Tag Archives: Oversight

9 Problems of Government Hacking: Why IT-Systems Deserve Constitutional Protection

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

ECHR Fast-tracks Court Case on PRISM and TEMPORA (and VERYANGRYBIRDS?)

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?)

Interviewed by the Dutch Financial Times on the Collingridge Dilemma

The other day, the Dutch Financial Times published an interview with me on my ‘Brandende Kwestie’ (literal translation: burning issue). It was a great opportunity to raise awareness for something I’ve really wanted to talk about for a long time: the lack of meaningful societal debate and hidden agendas when new technologies or new government IT-projects are introduced.  Continue reading Interviewed by the Dutch Financial Times on the Collingridge Dilemma

NSA Strategy 2012-16: Outsourcing Compliance to Algorithms, and What to Do About It

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

Data Retention: Figurehead of Our Liberation?

Back in 2010, I wrote a long piece in Dutch for De Groene Amsterdammer about the deplorable state of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive evaluation. My point was that, instead of the prime example of our loss of fundamental rights, data retention might one day become the case in point of digital freedom vindicating over surveillance, once the Directive in one way or another is repealed or its inherent privacy violations seriously limited.   Continue reading Data Retention: Figurehead of Our Liberation?

Data Retention Directive evaluation: expect the unexpected?

This piece was posted on the Bits of Freedom blog on 8 December 2010. I still think it is a quite accurate and informative take on the Data Retention Directive evaluation.

The evaluation of the controversial Data Retention Directive takes an unexpected turn, for the worse. At a crucial one-day conference in Brussels, aimed at gathering input for the evaluation, long-term critic of the Directive Commissioner Malmström (Home Affairs) surprisingly announced that ‘data retention is here to stay’. The statement not only disregards legal developments since 2005, the damage done by telecommunications data retention to 500 million Europeans and lack of evidence that such a measure is necessary and proportionate. On top of that, the Commissioner undermines the entire evaluation process and evidence-based decision making itself. To great risk, because our fundamental freedoms and the very nature of our free and open societies are at stake. Continue reading Data Retention Directive evaluation: expect the unexpected?