Global Information Society Watch 2014

Description: “The reports show, both states and businesses are complicit in communications surveillance. While there is a need for systems to monitor and protect the public from harm, the right to privacy, the transparency and accountability of states and businesses, and citizen oversight of any surveillance system are important advocacy concerns.”


Author(s): Association for Progressive Communications and Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries

Equation: The Death Star of Malware Galaxy

Description: “The Equation group is a highly sophisticated threat actor that has been engaged in multiple CNE (computer network exploitation) operations dating back to 2001, and perhaps as early as 1996. The Equation group uses multiple malware platforms, some of which surpass the well-known “Regin” threat in complexity and sophistication. The Equation group is probably one of the most sophisticated cyber attack groups in the world; and they are the most advanced threat actor we have seen.”

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Publisher: Kaspersky Lab

The Need for Democratization of Digital Security Solutions to Ensure the Right to Freedom of Expression

Description: “As demonstrated by the Edward Snowden disclosures and other research, mass Internet surveillance as well as targeted digital threats present serious risks to human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy. While governments often justify digital surveillance and censorship efforts on the basis of national security concerns and requirements of access for law enforcement purposes, these methods disproportionately impact civil society actors—NGOs, journalists, activists, and others—that engage in work considered politically sensitive. Independent of attitudes toward the United States and its “Five Eyes” surveillance partners, methods of access to communications content (through technical and non-technical means) have proliferated to states that engage in flagrant human rights violations, as well as non-state actors interested in repression of expression. Civil society is now the target of surveillance activities by a diversity of actors in the West and elsewhere, with significant repercussions for organizations’ and individuals’ ability to advance their missions, as well as their physical safety. The pursuit of unfettered access to individual communications and data by states has thus resulted in a divergence between interests of individual security and those of national security, as defined by governments.”


Author(s): Citizen Lab (Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto) and Collin Anderson to the United Nations Special Rapporteur

Declassified Report: The FBI Oversaw the NSA’s Email Surveillance

Description: “In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The New York Times, the Justice Department has partially declassified this report about the F.B.I.’s involvement in administering the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the FISA Amendments Act. When the report was completed in September 2012, it was entirely classified and the department announced only that it existed.”


Author(s): U.S. Department of Justice

Surveillance, privacy, and security: Europe’s confused response to Snowden

Description: “The reaction to the recent Paris attacks has shown that digital communications are at the centre of debates about security and human rights. There have been calls to give European governments greater surveillance powers against terrorism, but any policy decisions must also address unresolved questions about the legitimacy and democratic oversight of large-scale data collection. The EU’s lack of clarity and consensus on the subject of surveillance has been displayed in its reaction to Edward Snowden’s revelations about data-gathering by the US and other states, this new ECFR policy memo argues.”


Author(s): European Council on Foreign Relations