On 27 September the hearing was held at the European Court of Human Rights, following the application against Poland lodged by activists from Poland’s Panoptykon Foundation and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, joined by a human rights attorney. The group alleges that the state violated their right to privacy by allowing the intelligence agencies to act beyond scrutiny. Their case has been supported by the United Nations special rapporteur, Polish Ombudsman and the European Criminal Bar Association, attending the Strasbourg hearing as well.
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"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.
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.
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. It reminded decision makers and society as a whole that “absolute security” is a fallacy that can never be achieved, even in return for giving up all citizens’ rights and freedoms. EDRi member Panoptykon Foundation used this opportunity to remind the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) about their promises to end the mass surveillance.
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.
On June 4, 2014, one day before the anniversary of the Snowden revelations, Poland celebrates 25 years since the fall of an authoritarian regime. On this occasion, President Obama is visiting Poland and meeting with many heads of states—including officials who were affected by the mass surveillance scandal carried out by the NSA. Since October 2013, the Panoptykon Foundation, a Polish NGO, has tried to understand the relationship between the Polish and United States’ secret service organizations. Panoptykon believes that the Polish government, by accepting mass and pre-emptive surveillance, is reverting back to the much contested practices of the former, authoritarian regime — practices that triggered the revolution 25 years ago. Thus, the NGO has organized a user-generated campaign for June 4, urging people to welcome President Obama to Poland by vocalizing their thoughts on mass surveillance.
We are fast approaching an anniversary of first disclosures made by Edward Snowden. Even though the fundaments of our trust in democratic institutions and human rights safeguards have been shaken, political reality as seen from the European perspective remains more or less intact. What may seem even more frustrating, our understanding of the real politics behind mass surveillance programmes as revealed by Snowden remains limited.
The story of post-Snowden debate is a story of crossing the redlines that never should be crossed in democratic society. After at least 10 years of allegations, we gained evidence showing that surveillance is not about fighting terrorism or even public security. It is about intelligence agencies best interests and easy access to citizens data. Katarzyna Szymielewicz talks about these sad truths nearly 12 months after first disclosures made by Edward Snowden.
In 2013, we learned digital surveillance by the world’s governments has no limits. The NSA and other intelligence agencies are capturing our phone calls, tracking our location, peering into our contacts, and collecting our emails. They do this in secret, without adequate public oversight, and in violation of our human rights. We cannot tolerate this anymore. On Tuesday February 11, the world is fighting back.