Emily Taylor

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Phone screen displays the statement of former US president Donald Trump on his Facebook page background after the Oversight Board upheld the company's restriction against him. Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images.

From a human rights perspective, the Oversight Board’s decision is a strong one, and not at all surprising. The board decided Facebook was right to suspend the former president’s access to post content on Facebook and Instagram, but not indefinitely.

It found Donald Trump’s posts violated Facebook’s community standards because they amounted to praise or support of people engaged in violence and that, applying a human rights assessment, Facebook’s suspension of Trump was a necessary and proportionate restriction of his right to freedom of expression.

However the board also found Trump’s indefinite suspension was neither in conformity with a clear Facebook procedure nor consistent with its commitment to respect human rights.…  Seguir leyendo »

A person who has returned a positive test holds a mobile phone showing they have been told to self-isolate for a further eight days by the NHS COVID-19 app, on 9 January 2021 in Caerphilly, Wales. Photo credit: Copyright © Huw Fairclough/Contributor/Getty

Focusing on the dynamics between governments and big tech, on cybercrime, and on disinformation and fake news, this paper examines some of the risks that have been highlighted and aggravated as societies have transitioned at speed to a more virtual way of living.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been called the ‘great accelerator’ of digital transformation, with technology at the forefront of countries’ response to the crisis. The experience of the past year has underscored that tech governance must be based on human-centric values that protect the rights of individuals but also work towards a public good.

In the case of the development of track-and-trace apps, for instance, a successful solution should simultaneously be both respectful of individual privacy and robust from a cybersecurity perspective, while also effectively serving essential epidemiological goals.…  Seguir leyendo »

Huawei's Ox Horn campus in Dongguan, China. Photo: Getty Images.

As countries move towards the fifth generation of mobile broadband, 5G, the United States has been loudly calling out Huawei as a security threat. It has employed alarmist rhetoric and threatened to limit trade and intelligence sharing with close allies that use Huawei in their 5G infrastructure.

While some countries such as Australia have adopted a hard line against Huawei, others like the UK have been more circumspect, arguing that the risks of using the firm’s technology can be mitigated without forgoing the benefits.

So, who is right, and why have these close allies taken such different approaches?

The risks

Long-standing concerns relating to Huawei are plausible.…  Seguir leyendo »

ICANN reveals then-new Generic Top-Level Domain Names in London in 2012. Photo: Getty Images.

Until May 2018, anyone could look up the name and contact details for the owner of a domain name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the US-based private company that coordinates internet domains and IP addresses, required companies that register domain names to collect and publish personal data in the so-called WHOIS service.

While far from a household name, WHOIS was widely relied upon by law enforcement and intellectual property owners to investigate and combat online crime and abuse. At the same time, privacy advocates and regulators have raised concerns about the mandatory publication of every domain name holder’s name and contact details.…  Seguir leyendo »

An installation from the Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House in London in 2016. Photo: Getty Images.

Revelations that Cambridge Analytica may have enabled the Trump campaign to access the data of more than 50 million people during the US presidential election have caused concern. But a narrow focus on Cambridge Analytica alone masks the risks to democracy arising from internet platforms’ standard terms, business models and what they know about each and every user.

In a 60 Minutes interview in 2017, the head of social media for the Trump campaign, Brad Parscale, said he relied heavily on Facebook but downplayed the influence of Cambridge Analytica. It was a self-serving narrative that boosted Parscale’s own role in securing the Trump win.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pedestrians walk past a spray painted job advert for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) on the pavement. Photo by LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Until 1994, GCHQ, the British signals intelligence agency, didn't officially exist. Now, it has emerged out of the shadows to take a very public role at the heart of British cybersecurity.

Public accountability for intelligence services is crucial to any democracy but, as the recent WannaCry ransomware attack showed, there are inevitable conflicts of interest between the role of intelligence services and network safety.

The past seven years have seen a dramatic change in profile for GCHQ. While the number of police officers has been cut by 14 per cent since 2010, GCHQ's staff numbers - according to the Home Office - have grown by more than ten per cent in the same period.…  Seguir leyendo »

Yahoo! Spins a Cautionary Tale for Dealing with Data Privacy

Yahoo!’s announcement that one billion customer email accounts were breached in 2013 – double that of a previously disclosed data breach incident in 2014 – seems like yet another ominous warning of a ‘dangerous and broken cyberspace’. And a big question users are asking is: why did it take so long for the Yahoo! hack to come to light?

There are a variety of reasons why it could take weeks, months, even three years to announce a major breach - even one affecting one billion email accounts. Seventy per cent of breaches take months or years to discover, according to the 2016 Data Breach Report of Verizon.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week, the European Commission published the text of the new Privacy Shield, which will govern the lawful transfer of data between the EU and US following the abolition of the previous data sharing agreement, Safe Harbour, by a ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). A few days later, the UK government published an updated version of the Investigatory Powers Bill (the so-called ‘snoopers’ charter’) for presentation to parliament.

Privacy Shield covers the obligations of non-EU commercial organizations and governments when handling data of EU citizens. The Investigatory Powers Bill will regulate the role of security services and police in the UK for UK citizens’ data.…  Seguir leyendo »