(Heise) Die Massen-Speicherung von Telefon- und Internetdaten zur Strafverfolgung ist unzulässig. Das Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe entschied am Dienstag, dass die Vorratsdatenspeicherung gegen die Verfassung verstößt. Sie ist dem Urteil zufolge mit dem Telekommunikationsgeheimnis unvereinbar
(BBC) Teaching unions are complaining that e-safety software is increasingly being used to keep track of their members. They say thousands of teachers are having their every mouse-click monitored, eroding trust. So-called spyware has increasingly been adopted by schools to tackle cyber-bullying and to stop pupils accessing unsuitable websites. Such software can record online activity by individuals, including web pages visited and messages sent. Leader of the NASUWT teachers' union Chris Keates says monitoring of teachers' computer use is common - and a symptom of "a growing culture of surveillance".
(Official Google Blog) In mid-December, Google detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident was something quite different. First, this attack was not just on Google.
Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information, rather than the content of emails themselves. Third, we have discovered that the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties. These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users' computers.
These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered - combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web - have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.
(Computing) Virgin Media is trialling a copyright infringement tool that could be built into the technology underpinning its upcoming music download subscription service. The Detica-supplied system is now being tested by the internet service provider (ISP) in what is claimed to be a UK first. According to Virgin, the trial is aimed at understanding how consumer behaviour is changing and will also support upcoming government requirements for measurement of copyright infringement levels on ISP' networks. see also Net piracy: The people vs the entertainment industry (New Scientist) and What does Detica detect? by Richard Clayton.
(RAPID) The Commission has moved to the second phase of an infringement proceeding over the UK to provide its citizens with the full protection of EU rules on privacy and personal data protection when using electronic communications. European laws state that EU countries must ensure the confidentiality of people's electronic communications like email or internet browsing by prohibiting their unlawful interception and surveillance without the user's consent. As these rules have not been fully put in place in the national law of the UK, the Commission will send the UK a reasoned opinion. Specifically, the Commission has identified three gaps in the existing UK rules governing the confidentiality of electronic communications: 1) There is no independent national authority to supervise interception of communications 2) The current UK law - the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) - authorises interception of communications not only where the persons concerned have consented to interception but also when the person intercepting the communications has "reasonable grounds for believing" that consent to do so has been given. These UK law provisions do not comply with EU rules defining consent as freely given, specific and informed indication of a person's wishes 3) The RIPA provisions are limited to 'intentional' interception only, whereas the EU law requires Members States to prohibit and to ensure sanctions against any unlawful interception regardless of whether committed intentionally or not.
(EUObserver) In an apparent U-turn, the EU's judicial cooperation body has said it is not officially examining ways to wire-tap Skype and other computer-to-computer conversations. Eurojust retracted previous statements saying it was taking the lead in helping national authorities to wiretap Skype conversations, saying they were issued "prematurely" and were "incorrect". See EU group aims to eavesdrop on Skype calls (Ars Technica).
(BBC) Criminals in Italy are increasingly making phone calls over the internet in order to avoid getting caught through mobile phone intercepts, police say.
Officers in Milan say organised crime, arms and drugs traffickers, and prostitution rings are turning to Skype in order to frustrate investigators. The police say Skype's encryption system is a secret which the company refuses to share with the authorities.
(OUT-LAW News) The Government has postponed planned legislation which could create a giant central database containing records of every email, web session and phone call made in the UK. The Government said before summer that it would create new communications legislation that would make the recording of the fact of communications, though not their content, compulsory. It has emerged that that law had been planned for the end of this year but will now be postponed until next year following consultation. Government sources have told reporters that one option is to create a single, Government-operated database of call and web use records but that there would be a public consultation on measures before the law is passed. The Government has announced that any law would extend the powers of communications logging so that they could track the use of communications through websites such as social networking sites.
(Times) Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain. GCHQ, the government's eavesdropping centre, has already been given up to £1 billion to finance the first stage of the project. Hundreds of clandestine probes will be installed to monitor customers live on two of the country?s biggest internet and mobile phone providers - thought to be BT and Vodafone. BT has nearly 5m internet customers.
(BBC) China has been monitoring and censoring messages sent through the internet service Skype, researchers say. Citizen Lab, a Canadian research group, says it found a database containing thousands of politically sensitive words which had been blocked by China. The publically available database also displayed personal data on subscribers.
(BBC) More than 500,000 official "spying" requests for private communications data such as telephone records were made last year, a report says. Police, security services and other public bodies made requests for billing details and other information. Interception of Communications Commissioner Sir Paul Kennedy said 1,707 of these had been from councils. A separate report criticises local authorities for using powers to target minor offences such as fly-tipping.
(BBC) Sweden's parliament has approved controversial new laws allowing authorities to spy on cross-border e-mail and telephone traffic. The country's intelligence bureau will be able to scan international calls, faxes and e-mails. The measure was passed by a narrow majority after a heated debate in the Stockholm parliament. Critics say it threatens civil liberties and represents Europe's most far-reaching eavesdropping plan.
(Spiegel) German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom stands accused of having monitored telephone calls of business journalists, board members and shareholders. An anonymous fax may result in a criminal investigation.
(ITU) The sixth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports covers the technology and standards behind lawful interception (LI), the lawfully authorized monitoring and interception of telecommunications. The report addresses the importance of developing international standards assuring a transparent process of interception, focusing on the sometimes conflicting goals of privacy and security. Download Technology Watch report on Lawful Interception.
(Heise) Das Bundesverfassungsgericht hat die entscheidende Klausel zur Ausforschung "informationstechnischer Systeme" im nordrhein-westfälischen Verfassungsschutzgesetz, das erstmals in Deutschland verdeckte Online-Durchsuchungen erlaubte, für verfassungswidrig erklärt. Zudem hat das höchste deutsche Gericht ein neues Grundrecht auf "Gewährleistung der Vertraulichkeit und Integrität" informationstechnischer Systeme etabliert. Es tritt zu den anderen Freiheitsrechten wie insbesondere dem Schutz des Telekommunikationsgeheimnis, dem Recht auf Unverletzlichkeit der Wohnung und dem informationellen Selbstbestimmung hinzu", erklärte Hans-Jürgen Papier, Präsident des Bundesverfassungsgerichts, bei der Verkündung des Grundsatzurteils am heutigen Mittwoch in Karlsruhe.
A new Senate bill would protect not only telephone companies from lawsuits claiming illegal cooperation with the National Security Agency. It would retroactively immunize e-mail providers, search engines, Internet service providers and instant-messaging services too.
(New York Sun) Al Qaeda's Internet communications system has suddenly gone dark to American intelligence after the leak of Osama bin Laden's September 11 speech inadvertently disclosed the fact that we had penetrated the enemy's system. The intelligence blunder started with what appeared at the time as an American intelligence victory, namely that the federal government had intercepted, a full four days before it was to be aired, a video of Osama bin Laden's first appearance in three years in a video address marking the sixth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
(BBC) German government plans to spy on terror suspects by deploying malicious e-mails have drawn sharp criticism. The e-mails would contain Trojans - software that secretly installs itself on suspects' computers, allowing agents to search the hard drives. German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is quoted as saying the spyware would be used only in a few cases and for a limited time.
(Guardian) US intelligence agencies will no longer need a warrant to eavesdrop on US citizens' international phone calls and emails after George Bush signed a temporary surveillance bill. The law, which was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives just before Congress adjourned for the summer, had been made a priority by Mr Bush and his chief intelligence officials.