Access in the News

Access delivers petition to U.S. agencies to investigate use of zombie cookies by mobile carriers

11:12am | 18 February 2015 | by Deji Olukotun, Carolyn Tackett, Peter Micek

Today, Access delivered a petition signed by 3,000 users to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the use of so-called “zombie cookies” by mobile carriers to track their customers’ web traffic. Access also delivered a similar petition to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because both agencies arguably have the authority to investigate these harmful practices.

Access submits evidence to International Criminal Court on net shutdown in Central African Republic

2:29pm | 17 February 2015 | by Peter Micek,

Access has submitted evidence to the International Criminal Court about the SMS shutdown in the Central African Republic during June and July 2014. The submission supports the latest ICC investigation into crimes against humanity in CAR, the Court’s second probe into the “endless” list of atrocities perpetrated there.

Taming the skies: Obama memo looks at commercial drones, restricts government use

11:02am | 15 February 2015 | by Drew Mitnick, Jack Bussell

Today, President Barack Obama issued a presidential memorandum addressing the increased development and use of drones within the United States. Among other things, the memorandum, which has the force of law, requires the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to develop a multistakeholder process for the creation of non-binding rules governing commercial drone use. The NTIA will collaborate with businesses and civil society organizations to develop the guidelines, which must be drafted to adequately address threats to privacy and free expression posed by the public use of the technology, particularly the unique challenges of drones as mobile internet service platforms.

Emerging threats in cybersecurity and data protection legislation in African Union countries

1:52pm | 13 February 2015 | by Ephraim Percy Kenyanito,

In January 2015, heads of state met at the 24th African Union Summit to discuss the “African Union Agenda 2063” with the goal of enabling “a continent on equal footing with the rest of the world as an information society.” While Access applauds the human rights protections enshrined in the convention, we are deeply troubled by draft legislation that has emerged across the continent that tramples rights in the name of implementing the convention.

President Obama’s cyber summit must not dwell on solutions that violate privacy

9:01am | 13 February 2015 | by Jack Bussell,

Today, the White House will hold its Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. While improved digital hygiene is critically important, the information-sharing proposals offered by Congress and President Obama so far place user privacy at risk while being of questionable utility for improving digital security.

Parliament votes to push forward its agenda on EU-PNR

8:11am | 13 February 2015 | by Access Brussels Office,

On February 11th, the European Parliament (EP) has adopted a resolution in which it commits to work toward finalising, by the end of the year, a directive on EU Passenger Name Records (PNR). Despite serious privacy concerns raised by civil society organisations, discourses privileging the need to reinforce EU anti-terrorism measures seem to have prevailed over European citizens’ fundamental rights.

Rafael Correa: y u so mad at the internet?

5:34pm | 12 February 2015 | by Javier Pallero,

In a worrying move against freedom of expression on the internet, Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa publicly shamed critics for their statements on social networks and asked his supporters to attack them online. Digital rights organizations worldwide, including Access, issued this statement condemning the president’s disturbing reaction.

Access joins letter citing impact of sanctions in Crimea on free expression and digital security

2:39pm | 12 February 2015 | by Peter Micek,

Access joined EFF, Global Voices Advocacy, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and Ferrari & Associates, P.C. in a letter calling for the OFAC—the agency charged with enforcing the sanctions—to issue a general license that would protect internet users.

New cybersecurity legislation introduced in U.S., but still doesn’t protect users

4:05pm | 11 February 2015 | by Drew Mitnick,

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper introduced the Cyber Threat Sharing Act of 2015, a new bill to authorize the public/private dissemination of cybersecurity-related information. The legislation’s limitations on the type of information that can be shared are not enough to protect user privacy. Access is calling on the U.S. Congress not to consider information-sharing legislation--which could ostensibly create new surveillance authorities under the guise of cybersecurity--until existing surveillance authorities are adequately reformed.

The World Is Watching: 31 Rights Groups from 21 Countries Urge the FCC to Protect Net Neutrality

10:34am | 10 February 2015 | by Deji Olukotun,

This week 31 digital rights groups from some 21 countries on five continents urged the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to pass strong Net Neutrality rules that that would reclassify broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler gave encouraging signs that he intends to propose rules that would harness the full extent of the FCC’s authority on February 26, yet members of the U.S. Congress and some ISPs are already on the attack.

TTIP: a peek into the negotiations

6:21am | 9 February 2015 | by Estelle Masse,

As the 8th round of the TTIP negotiations just ended in Brussels, Access reflects on the state of play of this major transatlantic trade deal.

Access cheers FCC move toward Net Neutrality

1:30pm | 4 February 2015 | by Josh Levy,

Today U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler confirmed that the agency will move to pass strong Net Neutrality protections later this month. Any action by Congress to roll back FCC authority or threaten common carrier status for broadband providers will meet thunderous opposition, by U.S. users as well as international communities.

Supreme Court of Chile pushes back against Orwellian citizen database

6:19pm | 3 February 2015 | by Javier Pallero,

Supreme Court of Chile pushes back against Orwellian citizen database. Holds that the government’s new Unified Data Bank violates data protection rules.

New Crypto Guidance Draft Offers Brighter Path Forward

3:33pm | 29 January 2015 | by Amie Stepanovich, Jack Bussell

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the second draft of its “Cryptographic Standards and Development Process,” a document intended to provide principles and guidance on the creation of cryptographic standards. Crypto standards developed by NIST serve as the basis for secure communications and interactions across the internet. Access applauds NIST for the new draft — which expands upon and strengthens the language behind important principles first set out in the previous draft — and for actively and transparently engaging with the public on these important issues. We also encourage NIST to include specific language directed at the National Security Agency (NSA) before the text is finalized.

Charlie Hebdo Tragedy Must Not Be Used by Governments to Expand Surveillance

5:31pm | 28 January 2015 | by Estelle Masse,

More than 20 digital and civil rights organizations have endorsed a joint statement calling on world leaders political leaders not to expand surveillance measures in wake of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy.