Related Insights

Written Evidence to the Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill

Monday, December 21, 2016, CDT submitted comments in response to a call for evidence from the Parliament of the United Kingdom’s Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. In our submission, we discuss features of the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill that are clearly incompatible with human rights law as well as technically overbroad, highly intrusive, and potentially dangerous.

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Warrantless Surveillance under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act: Myths and Facts

On October 6, 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a judgment invalidating the EU-US Safe Harbor Agreement, the legal basis upon which thousands of US companies had relied in order to transfer European users’ data to the United States for processing and/or storage. Elements of the US government have long sought to portray Section 702 surveillance as limited and protective of privacy. This explainer by CDT and other civil society groups on the myths and realities of warrantless Section 702 surveillance sets the record straight about Section 702.

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MLAT Reform: A Straw Man Proposal

As more and more data flows across state borders, the ability of law enforcement agencies to access information stored outside their jurisdiction or managed by a foreign company becomes increasingly complex. What country’s laws should apply to data requests? How quickly should access be granted and to whom? Should there be different standards for different countries? Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) processes have been one way to address these questions. This post is an attempt by CDT to spur public debate and to solicit input that would inform a solid MLA Treaty reform proposal.

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Submission of Evidence to UK Investigatory Powers Review

In July 2014, the United Kingdom enacted a sweeping new set of surveillance powers in legislation known as the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (“DRIP”) Act. The act expanded an earlier set of laws known as the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (“RIPA”). CDT is deeply concerned about the scope of these surveillance powers and on October 10, 2014, we submitted written evidence to the Independent Reviewer that describes some of these concerns.

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Third-Party Intervention in Szabó and Vissy v. Hungary

Today, CDT filed a third-party intervention—the equivalent of an amicus curiae brief—in the European Court of Human Rights case Szabó and Vissy v. Hungary. The case concerns a piece of Hungarian legislation adopted in 2011, which allows the Hungarian police to conduct certain types of secret intelligence-gathering on grounds of national security without any judicial oversight.

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The Case of Szabo and Vissy v. Hungary

CDT has requested and received permission to intervene in a European Court of Human Rights case called Szabó and Vissy v. Hungary. This case raises two very important human-rights issues related to surveillance: whether surveillance programs require judicial oversight, and what the right to a remedy requires in the context of secret surveillance conducted for purposes of national security.

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International Law and Secret Surveillance: State Monitoring of Telephone and Internet Activity

In the year that has followed Edward Snowden’s first disclosures concerning secret US and UK surveillance practices, many governments, human-rights groups, and UN bodies have debated—and at times disagreed sharply—about whether the Internet and telephone surveillance practices that governments employ today are consistent with international law. With a view to informing these discussions, this report briefly summarizes the current state of international law as it applies to the secret surveillance of communications.

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Protecting Human Rights in the Age of Surveillance

The Center for Democracy & Technology and the American University Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law held a daylong convening to discuss how to protect privacy and free expression rights in an era of massive trans-border surveillance. The roundtable had several immediate outputs, including identification of key opportunities for civil society engagement for the short, medium, and long term. We also uncovered gaps in law, theory and practice that would benefit from new research and analysis.

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