Category Archives: Surveillance

What's new? After more than 12 months of debate, the Investigatory Powers Bill (dubbed by the media, like all interception legislation, as the 'Snooper's Charter') passed through its final stages in the House of Lords on 16 November, granting the government surveillance powers described by US whistle-blower Edward Snowden as "the most extreme … in the history of western democracy.” The Bill is designed to future proof law enforcement powers in the face of ever-evolving forms of digital communication. It covers the following:
  • General privacy protections
  • Lawful interception of communications
  • Authorisations for obtaining communications data
  • Retention of communications data
  • Equipment interference
  • Bulk warrants
  • Bulk personal dataset warrants
  • Oversight arrangements
Background Upon receiving Royal Assent, the date of which is still unclear, the Bill will mark a major overhaul of the UK's regimes on communications data retention and law enforcement access rules. As Datonomy readers will be familiar, the new legislation has been under discussion for many years under successive governments … Continue Reading ››
Last Friday, the German legislator passed the highly disputed new German Data Retention Act (“GDRA”). The topic has a certain history in Germany as in 2010 the German Constitutional Court declared the previous data retention act invalid. The new GDRA puts quite extensive storage obligations on telecommunications providers. It is expected that claims seeking invalidation of this new GDRA will be launched very soon. In more detail, the act provides for the following: Telecommunication Services - storage of the following data:
  • Numbers of caller and called person;
  • Date, start and end of connection;
  • Location data (stored only for four weeks); and
  • SMS: inevitably, content will also have to be stored.
Internet Services - storage of the following data:
  • IP-address;
  • Identification of telephone connection; and
  • Date, start and end of connection.
Stored data may only be used on the basis of a judicial order for prosecution of severe criminal offences, such as formation of a terrorist group, murder or sexual abuse. The full … Continue Reading ››
The latest round up of regulatory news from the Datonomy blogging team at Olswang LLP. Reports and statistics  The Ponemon institute has published its 10th annual benchmarking study into the Cost of Data Breach for the US. Headline statistics, which drew on a sample of 62 US companies in 16 sectors, include the following:
  • $6.5m is the average total cost of data breach
  • 11% increase in total cost compared to last year
  • $217 is the average cost per lost or stolen record (up 8%)
  • Malicious or criminal attacks continue to be the primary cause of breach, and these were also the most costly breaches.
Olswang will provide further coverage of the latest Ponemon findings in its Q2 Cyber Quarterly . UK policy and regulatory developments
  • CERT-UK: CERT’s latest weekly update is available here and highlights the risk from phishing attacks launched by means other than email (e.g. text and instant messaging apps) along with … Continue Reading ››
At a recent roundtable event hosted by theBrusselsoffice of Olswang LLP, Datonomy heard a range of perspectives on data protection issues in the context of social network sites (SNS). Around 50 members of the Belgian Institute of In-House Counsel attended the event. Iain Stansfield from Olwang's Londonoffice set the scene and demonstrated through a number of practical examples what can go wrong for companies that are active on SNS – and further, what can go wrong when they are not active. Besides the risks, there are of course clear advantages of being social online and Iain discussed the need to find a balance between being social on the one hand and complying with the law on the other hand. Christine De Keersmaeker from Olswang'sBrusselsoffice explained what social media do to your Intellectual Property, how they affect trade marks and copyrights and how trademark and copyright holders can deal with the threats of social … Continue Reading ››
Last week I went to a lunchtime seminar on Regulating Surveillance at the UCL Constitution Unit. The seminar was given by given by Professor Charles Raab and Dr Benjamin Goold, who were the specialist advisers to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution in its inquiry into Surveillance, now published as Second Report of Session 2008-2009, “Surveillance, Citizens and the State”. The Report is an important contribution to the debate about the State and the collection and uses of information; and provides a significant conceptual armature for further discussions, and understanding of the meaning and application of surveillance techniques. The Government is due to respond to the Report, after which there will be a Lords debate.

Datonomy has already commented on the Rowntree Report on the Database State, and the retreat by the Government on the Information Sharing proposals, and connected themes mentioned in the seminar were … Continue Reading ››