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What will it take to end mass surveillance in the EU?

When the media reports containing startling revelations about the scale and scope of electronic surveillance conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) appeared in June 2013, Europe’s response was mixed. It quickly became clear that while European officials and Members of the European Parliament took the revelations and their impact on fundamental rights very seriously, no such response was forthcoming from national governments.

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Why Government Collection and Retention of Data Can Interfere with Privacy Rights

In international human-rights law, our instinctive sense that governments abuse us when they intercept our private letters, e-mails, chats, text messages, and calls without a sufficient justification is captured in provisions that prohibit countries from committing any “interference” with the right to privacy unless they have a compelling reason to do so.

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UN Privacy Report Is a Strong Blow against US Surveillance Regimes

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights—the world’s top human-rights official—released a highly anticipated report about “the right to privacy in the digital age.” Overall, the report reaches bold legal findings that are clear, well-reasoned, and urgently needed. Calling mass surveillance a “dangerous habit,” the High Commissioner reaches a number of legal conclusions that have genuine implications for US secret surveillance practices.

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To Forgive or Forget

Forgetting is often not easy, and forgiveness is even more difficult, but both are fundamental parts of being human. In today’s always on, always connected world, both forgetting and forgiving are made more challenging. The Court of Justice of the European Union decided that Google should be forced to help us with the forgetting part. In a controversial ruling, the Court stated that an individual should have the right to require a search engine to stop returning results about them if requested, even if the results report true information. Yes, Europeans now have the “right to be forgotten.”

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NSA Reform One Year After Snowden

A year ago today the first Snowden revelation about the National Security Agency’s overreaching electronic surveillance broke, shocking Americans and the world. As the fight for real reform moves to the Senate, CDT will continue to advocate for the right balance between national security needs and respecting our fundamental privacy and free speech rights.

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EU Court: Privacy Rights Trump Free Expression and Access to Information

Individual privacy rights “override” Internet users’ right to free expression and access to true, public information. This was the problematic ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on 13 May 2014, in a high-profile case between Google and AEPD, the Spanish data protection authority, that dealt with the right of an individual to require…

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European Parliament Net Neutrality Proposal Moving Forward

Officials and politicians have wrestled for several years with the question of net neutrality: should Europe lay down in law a basic principle of non-discrimination of traffic on the internet, or would – as European telecoms operators have argued for years – such measures burden Europe’s telecoms industry with new unwelcome regulation? This month, the European Parliament’s Industry Committee is set to vote on an important and controversial piece of legislation which will introduce an EU-wide net neutrality rule for the first time ever. The Committee’s vote precedes final adoption by the Parliament in April. Next, EU Member States will review and amend the proposal, meaning that the legislative process has a long way to go.

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