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February 27 2014

#AB14: If I speak out, will I be punished for it?

Empty chairs at the Arab Bloggers Meeting. Each post-it bears the name of a colleague currently in prison or missing. Photo by Hisham Almiraat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Empty chairs at the Arab Bloggers Meeting. Each post-it bears the name of a colleague currently in prison or missing. Photo by Hisham Almiraat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This post was written as part of a partnership with Global Post.

When we know we’re being watched all the time, what happens to our right to free speech?

This was the question at the core of a live debate at the 4th Arab Bloggers Meeting, a recent gathering—in which I participated—of bloggers, activists and scholars from across the Arab region in Amman, Jordan.

Clearly drawn from the fiery discourse that has overwhelmed the Internet policy world since the first Snowden leaks broke last June, the subject of the debate was provocative: “Censorship doesn’t matter anymore – surveillance is the real problem.”

The group assembled to discuss the new political paradigms and challenges facing digital activists and bloggers, particularly in North Africa and the Middle East, three years since the start of the Arab uprisings.

Two security experts said they envisioned a future Internet where much communication happens privately (through encrypted channels) and the use of pseudonyms becomes the norm. If we can’t defeat surveillance, we must circumvent it, they argued. Because as long as you’re being watched, you can’t be free.

But this argument didn’t strike a chord with the audience as it might have in the west. Censorship is a very real problem in the Arab region, especially in countries where independent media are under threat and heavily reliant on the web to get their stories out.

The Arab uprisings of 2011 proved that news sites and social media can change what people believe and how they interact with their governments – unless they’re shut down. Walid Al-Saqaf, chair of Internet Society Yemen (and my debating partner), took this point within the context of the current moment, when (largely western) digital rights advocates are sounding the alarms, somewhat singularly, about surveillance.

“People in Western societies do not understand realize the value of being able to criticize one’s own government. We do not have this right in Arab countries.”

We went on to make the point – no news to our audience – that surveillance is ubiquitous in the Arab region. Most people, to say nothing of those who criticize or document government actions, expect to be surveilled – a guarantee of privacy is a distant dream at best. But this doesn’t change the fundamental need for dissent.

Surveillance or no, some individuals are willing to take the risk of reporting on an incident, filming a confrontation, or voicing an opinion. And in the end, censorship and surveillance often stem from the same kinds of desires on the part of governments – they want to control information and the people who disseminate it.

The Snowden revelations exposed the surveillance practices of the US government. Around the world, they left many people wondering, “is my government spying on me too?”

Internet users may not be happy that the US government is collecting their data, but in regions like the Middle East and North Africa, this is a foregone conclusion. The bigger question is: If I speak out, will I be punished for it?

The Al Jazeera journalists currently in prison in Egypt provide one among far too many examples – like many bloggers and independent media workers in the region, these journalists have been accused not of libel or slander, but of aiding terrorist groups.

The Moroccan government is considering a new blanket law that would punish online statements deemed threatening to “public order, national security, necessities of public service, or public policy” – often with web censorship.

In Gulf countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, criminal prosecution over something as a small as a Tweet is a real threat.

It seems strange to talk purely of policies for the digital realm in a region where dissent and even fact-based reporting, whether they happen online or offline, so often have profound real-life consequences.

Those who speak out are not simply fearful of being watched or of having their websites blocked. They are fearful of arrest, detention, prosecution, and torture.

The Snowden revelations set off shock waves in the US, Europe, Brazil, and beyond, sending much of the global Internet policy community on to tackle digital surveillance as a primary and now almost seemingly singular goal. But in a region like this one, where it is impossible to separate the threat of surveillance, let alone censorship, from the dire consequences it could bring in the real world, such a singular agenda doesn't quite resonate.

Still, just because we (as online activists) face different challenges from place to place, doesn't mean we can’t work together to help defend each other and support campaigns and efforts across borders, oceans and hemispheres.

 

This piece was inspired by many conversations at #AB14, including several with Walid Al-Saqaf. Read his piece on our debate and the “censorship vs. surveillance” dichotomy. 

February 26 2014

Hong Kong Police Made Thousands of Personal Data Requests With No Judicial Oversight

Editor's note: Despite the lip service given to adopting the principle of transparency in Internet governance, there are no official procedures that government agencies must follow when requesting user data and content deletion from Internet service and content providers. In 2013, the Hong Kong Police Force made 7,462 requests for user data under the pretext of “crime investigation”, yet the process was not monitored by any judicial bodies. Worst still, government officials refused to review the existing practice when confronted by a legislative council member.

The report below was originally written by Michelle Fong and published on inmediahk.net in Chinese on February 19, 2014. It was translated into English by Alpha Au.

The Head of Hong Kong Police Force is watching you. Image from inmediahk.net's Facebook page.

The Head of Hong Kong Police Force is watching you. Image from inmediahk.net's Facebook page.

Among all of Hong Kong's government agencies, the police force made the most user data requests and the Department of Health made the most content deletion requests to Internet service and content providers (ISPs and OSPs) last year. This information was revealed when Legislative Councillor Charles Mok demanded that the government disclose the information to the public on February 19, 2014.

It was found that the Hong Kong government submitted 7,462 requests in 2013, involving 6,099 Internet users. Only some of the requests made by the Hong Kong Police Force obtained court orders, but the government refused to reveal the exact number of cases that involved court orders.

Godfrey Leung, the Secretary of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, openly refused to review the existing information request system and rejected the idea of publishing a transparency report for the public regarding government requests made to ISPs and OSPs. Disappointed by Godfrey Leung's response, Charles Mok said, “If the government refuses to release a regular annual report, I will file the same set of questions every year in the Legislative Council.”

During the council meeting on February 19, 2014, Mok asked the government to reveal the number of government requests made to ISPs and websites and services related to user data and content deletion. According to the government document, between February 2013 and February 2014, the Hong Kong government made 5,507 requests for user data, which involved 5,541 Internet users.

More than 82 percent of the total requests – 4,557 requests – came from the Hong Kong Police Force. They claimed that the requests were made “to prevent and detect high technology and Internet crime” as they were handling 5,212 cases of high technology crime in the same period. However, only a portion of the requests was made under court order, and not all the requests were acceded to by service providers. The government provided no further details on the exact number of court orders and request rejections.

The Customs and Excise Department came in second with 873 user data requests made to “prevent and detect crime”. It is worth noting that 70 requests were made by the Office of Communications Authority, a department that is responsible for Internet governance. They asked for the email registrant's real name, address, phone number as well as the registration date and status, message sent records and related IP addresses, claiming that the information was needed for “investigating unsolicited electronic messages”, i.e. spam. The 70 requests involved 106 users, again without any court order. All the requests made by these two departments were approved. Other user data requests came from the Inland Revenue Department and Companies Registry.

A total of 1,955 content deletion requests were made from six government departments, involving 558 Internet users. The Drug Office and the Chinese Medicine Division from the Department of Health demanded the deletion of 1,321 and 210 content items respectively, accounting for 80 percent of the total number of content deletion requests. The reason was “suspected auction or sale of unregistered proprietary Chinese medicines”. All their requests were approved. The Customs and Excise Department also asked OSPs to delete 391 content items, including webpages, user accounts and hyperlinks, to “combat of intellectual property infringement offense”.

Last year, Mok also asked the Hong Kong government to disclose the data of requests made to ISPs and OSPs between February 2010 to the February 2013. Over those three years, the government had made more than 14,000 user data requests and 7000 content deletion requests.

Currently, there is no guideline for government departments for filing user data and content deletion requests, and most ISPs and OSPs do not issue transparency reports that inform the public on government monitoring and surveillance activities.

Digital Surveillance in Angola and Other “Less Important” African Countries

A recent report from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab traces the use of surveillance malware developed by the Italian company Hacking Team and deployed in Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia. Last year, a German-English company's malware was detected in South Africa and Nigeria. These findings have generated new interest in the issue in sub-saharan Africa.

Detection of malware and other “cheap” surveillance technologies — relatively affordable “off-the-shelf” products made by private companies — in Africa's largest countries seems to be of ongoing interest to researchers. But what about the countries which through a western lens are seen as “less important”, either for their population, language or geopolitical sway?

Angola is an interesting case: The oil-rich nation has a relatively small population and a powerful ruling party that has been in control for 33 years. Investigative journalists, youth protesters, and social mobilizations – mostly around issues like housing and political corruption – seem to irk the regime, but the broader impact of these activities can be hard to track.

Last December, security researcher Jacob Applebaum spoke at the Chaos Communication Congress about Angolan investigative journalist Rafael Marques and his laptop. Marques, a widely acclaimed journalist known for his investigations of abuses of power at the highest level, approached Applebaum with an all too common query: “there seems to be something wrong with my laptop, it's running slow.” Applebaum found what he described as the “lamest backdoor” he'd ever seen, a spyware program that was surreptitiously taking screenshots of Marques’ activities and attempting to send them to another machine.

In the video below, Appelbaum shows Marques how even though he used TOR to protect himself, his machine had been compromised by a very crude form of spyware:

Marques, who edits the independent website Maka Angola was arrested and beaten months after discovering his laptop had been compromised. He is currently facing civil suits in both Angola and Portugal for his research which includes unmasking an international money laundering scheme for diamonds mined in Angola’s troubled Lunda region.

Applebaum suggests that even the least tech-savvy regimes can find new ways of exerting control using simple digital surveillance products and techniques. Yet there is little public discussion about data security, surveillance and the law in Angola.

One reason may be that real-world, physical surveillance and infiltration – with some of the  intelligence agents trained in the ex-Soviet Bloc – is so pervasive that activists and journalists do not feel any particular urgency about protecting their online activities.

Marques is now actively tracking the issue of surveillance in Angola. In October he described proposed legislation that would allow the state vast powers for warrantless search and prohibit certain forms of online communication. These provisions, he noted, were added to a 2010 draft Internet Governance bill released shortly after popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Although these forms of surveillance are relatively new, threats to press freedom are hardly new in Angola. Local independent newspapers and news outlets, have been criminalized or had their ability to expand restricted by onerous, seemingly politically motivated licensing requirements. Marques himself often lives and works in other countries. He is currently facing a defamation suit in Portugal, filed by Angolan members of the regime [pt].

Much like in Ethiopia, many Angolan activists and independent media workers are closely linked to the country's diaspora. An Ethiopian journalist residing in Washington, DC recently filed a legal challenge against the Ethiopian government over surveillance via malware on his computers. This development, at the very least, should help to raise awareness among Ethiopian exiles and activists. The case, which has been filed in the US, will hinge on careful research and tracing of malware.

For individuals like Marques in countries around the world, the Ethiopian case may suggest an interesting, international way of reversing a power imbalance — a way of striking back against threats to open investigation and expression. What remains to be seen in “less important” countries like Angola is whether civil society activists, researchers, and lawyers can find the resources and rally together internationally to trace and challenge increasing digital surveillance.

February 25 2014

Arab Bloggers: A Blessed Generation?

“Your generation is blessed. Everybody has a phone now, internet is accessible everywhere, satellite TV is available in almost every home. What more do you need?”

This was thrown at me by a middle-aged Jordanian taxi driver who took me from the Amman airport to the Arab Bloggers Meeting last month. I was trying to share with him my frustration about the situation of freedom of expression in the Arab world.

Three years earlier, I may have agreed with the man’s comment. Today it seems to encapsulate almost all that is wrong with the way some of us still think about how technology can change things.

Surveillance Is Bad For Your Internet. Poster by Hisham Almiraat (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Surveillance Is Bad For Your Internet. Poster by Hisham Almiraat (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It’s true that communications technology has revolutionized the way we learn about the news or the way we spread ideas –or even the way we relate to each other. Three years back, it even seemed that it had finally succeeded in cracking the wall of censorship and fear that plagued the Arab region for decades. Social media platforms, blogs and the increasing availability of smart phones allowed a generation of citizen journalists to report and inform, while activists could mobilize and organize at a level not seen in the region for decades.

It seemed that people no longer had to worry about censorship and government control over the media. We were the media.

A lot of us believed that the mere access to modern means of communications had acted as the catalyst that allowed the sweeping wave of protests to continue, gather pace and arguably succeed. Today, not many of us are ready to make that unblinking assumption.

New challenges 

The challenges faced by bloggers in the Middle East and North Africa have shifted substantially ever since.

(By blogger, I don’t only mean a person keeping a blog, but rather anyone using the Internet for political or civic engagement.)

Since our last Arab bloggers meeting in Tunis in 2011, at least two major changes have occurred:

For one thing, bloggers are no longer expected to be “mere” commentators. From simple observers to active participants, a lot of them had to adapt to a new, more complex political reality where a lot more is demanded of them.

This called for a whole set of new skills and resources that those most active, most influential or those who agitated for the revolution didn’t necessarily have in store. They are looked at for answers, ideas, actions in so many more areas and ways than they used to be. And in a bitterly polarized region where things are moving so fast and so much is happening every day, the task can seem crushing — almost paralyzing.

I know that this has caused many around me to question their role. I also know that it’s been cause for frustration about the lack of resources pro-democracy activists generally have access to. Some of us just couldn't cope and gave up trying. Some even stopped being active online.

Secondly, the nature of the threats against freedom of expression online has equally shifted: Prior to the revolutions, governments in the region seemed resigned to the idea that Internet filtering was the primary way to stifle free expression on the web.

But now they seem to have learned a new lesson: Censorship may be cheap and efficient, but it is relatively easy to expose. Surveillance on the other hand is more subtle and much harder to identify

Over the last three years, electronic surveillance and interception technology have very much become the name of the game. A multi-billion dollar market has sprung up and many governments in the region seem happy to cash in. Today, with very few exceptions, many of those governments spend huge sums of money on expensive, state-of-the-art electronic surveillance and interception technology, most of it developed by western private companies.

Take the case of my country, Morocco, for example:

In 2012, the country purchased a two million USD program called Project Popcorn, developed by French company Amesys. It is said to be able to intercept and monitor all sorts of communications at a country-wide scale.

The same year, a Moroccan online activist group was visited by “Da Vinci”, a sophisticated virus worth half a million US dollars and developed by a Milan-based company, revealingly named Hacking Team. It is said to be able to compromise any operating system, take control of specifically targeted computers and communicate keystroke records and private files to a distant server.

For all we know, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Similar instances were flagged in places like Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Egypt. And the list is growing.

As a result, while censorship remains a major weapon against free speech in the region, electronic surveillance, with its chilling effect on free speech, is becoming a serious threat.

It’s no surprise that three years after the start of the Arab revolutions, the situation of online freedom of expression in the region seems almost as bleak as it did before 2011.

Planting the seeds for a better future

How are we coping with the new reality? Are there any new and creative forms of online activism that have succeeded in the last three years and that we can learn from?

How can we ultimately play an effective role in improving the internet freedom situation in our countries? And to what extent can we rely on technology to protect us online?

These are but some of the questions that participants at the fourth Arab Bloggers Meeting (#AB14) set out to answer.

For four days, the meeting (co-organized by Global Voices Advocacy and the Heinrich Böll Foundation) brought together 70 bloggers, activists, artists, and trainers came from all over the world, including from 16 Arab countries. Participants, like myself, were full of questions and keen to share their stories and skills while also anxious to learn from their peers.

Perhaps the most important lesson I left with is the idea that despite our broader access to modern means of communication in the region today, they seem to only work at the periphery and not necessarily as a major factor for change as a lot of us seemed to think three years back.

There’s a need to find ways to connect and combine online activity with the “offline” efforts of people who traditionally work to effect change in the real world. And that process seems to work towards change only when technology succeeds in mobilizing and organizing a broader and diverse sector of society.

Arab bloggers today are fighting a tough fight —an asymmetrical warfare, where it is no longer a question of access to technology alone, but also a larger, more fundamental question of user rights, of how technology is governed and whether it’s free from government interference.

The ominous feeling that someone may be looking over our shoulders makes it difficult, even for the most daring among us, to operate freely.

But this is not a lost battle. We may not be so blessed of a generation after all, but I feel like AB14, by bringing us together, has succeeded in planting the seeds for a better future.

February 23 2014

Walkie-Talkie App Zello Blocked in Venezuela

This early Thursday, Venezuelan netizens started to report that Zello, the push-to-talk “walkie-talkie” app, had stopped functioning on mobile phones. Many Venezuelans have been using the app to organize and exchange information about the protests that have escalated rapidly over the last eighteen days now. Zello reported more than 15,000 local downloads in a single day last week. The blockage happened a day after President Maduro declared that the government was intercepting communications sent using Zello in order to monitor protesters.

On Twitter, Andrés Azpurua said:

Apparently Zello is being blocked. It's unaccesible from CANTV/Movilnet, we're researching #BlackoutVE #freeinternetVE

The company asked users to report back using technical tools in order to understand the issue:

Loris Santamaria, a consultant in network infrastructure services, did a traceroute and reported:

On Thursday night, the company declared to Associated Press that the origin of the blockage was Venezuela's state-run telecommunications company, CANTV, which covers over 80% of the telecom market in the country. Later, they developed a new version, hoping that it would prove useful to circumvent the blockage:

Meanwhile, TunnelBear, the VPN company, who has been providing unlimited free service Venezuelans for several days, tweeted to Zello their approach:

Surveillance and censorship are increasingly serious concerns for all Internet and mobile phone users in Venezuela. Yesterday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a statement pressing upon the need for free access to information:

La Comisión Interamericana reitera a las autoridades venezolanas que es indispensable que en una sociedad democrática existan garantías suficientes para asegurar que la población tenga acceso al pluralismo y la diversidad informativa, especialmente en relación con temas de interés público y el acontecer nacional.

The Inter-American Commission reiterates to Venezuelan authorities that it is indispensable in a democratic society to ensure sufficient guarantees assuring that the population has access to pluralistic and diverse information, especially in relationship to matters of public and national interest.

February 14 2014

Love in the Time of Code Era: A Poem About Secure Communication

This Valentine's card featuring a poem about love in the Post-Snowden era was published in order to draw attention to the importance of secure communication. The text was written by netizen skylark1848, the design and illustration of the poem is the work of artist Xpectro.

Love in the Time of Code Era

With you I am not alone
this transfer protocol is falling prey
to various ARP attacks
they've launched in the name of security.

My full address list was cached
in my DN/A/S.
The one I was longing to share only with you.

They have obtained it. Flush.

It's been a year you first whispered in my ear that PGP is of no use anymore. We are no XMPPtions so, sweetheart, have you received my message? What does the server know?

And now, perhaps https protects my message but not my identity. This is not a secure chat room built from decentralised bricks of bits coming from tunnels rooted all over the world. Lanterns signaling the nodes are lit by cables taped along the pathways by ever-recording hands.

They have created this channel for you and I. They are watching us while
we are falling for each other over a pixellated video conversation. The connection lags, and you log off and on.

Our keys are corrupted. Everything you know about me has to be erased. Format your brain and write all over the drive. Fill your disk space with random floating numbers.

One click: Don't confirm.

I won't tell them I love you.
Goodbye OTR.

Love in the Time of Code Era

February 13 2014

Web We Want Contest: Cartoonists Fight Back!

Anti-surveillance comic by Francisco

Anti-surveillance comic by Francisco “Fankiniano” Cardozo via Flickr (CC BY 4.0)

This post originally appeared on the World Wide Web Foundation blog.

A week ago, the Web We Want initiative challenged artists everywhere to produce cartoons on the topic of NSA surveillance, in support of #TheDayWeFightBack. We received more than 70 submissions from all over the world, and today we’re announcing the winners, as judged by the Web We Want team.  All submissions can be viewed on our Flickr photo stream here.

In first place, receiving a $1000 prize, is Francisco Javier “Frankiano” Cardozo Baudry. He is just 17 years old, a true digital native from Asunción, Paraguay. His contribution “Do Not Fear, I care about you” (above) shows how surveillance is invading each and every moment in the daily life of a young person these days. The PDF of this multi-frame cartoon can be downloaded here. We will ask him to make editable versions available so activists all over the world can easily translate, adapt and use his amazing material.

Anti-surveillance cartoon by Carlos Latuff via Flickr (CC BY 4.0)

Anti-surveillance cartoon by Carlos Latuff via Flickr (CC BY 4.0)

Second place goes to cartoonist Carlos Latuff from Brazil, who produced a piece (right) representing a single national leader monitoring the communications of the entire world. Third place goes to American cartoonist Jimmy Margulies, whose work highlighted wiretapping of foreign leaders.

A video (below) submitted by digital rights group Red PaTodos in Colombia deserves an honorary mention and we encourage them to upload it in a collaborative platform such as DotSub, including its script, so others can translate and add subtitles to it. It neatly explains current threats and challenges to online privacy.

The cartoons produced by activists and artists from different countries and contexts show a common pattern: They acknowledge the invasion of their private space, private life and daily activities by those in power. Intelligence agencies are pictured as dark forces by many of the authors and US President Obama is the main character in several submissions. The computer was not shown as the sole method of surveillance – there were also submissions related to telephone surveillance and CCTV cameras, parents spying on children, the military spying on users, physical surveillance and also the role of private corporations that use data collection and consumers habits as business models. One explained in simple terms what the NSA is currently doing, while others show how we interact and watch via our devices.

All the cartoons are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 License which will allow each and every activist, journalist, school teacher and creative around the world to use them, adapt them, modify them and remix them, keeping the content open.

The Web We Want promotes and defends the protection of personal user information and the right to communicate in private. Expect more soon!

 

Renata Avila is the campaign manager for the Web We Want.

February 11 2014

[Vidéo] Reclaim Our Privacy

Grâce à la générosité des soutiens ayant participé à son financement et de Benoît Musereau, qui l'a bénévolement réalisée, La Quadrature du Net publie aujourd'hui « Reclaim Our Privacy », une courte vidéo abordant les dangers qui menacent notre vie privée, l'importance de protéger ce droit fondamental, et enfin, proposant des outils pour en reprendre le contrôle. Si vous désirez participer à son financement, il est toujours possible de le faire ici. Les fonds collectés au-delà de l'objectif seront partagés équitablement entre Benoît Muserau et La Quadrature du Net. Cette vidéo est publiée sous licence CC BY-SA : partagez-la ou remixez-la librement ! <3

Télécharger

Pour plus d'informations sur ces sujets, vous pouvez visiter :

  • Le dossier de La Quadrature sur la vie privée ;
  • Prism Break : un site listant les outils libres et décentralisés permettant de remplacer des logiciels et des systèmes populaires mais vulnérables à l''écoute et à la surveillance en ligne ;
  • Controle-tes-donnees.net : un site de sensibilisation mis en ligne par des bénévoles de La Quadrature, proposant des guides pour utiliser des outils libres protégeant la vie privée (voir : « Comment reprendre le contrôle ») ;
  • Privacy International [EN] : une ONG défendant le droit au respect de la vie privée dans le monde.

Crédits

Vidéo financée collaborativement par (merci et plein de Datalove pour vous tous ! <3)

Aknok, Anaelita, Arofarn, Azerka, Bamban, Beeaware, Benjamin Piouffle, Benjamin Sonntag, Billecoq, Billux, Bmoc, Bourbaki, Cartron, Cellular, Cerran, Chato, Chopopope, Christian P. MOMON, Cioccu, Coucouf, Crowder, Cryptie, Dalb75, Darathor, Datarmine, David de Beleville, Ddadon, Didier_b-2, Djean, Domaccord, Elessar, Elfabixx, Elizabeth Nicholson, Elpouyou, f.0x2501.org , Fabhuy, Faereth, Fenn, Fflo, Florent_ato, Florent Darrault, Fraanek, Franck-awo, Franckpaul1984, François Tessier, Francoist-2, Galou Gentil, Gastavocats, Gawel, Geodelc, Gllm, Glatteispogo, gty, Gwendanc, Hadelie, Hebus63, Irslo, Ischiros, J4mes, Janval5, Jean-Louis Séré, jeey, Jean-Sébastien, Jeffman78, Jérémy GUEROUT, Jfch_, Jfomhover, Jimi_dave, Julien Fastré, Kadcom, Kaulian, Keplerpondorskell, Klorydryk, Kyriog, Laelaeta, Lcottereau, Le_Coyote, Lesauterhin, Les chats cosmiques, m09, Maillon, mamzelle_S, Martin Bahier, Mathieu HAAGE, Matrium, Milhouse_fr, Morgiou, Mrtino, Mulot, Mutokenji, Myoshi, Natim, Nicolasrtt, Nicorr, Nitot, Number, Olivier Cortès, Oneveu, Osmoze950, Ouroboros75, Outils Conviviaux, Pep1, P Ernewein, Petch, P Moniez, Puilliack, Raphette, Renk, Rikle_s, Rogdham, Rouroux, Saian, Saintraph, Samuel Tardieu, Se7h, Sempiternel, Snifiboy, Spiwit, Steph3187, Sureau, Sylvain Cazaux, Tael67, Taker, Taziden, Tekarihoken, Thd_it, Thomas Moreau, Thorleif_, Tomlefol, Torlus, Txitua, Vehem, Widokristus, Wookie51, Xixo, Yann2192, Ygster, yost3d, Yoya971, Yoygldstn

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

Le jour de notre riposte contre la surveillance et pour la protection de la vie privée

Paris, 11 février 2014 — Depuis un an, le monde entier découvre la surveillance de masse menée par la NSA et ses partenaires, mais aussi par certaines entreprises privées. En réaction, en commémoration de la victoire contre SOPA, PIPA et ACTA il y a déjà deux ans, et en mémoire d'Aaron Swartz, La Quadrature du Net se joint aujourd'hui à la mobilisation « The Day We Fight Back » contre la surveillance de masse, ponctuée d'actions de la société civile à travers le monde. Cette journée est l'occasion idéale pour tous de s'informer et d'agir pour la défense de notre vie privée, contre la surveillance publique et privée. Les actions menées aujourd'hui par La Quadrature et ses soutiens sont listées ci-dessous.

« Ensemble, nous allons agir contre les puissances qui cherchent à observer, enregistrer et analyser chacun de nos faits et gestes en ligne. Ensemble, nous affirmerons que ces comportements sont incompatibles avec la démocratie. Ensemble, si nous persévérons, nous remporterons cette bataille. »

Ce mardi 11 février est le jour d'une mobilisation générale contre la surveillance de masse. À travers le monde, de nombreuses organisations de défense des droits de l'homme sous toutes ses formes, que ce soit la liberté d'expression, la vie privée ou la liberté de la presse, se sont alliées pour agir. Le problème que pose la surveillance, publique ou privée, dépasse largement les divergences entre États. Elle mine les bases de nos systèmes démocratiques, et donc de nos droits de citoyens, par exemple la protection des sources journalistiques ou le secret professionnel. Comme l'énonce la pétition « Nécessaire et proportionnée » signée par plus de 300 ONG, dont La Quadrature du Net, pour être légitime, la surveillance doit être, entre autre, encadrée par la loi, transparente, menée dans un but légitime, nécessaire et proportionnée à son objectif, impliquer des notifications aux personnes concernées, et faire l'objet d'un contrôle public adéquat.

Plusieurs actions, en ligne et hors ligne, sont menées par diverses organisations à travers le monde, et sont listées ici. Depuis le début des révélations de Snowden, La Quadrature du Net appelle à la mise en place de nouvelles règles sur le droit d'asile pour les lanceurs d'alerte signalant de graves violations aux droits fondamentaux. La Quadrature appelle également à la suspension de l'accord Safe Harbour entre l'UE et les États-Unis pour toutes les organisations impliquées dans le programme PRISM – ou n'importe quel autre programme de la NSA – ainsi qu'au renforcement de la législation sur les données personnelles pour lutter contre ce type de contournements des droits fondamentaux, et soutient le développement de logiciels libres et décentralisés, utilisant un chiffrement solide. Aujourd'hui, La Quadrature publie plusieurs projets :

Reclaim Our Privacy

Grâce à la générosité des soutiens ayant participé à son financement et de Benoît Musereau, qui l'a bénévolement réalisée, La Quadrature du Net publie aujourd'hui « Reclaim Our Privacy », une courte vidéo abordant les dangers qui menacent notre vie privée, l'importance de protéger ce droit fondamental, et enfin, proposant des outils pour en reprendre le contrôle. Si vous désirez participer à son financement, il est toujours possible de le faire ici. Les fonds collectés au-delà de l'objectif seront partagés équitablement entre Benoît Muserau et La Quadrature du Net. Cette vidéo est publiée sous licence CC BY-SA : partagez-la ou remixez-la librement ! <3

Le site NSA Observer

Des bénévoles soutenus par La Quadrature du Net ont mis en ligne un site sur « les choses que la NSA ne veut pas que vous sachiez (et pourquoi vous devriez les connaîttre) » : NSA-observer.

Les nombreuses révélations sur la surveillance réalisée par la NSA constituent une grande quantité d'informations, que personne n'a encore présentée dans un format simple d'accès et compréhensible. Les auteurs ont regroupé ces informations sur un site diffusé sous une licence libre, et permettant une récupération simple de sa base de données. De plus, afin d'en rendre le système lisible, le site représente graphiquement les liens entre les différents programmes, vecteurs d'attaque et compartiments. Ce travail est encore en cours de développement, et ses auteurs accueillent donc chaleureusement toute personne souhaitant prendre part à l'ajout et à la mise à jour de ces informations, afin de les rendre plus accessibles au grand public.

« Rien à cacher » de la Parisienne Libérée, avec Jérémie Zimmermann

La Parisienne Libérée est une journaliste chantant l'actualité une fois par semaine pour Médiapart. Elle a invité Jérémie Zimmermann, cofondateur de La Quadrature du Net, pour une chanson dédiée à la vie privée et aux données personnelles.

En ce jour de mobilisation mondiale, La Quadrature invite l'ensemble des citoyens à s'informer et à sensibiliser leur entourage quant à la surveillance de masse et à la nécessité de renforcer la protection, tant juridique que technique, de notre vie privée dans l'ère numérique.
Pour plus d'informations, vous pouvez visiter :

  • Le dossier de La Quadrature sur la vie privée ;
  • Prism Break : un site listant les outils libres et décentralisés permettant de remplacer des logiciels et des systèmes populaires mais vulnérables à l''écoute et à la surveillance en ligne ;
  • Controle-tes-donnees.net : un site de sensibilisation mis en ligne par des bénévoles de La Quadrature, proposant des guides pour utiliser des outils libres protégeant la vie privée (voir : « Comment reprendre le contrôle ») ;
  • Privacy International : une ONG défendant le droit au respect de la vie privée dans le monde.

Soutenez La Quadrature du Net!

China: Prostitution Crackdown Reveals Mass Mobile Surveillance Abuses

The Chinese government has launched a massive crackdown on prostitution in Dongguan, a well-known sex industry hub in southern China.

In addition to a news feature  on China Central Television about the corruption of the sex industry in Dongguan, the official Sina Weibo published an eight-hour population in-flow and out-flow map of Donguan city, which has been interpreted as the escape path of “prostitutes” and “prostitution clients” during the crackdown. Generated by Baidu Qianxi with data from Baidu map, the map indicated that most people fleeing the crackdown “escaped” to Hong Kong.

Baidu's 8-hour population flow map during the crackdown on prostitution in Dongguan city was released through Sina Weibo official account. Image via Apple Daily.

Baidu's 8-hour population flow map during the crackdown on prostitution in Dongguan city was released through Sina Weibo official account. Image via Apple Daily.

Originally, Baidu Qianxi was designed as a visualization tool that could map population flows during the Chinese Lunar New Year. But as Luo Changping at Letscorp pointed out [zh], the fact that Baidu Qianxi was able to appropriate the data surrounding the prostitution crackdown suggests that authorities are using mass surveillance to track these patterns, rather than only targeting criminal suspects, and thereby violating the personal privacy of untold numbers of citizens.

Some technology bloggers such as Lui Xuewen noted that the so-called “escape route” shown on the map was highly misleading as there were other reasons behind the population flow. In fact, in an ordinary day, population flow between the two cities can even be higher as many factories in Dongguan are owned by people from Hong Kong.

The use of geolocation tracking technology in this crackdown by the party propaganda authority indicates to the public that the police authority, through Baidu and other mobile application developers, is capable of tracking mobile phones and thus the real identity of individuals, as nearly all mobile numbers are linked with the owner's identity card. In reaction to this threat, many Hong Kong netizens said that they planned to shut down their mobile when traveling in China.

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

Brazilian Activists Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

As the world comes together to take a stand against mass surveillance on February 11, 2014, Brazilian citizens, organizations and collectives are bringing momentum to #TheDayWeFightBack campaign.

Anti-surveillance collective Antivigilancia.tk (@antivigilancia on Twitter), one of the 15 Brazilian signatories of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, has a website with complete information in Portuguese on how to participate in #TheDayWeFightBack, as well as several resources for the day of action, such as banners and memes.

Cartoon by Latuff with D'Incao (2013). Shared by WebWe Want on Flickr (BY SA 2.0)

Cartoon by Latuff with D'Incao (2013). Shared by WebWe Want on Flickr (BY SA 2.0)

Well-known Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff took on the challenge launched by Web We Want early in February to create original visual works on digital surveillance and the right to privacy.

Cartoon by Latuff with Operamundi (2013). Shared by WebWe Want on Flickr (BY SA 2.0)

Cartoon by Latuff with Operamundi (2013). Shared by WebWe Want on Flickr (BY SA 2.0)

On Twitter, many Brazilians are linking the day of action with the country's pioneer bill of rights for Internet users, the “Marco Civil da Internet” (Civil Framework for the Internet), which will be brought to the floor in a plenary session [pt] in the House of Representatives today. A group of civil society organizations is expected to meet the Minister of Justice [pt] to voice “serious concerns” regarding the latest modifications to the bill, especially with respect to “the right to the inviolability and secrecy of the flow and content of private communications, the right to privacy and freedom of expression.”

Cartoon by Latuff with Operamundi (2013). Shared by WebWe Want on Flickr (BY SA 2.0)

Cartoon by Latuff with Operamundi (2013). Shared by WebWe Want on Flickr (BY SA 2.0)

 All submissions to the Web We Want contest are available on Flickr.

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

[Video] Reclaim Our Privacy

Thanks to the generosity of supporters who helped crowd-fund it, and of Benoît Musereau who volunteered to direct it, La Quadrature du Net publishes ”Reclaim Our Privacy”, a three-minute movie that explains the threat to, the importance of protecting, and the tools to reclaim our privacy online. If you want to contribute to the funding of this movie, it is still possible to do so here. Any funds received above the target amount will be shared between Benoît Musereau and La Quadrature du Net. The movie is released under CC BY-SA, so feel free to share or remix it! <3

Download it!

For further information on these issue:

Movie's credits

Crowd-funded by (thanks, and lots of Datalove to you all! <3)

Aknok, Anaelita, Arofarn, Azerka, Bamban, Beeaware, Benjamin Piouffle, Benjamin Sonntag, Billecoq, Billux, Bmoc, Bourbaki, Cartron, Cellular, Cerran, Chato, Chopopope, Christian P. MOMON, Cioccu, Coucouf, Crowder, Cryptie, Dalb75, Darathor, Datarmine, David de Beleville, Ddadon, Didier_b-2, Djean, Domaccord, Elessar, Elfabixx, Elizabeth Nicholson, Elpouyou, f.0x2501.org , Fabhuy, Faereth, Fenn, Fflo, Florent_ato, Florent Darrault, Fraanek, Franck-awo, Franckpaul1984, François Tessier, Francoist-2, Galou Gentil, Gastavocats, Gawel, Geodelc, Gllm, Glatteispogo, gty, Gwendanc, Hadelie, Hebus63, Irslo, Ischiros, J4mes, Janval5, Jean-Louis Séré, jeey, Jean-Sébastien, Jeffman78, Jérémy GUEROUT, Jfch_, Jfomhover, Jimi_dave, Julien Fastré, Kadcom, Kaulian, Keplerpondorskell, Klorydryk, Kyriog, Laelaeta, Lcottereau, Le_Coyote, Lesauterhin, Les chats cosmiques, m09, Maillon, mamzelle_S, Martin Bahier, Mathieu HAAGE, Matrium, Milhouse_fr, Morgiou, Mrtino, Mulot, Mutokenji, Myoshi, Natim, Nicolasrtt, Nicorr, Nitot, Number, Olivier Cortès, Oneveu, Osmoze950, Ouroboros75, Outils Conviviaux, Pep1, P Ernewein, Petch, P Moniez, Puilliack, Raphette, Renk, Rikle_s, Rogdham, Rouroux, Saian, Saintraph, Samuel Tardieu, Se7h, Sempiternel, Snifiboy, Spiwit, Steph3187, Sureau, Sylvain Cazaux, Tael67, Taker, Taziden, Tekarihoken, Thd_it, Thomas Moreau, Thorleif_, Tomlefol, Torlus, Txitua, Vehem, Widokristus, Wookie51, Xixo, Yann2192, Ygster, yost3d, Yoya971, Yoygldstn

Privacy vs. Free Speech? Questioning the Conflict

Cartoon by Doaa Eladl via Flickr, Web We Want ( CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cartoon by Doaa Eladl via Flickr, Web We Want ( CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Censorship doesn't matter, surveillance is the real problem.” This was the subject of a panel at the 4th Arab Bloggers Meeting held in Amman, in January 2014 – it was one of the most exciting panels I have ever been on. I argued against this proposition, countering that censorship does matter and will continue to matter because it violates our fundamental right to free speech. But I also noted that surveillance violates another fundamental human right – the right to privacy.

Throughout my years as a journalist, media researcher and activist, I have seen many colleagues envision a dichotomy between privacy and free speech. But this can often lead to a dead end. These values can and should often co-exist without the need for one to cancel out the other. But occasionally these rights can come into conflict with one another.

Privacy and free speech are merely two of many other universal human rights, which also include the right to education, right to security, right to peace, right to religious practice, etc.

A typical example is the sensationalist news stories where paparazzi abuse their right to speech by publishing nude photos of politicians in their own bedrooms. In this case, the right of privacy is violated by the exercise of free speech. Similarly, it could be argued that the right of free speech has been trumped by the protection of privacy (and security) as demonstrated by the hiding of key information about the NSA surveillance program – information considered a state secret for its alleged role in protecting national security.

But most frequently I find that surveillance ends up becoming a form of censorship. When CCTV cameras are used to monitor user online activities at Internet cafes, users may censor themselves just to ensure they don’t get in trouble. This breach of their privacy stands in direct violation of their right to speak freely.

To me, nothing was more devastating than having the right to express my views taken away from me. It happened when my website YemenPortal.net was censored by the Yemeni authorities in 2008. It was an awful feeling of deprivation of one of my basic rights. I knew that I was only one of millions in Yemen and the Arab world whose right to free speech have been violated through censorship.

For those living in Western societies where free speech is protected with constitutional guarantees that largely prevent laws abridging free speech, censorship is not that common and so surveillance may be a priority. But for us in the Arab world, I believe we are still struggling to have our voices heard. I cannot accept the idea that the fight has now moved to the area of surveillance and away from free speech. While this may be the case where censorship is limited or non-existent, it is certainly not applicable to many countries living under authoritarian rule.

Privacy and free speech are merely two of many other universal human rights, which also include the right to education, right to security, right to peace, right to religious freedom. If we look back in history, we find that most of the time, the right to free speech preceded the right to privacy. As social animals, humans have depended on their need to communicate and open up to each other to survive and prosper. While the urge to communicate and exchange thoughts has been with us for an awfully long time, the need to have privacy is relatively new. But indeed, it has become increasingly accepted with the growth in populations.

It is unnatural for someone to prefer being in total privacy over being able to speak freely. The notion that free speech is not important as long as privacy is protected is unjustifiable.  After all, in a prison cell somewhere in a deserted area, I have all the privacy I need, but I cannot reach the world to say what I want. We were born free with a desire to speak out freely to express our grievances, needs and desires.

The importance of privacy for both Arab activists and citizens alike ought to be recognized. However, protecting privacy using a purely technologically-driven approach through the use of anonymizing tools such as Tor is not enough. Technology will not solve a problem so entrenched and complex such as surveillance and a technologically deterministic stance in that respect is not helpful – after all, in Arab countries (and many other parts of the world) surveillance is as prevalent in real life as it is online.

Protecting free speech and privacy requires more than microprocessors – it requires humans willing to rise up and change government policies, practices, misguided cultural beliefs, and other more deeply-rooted problems. One should take a more comprehensive approach where free speech and privacy –along with the other fundamental rights – need to be addressed, without comprising one for the other. I know that only by recognizing the complexity of the problem can we rise to the occasion and solve it.

 

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

Iran on the Day to End Mass Surveillance

Iranian green movement protest, 2009. Photo by Waging Non-Violence (CC BY 4.0)

Iranian green movement protest, 2009. Photo by Waging Non-Violence (CC BY 4.0)

The revelations surrounding the surveillance practices of the NSA and other Western government intelligence agencies may have made 2013 the year the Internet lost its innocence within democratic states. But this state of perpetual, pervasive surveillance has long been part of everyday life within the Islamic Republic of Iran. While security and privacy concerns have recently become a mainstream concern in the Western world, Iranians have long known the risks of sharing information through communications technologies.

Shunood, the term most often used for surveillance in Farsi, comes from the word shenidan, which means to listen. Relatedly, surveillance within Iran is commonly associated with the wiretapping of phones — a common practice within Iran since the introduction of the technology to the country. In July 2013, the outspoken Parliamentarian Ali Motahari discovered his office had been bugged with recording devices — many suspected the devices were installed by Iran’s previous hard-line Minister of Intelligence. In recent years, advances in communication technologies have changed the state’s surveillance apparatus.  From data mining and eavesdropping through the ultra pervasive Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) method, to control over meta-data collected by telecommunication companies, and physical wiretapping (which is the most popular method inside Iran), researchers have identified various digital surveillance methods.

During and after the Green Movement of 2009, security researcher Chris Parsons found strong evidence suggesting that sophisticated surveillance technologies such as DPI were used by the government during this period. Tebyan Zanjan, an Iranian website covering ICT news, has reported on different methods of government data collection, from DPI to telephone wiretapping, further illustrating the government’s surveillance capabilities.

In sum, it is common knowledge among Iranians that if the state can, it will spy on its citizens.

Two important legal standards exist for surveillance practices. Both call for due process in instances when the state engages in surveillance. Article 25 of the Constitution indicates:

The inspection of letters and the failure to deliver them, the recording and disclosure of telephone conversations, the disclosure of telegraphic and telex communications, censorship, or the willful failure to transmit them, eavesdropping, and all forms of covert investigation are forbidden, except as provided by law.

At the same time, Article 104 of Iran’s Criminal Code of Procedure for Public and Revolutionary Courts states:

In cases where there is a need to inspect and detect mailing, telecom, audio and visual correspondences related to the accused, in connection with investigation of a crime, the judge will inform the respective officers to confiscate [these materials] and send them to him or her. Once they are received, they will be presented to the accused, noted in the minutes, and attached to the file after being signed by the accused. Refusal of the accused to sign will be noted in the minutes and in case the items are not of relative importance, and if the confiscation is not necessary, they will be returned to the owner obtaining an acknowledgment of receipt.

While laws exist to protect the privacy of individuals, there is a dissonance between the laws and practices of the state. These protections are often lost between the many different authorities who administer these practices within a complex, larger government apparatus, with various Ministries and organizations of different branches involved. The central entity involved in mass data collection from communications technology is the Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI), or Mokhaberat in Farsi. This organization falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Information Communication Technology (ICT), but maintains private shareholders. While there are conflicting reports concerning the precise nature of the influence of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards over the TCI, it is widely known that they own the greatest shares of the TCI, placing this body in the hands of an entity accountable only to the Supreme Leader. Although often difficult to prove, many experts suspect these shareholders are associated with elements within Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Basij (IGRC).

The Ministry of Intelligence, the IGRC, FETA (Iran’s Cyber Police), Ministry of Defense, Ministry ICT, the Passive Defense Organization (PDO), and the Supreme Council for Cyberspace (SCC) are all involved in the country’s surveillance regime, but they are often accountable to different authorities and represent different motivations and ideologies, ranging from hard-line elements in the opposition to reformist or moderate influences within the elite.

On February 11, when the world takes a stand for privacy rights in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, we should not forget the practices that have always existed, and continue to prosecute and imprison Iranians. While we stand up against countries like the United States, Canada, and the UK for their violations of our privacy rights, ASL19 urges the world not to forget the circumstances in a country that does not require revelations to reveal the unjust state of privacy and human rights.

 

Reposted byiranelection iranelection

February 10 2014

The Day We Fight Against Surveillance and in Support of Privacy

Paris, 11 February 2014 — Over the last year the public across the globe was made aware of massive global surveillance conducted by the NSA and its partners or counterparts, but also by private tech companies. In response, and in celebration of the victory against SOPA, PIPA and ACTA two years ago and in memory of one of its key architects, Aaron Swartz, La Quadrature du Net joins this day of mobilisation The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance, which will mark actions by civil rights groups from all over the world. This day is a perfect occasion for all citizens to get informed, and to act to defend our privacy against private and public surveillance. Below are actions carried out by La Quadrature and its supporters today.

“Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action. Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance. Together, if we persist, we will win this fight.”

This Tuesday 11 February is a global call to arms against surveillance. Many organisations around the world defending human rights in all its forms, such as freedom of speech, privacy, or press freedom, have joined forces for a day of mobilisation against mass surveillance. The global problem is that surveillance, public and private, has gone way beyond embarrassement between countries. It is undermining the basis on which our democratic systems and thus our rights as citizens rely, such as the protection of journalistic sources or confidential communication with a lawyer. As the Necessary and Proportionate petition, signed by La Quadrature du Net and more than 300 other NGOs stated, any legitimate surveillance has to be, amongst other things, established by legal statutes, transparent, have a legitimate aim, be necessary and proportional to the threat, involve user notification and have adequate public oversight.

Several actions, online and offline, are planned by organisations across the globe. Events are listed here. Since the first Snowden revelations, La Quadrature du Net has consistently advocated new asylum rules for whistle-blowers reporting serious violations of fundamental rights, but also the suspension of the Safe Harbour agreement between the EU and the US for all companies listed as participating to PRISM and other NSA programs, reinforcement of the data protection regulation against similar circumvention of fundamental rights and support to decentralized free software applications based on strong cryptography. Today, La Quadrature has coordinated the launch of several projects:

Reclaim Our Privacy

Thanks to the generosity of supporters who helped crowd-fund it, and of Benoît Musereau who volunteered to direct it, La Quadrature du Net publishes ”Reclaim Our Privacy”, a three-minute movie that explains the threat to, the importance of protecting, and the tools to reclaim our privacy online. If you want to contribute to the funding of this movie, it is still possible to do so here. Any funds received above the target amount will be shared between Benoît Musereau and La Quadrature du Net. The movie is released under CC BY-SA, so feel free to share or remix it! <3


Download it!

NSA Observer Website

Volunteers supported by La Quadrature du Net put together a website about “Things the NSA doesn't want you to know (and why you should know about it)”: NSA-observer.

The numerous revelations on NSA surveillance represents a lot of information that no one had presented in a format that was easy to access and understand. The authors gathered the information into a public-domain licensed website and freely-downloadable database. Moreover, in order to comprehend the system, the website provides visuals of the connections between NSA programs, attack vectors and compartments. The website is a work in progress and the authors welcome involvement by others in order to keep the data up to date and make it more accessible to the general public.

“Nothing To Hide” by La Parisienne Libérée and Jérémie Zimmermann

La Parisienne Libérée is a French journalist who sings the news once a week. She invited Jérémie Zimmermann, cofounder of La Quadrature du Net, for a song on personal data and privacy.

On this global day of action, La Quadrature encourages all citizens to get informed and share information about surveillance and the need for better legal and technical protection for privacy in the digital age. For more information, visit:



Support La Quadrature du Net!

The Day We Fight Back, à la Française

banner-2b-fr

The Day We Fight Back banner, French translation. Graphic by Alec Perkins via Wikimedia Commons, (CC BY-4.0)

Since 2004, February 11 has been the worldwide “Day for a Safer Internet”, mainly focusing on safe web browsing for children and young people. A French website was set up for the occasion. But for online activists all over the world, the meaning of the day is about to change. This February 11, digital activists around the world will commemorate the life of Aaron Swartz and come together in a campaign against mass surveillance. This February 11 is “The Day We Fight Back“.

France is among those countries that have been more closely and overtly affected by mass Internet surveillance. After Edward Snowden's leaks became public, France's own practices of Internet surveillance soon appeared in plain sight. And in December 2013, the vote of the French Military Planning Act began to sound very much like a French version of the NSA – comprehensive description here [fr] – ringing alarms among activists in France and the world over [fr]. As explained by online NTIC magazine Numerama.com [fr]:

Depuis que la surveillance globale mise en œuvre par la NSA a été révélée par Edward Snowden, de multiples initiatives ont vu le jour pour s'y opposer. Cependant, aucune d'entre elles n'a eu pour l'instant un impact décisif. Certes, la bronca mondiale contre l'espionnage des communications a poussé Washington à initier une timide réforme de leurs pratiques, mais celles-ci n'ont pas été fondamentalement remises en cause.

Qu'à cela ne tienne. Puisque les précédentes approches n'ont pas abouti à un encadrement plus strict des activités des agences de renseignement, autant en essayer de nouvelles. C'est ainsi qu'est né le mouvement “The Day We Fight Back” (“le jour où nous contre-attaquons”), dont Presse-Citron vient de s'en faire l'écho. Il s'agit en fait de reproduire la même stratégie que celle qui a permis de faire reculer PIPA et SOPA.

Since the NSA-enforced global surveillance was disclosed by Edward Snowden, numerous initiatives emerged to confront it. However, none of them have had a significant impact thus far. Indeed, the global outcry against communications surveillance drove the US to initiate a feeble change of their practices, without wholly reconsidering them.

But never mind. As former approaches could not result in a more stringent control over intelligence agencies, let's try new ones. This is how the campaign “The Day We Fight Back” was launched, as echoed by Presse-Citron. The idea is to copy the same strategy as the one that helped defeat PIPA and SOPA.

La Quadrature du Net (@laquadrature on Twitter), the organization spearheading the fight for online freedoms in France, is leading the campaign. On January 31, 2014, they launched a crowdfunding campaign “to support the making of the upcoming animation movie about privacy, mass surveillance, and the urgency to rethink our relationship with technology.” The movie, entitled “Reclaim our privacy!” seeks donations [fr] via the crowdfunding website Ulule. La Quadrature du Net has also set up a NSA observer page, describing 71 programs, 35 “attack vectors” and 6 departments of the sprawling, opaque agency.

Change your profile photo, Share a photo on Facebook. Source: Presse-Citron

Change your profile photo, Share a photo on Facebook. Source: Presse-Citron

Framablog explains the actions [fr] planned on Feb. 11:

Le jour J, le collectif et les activistes qu’ils représentent téléphoneront et enverront des mails aux députés. Les propriétaires de sites web mettront en place des bannières pour encourager leurs visiteurs à combattre la surveillance et les employés d’entreprises technologiques demanderont que leur organisation fasse de même. Il sera demandé aux usagers d’Internet de créer des ”mèmes’’ et de changer leurs avatars sur les médias sociaux pour refléter leur demande.

On D-Day, the group and their activists will send phone calls and e-mails to MPs. The owners of websites will set up banners to encourage visitors to fight against surveillance, and the employees of tech businesses will ask their entity to do the same. Users will be invited to create memes and change their avatars on social medias to make their demand visible.

The call was passed on by activist Mohamed Sangare on his Mediapart blog.

Any individual concerned about mass government surveillance will be encouraged to call and email MPs and to sign the Thirteen Principles on Communications Surveillance, a set of principles for a privacy-protective digital world, developed by a coalition of activists and civil society experts on human rights law. A French translation of the principles can be found here.

February 11: The Internet Says No to Mass Surveillance

Cartoon by Doaa Eladl via Flickr, Web We Want (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cartoon by Doaa Eladl via Flickr, Web We Want (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Nigeria's new cyber crime law may fight financial fraud — but it could also gag critics. Authorities in Argentina are collecting data that maps citizens' DNA, their iris information, and the way they walk. Activists in Tunisia fear that the country's new Technical Telecommunication Agency may ring in a new era of mass surveillance.

There's no question about it: Mass government surveillance is a global problem.

On February 11, individuals, civil society organizations, and thousands of websites will come together to take a stand against mass surveillance. Anyone, anywhere can participate — whether you're taking to the streets, or to the Web.

Mass surveillance programs violate our right to privacy and infringe on our rights to freedom of expression and association. They harm the freedom and openness of the global internet, and go against democratic values. The documents leaked by Edward Snowden last June exposed dozens of wide-ranging intelligence collection programs and sent shock waves around the globe. But while the Snowden leaks brought to light some of the most egregious violations of privacy by the US government, they also brought new energy to debates about surveillance and privacy happening all over the world, like the ones mentioned above.

Want to get involved? Here are some ways to do it:

JOIN THE ACTION

Groups in countries all over the world are staging protests, hosting hackathons, and pushing online campaigns. Find out what's happening near you:

Argentina • Australia • Austria • Brasil • Canada • Colombia • Deutschland • France

India • Mexico • Nederland • Peru • Polska • Србија • ประเทศไทย • Uganda

United Kingdom • United States

Don't see your country here? Use materials here and on partner sites to source your own campaign! Read Global Voices’ community posts about surveillance around the world on our surveillance page.

 

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

Show solidarity with the February 11 campaign! Post a banner on your website. Share the message — or a super cool cartoon (like the ones seen here) — on social media.

The Day We Fight Back banner, by Alec Perkins via Wikimedia Commons, (CC BY-4.0)

The Day We Fight Back banner, by Alec Perkins via Wikimedia Commons, (CC BY-4.0)

Screen shot 2014-02-09 at 10.05.22 PM

Cartoon by Xpectro & Web We Want via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cartoon by Xpectro via Flickr, Web We Want (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cartoon by Doaa Eladl & Web We Want via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cartoon by Doaa Eladl & Web We Want via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

SAY “YES” TO THE GLOBAL PRINCIPLES ON COMMUNICATIONS SURVEILLANCE

Sign on to the Thirteen Principles on International Communications Surveillance, developed by human rights experts from around the world. These Principles are the backbone of global civil society efforts to protect privacy rights for the digital citizen: A clear set of guidelines that establish the human rights obligations of governments when it comes to surveillance.

Read and sign the principles in any of the following languages:

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January 31 2014

Participez au financement du film d'animation : « Reclaim Our Privacy! »

Paris, 31 janvier 2014 — La Quadrature du Net lance une campagne de financement participatif pour la réalisation d'un film d'animation sur la vie privée, la surveillance de masse et l'importance de repenser notre relation à la technologie. Aidez-nous à financer ce projet !


Benoît Musereau, avec qui La Quadrature du Net avait collaboré sur le film « Non à ACTA », dirigera bénévolement ce nouveau projet. Les 3.000€ de la campagne de financement serviront à payer la graphiste Marion Leblanc, et Mawashi, le musicien et designer audio (un tel film coûte habituellement entre 10 et 15.000€). Si l'objectif des 3.000€ est dépassé, les fonds supplémentaires seront répartis équitablement entre Benoît et La Quadrature du Net.

Aidez-nous à rassembler ces fonds et le film d'animation « Reclaim Our Privacy! » sera présenté le 11 février, à l'occasion de la journée d'action The Day We Fight Back, contre la surveillance de masse. Des cadeaux, comme des posters du film, seront offerts aux généreux donateurs, et leurs noms seront inscrits au générique.

Support the Making of the Animated Movie "Reclaim Our Privacy!"

Paris, 31 January 2014 — La Quadrature du Net launches a crowd-funding campaign to support the making of the upcoming animation movie about privacy, mass surveillance, and the urgency to rethink our relationship with technology. Help us finance this project!


Benoît Musereau, which whom La Quadrature du Net collaborated on the “NO to ACTA” movie, will be the director, as a volunteer, to make this new movie. The €3000 objective of this crowd-funding campaign will help pay for Marion Leblanc, the graphic designer, and Mawashi, the musician and sound designer. A movie such as this would usually cost around €10-15000. Funding above €3000 will be split equally between Benoît and La Quadrature du Net.

Help us fund it and “Reclaim Our Privacy!” should be released by the 11th of February as part of The Day We Fight Back, a day of mobilisation against mass surveillance. Nice rewards, including posters of the movie, are available to supporters, and the names of all supporters will be included in the credits.

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

January 28 2014

Géolocalisation : les députés doivent corriger la loi de programmation militaire

Paris, 28 janvier 2014 — À l'occasion de l'examen du projet de loi relatif à la géolocalisation par la commission des lois de l'Assemblée nationale, les députés Sergio Coronado et Lionel Tardy proposent de revenir sur certains points de l'article 20 de la loi de programmation militaire. La Quadrature du Net appelle l'ensemble des parlementaires à saisir cette opportunité de revenir sur les dispositions adoptées au mois de décembre, et ce afin de répondre aux nombreuses inquiétudes exprimées par les citoyens et d'en protéger les droits fondamentaux.

[MÀJ : Les amendements de Sergio Coronado et de Lionel Tardy ont été rejetés lors de l'examen de la commission des lois, conformément au souhait de Jean-Jacques Urvoas.]

Déposé dans l'urgence en décembre 2013 par Christiane Taubira, ministre de la Justice, le projet de loi sur la géocalisation a pour objectif d'encadrer plus rigoureusement la procédure de géolocalisation judiciaire, considérée par la Cour de cassation comme une ingérence illicite dans la vie privée des citoyens. Adoptée dans sa version actuelle, cette loi limiterait le recours à la géolocalisation par les services de police aux seules enquêtes et instructions portant sur des infractions punies d'au moins trois ans d'emprisonnement1, et la soumettrait à l'autorisation du procureur de la République, ou à celle d'un juge si ces mesures durent plus de huit jours.

Bien que perfectible, ce texte est surtout l'occasion d'ouvrir un débat plus urgent, sur les dangereuses ambiguïtés de la loi de programmation militaire, puisqu'il porte précisément sur l'encadrement des procédures de géolocalisation. Les députés Sergio Coronado (ECOLO) et Lionel Tardy (UMP) ont ainsi déposé deux amendements (n°CL16 et n°CL1) proposant de corriger la définition trop vague des données visées par l'article 20 de la loi de programmation militaire, portant justement sur les mesures administratives de géolocalisation. Actuellement, la rédaction de cet article2 autorise l'administration à intercepter les données de connexion (identité des correspondants, lieux, date et durée) des communications, leur contenu, ainsi que tout document stocké en ligne, et ce pour des finalités très larges et avec un contrôle bien trop faible.

L'amendement déposé par Sergio Coronado propose de lever toute ambiguïté sur cette définition afin qu'elle ne recouvre plus que les données de connexion. En effet, Jean-Jacques Urvoas, président de la commission de lois de l'Assemblée nationale3 et membre de la CNCIS4, avait vigoureusement défendu la loi de programmation militaire, en répondant aux nombreuses critiques exprimées par la société civile que l'article 20 ne concernait que les données de connexion5. Cet amendement sera débattu aujourd'hui au sein de la commission des lois de l'Assemblée nationale, lors de l'examen du projet de loi géolocalisation. La Quadrature du Net invite l'ensemble de la commission à se saisir de cette opportunité pour corriger l'ambiguïté de l'article 20, et s'assurer que la lettre de la loi corresponde sans équivoque à l'intention du législateur, telle que l'a définie à plusieurs reprises le président de cette commission Jean-Jacques Urvoas.

« Au cours des débats sur la loi de programmation militaire, le président Urvoas n'a eu de cesse d'affirmer que seule l'interception de données de connexion était en jeu. Il a aujourd'hui l'occasion de corriger certains points ambigüs de cette loi, afin de la faire correspondre aux intentions qu'il a régulièrement exprimées. Mais au-delà de cette question, l'ensemble des parlementaires devrait considérer ce projet de loi comme une opportunité de revenir sur les nombreuses autres dérives de l'article 20 de la loi de programmation militaire, qu'il s'agisse de ses finalités trop nombreuses et trop vagues, ou de l'absence d'encadrement satisfaisant à la surveillance administrative » déclare Benjamin Sonntag, cofondateur de La Quadrature du Net.

  • 1. Plus précisément, pour l'enquête et l'instruction relative à « un crime ou à un délit puni d'une peine d'emprisonnement d'une durée égale ou supérieure à cinq ans ou, s'il s'agit d'un délit [contre les personnes], d'une peine d'emprisonnement d'une durée égale ou supérieure à trois ans ».
  • 2. Article 20 de la loi de programmation militaire : « […] peut être autorisé le recueil, auprès des opérateurs de communications électroniques […], des informations ou documents traités ou conservés par leurs réseaux ou services de communications électroniques, y compris les données techniques relatives à l'identification des numéros d'abonnement ou de connexion à des services de communications électroniques, au recensement de l'ensemble des numéros d'abonnement ou de connexion d'une personne désignée, à la localisation des équipements terminaux utilisés ainsi qu'aux communications d'un abonné portant sur la liste des numéros appelés et appelants, la durée et la date des communications ».
  • 3. À ce titre, Jean-Jacques Urvoas a joué un rôle actif dans la préparation de la loi de programmation militaire.
  • 4. La Commission nationale de contrôle des interceptions de sécurité est l'organisation chargée de contrôler certaines pratiques de surveillance instaurées par la loi de programmation militaire.
  • 5. Lors des débats ayant eu lieu pendant et après le vote de la loi, Jean-Jacques Urvoas expliquait par exemple que « l'article 13 permet non une interception de contenu, mais le recueil des données techniques de connexion ».
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