Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

Data Protection and Privacy

The protection of personal data and privacy is an area where the  European Union is a global leader. In 2022, the US is looking at how to implement privacy legislation for online platforms, and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is what they look to.

I wrote about the legislative journey of the GDPR in my book The Closing of the Net. The rapporteur was German Green lawyer, MEP Jan Albrecht. He had a tough time and ultimately produced a compromise that was not entirely satisfactory for either industry of citizen advocates.

But the undercurrent to privacy policy is all about surveillance, and nowhere more so, sadly, than in the UK. In 2022, the UK wants to force private platform providers to break encryption on communications between users. The policy battles around privacy did not stop with GDPR. They will continue for many years to come.

If you are interested in data protection policy and the genesis of the GDPR,   you may like my book The Closing of the Net which discusses how the policy was influenced by State and non-State actors.

UK intelligence services have been taking advantage of gaps in the international rules to conduct bulk interception of Internet traffic.  That practice came under scrutiny in the European Court of Human Rights, in a ruling that was released this week.

 The case of Big Brother Watch and Others v the United Kingdom was brought to the Court by human rights activist groups who were concerned about the mass online surveillance being carried out by UK intelligence services. It has resulted in a ruling that lays out essential ground rules for protecting privacy.  

Read more: UK bulk intercept surveillance - court ruling calls for tighter safeguards

The European Parliament  today adopted a data protection package  that is being described as 'historic' and monumental'.  The new EU measures  update data protection rules for the era of the Internet and social media, including the use of data by  police  and law enforcement. The hot buttons have been the transfer of data outside the EU – especially to the United States -  and how the large digital corporations may exploit data for commercial purposes. For whose benefit is this law and how should we regard it?

Read more: EU 'historic' data protection rules highlight privacy paradox

The Home Secretary says it is world leading. Not all people agree with that. Some think it is leading the world over a cliff”.  Not my words but those of David Anderson Q.C. speaking yesterday at a symposium on the Investigatory Powers Bill hosted by 25 Bedford Row barristers chambers.

The  Investigatory Powers Bill comes up for scrutiny  in Parliament tomorrow, as the British government tries to push it through before the end of the year. This is the controversial new law  that will govern electronic surveillance. But legal experts, who are not usually given to emotive language, say the Bill is bad  law,  and nothing more than window dressing.  From a public interest perspective, the government is rushing the Bill unnecessarily. How safe will our data be under the proposed regime?  Will we fall over a digital cliff as the spooks get to play with our Internet connection records?

This report is my interpretation of the legal arguments presented at the 25 Bedford Row symposium on the Investigatory Powers Bill.

Read more: Investigatory Powers Bill - is it leading the world over a cliff?

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States v the 'Net? 

Read The Closing of the Net, by me, Monica Horten.

"original and valuable"  Times higher Education

" essential read for anyone interested in understanding the forces at play behind the web." ITSecurity.co.uk

Find out more about the book here  The Closing of the Net

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

Iptegrity in brief

 

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing. I am on the Advisory Council of the Open Rights Group.  I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. For more, see About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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