Access in the News

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.

More surveillance: EU Parliament adopts proposal on airline passengers data sharing

3:31am | 17 July 2015 | by Access Brussels Office,

On Wednesday, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) adopted — by a slim majority (32 votes to 27) — the EU Passenger Name Records (EU-PNR) directive proposal, presented by Rapporteur Timothy Kirkhope, a conservative MEP from the UK.

Encryption debate crackles as Crypto Summit draws to a close

6:38pm | 15 July 2015 | by Deji Olukotun,

Access’ Crypto Summit finished after a long day of spirited debate about one of the most pressing concerns confronting technology today — encryption and the future of the internet. Here are a few closing highlights.

Crypto Summit kicks off with spotlight on encryption and the future of the net

8:50am | 15 July 2015 | by Access Team,

Today, Access kicked off our inaugural Crypto Summit, a multistakeholder conference devoted to emerging questions about cryptography and the future of the internet. These are edited remarks from Access’ Technology Director Jamie Tomasello and U.S. Policy Manager Amie Stepanovich from the event in Washington, DC.

Major uncertainties remain as EU takes timid steps towards Net Neutrality

6:42am | 15 July 2015 | by Estelle Masse,

On July 3rd, after more than ten hours of discussion, the three major EU institutions — the Commission, Parliament and Council — reached a political agreement on the text of the Telecoms Single Market (TSM) Regulation, a contentious piece of EU legislation that includes continent-wide provisions on Net Neutrality. Today, the Industry Committee of the European Parliament has formally approved this text.

Access presses telco BT to respect user privacy at shareholder meeting

6:30pm | 14 July 2015 | by Deniz Duru Aydin, Max Anderson

At the BT (formerly British Telecom) annual general meeting in London, Access directs the following question to company’s CEO, as well as to its board: What specific next steps will BT take this year (that is, in the next 12 months) to better protect customers' privacy and free expression rights, and to achieve greater transparency around its actions, in every country where you operate?

European Parliament adopts a mixed-bag resolution on TTIP

2:26am | 10 July 2015 | by Olivia Martin, Estelle Masse

On Wednesday the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This resolution clarifies the Parliament’s position on the proposed EU.-US trade deal, providing guidance to the European Commission on how to continue the negotiations.

UPDATED: Five reasons why the OPM breach makes me angry; and why you should be angry too

3:18pm | 9 July 2015 | by Amie Stepanovich,

Five reasons why the OPM breach -- and the U.S. response to it -- should make you angry. UPDATED after new information revealed about the breach on 7/9/2015.

International coalition to Iraq: Stop shutting down the internet

10:43am | 9 July 2015 | by Peter Micek, Deji Olukotun

Access joined a coalition of groups in calling for the government of Iraq to restore full access to the internet after the government ordered a series of shutdowns, allegedly in connection with school examinations.

Five Tweets that show the scope of Hacking Team’s impact on human rights

8:40am | 9 July 2015 | by Deji Olukotun,

This week we learned even more about the way these firms operate when a hacker copied and leaked some 400 gigabytes of data from Hacking Team, the Italy-based surveillance tech firm. Here are five Tweets that reveal the scope of the company’s impact on human rights.

Encryption debate heats up on the Hill in advance of Crypto Summit

6:01pm | 8 July 2015 | by Drew Mitnick,

Today, senior members of the Obama Administration, including the director of the FBI, visited the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees to discuss encryption policy. FBI Director James Comey, along with officials from the Department of Justice and state law enforcement, requested a “dialogue” with the private sector to enable the government to obtain exceptional access to encrypted data. Yet leading security experts have made clear that such access would undermine the security of technology and the privacy of internet users around the world.

Hacking Team hacked: How to protect yourself

8:36am | 7 July 2015 | by Access Team,

There is now clear evidence that Hacking Team company sells surveillance software to countries including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ecuador, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. The sale of surveillance tools to rights-abusing regimes directly impacts users at risk, including journalists, bloggers, sexual rights activists, members of the LGBTIQ community, and human rights defenders. We take a look at how people in these countries can protect themselves, and explore how companies and governments should respond.

At UN, Access calls attention to human rights for WSIS+10

9:51am | 2 July 2015 | by Access Team,

Today Access is participating in informal interactive consultations on the World Summit on the Information Society "WSIS+10" review. The consultations are taking place during the UN General Assembly, and are organized by the President of the 69th session of the assembly. We assert that for the full promise of the internet to flower, we must keep human rights central to the WSIS process and ensure that states adhere to their human rights commitments, specifically by ending unlawful surveillance and protecting the right to privacy; stopping censorship and internet shutdowns; ensuring our rights are not undermined in the name of cyber security; and protecting Net Neutrality and preventing the discrimination of data, content, or platforms.

Access joins letter to UK officials criticizing GCHQ for spying on human rights groups

12:51pm | 1 July 2015 | by Deji Olukotun,

This week, Access joined a coalition letter to the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom sharply criticizing the government for spying on international human rights groups. The letter responded to revelations in a ruling by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which disclosed that Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had spied on organizations in South Africa and Egypt. The UK is a member of the so-called Five Eyes coalition of governments — including the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand — that collaborates on intelligence gathering.