Wednesday, 25 February 2015

UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal Declares Activities Regarding Prism/Upstream Intelligence Programs Legal

Investigatory Powers Tribunal:  [2014] UKIPTrib 13_77-H and [2015] UKIPTrib 13_77-H

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal of the UK is a court which investigates and determines complaints of unlawful use of covert techniques by public authorities infringing individuals' right to privacy and claims against intelligence or law enforcement agency conduct which breaches a wider range of human rights.

The Tribunal has handed down judgement in relation to the regime governing the soliciting, receiving, storing and transmitting by UK authorities of private communications in a case brought by human rights groups like Liberty, Privacy International and Amnesty International against the intelligence agencies in respect of alleged interception activity involving UK and US access to communications, the NSA "Prism" and "Upstream" programmes, as mainly revealed by the former member of the US intelligence services, Edward Snowden. 

The Court held that those alleged interception activities are compliant with Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights from the time of the trial but not before it. It argued that in principle the activities have been compliant with the legal requirements with the one exception of the need to provide a sufficiently accessible indication to the public of the legal framework and any safeguards. The disclosures made by the authorities in this public trial fulfilled that obligation to the satisfaction of the court. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Google Agrees With ICO Further Changes To Its Privacy Policy

The Information Commissioner's Office has required Google to sign a formal undertaking to improve the information it provides to people about how it collects personal data in the UK. The ICO found that the search engine was too vague when describing how it uses personal data gathered from its web services and products combined.

Google introduced a new privacy policy in March 2012 combining around 70 existing policies for various services, but the group of the national data protection officers in the EU ruled that the new policy did not include sufficient information for service users as to how and why their personal data was being collected.
For the UK Google has now signed an undertaking committing with the ICO to make further changes to the privacy policy to ensure it meets the requirements of the Data Protection Act and to take steps to ensure that future changes to its privacy policy comply, including user testing.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Final Report By Advisory Council To Google On Right To Be Forgotten

Google has published the report of the findings by its Advisory Council on the right to be forgotten. The core of the report is a catalogue of criteria that Google is advised to apply when an individual asks for links to be removed from the search engine index. It does not contain any guidance though how to rank and prioritize those criteria. The EU is currently working on a Regulation to address this subject. Link

PAC Resolution Against Mass Surveillance by US and UK

The Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council, a statutory organ of the European Council which among others selects the Secretary General of the European Council and the judges of the European Court of Human Rights, has issued a resolution against mass surveillance by countries such as the "five eyes" partners US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Such practice would jeopardize basic human rights. 

The resolution bases its conclusion mainly on findings triggered by the revelations of the former member of the US Intelligence Edward Snowden. It holds that mass surveillance by those countries has not efficiently prevented terrorist attacks or organised crime. But the collected information has been abused for terrorist attacks, business espionage and massive violation of citizens' privacy. It demands modification of national laws and international treaties on the gathering of intelligence.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Dismissal For Private Tweets

Dismissal for gross misconduct by an employer where an employee has posted offensive  tweets on their private Twitter account was backed by the Employment Appeals Tribunal (Mr. Laws ./. Game Retail Ltd.). The EAT did not  believe that the employee in this case could ever have considered his offensive tweets to be  private, given that he knew that he was followed by many co-employees by their Twitter  accounts which again were followed by customers of the employer. 

UK Government Reviews Driverless Cars

The government wants the UK to become a leading country in driverless technology.

It will publish a code of practice in spring which will allow the testing of autonomous cars to go ahead. Changes to road regulations and car maintenance checks will be necessary to accommodate driverless cars on the roads of the UK, a Department of Transport report has confirmed. Self-drive pods that will be tested in Milton Keynes and Coventry have been unveiled for the first time.

A full review of necessary legislative changes is to be undertaken by 2017.