Theresa May to Resurrect the Snoopers’ Charter

Dan Hyde reports in the Daily Telegraph that Home Secretary Theresa May has indicated that a law to allow snooping on personal email accounts and internet browsing, could be pushed through now that the Conservatives have a parliamentary majority.

Her comments were made in the early hours of Friday morning as the Conservatives appeared to heading for a majority.  Previously the so-called  Snoopers’ Charter had been blocked by the Conservatives coalition partners the Liberal Democrats.

However, with the Conservatives having only a slim majority, Theresa May could potentially still have an up hill struggle to get the controversial measures through.

NHS overriding 700,000 patient opt-outs

Alex Matthews-King reports in Pulse that the NHS is overriding 700,000 patient opt-outs to GP data being shared.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre has said that 700,000 patients registered an objection to their identifiable information being passed from the HSCIC to a third-party before the aborted roll-out of care.data in March 2014.  However, it admitted that it doesn’t currently have the resources to deal with this volume of objections and thus it has not been possible to implement the patient opt-outs.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, who leads on care.data for the General Practitioners Committee, told Pulse:

‘Obviously, if there are technical difficulties that HSCIC are experiencing, they must be resolved, and it is their responsibility to make sure patients are protected. But basically it’s a mess.’

US Court Rules NSA Phone Metadata Collection is Illegal

David Kravets reports on the Ars Technica website that the US National Security Agency’s bulk telephone metadata collection program is illegal, but not unconstitutional according to a federal appeals court ruling.

The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and sets aside a judgement by a lower court that metadata collection was permissible.

According to the article, the court noted that the Patriot Act gives the government wide powers to acquire all types of private records on Americans as long as they are “relevant” to an investigation.  But the government is going too far when it comes to acquiring, via a subpoena, the metadata of every telephone call made to and from the United States.

The legal authority allowing the NSA to collect telephone metadata expires on 1st June 2015 and will need renewing by Congress if it is to continue.  It is not clear how the ruling will affect this process.

Big Brother Watch Briefing Note on EU Car Tracking eCall System

The campaign group Big Brother Watch has prepared a briefing note on privacy and other issues with the European Union’s eCall system which the European Parliament voted on 28th April 2015 to make compulsory in all new cars.

Although eCall is promoted as an EU-wide emergency alert system to help ambulance crews get to road accidents faster, it raises significant privacy and snooping concerns because it works in partnership with an Event Data Recorder (EDR).  The EDR records for 20 seconds before an accident and 10 seconds afterwards; however, as the briefing note points out this means it must be recording and erasing continuously.

Currently it is not intended that eCall should transmit data continuously, but it could do so and this opens up the possibility of mission creep such as the system being used to track motorists, as the EDR has the ability to record a vehicles exact location. There are also concerns about the system being a target for hackers.

The eCall system has already been used by the Police to track motorists according to a article in the Sunday Times which states:

Interpol, which coordinates police intelligence across 190 countries confirmed that some of its members are using the eCall system for surveillance operations, though it refused to say whether British police were using the technology in this way.