mfioretti: data retention*

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  1. “The more data you have, the better the data products you can develop,” Professor Steven Weber said when discussing the link between data and development. “The better the data products you develop and sell, the more data you receive as those products get used more frequently and by larger populations.”

    But if all the world’s data flows back to a few tech powerhouses, without restrictions or taxes, this will further reinforce their monopolies, widen the privacy gap, and leave developing countries as passive consumers or data points, rather than participants in the digital economy.

    Those calling for liberalization use the rhetoric of creating opportunities for the poor — connecting the next billion — which sounds great, but only if we disconnect it from reality. Today, 60% world lacks even access to electricity. In the past, Spanish colonizers arrived in the Americas offering mirrors to the indigenous people in exchange for their gold. Is connectivity the “mirror” powerful actors are offering to the global poor today?

    Trade agreements eliminate the diversity of domestic policies and priorities, and impose costly restrictions on countries that want to address local inequalities and boost local industry. In the case of the digital economy, it will consolidate the position of few, to the detriment of the rest.
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  2. interception is still built on a telephony model, most apparently in the continued distinction between data and metadata.

    Lawful interception of telephony distinguishes between “intercept related information” (metadata) and “call content” (the actual voice conversation). In telephony, metadata consists of the parties to a call, the duration of the call, any call forwarding and perhaps (in mobile telephony) the location of the parties.

    In telephony, distinguishing between metadata and call content made sense. In modern communications it does not. Attempting to identify the boundary between what is and what is not metadata in the modern communications environment leads to all manner of contradictions and confusion.

    For example, when it was suggested that compulsorily retained metadata might include websites that were visited, there was such an uproar that the legislation will now explicitly exclude such information. But why should it? Why is it necessary to distinguish between different types of metadata? The answer is that some metadata is more sensitive than others.

    developments in modern communication make the concept of metadata meaningless. There is really only data, some of which is of greater or lesser sensitivity depending on the circumstances. New technologies have made the contradictions inherent in basing legislation on a telephony model increasingly apparent. Worryingly, emerging technologies risk making the contradictions even more absurd than they already are.

    if the number and variety of devices connected to the internet massively increases, how will legislation relating to compulsory retention of metadata be applied to it? New technology developments may make the distinction between metadata and data even more of a problem than it is now.

    A fundamental question is what constitutes metadata in these circumstances? Often the message sent from one device will be for another to switch on or off. The metadata may well be little more than the message.

    Will ISPs be required to keep metadata, whatever it is defined to be, relating to all these devices? iiNet believes the cost of retaining all metadata for a single person per year will be around $130.
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  3. Access welcomes the European Parliament legal study. This report brings needed clarity on the legality of data retention practices - at a time when the EU is negotiating new legislation such as the EU PNR, and is about to renegotiate existing agreements such as the EU-Canada PNR, the EU-US PNR and the TFTP agreements.

    2015 is turning out to be the year of data retention in Europe. It is now up to us all - activists, civil society groups, lawyers, lawmakers - to ensure that any proposal put forward is both in line with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the principles of proportionality and necessity.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2015-01-11)
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  4. If you saddle Apple, or any other device manufacturer, with a legal obligation to help police unlock a device, you necessarily encourage them to centralize control over the software running on that device. Apple, again, is already pretty centralized, but there’s not much point in requiring Google to release an insecure version of Android if any user can just install a patch that removes the vulnerability. You can require Apple to store iMessage chats for the convenience of police, but if users can simply install an open-source, peer-to-peer chat application that isn’t designed to spy on them, all that does is drive privacy-conscious users (including, of course, criminals—but by no means criminals alone) away from iMessage. In the long run, the options are an ineffective mandate that punishes companies that choose centralized models, or a somewhat more effective mandate that will still be circumvented by sophisticated criminals… but only at the cost of destroying or marginalizing the open computing architectures that have given us decades of spectacular innovation. Even if we ignore very serious concerns about privacy and security, these are both terrible options.
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  5. Mr. Schrems then challenged the authority’s decision before the Irish High Court. In its ruling today, the national judge therefore decided to send a question to the CJEU. Essentially, the question is whether the national data protection authority is bound by the Commission’s Decision, and whether that authority can conduct its own examination.

    The first obvious question in this case is whether the American system infringes EU data protection law. Basing itself on the recent Digital Rights judgment of the CJEU, in which that Court ruled that the EU’s data retention Directive was invalid, the national court clearly believes that it does. While acknowledging the important anti-terrorist objectives of the law, the judge, when examining national constitutional law states that it is ‘very difficult’ to see how such mass surveillance ‘could pass any proportionality test or survive any constitutional scrutiny’. Indeed, such surveillance has ‘gloomy echoes’ of the mass surveillance carried out in ‘totalitarian states such as the East Germany » of Ulbricht and Honeker’.

    The judge equally believes that the US system is a violation of EU law, with no adequate or accessible safeguards available to EU citizens, and no consideration of EU law issues built in to the review process that does exist.

    Is this analysis correct? There are two fundamental issues here which the national court doesn’t consider: the scope of the data protection directive, and the derogations from that Directive.
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  6. un autentico tornado partito da Lussemburgo e destinato, nello spazio di una manciata di ore, a raggiungere e travolgere l’intera Silicon Valley, Mountainview in testa, la Sentenza con la quale la Corte di Giustizia dell’Unione Europea ha appena stabilito che i gestori dei motori di ricerca sono titolari di tutti i dati personali indicizzati e che, per questo, qualsiasi cittadino europeo può chiedere a qualsiasi motore di ricerca, di rimuovere ogni collegamento tra il proprio nome e cognome ed una determinata pagina web, persino se quest’ultima è da considerarsi legittimamente pubblicata.

    Poche migliaia di battute sono bastate ai Giudici della Corte di Giustizia per riscrivere radicalmente la questione della tutela del c.d. diritto all’oblio in Rete e per gettare le premesse per riscrivere una serie di altre pagine del rapporto, da sempre complesso e delicato, tra privacy e motori di ricerca.
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  7. Facebook e Whatsapp si dovranno guardare bene dal deludere le aspettative di privacy delle centinaia di milioni di utenti che sfruttano i loro servizi in tutto il mondo: la Federal Trade Commission statunitense avverte le due aziende, in vista dell'approvazione della acquisizione da 19 miliardi di dollari, e le invita a rispettare le promesse fatte. In caso contrario le autorità non esiterebbero ad agire.

    FTC si è mossa in seguito alla segnalazione di Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC): nei giorni successivi all'annuncio dell'acquisizione di Whatsapp da parte di Facebook, gli attivisti avevano raccolto le preoccupazioni degli utenti in un dettagliato esposto, in cui si paventavano scenari poco rassicuranti per la vita privata digitale dei cittadini della Rete. Incroci di dati personali da mettere a frutto con l'advertising, database sconfinati capaci di descrivere ogni aspetto della vita privata e di relazione degli individui, il tutto offuscato da complicate policy dedicate alla privacy capaci solo di confondere gli utenti, inducendoli a rassegnare consensi non adeguatamente informati: EPIC non si sentiva affatto rassicurata dai proclami emessi dalle due aziende in materia di rispetto dei diritti dei netizen.

    Nulla osta all'acquisizione, ha però dichiarato la FTC: ora spetterà alle due aziende dimostrare che i timori dei cittadini sono ingiustificati. In una lettera indirizzata ai vertici di Facebook e Whatsapp, la Commissione statunitense ricorda che Whatsapp, nel dichiarare che tutto rimarrà esattamente com'è sul fronte della tutela della privacy, ha di fatto promesso di attenersi ad una policy ben più restrittiva rispetto a quella proposta da Facebook: il servizio di instant messaging ha assicurato di non vendere i propri utenti al marketing, ha promesso che non attingerà alle rubriche degli utenti per rastrellare dati diversi dai numeri di telefono, che non raccoglierà dati relativi alla localizzazione né conserverà i contenuti dei messaggi. Facebook, limitandosi a sottoscrivere, ha suggellato la promessa.
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  8. First, as reported on this site earlier today, the European Court of Justice has overturned an EU Directive that had required service providers to store communications data on all their customers. This is a significant strike against mass surveillance that will have global repercussions for service providers and for law enforcement and security agencies.

    Second, the European Parliament has almost unanimously passed a new data protection framework that strengthens privacy and information rights and which will force overseas based companies to respect those rights.

    Finally – although not directly related to privacy – the Parliament last week approved strong Net Neutrality provisions, indicating a much more positive and informed position on a spectrum of key online issues.

    There has also been a string of national court decisions that strengthen sovereign control and rights over online activities, including a UK ruling requiring Google to face its litigants on British territory and a German decision that Facebook is subject to its national data protection law.

    It’s perhaps premature to suggest that these developments will create a sea change in relations between the two regions, but with developments in the free trade agreement and data transfer arrangements such as the Safe Harbour agreement in the balance, there’s an overall expectation that the US should create genuine reform efforts. In the post-Snowden era such thinking is becoming institutional.
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  9. We doubt that the E.U. Data Retention Directive is really compatible with the rights that are guaranteed by the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights,' Gerhart Holzinger, president of the Constitutional Court of Austria said in a statement.
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  10. Legacy Locker is a safe, secure repository for your vital digital property that lets you grant access to online assets for friends and loved ones in the event of loss, death, or disability.
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