Avaaz Network Discloses List of +500 Websites & New Outlets Allegedly Sowing Propaganda Ahead of EU Elections

Earlier today, just days before the start of European Union (EU) elections, the Avaaz Network released findings from a recent study/investigation, allegedly revealing over 500 Facebook pages and websites used to sow and spread political propaganda around the EU simply just to disrupt the legitimacy of EU election outcomes later this week. However, take the information with a grain of salt. I say this because George Soros, whom funds the Avaaz Network, is an open hard-left socialist – meaning that anything that is center to right-wing is considered propaganda to these people. The list itself is not much different than the now infamous “Prop or Not List” released by the Washington Post in 2016 – which later had to be retracted.

For those of you whom might not remember, my website and 4 of the websites I sourced content for were once originally included on that list 😏. Regardless, if you would like to see all of the propagandists allegedly operating around the EU at the present moment in time, you can learn more via the resources provided below.

Download Study: https://avaazimages.avaaz.org/Avaaz%20Report%20Network%20Deception%2020190522.pdf?slideshow

Browse Full Study:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://roguemedia.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Avaaz-Report-Network-Deception-201905221.pdf” title=”Avaaz Report Network Deception 20190522(1)”]

European Parliament Approves Vote To Create International Biometric Database To Secure EU Border Countries

Last week European Parliament approved the establishment of an international biometric database referred to as the Common Identity Repository (CIN), a means to better help international authorities in securing EU borders. According to the systems parameters, the database will include identity records, including names, dates of birth, passport numbers, and other personally identifiable information, in conjunction with biometric information such as fingerprints and facial scans of both EU and non-EU citizens – estimated to encompass roughly 350 million individuals at the start.

More specifically, according to EU officials, “the systems covered by the new rules would include the Schengen Information System, Eurodac, the Visa Information System (VIS) and three new systems: the European Criminal Records System for Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN), the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).” Explaining that the move comes in response to an effort to consolidate multiple databases into one browse-able place, serving to consolidate information – thus speeding up and making the jobs of border security officials much easier/proficient – whilst also simultaneously modernizing civilian records  into the 21st century.

With that said however, the vote is not without controversy. In May 2018, in anticipation of this very move, an organization known as State Watch published an investigative report into the pitfalls, short-comings and privacy violations such a database presents – see pdf accompanying this article below. Additionally, the FBI has also come under heavy scrutiny for similar databases in the US, ultimately forced to go to court after it was revealed the agency had been secretly stockpiling the biometrics records of US citizens without alerting them to this – a clear violation of the US Privacy Act in 2016.  While a federal judge did finally rule in their favor in 2017, it was later revealed that the FBI’s biometric database was hacked by the CIA, which was later hacked by Russia, meaning that all US biometric data once owned by the US Government is now out in the wild. For obvious reasons, these are all situations/lessons the EU should look to learn from as they move forward with this new initiative in the future.

Copy – State Watch Investigation: https://statewatch.org/analyses/eu-interop-morphs-into-central-database.pdf

Download CIN Presentation: https://www.securityresearch-cou.eu/sites/default/files/02.Rinkens.Secure%20safe%20societies_EU%20interoperability_4-3_v1.0.pdf

Common Identity Repository (CIN) Slideshow Presentation :

[pdf-embedder url=”https://roguemedia.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/02.Rinkens.Secure-safe-societies_EU-interoperability_4-3_v1.0.pdf” title=”02.Rinkens.Secure safe societies_EU interoperability_4-3_v1.0″]

European Union Holds Cyber Drills To Test Preparedness for Cyber Attacks Ahead of Next Months Elections

Earlier today the European Parliament hosted “War Games” across Europe as a test to see how well Governments agencies were equipped/prepared to mitigate different cyber attacks and/or election interference techniques – should any present themselves during next months elections. Code named “EU ELEx19,” the first ever “EU Table-Top Exercise” was designed to find “ways to prevent, detect and mitigate cybersecurity incidents that may affect the upcoming EU elections” – after initial tests in September 2018 revealed several critical flaws/vulnerabilities in election protocols and systems. A detailed review/list of Septembers findings can be seen below.

Review of September 2018 Election CyberSecurity Probe: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-cybersecurity-elections-recommendation-5949_en.pdf

Consequentially enough, the secondary objective of today’s drills was to determine how well EU Nation-States implemented security measures, mitigations and plans of actions given to them by Parliament in December 2018 – which were developed as a direct result of Septembers investigations. You can find the EU’s plan of action for fighting election interference, along with a press release recapping today’s tests/events below – enjoy!

Press Release – December 2018 Plan of Action Fighting Disinformation and Election Interference: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-6647_en.htm

Press Release – Today’s EU ELEx19 Preparedness Test: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2011_en.htm

Browse Full Release:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://roguemedia.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/IP-19-2011_EN.pdf”%5D

Introducing The Rogue Publishers License International Version 1.0

I decided to create/publish this license essentially to null any and all changes to existing Copyright Laws or Directives currently being undertaken by the European Parliament. Officially called “The Rogue Publishers License,” it is my best attempt to free up content and circumvent various existing international Copy Right Laws, whilst also ironically complying with the terms and conditions of pending changes to existing Copyright Law due to be added by the European Union next month – namely Article’s 11 & 13. In many ways, it can also be considered a simplified alternative to Creative Commons Licenses.

Read Full The License: https://roguesecuritylabs.ltd/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Rogue_Publishers_License.txt

While I have included a file copy of the license for users to attach to their sites and/or content above, the official language of the Rogue Publishers License contract reads as follows:

1.) A Rogue Publishes License relinquishes a publishers claim to any and all rights afforded to them under the Berne Convention, the European Parliament’s Directive on Copyright In The Single Digital Market, or international Copyright Law.

2.) So long as this license is directly attached to or accompanying the website, page, posting, article or picture accompanying it, a publisher can not deny you your right to freely republish, refurbish, edit or alter their original content.

3.) By attaching this license, the original publisher, artist, owner or creator of a given piece of digital content can not deny you the right to full editorial control over their original content for re-publication.

4.) By attaching this license to digital content, the Rogue Publishers License constitutes a – de facto – mutually agreed upon contract between an original publisher and anyone whom would like to use their content, which neither party can ex post facto revoke without the consent of the other.

5.) A Rogue Publishers License applies only to the content it is directly attached to, and does not apply to every literary work, publication, picture or content contained within a website, social platform, online portfolio or the like of the contents original owner/publisher.

6.) The original creator/owner of any given piece of online content reserves the right to edit their original content at any time, without notice – completely independent of whatever anyone else has decided to do with their content.

7.) In order to use/fulfill this license, you MUST give credit to the original creator or owner of the content you are sourcing, along with a direct hyperlink back to their original content. Failure to comply with clause 7 constitutes intellectual property theft and negates any other rights afforded to you under this license.

How To Use?

Simply Attach, or Copy & Paste The Hyperlink To The License As Such: Rogue_Publishers_License.txt

– or –

Attribute Your Content As Such:

This content, (Insert name of article, photo, website or digital work), is free and open source, published under an internationally recognized Rogue_Publishers_License. You are hereby free to republish, re-edit or re-use this content at your discretion, so long as this license is directly attached to it and my original work attributed.

That is just a sample or example, obviously, but if you have anything to add, or that you think I am missing, or any feedback/criticisms in general, you are welcome to submit it to me at: BrianDunn@RogueSecurityLabs.Ltd

And remember folks, everyone goes Rogue every once and a while 😉

CookieBot Report: 25 of 28 EU Government Websites not GDPR Compliant

Last night I came across and interesting study that just makes me shake my head. This would be the news that, according to a new study by researchers a fringe company known as “CookieBot,” 25 of 28 Government websites across the European Union (EU) are actively hosting ad tech trackers on their websites. This marks a significant discovery because this sort of activity logging is strictly forbidden under GDPR rules and regulations designed to protect user Anonymity and data confidentiality online.

To gather results, researchers scanned 184,683 pages affiliated with 28 .gov domains, discovering “third-party advertising technology (ad tech) trackers from 112 companies” on 89% of the pages scanned. CookieBot claims that the vast majority of these sort of trackers were discovered on third party plugins installed on the Governments pages, including plugin’s for things like “video players, social sharing widgets, web analytics, galleries and comments sections.” Other trackers were secretly installed to gather information on a visitors health condition so that they could later be targeted by ads for it, a practice strictly forbidden under Article 9 of the GDPR dating back to 2019. Through it all, the only countries found to be in full compliance with their own laws were Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. I could explain the results/methodology of the study in more detail, but I’d rather just have you read it for yourself – enjoy.

Read More – About How Other EU Policies Have Violated User Privacy/Security Online: https://roguemedia.co/2018/11/10/another-day-another-wordpress-plugin-designed-to-comply-with-eu-law-compromised/
Download CookieBot’s Report for Yourself: https://www.cookiebot.com/media/1121/cookiebot-report-2019-medium-size.pdf

Read Full Report:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://roguemedia.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/cookiebot-report-2019-medium-size.pdf”%5D

LulzSecITA Announces Data Breach of Visure Italia, Exposing Credit Records of 46,604 Citizens Online

Stepping a bit outside their norm, earlier today, March 18th 2019, LulzSecITA announced a data breach effecting 46,604 individuals belonging to Visure Italia, an Italian based credit agency specialized in commercial information services, asset surveys and debt collection. However, given that the data uncovered deals primarily with ordinary citizens instead of Government employees and politicians, LulzSecITA has decided not to release the entirety of the leak to the general public – instead choosing to release only a sample screen shot of the files uncovered.

Given that the hack was carried out for ‘the lulz,’ the hackers used it as an opportunity to remind Visure Italia that a data breach such as this is considered a massive violation of GDPR rules and regulations, essentially posting the information online just so that the credit collection agency can be fined by the European Union for it – lulz. Gotta appreciate the irony/karma involved here. 😏

Example Screen Shot of Hacked Data:

No photo description available.

https://twitter.com/LulzSec_ITA/status/1107730711237349379

Market Analysis: Is It Worth Investing Heavily In Bitcoin In 2019 & Beyond?

Given my current line of work, more and more people keep asking me about Bitcoin investment and whether or not I think it is a good idea? While I do think at least half these people are only asking to see whether or not I’m stashing away some giant cache of Bitcoin somewhere, I genuinely think at least some of them are legitimately interested in learning more. Regardless, my answer/response to them always remains the same: No, I do not currently own any Bitcoin. No, I have never bought Bitcoin throughout the past and no, I certainly wouldn’t recommend investing in the cryptocurrency in the future.

What everyone should understand about Bitcoin is that its already had its “hay day” – so to speak. Anyone whom invested in Bitcoin prior to the summer of 2015 and held onto it through the beginning 2017 ‘got rich,’ essentially, but this doesn’t mean it’s ever going to happen again or repeat itself in the future. I say this because the source code of Bitcoin was specifically written to account for the eventual rise of inflation, the same market driven phenomenon effecting every form of currency preceding it. To do this, Bitcoins source code was designed so that the longer it exists, the harder it becomes to confirm transactions through the block-chain – thus requiring larger and larger amounts of power and energy to mine/verify its transactions. Put another way, the longer Bitcoin exists and the larger it becomes, the more the costs associated with owning, creating, running or mining it increase, therefore offsetting the value of the cryptocurrency itself – theoretically acting is a built in safeguard against inflation.

For example, you might recall a December 2017 study during which it was revealed that Bitcoin mining had already begun consuming more power annually than 159 individual countries worldwide? This is also exactly what I am talking about here, and this phenomenon is only sure to get worse or grow larger over time.

The other thing you need to understand about Bitcoin is that its value is directly tied to hacking, hacking events and other illegal acts online. Meaning that the more hacks occur globally, the more times the cryptocurrency changes hands and the more valuable of a commodity it therefore becomes. For example, you might notice how Bitcoin’s price skyrocketed at the end of 2015 and into the start of 2017, before steadily going on to crash ever since? Ask yourself, why do you think that is?

No photo description available.

The answer is simple. Hear of any hacks and/or leaks in 2015 and 2016, say in the months leading up to the November 2016 US Presidential election of Donald Trump? No? Didn’t think so 😏. Whether anyone wants to admit it aloud or not, Bitcoins worst kept secret is that its value is directly tied to “Black-Hat Hackers” and other hacking events, because Bitcoin is how all of these people pay one another or exchange money online. This means that the more hacks and/or leaks and/or ransomware and/or cyber-attacks we observe globally, the more “valuable” of a commodity Bitcoin becomes. Therefore, if you want to invest in Bitcoin in the future, you’d have to center your investment around a time during which you’d expect hacks to once again start skyrocketing.

Consequentially, this leads me straight into my next point. Just as with the summer of 2015, when various EU countries starting holding National elections, and through to the fall of 2016, when the US held its national elections, many EU countries will once again be holding elections in the summer of 2019 and similarly, the US will be holding another Presidential election in the fall of 2020. See where I am going with this? If I were a betting man, which I’m not, and if I were going to begin investing heavily in Bitcoin in the future, which I never will, I would almost certainly time my initial investment around June-August 2019 and hold onto it through January 2021 – the first month the next US Presidential term in office. Surely this period of time is set to see a large increase in the number of cyber attack, hacks, leaks, DDoS attacks and ransomware infections worldwide, thus pushing the price/value of Bitcoin higher – but who knows for certain, honestly?

Bitcoin & Banking

Another major problem facing Bitcoin throughout the future is the “legality” of it all. For example, Bitcoin has already been banned at one point or another in countries such as China, Russia and more recently, India. These countries also represent some of the largest economies/markets in the world. As for why cryptocurrencies keeps getting banned there, and in other countries like them around the world, its because these governments cant stand the fact that 1, Bitcoin cant be taxed and 2, because Bitcoin is often times used for corrupt political practices or to launder money.

To skirt around these problems, many countries have begun making it legal to own Bitcoin so long as you store your Bitcoin wallet in/with a major banking institution – much in the same way you store money in a savings account, only using Bitcoin. Allowing a trusted banking institution to hold your cryptocurrency and see where you are spending it adds an extra layer of transparency to it all, essentially allowing Governments to cope with its existence more easily. However, many of these policies are either still up for debate, have yet to be fully enacted, or were just recently passed into law. Meaning that Bitcoin has only just begun to experience its growing pains, and debates surrounding its legality, regulation and/or usage will only continue to grow larger or get more complicated over time, before anything is solved or gets better. At least in my opinion, this is yet another major deterrent to investing in the cryptocurrency at the present moment in time.

 

Anonymous Announces #StopACTA2, an International Call To Action – Protests Scheduled Throughout Europe On March 23rd 2019

Ahead of the European Unions final vote to pass their new Copyright Directive into law in April, Anonymous hacktivists and political activists alike are teaming up together to stage a series of protests across Europe. Planned for March 23rd 2019 and officially entitled “StopACTA 2019,” protests are currently scheduled to be held across 25 countries, including Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

View Map of All Demonstrations: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1tmjhVLt_-nomkGk6Hy77JtNnum5lc_cW&ll=50.56698897867709%2C12.68248445000006&z=6

Original Release Calling for Protests:

What are They Protesting?

ACTA2 is what we call the Copyright Directive on the digital market. We call it #ACTA2 because it’s not just about helping creators circumvent copyright restrictions, its about the European Unions attempts to use copyright law as a means/excuse of seizing control over the internet – including the information you post and receive from it. The way we see it, the EU’s Copyright Directive is nothing more than the Governments way of financing censorship. We wholeheartedly believe ACTA2 is dangerous, as it will set the precedent allowing the EU to step in an censor the internet throughout the future. The way we see it, ACTA2 is the beginning of the Orwellian world and we mustn’t open the door too allow our Governments to do this, which is why we will be staging these protests on March 23rd.

Article 11

Also known as the #LinkTax, Article 11 is in essence a direct result of corporate lobbying. It gives extra protections/rights to legacy press organizations and media outlets, requiring mutually agreed upon licenses between the publisher and anyone else whom would like to use, share or republish their information. This includes pieces of information as small as SEO snippets, article titles or headlines, summary descriptions and pictures. In essence, many believe that Article 11 spells the death of small time or independent media outlets online.

Image may contain: text

Article 13

Also known as #UploadFilters the new law dumps the responsibility for posts & comments from the authors who write them to the owners of a website. It offers a tool to help owners of websites better filter their content. However, internet purists fear that this so called “filter” is merely a guise for censorship, restricting the free speech of people on the internet by flagging or blocking users based off specific key words that could be focused around religion, politics, sexuality – et cetera. Activists fear that certain groups of people could be excluded from all conversations in the EU entirely, which sets a dangerous precedent for future abuses or complications.

No photo description available.

The Problem Explained In More Detail

Hello World, we are Anonymous

With overshadowing unease we are observing the deformation of copyright coming from the EU parliament. The so-called Article 13, which was unified agreed upon by EU states, Commission and Parlament on the 13th of February, is threatening the freedom of the internet.

The articles 4b and 4c contained in Article 13 could bring birth to the feared upload filter. This would lead to a massive limitation of uploads on media-sharing websites like YouTube, Instagram or Twitter. This includes the use and circulation of Memes.

We already achieved the aversion of a similar problem in 2012, ACTA. We protested on the web as well as in the streets. The final decision regarding Article 13 will be made mid-April 2019. We cannot rest without showing the EU parliament what it means to steal the freedom of the internet.

The loose collective Anonymous won’t be standing still, choosing to drop its cloak of the silent observer. Censorship of the free internet is one step too far. Anonymous will be supporting the protests on the web as well as the marching on the 23rd of March. The coalition ‘Save your Internet’ provides every information on the topic, including dates for demonstrations. There you will find all the representatives with whom you can share your worries about Article 13.

Together we have to be loud! Together we have to fight for the freedom of the internet! Together we have to shelve Article 13! Make the demonstrations on the 23rd of March massive. As we, the internet, are the very last, strong instance to fight for our rights. All important information is found in the description.

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.

Other Resources:

Save Your Internet: https://saveyourinternet.eu/
A Message To All The Creators – Artists, Bloggers, Youtube’rs: https://www.stopacta2.org/on-line-creators/
Save The Internet: https://savetheinternet.info/

This Directive is known by many hashtags on the internet – here are some of them: #stopACTA2, #CopyrightDirective, #SaveYourInternet, #SaveTheInternet, #Article11, #Article13, #UploadFilters, #LinkTax, #Filternet, #ACTA2.

Full Text of EU Copyright Directive As It Will Be Voted 04/2019:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://roguemedia.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/EU_Copyright_Directive.pdf”%5D

C2 Europe Hacked, Site Administrator Credentials Leaked Online

Late last night, November 29th 2018, the website belonging to Coating and Covering Magazine Europe (hxxp://c2-europe.eu) was hacked and access to the sites database was leaked online – including the log in credentials of 7 site administrators. “Major Ergo” of Pryzraky, a Brasilian based hacking group, has claimed responsibility for the hack, using the incident as an opportunity to raise awareness on behalf of #SaveYourInternet and  – a controversial new measure recently passed by the European Union earlier this month designed to help curb Copyright abuse.

However, while Article 13 may benefit some of the worlds top “legacy” publishers, it has sparked controversy amongst Anonymous and the the internet activism community at large over fears that it restricts the free flow of information across the internet. Which is, after-all, a free and public domain. Among other concerns, if taken literally as written, Article 13 could possibly impose fines for infractions as small as creating/sharing a meme featuring a picture that you didn’t personally make or take. You are invited to learn more about #DeleteArt13 through the hashtags and hyperlinks provided within this article.

Full Leak from Major Ergo: https://ghostbin.com/paste/2gp8j

https://twitter.com/ergo_hacker/status/1068246450834952201

Another Day, Another WordPress Plugin Designed To Comply with EU Law Compromised

As was reported by Catalin Cimpanu of ZDNet yesterday, November 9th 2018, earlier this month researches discovered vulnerabilities in a new WordPress plugin used to help site owners comply with GDPR Laws passed by the European Union earlier this year. According to Cimpanu, the WP GDPR Compliance plugin produced by Van Ons was effected, potentially compromising over 100,000 WordPress owners whom have already installed it on their sites before November 2018.

Hackers have exploited –and are currently continuing to exploit– a now-patched zero-day vulnerability in a popular WordPress (WP GDPR Compliance) plugin to install backdoors and take over sites” Cimpanu explained. Adding that “this backdoor script contains a file manager, terminal emulator, and a PHP eval() function runner,” allowing hackers to install further payloads at their discretion. “The second and supposedly more silent technique involves using the WP GDPR Compliance bug to add a new task to WP-Cron. The hackers’ cron job downloads and installs the 2MB Autocode plugin, which attackers later use to upload another backdoor script on the site.

It is important to note that Van Ons pulled the plugin off WordPress earlier this week, before placing it back online on November 7th – after the 0day vulnerability was patched. The plugin is safe to install today, but all of the sites that installed previous versions of the plugin before November 7th are still potentially compromised.

I don’t bring this story up to fill air time or report what Catalin Cimpanu has already reported a second time, just using different words. I bring this up because last year I had my website compromised by a different WordPress plugin, also designed to help website owners comply with EU laws and regulations. More specifically, my website was compromised by the EU Cookie Consent widget placed on WordPress, mandated by EU law, which allowed 3rd parties to run crypto-miners in the background of the web browsers of visitors visiting my website. I also wasn’t alone, this scam compromised over 200 websites before it was first reported – that researchers could even confirm. However, given that the EU Cookie Consent widget comes pre-installed on every premium WordPress theme/account, there is no telling how many sites were actually effected by the hack.

Granted I am an American website owner and do not have to comply with EU Laws if I don’t want to, what troubles me is the fact these plugins or widgets are only being installed so site owners can comply with EU law. In other words, these people are only being hacked because they are trying to follow the law. I was only hacked because I wanted to appear more professional and willing to appeal to a global audience. To this day I do not have to collect cookies if I do not want to, I do it to comply with GDPR rules so they cant decide to limit my site or audience. Quite frankly, it is irresponsible for the European Union to force website owners to install all of these measures without releasing software guaranteed to help keep people/site owners safe when doing so. GDPR rules and regulations were designed to keep people safe, not make it easier to hack websites – something WordPress and the EU needs to look at more carefully throughout the future.

Reporters Without Borders Publish Leaked Documents In Protest of EU Mass Surveillance

(AI) – EU member states must back proposed curbs on the export of surveillance equipment to abusive regimes, Access Now, Amnesty International, and Reporters Without Borders said, after leaked documents revealed that several EU countries, particularly Sweden and Finland, are pushing for weakening human rights protections in relation to European export controls of surveillance technology. The leaked documents were published earlier today by digital rights reporters at netzpolitik.org and Reporters Without Borders.

The current EU system fails to hold European governments and companies to account. It is devastating to see that protecting the privacy of individuals and safeguarding freedom of expression around the globe are not on the list of priorities of the Council of the EU,” said Lucie Krahulcova, Policy Analyst at Access Now. “These leaks reveal that while the EU talks the talk on human rights in public, behind the scenes, member states are secretly ready to trade in their obligations to protect human rights defenders for the sake of business interests. They would give businesses free rein to sell to abusive governments technologies which can tap into the communications and whereabouts of those who speak up against them,” said Nele Meyer, Senior Executive Officer at Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.

Commercially available surveillance technology is used by governments around the world to spy on activists, journalists, and dissidents. “The willingness of some countries to go on with business as usual by supplying despotic regimes with tools to abuse human rights is shocking. Jamal Khashoggi’s death has highlighted the level of pressure and surveillance endured by journalists. The EU must end the sale of tools which are used to spy on, harass and arrest journalists. These technologies threaten the safety of journalists and their sources and thereby force them into self-censorship,” said Elodie Vialle, the head of Journalism and Technology desk at Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Amnesty International, Privacy International, Access Now, and Reporters Without Borders are urging member states to ensure that surveillance technology will only be exported if the sale complies with solid human rights criteria.

Background

After surveillance technology was used to clamp down on Arab spring protests, international civil society organizations and EU parliamentarians called for a meaningful overhaul of export controls to prevent that EU companies provide repressive governments with the technology to abuse rights. In 2016, the European Commission proposed reforms to the current export control system – the Dual Use Regulation – intended “to prevent human rights violations associated with certain cyber-surveillance technologies.” The documents leaked today reveal how several member states are consistently watering down the human rights protections which the Commission and the Parliament proposed.

Amnesty International, Privacy International, Access Now, and Reporters Without Borders were among the NGOs advocating for the strengthening of several of these protections, including: strengthened human rights protections, greater scope to cover new surveillance technologies, greater transparency, and protections for security research. Many of these reforms were reflected, in some form, in the proposal adopted by the European Parliament in early 2018.

For the revision to come into effect, the three EU institutions must find agreement on a final text through inter-institutional negotiations called trialogues, once member states within the Council attain a joint position. As the leaked internal documents from the German government and EU Council show, a group of member states toppled the so-called catch all clause, a crucial safeguard requiring companies to inform the Commission in cases where they identify human rights risks linked to their surveillance exports.

Currently, a growing group of member states – led by Sweden and Finland – is tackling another central element of the reform, a list of surveillance technology for which a licensing process would be mandatory. Legislators are working under a tight timeframe – if the revised regulation is not adopted by early 2019, it risks being delayed by at least another year due to the forthcoming EU elections. The next negotiations in the Council will take place in November 2018.

Access Full Plain Text Copies of Leaked Documents (German): 


This article was originally published by Amnesty International on October 29th 2018. It was republished, with permission, under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License, in accordance with the Terms & Conditions of Amnesty International | Formatting Edits and leaked documents added by Rogue Media Labs