Exam date

When's the 2016 exam? Wednesday 8th June, am.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

EU Article 8 Right to Privacy + online issues

Its not just the press that raises issues around the right to privacy, enshrined in European law:
Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. [source: Wiki]
ISPs and sites such as Google face huge pressures to store and pass on user data to governments and law enforcement agencies, and the UK is no exception, notwithstanding our supposedly high standards of democratic freedoms. Our governments, politicians and media routinely condemn 'authoritarian' regimes for snooping on their citizens and restricting freedom of expression, but how well does the UK's reputation stand up when scrutinised?

There are many examples of powers given to police and politicians to access our individual online footprints, including on social media and email, and no likelihood of anything but ongoing pressure (not least from the right-wing press, outraged as they are by any attempt to regulate the press as an attack on democratic values) to increase this. We're seeing this in April 2013 with the Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May attempting to pass new legislation granting government and police the right to access any part of 'suspects' online history, requiring the creation of a database of simply colossal scale:
May has fought hard for the legislation, designed to fill a growing gap in the ability of the police and security services to access records of the web and social media activity of serious criminals and terrorists.
The deputy prime minister sent the original legislation – the draft communications data bill – back to the drawing board after insisting it was first scrutinised by a committee MPs and peers.
The committee's withering verdict described it as "overkill", complained it "trampled on the privacy of British citizens" and said its cost estimates were "fanciful and misleading". They did however agree that new legislation was needed to plug the gap caused by rapid changes in technology.
The revised proposals tabled by May offered significant concessions but did not include movement on access to blogs or everyone's history of their use of websites or social media, or on requiring British phone and internet companies to intercept data from overseas providers. They proved insufficient to persuade Clegg to sign up to them.
Both parties campaigned on general election promises to roll back the surveillance state ... [source: Guardian]
I'll add links to previous posts on SOPA etc later.

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