial role in the currently pending court cases in Europe on the legality of the surveillance programs. Liberty is also great material for comparing surveillance jurisprudence across the Atlantic. Continue reading The 2008 Liberty Case: An Authoritive Ruling on Snowden’s Disclosures
Published 18 Oct. 2013 at Freedom to Tinker.
If you talk about ‘metadata’, ‘big data’ and ‘Big Brother’ just as easily as you order a pizza, ethnography and anthropology are probably not your first points of reference. But the outcome of a recent encounter of ethnographer Tom Boellstorff and Edward Snowden (not IRL but IRP), is that tech policy wonks and researchers should be careful with their day to day vocabulary, as concepts carry politics of control and power. Continue reading When an Ethnographer met Edward Snowden
Published 15 Oct. 2013 at Freedom to Tinker.
The main takeaway of two recent disclosures around N.S.A. surveillance practices, is that Americans must re-think ‘U.S. citizenship’ as the guiding legal principle to protect against untargeted surveillance of their communications. Currently, U.S. citizens may get some comfort through the usual political discourse that ‘ordinary Americans’ are protected, and this is all about foreigners. In this post, I’ll argue that this is not the case, that the legal backdoor of U.S. Citizenship is real and that relying on U.S. citizenship for protection is not in America’s interests. As a new CITP Fellow and a first time contributor to this amazing blog, I’ll introduce myself and my research interests along the way. Continue reading U.S. Citizenship and N.S.A. Surveillance – Legal Safeguard or Practical Backdoor?