Oct 312020
 October 31, 2020  Posted by  Laws, Non-U.S.

The New Zealand privacy commissioner’s office reminds us all that NZ’s privacy law has changed. Get ready:

The Privacy Act 2020 introduces greater protections for individuals and some new obligations for businesses and organisations.

The changes include the requirement to report serious privacy breaches to the Privacy Commissioner and to affected people.

The Privacy Commissioner has new powers to help people access their own information and to require businesses and organisations to comply with the law.

There are increased fines for organisations that don’t comply, and there are new rules when sending personal information overseas.

You can find out more about the changes on our resources page.

Source: https://www.privacy.org.nz/privacy-act-2020/campaign/

Oct 302020
 October 30, 2020  Posted by  Featured News, Surveillance, U.S.

The Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability (PPSA) issued a press release this week. It begins:

Former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and former House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) are leading an effort by Demand Progress Education Fund (DPEF) and the Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability (PPSA) to compel the government to come clean about the legal basis for mass domestic surveillance of Americans in the absence of Congressional authorization.

“Our request follows months of efforts by Members of Congress and civil liberties organizations to get the government to explain on what authority the government bases domestic surveillance of U.S. persons,” said Bob Goodlatte, senior policy advisor to PPSA who joined with former Sen. Mark Udall to add their names to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted today to the Department of Justice, FBI and other agencies.

Section 215, known as the “business records provision” of the PATRIOT Act (later amended and reauthorized by the USA FREEDOM Act), governed the warrantless surveillance of a wide range of personal information held by businesses. To acquire such sensitive records, all the FBI had to do was assert the data sought was relevant to a foreign intelligence investigation. With the expiration of Section 215 on March 15, Members of Congress and civil liberties organizations want to know the current legal basis for government surveillance.

Read more on PPSA. I would really encourage readers who are new to the issue of massive domestic surveillance of U.S. persons to read the entire announcement and follow some of the links to find out more. Are you really okay with the idea of the government buying huge databases with tons of personal information about you, like enriched voter databases?  How about if they go and buy hacked databases from sites where people seek support for mental health, disability, or gender-identity related issues?  Even if you’re “just curious” about how the government might justify such acquisitions or programs, find out more.

Thanks to Joe Cadillic for sending this one along.

Oct 302020
 October 30, 2020  Posted by  Laws, Non-U.S.

Mairead McArdle reports:

A controversial bill making its way through Scotland’s Parliament would criminalize hate speech even if the offending words were uttered in someone’s private home.

Members of the Scottish Parliament questioned Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf for the first time on Tuesday about the Hate Crime and Public Order Bill, which would establish a new crime, “stirring up hatred.”

The legislation criminalizes hate speech relating to age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity, and variations in sex characteristics, including potentially hate speech spoken in private residences.

Read more on National Review.

h/t, Joe Cadillic

Oct 302020
 October 30, 2020  Posted by  Featured News, Healthcare, Surveillance

Widespread use of contact tracing technology to fight the COVID-19 pandemic has led to almost incessant and omnipresent surveillance in some parts of the world, a UN expert on privacy told the General Assembly today.

“This is a very disturbing trend; all-pervasive surveillance is no panacea for COVID-19,” Joseph Cannataci, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, said as he delivered his annual report, which examines the privacy impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While public health emergencies have always provided a legitimate basis for the processing of data, and while contact tracing can be classified as a necessary measure to contain a pandemic, I urgently remind States that any responses to the coronavirus must be proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory,” he said.

Cannataci said he was concerned about reports of personal and health data being used to exert control over citizens, possibly to little public health effect. He called upon States and companies to recognise the importance of privacy engineering in technological strategies.

“Engineering for privacy alongside public health aims is technically possible and socially necessary – especially if citizens are to adopt and maintain the use of apps such as contact tracing features,” he said.

There is already guidance available to States to facilitate the lawful, necessary and proportionate use of health and other data to fight the spread of the virus, he said. He praised those Member States and companies that have introduced technology that recognises and works with citizens’ concerns for privacy.

He said the way to measure whether States’ responses to the pandemic were proportional and necessary was a comparative analysis of measures taken and health outcomes achieved by countries around the world.

“The critical question to ask,” he said, “is: ‘could the same public health results have been obtained by less privacy intrusive tactics?’”

Source: United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner

h/t, Joe Cadillic