Posts Tagged ‘Surveillance’

Snowden claims his Haven is safe

December 28, 2017

US whistle-blower Edward Snowden has helped create an Android app designed to protect the possessions of journalists and human rights defenders. The software uses sensors – including a phone’s camera, microphone, gyroscope and accelerometer – to detect intruders tampering with someone’s possessions. It is open source, meaning its code can be inspected. It is designed to be used on a “second” smartphone that can be left with the possessions a user wishes to monitor. The app was created as a joint venture between The Guardian Project and Freedom of the Press Foundation, of which Edward Snowden is board president.

Haven turns any spare android phone into a safe room that fits in your pocket,” claims Edward Snowden. In an age where our digital security is at more risk than our physical security, Snowden claims that Haven will change the game of cyber surveillance.

Here’s how it works: once you install the app, it uses the smartphone’s in-built equipment, like cameras, light sensor and microphones, to monitor for any motion, sound or disturbance of the phone. As explained by WIRED: “Leave the app running in your hotel room, for instance, and it can capture photos and audio of anyone entering the room while you’re out, whether an innocent housekeeper or an intelligence agent trying to use his alone time with your laptop to install spyware on it.” Alerts can be sent to your phone, via SMS, Signal or to a Tor-based website.

You shouldn’t have to be saving the world to benefit from Haven,said Snowden, though the app’s primary users are meant to be investigative journalists, human rights defenders, and other people at risk of forced disappearance.

see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/09/29/edward-snowden-can-still-not-collect-his-awards/

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https://video.scroll.in/862821/watch-nsa-whistleblower-edward-snowdens-app-turns-your-phone-into-a-physical-security-system

https://www.thequint.com/tech-and-auto/tech-news/edward-snowden-data-privacy-haven-app-android-released

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-42493028

MI5 spying on Martin Ennals: what’s new?

August 21, 2015

On Friday, 21 August, the Guardian reported on MI5 spying on Dorris Lessing but also on Martin Ennals. [“The files released on Friday reveal that MI5 also kept a close watch on prominent figures of the left who were never members of the Communist party. They include the brothers David and Martin Ennals..the latter became general secretary of the National Council of Civil Liberties, a founder member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and secretary general of Amnesty International…. [Shortly after the end of the second world war] MI5 replied that its files on the Ennals brothers had been “in great demand recently”. MI5 was concerned that UN groups, in which it said both brothers were involved, might be infiltrated by the Communist party. MI5 noted that Martin was “well known to Special Branch for his activities in the Anti-Apartheid Movement”.

However, nine months ago (25/26 October, 2014) the Daily Mail had already referred to this issue under the title: “Revealed: How Special Branch spied on leading anti-apartheid activist“.

The Government is facing calls to reveal the truth about a spying operation on one of Britain’s most respected human rights activists. Previously secret documents show the late Martin Ennals was put under years of surveillance by Special Branch. He was a key figure at Amnesty International and the National Council for Civil Liberties – now known as Liberty – and a leading campaigner against apartheid. Details of his marriage, family and holiday destinations were recorded. His luggage was also regularly searched as he made trips to and from Britain. But the files, released by the Metropolitan Police under the Freedom of Information Act, have been heavily redacted.

His son Marc, who is mentioned in the files, added: ‘If they were doing this to him, they must have been doing this to millions of others who were essentially much more of a threat. He was just fighting for human rights.’” Marc Ennals said it was ‘frustrating’ that so much material from the files had been redacted and the freedom of expression group Article 19, which Martin Ennals helped found in the 1980s, called on the Government to ‘come clean’.

Whether that is now the case I cannot judge, but as founder of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights and a close personal friend of Martin Ennals, I can hardly be surprised by the ‘revelations’. Martin told me from the first day we met that I would alway have to assume that conversations and documents would be overheard or read. That he was accused of communist sympathies was also not a secret as he had taken a very public anti-McArthy stand in UNESCO as explained in the biography I wrote for the Encyclopedia of Human Rights, OUP, 2009, Vol 2, pp 135-138 (ed. David P. Forsythe). Perhaps the most ‘shocking’ is the normalcy of the assumption that anti-apartheid activities are (were) a valid source of concern!

http://www.martinennalsaward.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=98&Itemid=74&lang=en

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2807885/How-Special-Branch-spied-leading-anti-apartheid-activist.html

MI5 spied on Doris Lessing for 20 years, declassified documents reveal | Books | The Guardian.

Mexico and human rights defenders: shoot the messenger

December 9, 2014

Vidulfo Rosales (Center)

(Vidulfo Rosales (Center) | Photo: Clayton Conn/ teleSUR)
A lengthy report entitled: “Ficha Cisen a abogado de normalistas” written in the electronic investigative journal, Reporte Indigo, shows that Mexico’s Intelligence Agency (CISEN) has opened dossiers on human rights defenders from the Human Rights Center of the Mountain “Tlachinollan” calling them “dangerous to governance.” The report details that Vidulfo Rosales, lawyer and representative of the 43 families of the Ayotzinapa students as well as Tlachinollan’s director, Abel Barrera are “elements” that pose a “threat” to the government and that the two participate in “subversive” activities.   Telesur of 8 December refers to a public letter signed by over a dozen reputable human rights organizations: “It is outrageous that public resources are used to weaken the human rights movement instead of using intelligence capabilities to combat infiltration and corruption by narco-governments and guarantee that serious human rights violations do not go unpunished”.

Mexico Intelligence Agency Investigates Rights Defenders | News | teleSUR.

Ugandan Human Rights Defenders Accuse Government of Illegal On-line Surveillance

December 3, 2013

PC Tech Magazine of 3 December carries a story from the Ugandan Daily Monitor about human rights defenders in the country accusing the government of allegedly recruiting two foreign firms to secretly carry out surveillance on individuals’ private digital equipment such as computers and mobile telephones in a move they say infringes on citizens’ right to privacy. The activists allege that the two firms are doing voice and data surveillance without permission from the telecommunication providers. “We are aware that the surveillance companies operate without permission from the telecommunication providers but have access to do surveillance. This is dangerous because people cannot have quality conversations and yet the government is supposed to protect people’s rights to privacy,” said Mr Geoffrey Ssebaggala, the chief executive officer of the Unwanted Witness- Uganda [UW-U]. He was speaking at the closure of a training workshop for journalists and business operators on the risks involved while using internet in Kampala. Mr Ssebaggala added: “Our preliminary inquiry shows that these companies send surveillance Malware to individual citizens’ computers as long as they have their Internet Protocol address to track peoples’ activities on computer and their telephones,” he said, revealing that UW-U in partnership with the Parliamentary Committee on ICT have started formulating a law to protect privacy. However, the executive director of the Uganda Media Centre, Mr Ofwono Opondo, said he was not aware of the recruitment of the said companies but insisted that whatever is done by the government is within the law. He explained that the move seeks to protect the public from terrorism and other criminal acts such as money laundering.

via Unwanted Witness – Uganda Accuses Government of Illegal Online Surveillance | PC Tech Magazine.

Human rights defenders describe lack of freedom of expression in Africa

November 2, 2013

A three-day Forum on the participation of African NGOs at the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights [ACHPR] and also the 28th African Human Rights Book Fair concluded on Sunday, 20th October, 2013 in Kololi. The forum brought together stakeholders dealing with various human rights issues from different parts of Africa. Various reports were presented that touched on media freedom and freedom of expression as well as on laws and principles governing media practice such as defamation, sedition and other draconian laws that prevail in many African countries. Kebba Jeffang reports in the Foroyaa newspaper of 21 October on the results:

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State surveillance and freedom of expression as seen by UN Rapporteur Frank La Rue

June 7, 2013

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

For those who missed it or did not want to read the whole report, Carly Nyst wrote on 4 June 2013 an excellent summary of the recent landmark report by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the Right to Privacy, Frank la Rue.

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