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WeGov

An Accidental Ally For the European Union: “Thank you, Mr. Snowden,” says European Commission VP Reding in Hangout Debate

BY Antonella Napolitano | Thursday, January 9 2014

Screenshot of the hangout debate with European Commission VP Viviane Reding

The year 2013 was a "Year for the Citizens" in the European Union where the institution pledged itself to "encourage dialogue between all levels of government, civil society, and business." But in many countries citizens were more hostile than open to communicating with an institution often perceived as distant and intrusive. That's probably one of the reasons why the European Commission is launching a series of online initiatives to create a space for debate with the most important members of the European institutions. Last Tuesday, the Vice President of the European Commission Viviane Reding hosted an online debate on Google hangout, joined by five journalists and activists from all over Europe.

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WeGov

A Bit of Hypocrisy From Ecuador On Internet Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, November 20 2013

President Rafael Correa (Wikipedia)

Proposed changes to Ecuador's Criminal Code threaten Internet users privacy, security, and possibly even access, reports the digital freedom activist group Access. Among the changes is the provision that Internet service providers (ISPs) must retain records of Internet activity for up to six months. This change would be at odds with the Ecuadorean Constitution, which prohibits arbitrary retention of communications online and off. Another provision would require cybercafes to videotape their patrons. Aside from violating user privacy, this requirement would be prohibitive to small ma and pop establishments, which might close if the owners are unable to afford cameras and data storage equipment.

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WeGov

Argentina's Expanding Surveillance State

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 30 2013

Screenshot from the SIBIOS promotional video

“If we know more about who we are, we can better take care of ourselves.”

That's the reason the Argentinian government gives for their new Federal System of Biometric Identification (SIBIOS) program in a promotional video they play at border control stations. Privacy rights activists have been up in arms about SIBIOS since Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner created it with an executive decree in 2011. It has been active practice since 2012, with little to no public debate about it. Nothing has slowed down the expanding database of information, which includes fingerprints and photos. Earlier this month, Mendoza became the 13th province to sign the Federal Program Partnership and Security Assistance, a program meant to "harmonize" national and provincial policies, and gives provinces access to databases like SIBIOS.

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Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference Coming Oct. 11-13 to NYC

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, September 30 2013

By Sarah Lovejoy (Own work)

Now's the time to register for the Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference, taking place October 11-13 at NYU and co-curated by PDF co-curator Christopher Wong (who is also the executive director of the Engleberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at NYU School of Law). Imagine a near future in which autonomous robots roam the skies, performing everything from law enforcement, to communications, to crop dusting, shipping and logistics. Sound implausible? Perhaps—but that is the future that the aerospace industry and a new class of entrepreneurs are busy preparing. Read More

The "Problem" Of Citizen Surveillance of Police

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, December 15 2011

This "Law Enforcement Today" post describes a rising menace in American society: civilians with mobile phone cameras. Read More

French Interior Minister Moves to Block 'CopWatch' Site

BY Nick Judd | Monday, October 3 2011

France's interior minister is seeking to block a website dedicated to monitoring police activity, France 24 reports: Interior Minister Claude Gueant has filed a legal motion to block a new police-monitoring website that ... Read More

Fighting Harassment by Mapping People Who Help the Harassed

BY Nick Judd | Friday, June 24 2011

Hollaback!'s map of New York City. Each pink dot denotes a spot where someone reported that a woman was harassed in public. Hollaback!, the web-based organization trying to end catcalling and other street harassment of ... Read More

Sometimes, Watching Them Watching You Gets You Arrested

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 23 2011

Today comes news that video has been posted to YouTube this week that Emily Good, a Rochester, N.Y. woman, went to jail to capture. Good was videotaping police from her own front yard. In New York, videotaping police is ... Read More

OpenWatch, a Citizen Surveillance Tool to Watch the People Watching Us

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, June 22 2011

Somewhere in California, a man is at a DUI checkpoint. He has left his car and is being asked to take a field sobriety test, which he refuses. The moment is tense. The officers at this checkpoint are clearly not used to ... Read More