“JE SUIS TERRORISTE?!” – I don’t want to be treated like a terrorist.

Angesichts der immer wieder auftauchenden Forderungen nach einer Wiedereinführung der vom EuGH als unzulässig erklärten Vorratsdatenspeicherung hat der Arbeitskreis Vorratsdaten (AKVorrat) heute ein klares Zeichen gesetzt. Etwa 50 Menschen haben vor dem Innenministerium gegen die Ausweitung staatlicher Überwachung protestiert. Die Antwort auf Terrorismus darf keine Einschränkung der Grundrechte sein. Durch flächendeckende Überwachung aller Bürgerinnen und Bürger werden diese selbst wie Terrorverdächtige behandelt. Unwirksame und unverhältnismäßige Maßnahmen wie die Vorratsdatenspeicherung oder ein Verbot von Verschlüsselungstechnologien stellen Eingriffe in die Grundrechte aller Menschen dar und helfen weder bei der Prävention noch bei der Aufklärung terroristischer Verbrechen.

Eine bunte Menge von etwa 50 Menschen hat sich trotz Schneefalls vor dem Innenministerium versammelt. Sie haben ein klares Zeichen gesetzt und zum Ausdruck gebracht, dass sie sich nicht wie Terroristen behandeln lassen wollen. Schilder mit der Aufschrift “Je suis terroriste?!”, “Ich bin Terroristin?!” und “Bin ich Terrorist?!” in den Händen der Demonstrierenden zeigten den Unmut der Bevölkerung gegenüber den Aussagen von zahlreichen europäischen Politikerinnen und Politiker, die sich für eine Neuregelung der Vorratsdatenspeicherung, für stärkere Überwachungsgesetze oder gar für ein Verbot bzw. die Unterwanderung sicherer, verschlüsselter Kommunikation im Internet ausgesprochen haben. In Österreich waren es besonders Vertreterinnen und Vertreter der ÖVP[1], die sich in diesem Sinne geäußert haben. Bereits kommenden Donnerstag treffen sich die EU Justiz- und Innenminister[2] in Riga um über weitere Anti-Terror-Maßnahmen zu beraten.

Seit den Anschlägen von Paris betreibt ein Teil der Politik billigen Populismus mit der Angst der Bevölkerung[3]. Anstatt sich dem komplexen Problem des Extremismus zu stellen, wird weiter an anlasslosen Massenüberwachungsmaßnahmen festgehalten, egal als wie nutzlos und gefährlich sich diese erweisen. In Frankreich gab es eine Vorratsdatenspeicherung und noch viele andere Anti-Terror-Gesetze[4]. Bei keinem der Anschläge der letzten Jahre mangelte es den Behörden an Daten über die Attentäter[5], vielmehr wurden sie einfach nicht genutzt oder gingen in der Flut an nutzlosen Daten unter.
Die Forderung nach einem Verbot von effektiver Verschlüsselung[6] setzt den aktuellen grundrechtsfeindlichen Forderungen die Krone auf. Anstatt dem Grundrecht auf Privatsphäre endlich zur Durchsetzung zu verhelfen, soll seine technische Grundlage in jeder Art von digitaler Kommunikation verboten werden. Diese Forderung ist sowohl realistätsfremd als auch gefährlich[7].

“Es ist Zeit, zu einer faktenbasierten Sicherheitspolitik zurückzukehren. Viele der 239 Anti-Terror-Gesetze, die in der EU seit dem 11. September 2001 erlassen wurden[8], helfen nicht, die Bevölkerung zu schützen und höhlen unsere demokratischen Grundrechte auf gefährliche Art und Weise aus. Mit HEAT, unserem aktuellen Projekt zur Evaluierung von Anti-Terror-Gesetzen[9] wollen wir als AKVorrat einen Beitrag zur Versachlichung der Diskussion leisten. Es kann der Startschuss für eine verhältnismäßige und evidenzbasierte Sicherheitspolitik sein, die den Problemen auf den Grund geht, anstatt alle Menschen unter Terrorverdacht zu stellen”, so Thomas Lohninger, Geschäftsführer des AKVorrat.

Year one after Snowden – reviewing global surveillance

On July the 3rd, I got invited to talk at the International Summer University from the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence about the topic “The Surveillance Society and what to do about it!” together with Jackson Barlow, Christian Eichenmüller and James M. Skelly. The following points are a brief summary of my input.

Titel: Year one after Snowden – reviewing global surveillance

Connections between public and private secture

The first Snowden document to be published by the Guardian was a secret court order showing that the NSA was collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers.

Private infrastructure are importants targets. Not just networks, also data centres and data services. We all create a large digital trail. For example: Facebook. They never delete anything. Old messages, deleted pictures, removed friends – they are all still in their data base and connected to our profiles.

All together, the support by tech companies like Google in joining Civil Society against state mass surveillance is duplicitously. The best thing they could do against state mass surveillance is less collection of user data.

Global surveillance: NSA & Co
The spying programm X-Keyscore consists of several sub-programms (heavily simplefied to illustrate the scope of surveillance):

  • Fairview: US based to collect from other countries like Mexico or Germany.
  • Prism: US based with data connections to webservices like AOL, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Skype, Microsoft, Youtube, Apple.
  • Tempora: UK based with connections to network opporators like Verizon or Vodefone.
  • EvilOlive: US based with connections to network opporators like Verizon or at&t.

Germany

  • The chancellor Merkel was outraged, but only after she became herself the target.
  • No-spy-agreement failed.
  • Parliamentary investigation committee is slowed down by the government. No decision on Snowden invitation.
  • Attorney general is investigating surveillance of Merkels’ mobile, not general mass surveillance. Not enough evidence.

European Union
The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) made an investigation after the leaks. The results in the report:

 

  • Questioning the legality of NSA mass surveillance
  • Accuses the NSA of economic espionage
  • Condemns mass surveillance in general
  • Has a long list of demands towards EU and Non-EU countries.

Additional they are naming five reasons not to act (page 37 of the report) which are often used by governments:

  • The ‘Intelligence/national security argument’: no EU competence
  • The ‘Terrorism argument’: danger of the whistleblower
  • The ‘Treason argument: no legitimacy for the whistleblower
  • The ‘realism argument’: general strategic interests
  • The ‘Good government argument’: trust your government

UN

The UN General Assembly adopted an anti-spy resolution in Dec 2013. It was drafted by Brasil and Germany. Legally not binding and very weak due to diplomatic intervention of the US and UK.
“deeply concerned at the negative impact that surveillance and/or interception of communications, including extraterritorial surveillance and/or interception of communications, as well as the collection of personal data, in particular when carried out on a mass scale, may have on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights.”

NETmundial conference in April 2014

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff invited in April 2014 to a conference banning global mass surveillance. The result was a desaster. See my other blog post about it.

 

Conclusion
One year after Snowden there was much talking, some reporting and no real actions to condemn and prevent further global mass surveillance. The whole topic is a big disllussion and disappointment for human and civil rights world wide.

Since the start of this input, the NSA has selected

  • 525 terabytes of data for review (selected for review, NOT collected).
  • 15 minutes with 35 terabytes per Minute. 1 Terabyte = 1024 Gigabyte

How does the future of Internet Governance look like?

This year was quite important for the field of Internet Governance. Next to the establieshed Internet Governance Forum (IGF) by the UN and the European Dialog on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) there was another place called NETmundial in Brazil.

The NETmundial was initatied by Dilma Rousseff, the brazilian president, after the reveilling by Edwards Snowden of her surveillance by the NSA. Being outraged at the beginning the hopes were high to have finally a forum to discuss THE topic: global surveillance by secret services. After half a year on the NSA leaks, it was time to adress it. The past month also showed that this is only possible in an surounding not dominated by the US. They seem to have severe problems in learning from it. Having this in mind, it was surprising, or perhaps not, that the focus shifted during the development of the event and surounding policy process. Additional topics were set, as the future development of ICANN and others. Sadly not even Civil Society was united on this issue. And again, the original topic of surveillance was diluted by a too strong focus on processes. The question is: how much worth are talking about processes when there is not a glance of proceeding on a topic. Especially in an approach which is independ from the UN. So, the topic which started NETmundial occured at the end as an subchapter in the final document. And this being not enough, the pararaphes on surveillance were even weaker than in existing UN resolutions.

Unfortunatly the same happend to EuroDIG in Berlin. In the preparation meetings before the topic shifted again more to Internet Governance as a process with too much focus on itself then the original talking points. Again there was a strong push from several actors to have surveillance  as a main topic. At this point the leaks from Edward Snowden had almost their first anniversary. Addional, there is a visible decrease in participation. Not surprising, when there is not really progress and everlasting discussions with the same people on the panels.

To conclude, the approach of Internet Governance as something which tries to be as inclusive as possible and as open as possible, is obviously stuck. The involvement of other stakeholders made some shifts, but the established actors still leading and setting the agenda.
This is quite sad, since there are many issues which would need attension. Filtering, censoring and hard interventions in the core technologies are currently done. Not just by known countries as Iran or China, but also by coutries which call themselves democratic honoring civil and human rights. There is data retention in many countries like Germany. There is deep packet inspections  done by private companies. There are severe attacks on privacy supporting technologies like Tor. If there ever was a “freedom of the Internet” it’s gone or in the most optimistic case, almost gone. The stituation is clear. So where to start now?

A look in other policy fields can give new ideas and best practices for new approaches. There are other global issues where the traditional policy processes are stuck due to a small group of countries dominating it. The best example is the topic of Nuclear disammament. Due to the NPT only five countries are allowed to have them and so they are only talking with themselves about it. Even so the use or even an excident would affect many others. But there are already positive examples in the field of disammament of weapons of massdistruction. The most recent one is the ban treaty on cluster ammunition. Another very successful is the one on landmines. What have they in common? First of all they focused not on a technical or even security level. They looked at the humanitarian level, meaning which impact has it on humans itselve. After concluding that the danger for the human race alone justifies a global ban on it. Leaving out any other disucusion on security, military or politcal benefits of such weapons. The second important step was to establish a small “core group” of countries who have a similar progressive position towards this topic. They can push it, hosting state conference on the topic itself and after some time start negotions for an international treaty. Even if such a treaty is done by a small group of five to six countries, it can have a large impact since other countries can – one by one – join this treaty.

So, why is there no core group of countries which set an example with an international treaty others can join. Where are Switzerland, Iceland or Brazil to start negations for such a “freedom of the Internet treaty”? Brazil already adopted the Marco Civil, a Fundamental Rights Charter for the Internet. It it time to bring this into an international treaty, having a group of countries negotiating and signing it as initiators. Then they can collect others co-signing it. Naming, shaming and putting pressure on others who don’t do it. It is time now to start such a process and not running after the fairy tale of Internet Governance as the universal remedy.