Access in the News

Five Eyes’ surveillance under fire by U.N. Human Rights Committee

11:42am | 4 August 2015 | by Access Policy Team, Max Anderson

Last week the U.N. Human Rights Committee graded the United States on its surveillance practices. It also issued “concluding observations” for seven countries on human rights, including “Five Eyes” members Canada and the United Kingdom. In the conclusions the Committee strongly condemned the use of surveillance as a violation of the right to privacy.

Coalition calls for an end to data retention mandates in the U.S.

3:29pm | 3 August 2015 | by Peter Micek,

In the joint letter, we told the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that requiring mass retention of phone records "exposes consumers to data breaches, stifles innovation, reduces market competition, and threatens fundamental privacy rights.” reports on government surveillance, is investigated for treason

4:53am | 3 August 2015 | by Access Brussels Office,

Last week, the German Federal Public Prosecutor opened a criminal investigation against Markus Beckedahl, Andre Meister, and an unknown source for treason, following the disclosure of confidential government documents on the Netzpolitik blog, one of the most influential online platforms for digital freedom in Germany.

Facebook’s numbers just aren’t adding up

9:07am | 31 July 2015 | by Josh Levy,

This week Facebook announced a new phase for, an initiative that seeks to “connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have internet access” — but which, in its current form, adversely impacts the security and privacy of people who use the program to go online. However, while now welcomes more carriers, it remains a program with fundamental flaws that this expansion does not address. It continues to give users only a slice of the internet for free, undermines security and privacy, and raises serious questions about how the program will impact local innovation.

Malaysia blocks website after allegations of corruption

4:09pm | 29 July 2015 | by Peter Micek, Max Anderson

Last week, Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) confirmed it had blocked access to the news website Sarawak Report for publishing “unverified content.” We condemn attempts to restrict fundamental rights in Malaysia. Attempts to censor publications by blocking website access or filing bogus copyright claims violate users' rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and access to information.

UK courts hacking away at surveillance powers

5:52am | 29 July 2015 | by Amie Stepanovich, English, Estelle Masse, Peter Micek

Last week, the UK High Court issued an opinion explaining how emergency legislation passed last summer — the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act of 2014 (DRIPA) — violates EU law. We analyze the ruling and consider the implications for the future of privacy and data retention in Europe.

Five lessons from the new Vodafone transparency report

12:44pm | 28 July 2015 | by Deniz Duru Aydin, Peter Micek

Access analyzes Vodafone's most recent transparency report.

Access pushes Vodafone to lead on digital security

12:44pm | 28 July 2015 | by Peter Micek, Max Anderson

Today at Vodafone’s 31st Annual General Meeting, Access pushed the telco giant to keep its position as a leader on transparency in the industry, this time in the realm of digital security.


12:29pm | 28 July 2015 | by Nathan White,

When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton famously said, “because that’s where the money is.” In the digital era, data equals dollars, and it is stockpiled by the world’s largest organizations. In past years, massive data breaches at companies like Anthem, Home Depot, Target, Sony, Staples, and TJ Maxx have resulted in unauthorized access of the data from millions of people.

Access & Instituto de Tecnologia e Sociedade examine human rights impacts of cell phone registration

4:24pm | 27 July 2015 | by Javier Pallero,

Access has published research, undertaken in partnership with the Instituto de Tecnologia e Sociedade de Brasil, to address the Brazilian Telecommunications Agency (Anatel)'s plan to block unregistered cell phones in Brazil.

Join Access in a Week of Action opposing cyber surveillance #StopCISA

10:15am | 27 July 2015 | by Nathan White,

Access and more than a dozen other groups are asking you to join us in a Week of Action to Stop CISA. The Senate will likely vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) as soon as this week, and only you can stop it.

French court allows mass surveillance inside France, vague on outside borders

11:26am | 24 July 2015 | by Access Brussels Office,

Yesterday evening, the French Constitutional Court released its opinion on the “French Patriot Act”, or Projet de loi relatif au renseignement, a law that increases France’s surveillance capabilities, and expands the power of the Executive Branch at the expense of users’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression. While the Court allowed surveillance to continue within France, there may be a silver lining outside its borders, as the text suggests that surveillance by French intelligence in foreign countries is unconstitutional.

Putting digital rights on the corporate governance agenda

11:19am | 24 July 2015 | by Brett Solomon,

Brett Solomon, executive director of Access, explores strategies for working within corporate accountability structures to defend human rights in the digital age.

Access to U.S.: Listen to world human rights body and end unlawful surveillance

12:07pm | 21 July 2015 | by Access Policy Team, Max Anderson

On Monday, July 20th, the U.S. State Department held a consultation with civil society to discuss the recommendations that the U.S. received during a U.N. review of its human rights record. Access participated remotely, and asked representatives of the Obama Administration to accept 16 recommendations regarding the right to privacy and unlawful surveillance. The recommendations include conducting a review of U.S. national laws and policies in order to ensure that all surveillance of digital communications is consistent with international human rights obligations.

Access puts surveillance on agenda for Human Rights Council elections

9:19am | 17 July 2015 | by Access Policy Team, Max Anderson

On Wednesday, July 15, Access took the floor at a UN event to discuss candidates for the Human Rights Council. In response, six out of eight participating candidate countries echoed the importance of prioritizing the right to privacy at the Council.