"All indications are that the attack on the editorial offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will provide a pretext for the introduction of further limits on our civil liberties - a new order the victims of which are unlikely to be terrorists … Independent analyses confirm that data inflation and the growing use of algorithms in intelligence work do not improve the effectiveness of threat detection.
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There seems to be little overlap between “open government” and “surveillance state”. Public security –the most quoted justification behind surveillance – is routinely presented as the exemption from the expectation of state transparency. While we have seen significant developments towards more openness in such sensitive areas as public procurement, health management or IT infrastructure, when it comes to “our security” all rational arguments seem to fail.
Every year more and more public money is invested in surveillance technologies – everything from drones and video surveillance to data mining software for public administration. Recently, the Polish government announced a new programme of co-financing surveillance cameras in the schools.
Our data shadows and digital dandruff can be used to track and record our activities online. Even if there is nothing to hide, this can become problematic. Katarzyna Szymielewicz discuss these problems with Jeremy Malcolm (Electronic Frontiers Foundation), Joana Varon (Centre for Technology and Society in Rio de Janeiro), Niels ten Oever (Article 19) and Harry Halpin (World Wide Web Consortium - W3C).
Since the first stories revealing the extent of mass surveillance appeared in the Guardian in June 2013, the Snowden files have helped to shine a light on the government agencies who monitor the online activity of their citizens and the companies who collect their customers’ personal data. Julia Powles (University of Cambridge), Mike Harris (Don’t Spy On Us), Josh Levy (Access Now) and Katarzyna Szymielewicz (Panoptykon Foundation) in a panel chaired by James Ball (The Guardian) explore who owns our data, how to take control of our online lives and ask what is the future of our personal data.
On 11 September 2014 digital right activists and advocates around the world commemorated the anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks on the WTC as the Freedom not Fear Day.
Between 15th-19th of September, in the week leading up the first year anniversary of the 13 Necessary and Proportionate Principles, Panoptykon Foundation and the coalition behind the 13 Principles will be conducting a week of action explaining some of the 13 guiding principles for surveillance law reform. Every day, we'll take on a different part of the principles, exploring what’s at stake and what we need to do to bring intelligence agencies and the police back under the rule of law.
The current Polish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) will remain on his post for another, second term after the Polish Parliament confirmed his nomination on 25 July 2014. The decision did not come as a surprise: Wojciech Wiewiórowski was the only candidate for the post and has an excellent background for the role. Just like during the previous nomination process four years ago, EDRi member Panoptykon monitored the process, to ensure its transparency to the public.
Poland celebrated its 25 years of democracy recently. In those two and a half decades, among other changes, most public institutions in Poland have got more or less used to citizens' control. It has taken years of advocacy and watchdog activity, as well as a number of court cases to decide whether a given piece of information is actually “public”. But this investment is now paying off: today even some of the most secret of all secret services answer freedom of information requests concerning their work. There is, however, a stain in the image: one agency – Military Counterintelligence Service (SKW) – that keeps refusing to disclose any kind of information about its activity. Their approach is a reminder of much deeper and systemic problem faced by Polish authorities: the uncontrolled and uncoordinated secret services.
Panoptykon presents four short animated movies about family life "under surveillance". Series intend is to show how surveillance affects all of us: how use of modern tools such us cameras, ID cards, databases, scripts, and ad tracking tools - control all spheres of our lives.