News Digest: Citizens Call for Digital Rights to be “Non–Negotiable”

The Information Program works to increase access to knowledge and protect civil liberties in the digital environment. The following is a roundup of news and analysis that the program team has been watching in the past week. This week’s top story reports on a campaign by Peruvian NGO groups calling for President Ollanta Humala to protect their fundamental rights to privacy and free expression during negotiation of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

You can keep up to date on the latest stories to catch the Information Program team’s attention on our Pinboard page.

Peru: Citizens call for digital rights to be “non-negotiable”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reports that two Peruvian NGO groups have launched a campaign demanding that Peru’s president Ollanta Humala Tasso protect Peruvian citizens’ fundamental rights to privacy and free expression during ongoing negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

India: Supreme Court to examine IT rules
The Time of India reports that the Indian Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by a website platform owner arguing that a new law making his company liable for content posted on the platform by third parties is unconstitutional.

Kosovo: New forensic DNA database reports on the adoption by Kosovo’s Forensics Agency of a new DNA database it says will “mark a radical turn in fighting and preventing any form of criminal activity.” The global expansion of forensic DNA databases continues in the absence of meaningful international standards of human rights protection.

U.S.: Court permits use of fake mobile phone tower
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) reports on the decision by an Arizona court to permit evidence gained by police through the erection of a fake mobile phone tower that traced the locations of mobile phone users in the area.

France: Three strikes law to be remodelled
Monica Horten examines a new report commissioned by the French government which recommends welcome revisions to France’s unpopular HADOPI law—a “graduated response”–style punishment for online copyright infringement that ends in individuals being disconnected from the internet—but contains worrying proposals for intermediary liability.

Five Russian-made surveillance technologies used in the West
Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan write for Wired on the surveillance, communications interception and data interrogation and processing technologies originally developed in Russia and now in use in Western markets.

Think again: Big data
Writing for Foreign Policy, Microsoft Research’s Kate Crawford refutes some widespread assumptions about big data: “Biases and blind spots exist in big data as much as they do in individual perceptions and experiences. Yet there is a problematic belief that bigger data is always better data and that correlation is as good as causation.”

The digital revolution? It’s all a gift to the power of the state
The Guardians Simon Jenkins bemoans the convergence of technological and political realities that means “there is no balance between freedom and control, only ever more fiendish means of control.”

Book: Copyright in the digital era—building evidence for policy
This volume, authored by members of the U.S. National Academies’ Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy proposes and examines a series of research questions designed to navigate the “strident debate over copyright’s proper scope and terms and means of its enforcement” in the digital age.

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