Policy Observatory

HP laptops found to have hidden keylogger

Mon, 2017-12-11 15:57

Hidden software that can record every letter typed on a computer keyboard has been discovered pre-installed on hundreds of HP laptop models.

The European Parliament has approved budget for Open Source software bug bounty program

Wed, 2017-12-06 12:25

The European Parliament has approved budget to improve the EU’s IT infrastructure by extending the free software security audit programme (FOSSA) and by including a bug bounty approach in the programme.

The Commission intends to conduct a small-scale "bug bounty" activity on open-source software with companies already operating in the market.


Internet Censorship Detection Tool

Tue, 2017-11-14 17:36

Internet censorship enables governments to manipulate public discourse and erode citizens’ rights. But a five-year-old software program called ooniprobe allows users to fight back, by finding our when, where, and how censorship is occurring.

Ooniprobe is free and open software designed to detect blocking of Internet websites, messenger apps, censorship circumvention tools, speed and performance of your network, or presence in certain systems in the network which might be responsible for censorship.

The tool was developed by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) and can be downloaded here.


US court grants ISPs and search engine blockade of Sci-Hub

Sat, 2017-11-11 19:09

Sci-Hub, often referred to as the "Pirate Bay of Science", has suffered another blow in a US federal court. The American Chemical Society has won a default judgment of $4.8 million for alleged copyright infringement against the site. In addition, the publisher was granted an unprecedented injunction which requires search engines and ISPs to block the platform.

Slovenian Internet Governance Forum 2017: public education and awareness are key for the future Internet

Sat, 2017-11-11 19:06
During the Slovenian Internet Governance Forum (SloIGF) which took place on 17 October 2017, public education and awareness were the keywords both during the opening session, as well as during the three panel discussions on: open technologies & open society, extremism & rights an liberties on the Internet, privacy & security in the Internet of the future.

CoE and Kaspersky Lab sign agreement on human rights

Sat, 2017-11-11 18:46

The Council of Europe (CoE) and Russian antivirus software developer Kaspersky Lab, as well as other IT and Internet companies signed an agreement during the World Forum for Democracy 'on protection of human rights and guaranteeing compliance with laws in the Internet', according to Kaspersky Lab. The signed agreement is a step of the CoE Internet Governance Strategy for 2016-2019. The strategy supports and protects citizens on the Internet, 'guaranteeing respect for their rights, ensuring equality and freedom of expression, and combating cybercrime and terrorism,' according to the statement.

New research paper on content regulation and domain name policy

Sat, 2017-11-11 18:40

Should domain name registrars have the right to cancel a domain because they don’t like the content of the website it supports? How many registrars’ terms of service contracts give them this right and how many don’t? Should ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement ensure registrar neutrality, or is competition sufficient to protect users’ rights?

These questions are explored in a new IGP research paper, “In Search of Amoral Registrars: Content Regulation and Domain Name Policy“, which examines the Terms of Service from 74 ICANN contracted parties who operate more than 2,300 domain name registrars in order to find out how many have “morality” clauses of the sort that knocked the Daily Stormer off the Internet.

What “jurisdiction” does ICANN belong to?

Sat, 2017-11-11 18:36

How far can ICANN go to escape the nation-state? ICANN 60 (held in Abu Dhabi October 28 – Nov 3rd) made important progress on what has become known as “the jurisdiction issue”. ICANN is taking steps to reduce or eliminate the effect that U.S. sanctions against foreign governments would have on ordinary Internet users and businesses in sanctioned countries. It will also introduce choice of law provisions in their registry and registrar contracts, and open up continuing discussions of whether additional immunities are needed.

EFF to ICANN's registrars: don't pick up the censor's pen

Sat, 2017-11-11 18:31

EFF is speaking out against the increasing use of the domain name system as a mechanism for content censorship during the annual general meeting of ICANN, the global multi-stakeholder regulatory authority for Internet domain names and IP addresses.

Back in August, you may recall that domain name registrars GoDaddy and Google both terminated service to the publisher of the odious Nazi website Daily Stormer, in a move that, while popular, set a dangerous precedent

Surveillance laws fall far short of fundamental rights standards

Sat, 2017-11-11 18:18

On 23 October, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published the second volume of its study on surveillance and its impact on fundamental rights. This study comes following the request of the European Parliament (EP) for information on the consequences of surveillance for fundamental rights. The Agency notes that “the mere existence of legislation allowing for surveillance constitutes an interference with the right to private life” even though it notes the role of surveillance measures in the fight against terrorism and new threats linked to new technologies.

European Court to decide whether UK mass surveillance revealed by Snowden violates human rights

Sat, 2017-11-11 18:14

British spy agencies are under scrutiny in a landmark court case challenging the legality of top-secret mass surveillance programs revealed in documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

A panel of 10 judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg held a hearing to examine the U.K. government’s large-scale electronic spying operations, following three separate challenges brought by a dozen human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union, Big Brother Watch, the Open Rights Group, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

What’s wrong with the EU’s filtering solutions?

Sat, 2017-11-11 18:13

The European Union’s answer to protecting children from harmful content on the internet and combating copyright infringement is to require internet companies to filter the internet.

The European Parliament is about to vote on two pieces of legislation in the near future. One is the Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market, the other is the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. These Directives would forever change the internet for everyone.

Investigation shows Dutch companies share customer data without consent

Sat, 2017-11-11 18:10

Research by the Dutch Consumers Association shows that multiple companies share customer data with Facebook without consent for more targeted advertising. Sharing such information without permission is prohibited in the Netherlands under the Data Protection Act, as confirmed by the Personal Data Authority (AP). Yet, not all companies concerned have stopped sharing data, arguing it is a common practice under companies advertising online. They claim to encrypt their data, making it impossible for Facebook to use it. According to the AP, it is not relevant whether or not the data is encrypted.

The European Commission struggles to find a position on encryption

Sun, 2017-11-05 15:39

On 18 October, the European Commission adopted some form of position on encryption, inexplicably embedded in its “anti-terrorism package”. Home affairs activity in relation to encryption is horizontal (covering all illegal activity) and not specifically related to terrorism. However, the Commission chose to include this topic in its anti-terrorism package.

New Estonian Presidency “compromise” creates copyright chaos

Sun, 2017-11-05 15:38

Following the launch of the controversial proposed Copyright Directive in September 2016, the European Parliament and the Member States (gathered in the Council of the European Union) are now developing their positions. The Council is working under its Estonian Presidency, which has produced a new “compromise” proposal. 

These 3 EU governments want to give record labels control over what we can and can’t post online

Sun, 2017-11-05 15:36

The governments of France, Spain and Portugal want to double down on a law proposed by the European Commission that would force all kinds of internet platforms to install a “censorship machine” to surveil all uploads and try to prevent copyright infringement.

Artificial Intelligence: what are the issues for digital rights?

Thu, 2017-10-26 16:42

You may have a basic understanding of what Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is. But are you familiar with the range of issues it raises for your fundamental rights? Access Now provides a brief overview of the issues at stake.

Public money, public code: show your support for free software in Europe

Thu, 2017-10-26 16:40

The global movement for open access to publicly-funded research stems from the sensible proposition that if the government has used taxpayers' money to fund research, the publication of the results of that research should be freely-licensed. Exactly the same rationale underpins the argument that software code that the government has funded to be written should be made available as Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Public Money, Public Code is a campaign of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) that seeks to transform that ideal into European law.

European Court Adviser Says Local Regulators Can Enforce Privacy Laws Against Facebook

Thu, 2017-10-26 16:36

The opinion of a key adviser to the European Court of Justice holds that local European data protection authorities can directly enforce privacy laws against Facebook. The case involves a German data protection authority's order to deactivate a local Facebook fan page for illegally tracking users. The opinion from Advocate General Bot said regional data protection authorities can intervene to stop unlawful data practices. The European Court of Justice typically adopts the opinions of the Advocate General. The Court of Justice will also consider DPC v. Facebook, involving whether Facebook's data transfers from Ireland to the U.S. violate European Fundamental Rights.

Leaked: These 3 EU governments want to give record labels control over what we can and can’t post online

Thu, 2017-10-26 16:32

The Internet is our greatest and most egalitarian public sphere: Never before was it possible for everyone to publish their creative works worldwide, at no cost, without seeking anyone’s approval. But some want to change that.