English court confirms existence of privacy tort

Here is an interesting development in privacy law. The High Court of England and Wales has confirmed the existence of a new Tort, the tort of misuse of private information. In the case of Vidal-Hall & Ors v Google Inc [2014] EWHC 13 (QB), a group of users have sued Google alleging that the search [...]

The Lives of Others and modern surveillance

[Text of a presentation I gave before a screening of The Lives of Others at Wolfson College, Oxford].

Although I am nowadays more interested in IP issues, I started my academic life as a privacy lawyer. My first publications dealt with something called Habeas Data, an obscure constitutional right that exists in some Latin American [...]

Where is the international outrage over the NSA backdoor revelations?

Imagine a world where there is a secret society with the capacity of listening into all sort of private communications all the time. This organisation has managed to build backdoors into hardware that allows them to check on sensitive data throughout the world seemingly at the click of a button. They can [...]

The end of encryption?

I has a conspiraseh!

So far, the most serious report to arise from the NSA files has been the revelation that US authorities have been involved in a systematic program to defeat Internet encryption. By any objective measure, the revelations are astounding: intelligence agencies have been building backdoors into cryptographic technology by tampering with [...]

Social networks: Guilt by association?

Our social networks tend to show distinct social circles

One of the most interesting stories that has emerged from the NSA surveillance scandal is, in my opinion, the revelation that the intelligence agency has been using some of the data collected to conduct social network analysis (SNA) on the general population.

This is a [...]

Privacy is dead, the NSA leaks just alerted us to the fact

Since September 11, 2001, whenever I was visiting or passing through the United States, I have been subjected to more “random” security checks than could ever be expected by chance alone. Similarly, I have come to expect to be stopped by the Immigration officers about 50% of the time. The TSA are also keen [...]

Building privacy filters against constant surveillance

Do you remember the time when important events were described by journalists, re-enacted by actors, or retold by witnesses? Lucky snapshots were rare, and viral videos and citizen journalism were alien concepts. Now we are increasingly presented with pictures that give us every angle of an explosion, CCTV cameras catching a meteorite, the incredible [...]

Ban the Glass?

Imagine a device that records your location at all times, that can be used to take videos and pictures of any event and upload it to social media with little concern for privacy of the subjects.

Were you thinking of Google Glass? I was actually thinking of the worse threat to human privacy ever invented:


Privacy is dead

Privacy is dead. There is no such thing as privacy. We are all under constant, unending, crushing surveillance.

Depressed? You should be. This is the powerful conclusion reached by security guru Bruce Schneier in this brilliant op-ed for CNN. Schneier writes:

“The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or [...]

Report by European body cautious about “right to be forgotten”

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has released a report on the possible implementation of the right to be forgotten. “The right to be forgotten” is one of the elements of the new proposed regulation (January 2012) on data protection of the European Commission. The right allows people to ask for digitally held [...]