If it’s near impossible for sources to contact journalists securely because of mass surveillance – while already in a climate where whistleblowers are likely to be aggressively hunted down – we may see this flow of information between source and journalist run dry. Scandals like those that have emerged over the past year will never come to light, and we’ll be kept in the dark as to what our governments are actually up to, with no opportunity to question or challenge their actions. This affects everyone, including those comfortable with mass surveillance.
The right to freedom of expression and media freedom enable the free flow of information in order for the public to hold their governments to account. While the protection of national security can be a legitimate ground for restricting the right under international law, such restrictions are narrowly defined. Governments must show that a restriction is necessary to achieve a legitimate purpose and must be proportionate to the aim pursued. The presumption in favour of freedom of expression requires governments to demonstrate that the expression will actually harm national security; it is not sufficient to simply say that it will. National security should never be used to justify preventing disclosures of illegalities or wrongdoing, no matter how embarrassing such disclosures may be to the UK or other governments. In the case of Snowden and the Guardian, the disclosures have facilitated a much-needed public debate about mass surveillance in a democracy, and exposed the possible violation of the fundamental human rights of millions of people worldwide. As such, no liability should be incurred as the benefit to the public outweighs the demonstrable harm to national security.
When I was in Hong Kong, I spoke to my partner in Rio via Skype and told him I would send an electronic encrypted copy of the documents,” Greenwald said. “I did not end up doing it. Two days later his laptop was stolen from our house and nothing else was taken. Nothing like that has happened before. I am not saying it’s connected to this, but obviously the possibility exists.
Dubbed the Marauder’s Map after the magical map used by Harry Potter, the system takes security camera footage and analyses it using an algorithm that combines facial recognition, colour matching of clothing, and a person’s expected position based on their last known location. The main challenge in designing the map, says Shoou-I Yu, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was finding and following individuals in complex indoor environments where walls and furniture can block the cameras. He and his colleagues found a solution by combining several tracking techniques. For example, an individual whose clothes are the same colour, and whose facial features correspond to those of the person who appears just a few frames back in the footage suggests that the two are a match.
The Internet and related information and communication technologies (ICTs) are being integrated into everyday life and work in a growing number of nations. Roughly a third of the world’s population has access to the Internet, with more than 80 percent of the global online population participating on one or more social networking sites. Mobile phones subscriptions worldwide, which are increasingly converging around Internet infrastructures and services, have almost reached the six billion mark. The consequences of these trends include growth in electronic commerce, which is rising at double-digit rates internationally, and changes in patterns of information consumption and creation.As a result of this, Internet stakeholders ranging from governments to civil organizations, to businesses and industries have become increasingly concerned about issues of online privacy, trust, security, and freedom on a more global scale. Much has been written about national policies around the world, but less is known about cross-national comparative differences from the perspective of Internet users. How are individuals experiencing change in their expectations and concerns surrounding such issues as their control over personal information, the credibility of information sources, the safety of their information, and their ability to expres