Find out how technology is reshaping our lives every day and explore the new powers of governments and companies.
Tech Assisted Abuse: How smart devices can facilitate abuse
This month we speak to Dr Leonie Tanczer about her work looking at tech abuse: the use of “everyday” digital systems (computers, smartphones, apps) to coerce, control, and harm a person or groups of individuals. This is increasingly prevalent in the context of domestic abuse - around 85% of victims and survivors in the UK have been subjected to some form of tech abuse.
Refuge's Tech Safety resources: https://refugetechsafety.org/
Refuge's Tech Safety smart home devices tool: https://refugetechsafety.org/hometech/
Read more about Dr Tanczer and her work: https://www.leonietanczer.net/about.html
Find out more about the Gender and Tech at UCL and sign up to the newsletter: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/computer-science/research/research-groups/gender-and-tech
PI's guides to improve your own device security: https://privacyinternational.org/act
UK MPs discuss smart tech and abuse: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/aug/07/uk-mps-warn-use-smart-tech-domestic-abuse
Connected technology: MPs call on Government to tackle growing problem of tech-enabled domestic abuse: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/6686/connected-tech-smart-or-sinister/news/196867/connected-technology-mps-call-on-government-to-tackle-growing-problem-of-techenabled-domestic-abuse/
10 years since Snowden: Legacy, Law, and Litigation
In this episode we chat with Ben Wizner - Edward Snowden's lawyer, and the director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project - and Caroline Wilson Palow - PI's Legal Director about what it was like to be knee deep in the legal and policy responses to Snowden's revelations, holding British and US intelligence agencies to account for secret powers.
Additional audio from The Guardian and from Channel 4 News via the Guardian
What is Tempora? https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa
Taking angle grinders to the Guardian's hard drives: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/31/footage-released-guardian-editors-snowden-hard-drives-gchq
PI's legal cases: https://privacyinternational.org/legal-action/our-cases
The ACLU's case challenging upsteam surveillance: https://www.aclu.org/cases/wikimedia-v-nsa-challenge-upstream-surveillance
The White House review of the NSA post Snowden: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2013-12-12_rg_final_report.pdf
Hear from Ed Snowden directly: https://privacyinternational.org/video/4518/fight-back-edward-snowden
GPS tracking migrants in the UK: Who profits?
This week we're discussing the UK Home Office's practice of forcing migrants to wear GPS ankle tags or carry GPS fingerprint scanners. Find out more about the policy, its impact on people, how the trackers work and why we think its wrong for a company to profit from all of this.
Send Capita an email at: pvcy.org/GPSaction
Find out more on our website about the campaign: https://privacyinternational.org/campaigns/capital-surveillance
Watch the full video testimonies - video 1: https://media.privacyinternational.org/w/cB1gjT7FA4L77NUA2PF7Jd video 2: https://media.privacyinternational.org/w/bMY219Rmd2tXSpmSH4HL9F
Election Observation: Data, Elections and a trip to Kenya
This week we’re joined by Lucy and Laura to discuss the use of technology in elections, and their time monitoring the Kenyan Presidential Election in 2022.
Human rights abuses including unlawful killings by police, violence at Kenya's 2017 election: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/27/kenya-post-election-killings-abuse
Claims of fraud from Kenya's last election: https://www.cartercenter.org/countries/kenya.html
PI and the Carter Center's joint election report: https://privacyinternational.org/long-read/5053/our-final-report-kenyas-2022-election-collaboration-carter-center-election-expert
Challenge to the 2022 election result and Supreme Court decision: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-africa-62768439
More about the use of data in elections: https://privacyinternational.org/taxonomy/term/848
Our data and elections checklist: https://privacyinternational.org/advocacy/3093/technology-data-and-elections-checklist-election-cycle
Protecting the protectors: a case from Colombia
This week we're speaking to Claudia Duque an Human Rights Defender and journalist for over 25 years, reported on crimes occurred during armed conflict and Emi, a Colombian lawyer defending press freedom. Claudia has been subjected to death threats, and was given official protection by the Colombian Government, including an armoured car. However, that protection was used to surveil her, including through a GPS tracker installed in the car without her knowledge.
Listen to find out more!
The organisation who put us in touch with Claudia is called Media Defence, they are an international human rights organisation which provides legal defence to journalists, citizen journalists and independent media around the world who are under threat for their reporting. Find out more about them and their work: https://www.mediadefence.org/
You can also read more about Claudia, her work, and the cases she's taken forward on Media Defence's website:
Claudia's case against the former Administrative Department of Security: https://latamjournalismreview.org/articles/after-more-than-20-years-court-confirms-responsibility-of-the-colombian-state-in-violating-human-rights-of-journalist-claudia-julieta-duque/
More about Claudia: https://www.mediadefence.org/news/hope-and-resilience-claudia-duque/
If you're a climate activist fearing surveillance, these tips might be handy: https://privacyinternational.org/long-read/5000/how-avoid-social-media-monitoring-guide-climate-activists
For more detail on the surveillance experiences faced by human rights defenders, read: https://privacyinternational.org/campaigns/being-target
To read more about GPS technology, visit: https://privacyinternational.org/explainer/4796/electronic-monitoring-using-gps-tags-tech-primer
MI5 Lied...for years: a win for privacy
In January 2023, the UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal handed down a landmark judgment. The Tribunal held that there were “very serious failings” at the highest levels of MI5 - the UK's domestic intelligence agency - to comply with privacy safeguards from as early as 2014, and that successive Home Secretaries did not to enquire into or resolve these long-standing rule-breaking despite obvious red flags.
In this episode, we talk to Meg Goulding, a lawyer at the UK-based campaigning organisation, Liberty, who was a solicitor instructed on the case, and Nour Haidar, a lawyer and member of the legal team at PI to discuss what this ruling actually means for the ongoing fight against mass surveillance.
The way our data was handled by MI5 amounts to a significant intrusion into potentially millions of people’s fundamental right to privacy. This case was a critical mechanism of holding MI5 accountable for failing to handle the data they hold in a lawful manner. Agencies tasked with protecting national security process huge amounts of sensitive information. Due to the nature of their work, their operations can’t be subjected to the same levels of scrutiny and transparency that we can demand of other government institutions, yet they are not above the law. That is why this case is so important: it is one of the only tools we have to ensure that our right to privacy is respected by the UK intelligence agencies.
- PI's Case page for Liberty and PI v Security Service and Secretary of State for the Home Department IPT/20/01/CH
- PI's Q&A explaining the judgment
- Liberty's case page
- PI's Long-read explaining arguments in the case, including key disclosure
- Home Secretary statement "as compliant as possible"