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Report: Entry Allowed? The number of local authority staff with the power to enter your home or workplace

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Home, Research and reports | Leave a comment

Knock Knock. Who’s there? The flea inspector. The flea inspector who? The flea inspector who can enter your home — without a warrant. Published today, Entry Allowed? (PDF)  highlights the full extent of the wildly out of control powers of entry available to local authorities throughout the UK, where a total of 19,375 local authority officials hold powers of entry – an average of 45 in each of our local authorities. The worst offenders include Northumberland and Leeds local councils, …

Privacy Not Included

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Home | 4 Comments

Christmas is over for another year and the January sales are in full swing.  You might have been spoilt by a loved one or treated yourself to a new piece of shiny technology; a smart watch, smart TV, drone or a new mobile phone.   You might have spent the holidays installing a remote heating system.  Maybe your New Year’s resolution has been to get fit and lose weight with the help of a health monitor.  Regardless of what the product, you most likely have given the terms and …

Big Brother Watch response to GCHQ text message story

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Press Office | 8 Comments

Responding to revelations about GCHQ having access to an NSA database of text messages: Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “First we need to know how the NSA was able to get access to UK telephone networks and scoop up millions of our texts. Then we need to know who authorised it and why they decided to hand over the private messages of people under no suspicion whatsoever to the Americans without any public or Parliamentary debate. “GCHQ …

Merry Christmas and looking back on 2013

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Home | Leave a comment

This year Big Brother Watch has grown in stature and influence into one of Britain’s leading privacy and civil liberties campaign groups – and we couldn’t have done it without your support. Thank you and Merry Christmas! Over the year we won several campaign victories, including draft Communications Data Bill (aka the Snoopers’ Charter) blocked, with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales among those who spoke at our press conference following the victory. We also fought to ensure NHS patients are guaranteed an …

Surveillance law reform is not optional

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in CCDP, Civil Liberties, Communications Data Bill, International, Internet freedom, Online privacy, PRISM, Surveillance, United States | 1 Comment

Today, some of the world’s biggest technology companies have spelled out the principles that they believe should underpin the balance between privacy and security online. In full page advertisements eight firms, including Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Twitter, signed a joint letter calling for Governments to adopt the following principles to underpin a reform of surveillance legislation: Limiting Governments’ Authority to Collect Users’ Information: Oversight and Accountability Transparency about Government Demands Respecting the Free Flow of Information Avoiding Conflicts Among Governments …

Press comment: Alan Rusbridger at the Home Affairs Committee

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Following the appearance of the Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger, at the Home Affairs select committee: Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Newspapers around the world, from the Guardian to the Washington Post and Der Spiegel, have done what our own Parliamentary oversight committee and other oversight bodies failed to do. They exposed unprecedented surveillance being undertaken without the knowledge or approval of our elected representatives. Spies spy, but they should not be able to write their own rules, …

A (brief) recent history of security and the free press

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in CCDP, Civil Liberties, Communications Data Bill, Databases, Freedom of Expression, Internet freedom, Mastering the Internet, Online privacy, PRISM, Privacy, Surveillance, Terrorism Legislation, United States | 2 Comments

Today, the editor of the Guardian gives evidence to the Home Affairs select committee, as part of the committee’s work on counter terrorism. Perhaps that might give the committee to question why Parliament learned of much of GCHQ’s activity from the newspaper, rather than from Ministers. Indeed, it seems on current evidence that will remain the case – as the Lords found on the 20th November, when they were told they could not even be informed which law authorised Project …

Who decides what we can read?

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Civil Liberties, Freedom of Expression, Internet freedom, Web blocking | 8 Comments

Speaking at the Internet Service Providers Association, Security Minister James Brokenshire said that an announcement on blocking extremist websites is ‘forthcoming.’ This follows the Prime Minister telling Parliament on October 23 that: “We have had repeated meetings of the extremism task force — it met again yesterday — setting out a whole series of steps that we will take to counter the extremist narrative, including by blocking online sites.” Such an announcement has not been preceded by a public consultation, …

Committee widens inquiry into surveillance laws

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in Communications Data Bill, Information Commissioner, Legal Action, Surveillance, Technology, Terrorism Legislation | 2 Comments

The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has announced plans to broaden its investigation into whether the laws on digital surveillance and communications are adequate in the internet age. This is a welcome step forward given the widespread concern that Britain’s surveillance laws are not fit for purpose, having been written before Facebook existed and when few people had internet access. However, such a debate cannot be allowed to take place behind closed doors and without pressing questions being asked about …

Parliamentarians warn of ‘deliberate failiure’ to conceal GCHQ capability

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in CCDP, Civil Liberties, Communications Data Bill, Internet freedom, Mastering the Internet, Online privacy, PRISM, Surveillance, Terrorism Legislation, United States | 2 Comments

Shortly after Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, condemned the way the new head of MI5 had dismissed calls for greater scrutiny several senior figures involved in the scrutiny of the draft communications data bill have said that Britain’s spy agencies may be operating outside the law in the mass internet surveillance programmes uncovered by Edward Snowden. Lord Strasburger, a Liberal Democrat member of the joint committee, has also said: “You have to wonder why, even in the …

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