【映画の鏡】福島で多発する「こころの病」『生きて、生きて、生きろ。』ラストに込めた希望のメッセージ=鈴木 賀津彦

4 days 8 hours ago
         日本電波ニュース社 ああっ、このラストを伝えたいがために島田陽磨監督は映画をつくったんだ!と、エンドロールの後の最後のシーンを見て心が揺さぶられ叫びたくなった。希望の映画なのだ。 真正面過ぎる言葉のタイトル、「震災と原発事故から13年、福島で、こころの病が多発していた。喪失と絶望の中で生きる人々と ともに生きる医療従事者たちの記録」というチラシの説明に、重いテーマの作品なんだろうと構えて見たのだが、ラストに感動し、これぞ「生きて、生きて、生きろ。..
JCJ

[B] 「南シナ海航海記」5(完) パグアサ島民の悲願は定期船 魚捕れても都市に送れず

4 days 21 hours ago
午前中はパグアサ島を周回し、日本軍が残した砲台跡などを見る。そもそも南沙諸島は1939年2月に日本軍が海南島を軍事占領をしたのを機として、同年3月30日に南沙諸島を「新南群島」と名付け、実効支配を始めたのが「南沙諸島問題」の始まりで、ベトナムを植民地下に置いていたフランスは猛抗議した。やがて日本は当時は日本領だった台湾の高雄市に新南群島を編入する。 第2次大戦中は南沙諸島最大の51ペクタールの島で、現在は台湾が実効支配する太平島とパグアサ島には少人数の日本軍部隊が駐屯した。砲台はその名残だが、既に砲身は残っていなかった。日本の第2次大戦敗戦後に結ばれたサンフランシスコ講和条約には、日本の新南群島の領有権放棄が明記されている。その後に領有権の空白が生じ、台湾、フィリピン、ベトナムが実効支配は進めたのだ。(REAL ASIA特約=石山永一郎)
日刊ベリタ

EFF Covers Secrets in Your Data on NOVA

5 days 7 hours ago

It’s the weekend. You decide you want to do something fun with your family—maybe go to a local festival or park. So, you start searching on your favorite social media app to see what other people are doing. Soon after, you get ads on other platforms about the activities you were just looking at. What the heck?

That’s the reality we’re in today. As EFF’s Associate Director of Legislative Activism Hayley Tsukayama puts it, “That puts people in a really difficult position, when we’re supposed to manage our own privacy, but we’re also supposed to use all these things that are products that will make our lives better.”

Watch EFF’s Cory Doctorow, Eva Galperin, Hayley Tsukayama, and others in the digital rights community explain how your data gets scooped up by data brokers—and common practices to protect your privacy online—in Secrets in Your Data on NOVΛ. You can watch the premier or read the transcript here below:

Watch Secrets in Your Data on PBS.org

EFF continues pushing for a comprehensive data privacy law that would reign in data brokers' ability to collect our information and share it to the highest bidders, including law enforcement. Additionally, you can use these resources to help keep you safe online

Christian Romero

The UN Cybercrime Draft Convention Remains Too Flawed to Adopt

5 days 7 hours ago

The proposed UN Cybercrime Convention, scheduled for a critical concluding session from 29 July to August 9th, poses a significant threat to global human rights unless major changes are made. Despite two and a half years of intense discussions and seven negotiation sessions, states remain deeply divided on fundamental aspects, leading to a deeply  flawed draft text and a problematic chair’s proposal from February 2024. They can’t even agree what to call the Convention, much less its scope—should it address only core cybercrime, or any crime committed using technology? 

The February 2024 language continues to risk criminalizing protected speech, granting broad surveillance powers without robust safeguards, and raising serious cybersecurity concerns. Despite continuous advocacy from civil society and industry, these key issues remain unaddressed. A new version of the Convention is expected soon, but without addressing these critical flaws, the risks to human rights remain.

Joint NGO Letter and EFF's Redlines

In a joint letter with over 100 NGOs, we state that the Cybercrime Convention must not advance without addressing critical flaws. The letter outlines clear requirements: the Convention must focus solely on cyber-dependent crimes, incorporate comprehensive human rights safeguards, and ensure robust protections for security researchers, whistleblowers, activists, and journalists. Absent these minimum requirements, we call on state delegations to reject the draft Convention and refuse to advance it to the UN General Assembly for adoption.

EFF echoes such requirements, among others:

  • First, the Convention must be narrowly focused on cyber-dependent crimes, excluding overly broad content-related crimes that contradict human rights law from the proposed Convention.
  • Second, it must include robust protections for security researchers, whistleblowers, activists, and journalists to ensure they are not unjustly criminalized for performing their essential work.
  • Third, it must incorporate comprehensive human rights safeguards, including the principles of legality, non-discrimination, legitimate purpose, necessity, proportionality, transparency, effective remedy, and prior judicial authorization applicable throughout the entire Convention.
  • Fourth, the scope of procedural measures and international cooperation must be limited to the defined cyber-dependent crimes, with explicit minimum robust safeguards against abuses of surveillance and data sharing, and adequate protection of personal data. 
  • Fifth, direct sharing of personal data must be limited to specific criminal investigation, and be subject to robust minimum safeguards mandated in the text itself to prevent misuse, such as the need to comply with the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, transparency, user notification, and the need for prior judicial authorization.
  • Sixth, proactive sharing of personal data must be strictly limited and conditioned on compliance with minimum robust standards and international human rights law.

As is, the Convention will be a tool for states with repressive domestic laws to impose arbitrary and disproportionate restrictions on rights and freedoms. As the negotiations resume, it is crucial to address these issues and ensure the Convention aligns with international human rights standards to prevent disaster.

Many other NGOs and industry representatives have expressed similar concerns about the proposed UN Cybercrime Convention. You can read their detailed opinions here: Human Rights Watch and Article 19, Privacy International, Global Partners Digital, Derechos DigitalesMicrosoft, Cybersecurity Tech Accord, and a joint civil society and industry statement.

Origins and Development of the Convention 

The proposed UN Cybercrime Convention's journey began in October 2017 when Russia proposed a draft, aiming to tackle the “use of information and communication technology for criminal purposes.” This effort gained momentum in November 2019 when a UN Resolution, backed by a block of nations that included China, Iran, and Syria, was passed despite strong opposition from the US, EU and others.

By December 2019, the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution to form an Ad Hoc Committee (AHC) to draft the Convention. The process faced delays due to COVID-19, with the first organizational meeting postponed to 2021. Despite initial resistance, the AHC's inaugural session in May 2021 saw participation from over 160 countries, outlining a plan for multiple negotiating sessions. The AHC mandate specifies that the Convention must “conclude its work in order to provide a draft Convention to the General Assembly at its seventy-eighth session in September 2024.”

EFF has been involved in the UN Cybercrime Convention process from the start, though we've always been skeptical about its necessity due to the significant risks it poses to human rights. Together with a coalition of 130 NGOs, we have consistently raised alarms about the potential misuse of cybercrime laws to target dissent, activists, advocates, security researchers, and journalists. Our concerns, shared with allies, date back way before the first substantive session began in 2022. In 2021, the UN General Assembly expressed grave concerns that cybercrime legislation was being misused to target human rights defenders, hinder their work, and endanger their safety in a manner contrary to international law.  

The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association has noted that the increasing number of laws and policies aimed at combating cybercrime have often been used as a means to punish and monitor activists and protesters globally. The Special Rapporteur highlighted that although technology can indeed be used “to promote terrorism, incite violence, and manipulate elections, these concerns are frequently exploited to justify crackdowns on digital civil society.” 

As is, the Convention will be a tool for states with repressive domestic laws to impose arbitrary and disproportionate restrictions on rights and freedoms.

This sentiment has been echoed by the the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2022, highlighting that national cybercrime laws are often used to "restrict freedom of expression, target dissenting voices, justify internet shutdowns, interfere with privacy and anonymity of communications, and limit the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly." 

Analyzing the Convention’s Expansive Reach and Human Rights Concerns Article 3: Scope of the Convention

Article 3 outlines the scope of the UN Cybercrime Convention, dividing it into two crucial parts. Article 3(a) limits the scope of application to crimes “established in accordance with the Convention,” covering their prevention, investigation, and prosecution. In contrast, Article 3(b) broadens the reach to include domestic (Article 23) and international cooperation (Article 35), including evidence-gathering for activities deemed serious by national law, expanding the Convention's application to a wide array of any serious offenses regardless of their connection to cybercrime. Understanding this difference is key to grasping the potential impact and reach of the Convention.

EFF has consistently argued that the Convention should be limited to core or cyber-dependent crimes—offenses in which computer systems are the direct objects and instruments, crimes which could not exist without information and communications technology (ICT) systems. By focusing exclusively on these core cybercrimes, the Convention would allow states to concentrate their resources, expertise, and capacity-building on these specific offenses. This approach would also prevent cross-border cooperation on a range of other offenses that are often antithetical to human rights. 

This limitation should apply to the criminalization chapter and the chapter on international cooperation (including spying assistance and data sharing powers), and even to the chapter on  domestic spying powers. Core cybercrimes include unauthorized access to ICT systems, illegal interception, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering, or suppressing electronic data, hindering the functioning of ICT systems, and misuse of devices.

Regrettably, the Convention is broader in scope than just core cybercrimes. It addresses cyber-enabled crimes, which are traditional crimes that may in certain instances be facilitated or amplified by the use of technology. These crimes leverage the reach, speed, and anonymity provided by the internet and other digital platforms to enhance their impact, such as ICT-related theft or fraud (Article 12), and solicitation or grooming for sexual offenses against children (Article 14).

It also includes overly broad and vague content-related offenses—crimes that involve the creation, distribution, or possession of material considered illegal or harmful, such as online child sexual abuse material (Article 13), non-consensual dissemination of intimate images (Article 15)—which can lead to the over-criminalization of protected speech.

Regrettably, the Convention is broader in scope than just core cybercrimes.

On tIIn the spying front, the proposed convention also allows for extensive data sharing and cross-border assistance to gather evidence for any crime a state deems serious in its national law. The Convention also deals with extradition and lacks clear limitations and minimum human rights safeguards explicitly embedded in the text itself, and thus risks becoming a tool for human rights abuses and transnational repression, undermining cybersecurity and the very principles it aims to protect.

Human Rights Safeguards

The proposed convention has two articles on human rights that could potentially limit its broad scope and intrusive surveillance powers: a general provision under Article 5, which applies to the entire draft convention, and Article 24, which describes the conditions and safeguards for new domestic surveillance powers.  However, both articles are insufficient and inadequate to provide meaningful protections in practice.

Article 5: General Human Rights Provisions 

First, it should mandate compliance with human rights obligations, not merely consistency. This less stringent wording would allow for broader interpretation by States, and potentially looser application, which could lead to inconsistent protection across different jurisdictions as states with weaker human rights records may interpret "consistent with" in a way that minimally satisfies their obligations without fully protecting individuals' rights.

Second, Article 5 fails to explicitly incorporate core tenets of human rights including the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, and non-discrimination, and generally fails to impose explicit limitations. In practice, this means that many elements of the convention are likely to be implemented in ways that fall short of international human rights standards. Notably, some prospective signatories to this convention have refused to sign and ratify core human rights instruments such as the ICCPR, and in negotiations a number of states have explicitly rejected attempts to incorporate equality rights into Article 5, including the obligation to mainstream a gender perspective and to take into consideration, when implementing this convention, the circumstances of people who face marginalization in society. Uruguay, for example, has proposed that integrating language on gender, vulnerable groups, and rule of law safeguards.

One of the critical components of effective human rights safeguards is the inclusion of prior judicial authorization, transparency and user notification.

Article 24: Conditions and Safeguards for Domestic Surveillance Powers

Article 24 of the proposed UN Cybercrime Convention outlines how states should protect human rights when using domestic surveillance powers.  While Article 24 helpfully incorporates the principle of proportionality—a central human rights principle—it fails to explicitly include the principles of legality, necessity and non-discrimination. The principle of legality requires laws to be clear, publicized, and precise, ensuring individuals understand what is criminalized. The principle of necessity ensures any interference with human rights is proportionate to achieving a legitimate aim. The principle of non-discrimination requires that laws and policies be applied equally and fairly to all individuals, without any form of discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. Without these principles, the safeguards are incomplete and inadequate, increasing the risk of misuse and abuse of surveillance powers.

One of the critical components of effective human rights safeguards is the inclusion of prior judicial authorization, transparency, user notification, and the right to an effective remedy. The Chair’s Proposal specifies in Article 24(2) that conditions and safeguards should "include, inter alia, judicial or other independent review, the right to an effective remedy, grounds justifying application, and limitation of the scope and duration of such power or procedure." However, making these safeguards contingent on domestic law can weaken their effectiveness, as national laws vary significantly and may not provide adequate protections. Moreover, while both versions of Article 24 incorporate the principle of proportionality, they fail to explicitly include the principles of legality and necessity. The principle of legality requires laws to be clear, publicized, and precise, ensuring individuals understand what is criminalized. The principle of necessity ensures any interference with human rights is proportionate to achieving a legitimate aim. By granting states broad discretion to decide what safeguard to apply in relation to which surveillance power, the convention fails to ensure the text will be implemented in a manner that is in accordance with human rights. 

To address these issues, the Special Rapporteur has already called on states to revise and amend (...)  surveillance (...) and bring them into compliance with international human rights norms and standards governing the right to privacy, the right to free expression, peaceful assembly, and freedom of association. This issue remains unresolved, and the current convention risks perpetuating these existing concerns.

Domestic Spying Powers and Domestic Safeguards

The Convention grants extensive domestic surveillance powers to gather evidence for any crime, accompanied by minimal and insufficient safeguards, many of which do not even apply to its chapter on cross-border surveillance (Chapter V).  Key measures include expedited preservation of electronic data (Article 25), production orders for specific data (Article 27), and real-time collection of traffic and content data (Articles 29 and 30). These provisions enable rapid and comprehensive data access, essential for investigating cybercrimes. One particularly troubling aspect is Article 28(4), which allows authorities to compel individuals with knowledge of ICT systems to provide necessary information for accessing data. We has consistently voiced concerns that this provision could lead to forced assistance without adequate protection for the rights of those compelled. This broad and potentially coercive power risks significant abuse, especially in jurisdictions lacking strong human rights safeguards.

The combination of intrusive domestic surveillance powers paired with insufficient safeguards heightens the risk of misuse, potentially leading to arbitrary and disproportionate restrictions on privacy and other human rights. To illustrate the potential risks of granting states broad discretion in applying safeguards, consider the following examples:

  1. Lack of legal protection of subscriber data: This threatens the anonymity of the LGBTQ+ community, making them vulnerable to identification and subsequent persecution. Without strong safeguards and a narrow scope, the mere act of engaging in virtual communities, sharing personal anecdotes, or openly expressing relationships could lead to their subscribers' identities being disclosed, putting them at significant risk. Offline, the implications intensify with amplified hesitancy to participate in public events, showcase LGBTQ+ symbols, or even undertake daily routines that risk revealing their identity. The draft convention's potential to bolster digital surveillance capabilities means that even private communications, like discussions about same-sex relationships or plans for LGBTQ+ gatherings, could be monitored, collected, intercepted and turned against them.
  2. Metadata Tracking: A country could classify metadata, such as location data, with less stringent protections compared to content data, leading to extensive tracking of individuals' movements without adequate oversight. 
  3. Weak Judicial Oversight: In a country with a weak judicial system, surveillance activities might not require judicial oversight or prior judicial authorization, allowing authorities to conduct intrusive surveillance without proper scrutiny. 
  4. Discriminatory Surveillance Practices: Broad discretion could enable discriminatory surveillance practices, disproportionately targeting certain ethnic or religious groups under the pretext of “protecting the children.”
  5. International Data Sharing: Without clear limitations, a country could share surveillance data internationally, risking the persecution of political dissidents or human rights activists in countries with poor human rights records.
  6. Lack of Transparency: A lack of transparency requirements for surveillance activities could prevent individuals from knowing whether they are being surveilled or challenging unlawful surveillance. 
  7. Weak Protections for Digital Communications: Lastly, weak protections for digital communications such as emails and instant messages could allow authorities to intercept and read private communications without robust legal safeguards or oversight. 

For safeguards to be meaningful, the Convention should mandate prior approval by a judge for surveillance activities. As specified in the Necessary and Proportionate Principles, meaningful safeguards should also set strict time limits and establish transparency obligations, such as notifying individuals when their personal data has been accessed. While the Chair’s Proposal includes the right to an effective remedy, individuals cannot effectively exercise this right if they are unaware that their data was accessed, especially in cases where the investigation does not lead to legal proceedings. The authorities should also be required to explain the specific facts that justify surveilling particular individuals and publicly report the frequency of using these powers.

In conclusion, while the Chair’s  Proposal makes some improvements by explicitly including the right to an effective remedy and continuing to recognize the principle of proportionality, its reliance on domestic law for oversight significantly weakens the protection of human rights. The absence of the principles of legality and necessity, combined with the broad discretion given to States, heightens the risk of misuse and abuse of surveillance powers. To truly safeguard human rights, the Convention must mandate strict compliance with international human rights standards and ensure comprehensive and consistent application of safeguards across all states.

The Dangers of Cross-Border Surveillance and Data Sharing Scope Creep in International Cooperation

One might assume a "cybercrime" convention would focus exclusively on cybercrimes. However, the principles of international cooperation in this convention exemplify significant and dangerous scope creep. And without mandated safeguards in the convention itself for this chapter, this opens the door wide for abuse and transnational repression.

The scope of the international cooperation chapter is still notably wide, and is one primary reason that we've repeatedly said that this convention is truly an all-purpose global surveillance instrument:

  • Article 35(1)(b) of the chair's proposal requires states to cooperate in the collection, obtaining, preservation, and sharing of electronic evidence for criminal investigations or proceedings of criminal offenses established in accordance with the Convention. Essentially, this means that states are obliged to assist each other in managing electronic evidence related to Articles 6-16, regardless of their severity;
  • Article 35(1)(c) of the chair's proposal significantly broadens the scope of international cooperation by including the collection, obtaining, preservation, and sharing of electronic evidence for any activity deemed serious by national law. The defining criteria for "serious" is a crime that carries a prison term of at least four years, as stated in Article 2(1)(h) of the convention. Importantly, the crime itself is defined by the national law of the state requesting cooperation. The only requirement set by the convention is the severity of the penalty (a prison term of at least four years). Therefore, as long as the national law includes a crime punishable by at least four years of imprisonment, it qualifies for international cooperation under this provision. This is applicable whether the alleged offense is cybercrime or not. This also includes serious offenses established in accordance with “other applicable United Nations conventions and protocols in force at the time of adoption” of the Convention.

 This broad scope could lead to abuses, particularly in countries with weaker human rights protections, where national laws might include offenses that do not align with international human rights standards.

Such a UN endorsement could establish a perilous precedent, authorizing surveillance measures that are in stark contradiction with international human rights law and UN values. Even more concerning, it might tempt certain countries to formulate or increase their restrictive criminal laws, eager to tap into the broader pool of cross-border surveillance cooperation that the proposed convention offers. In certain countries, many of these criminal laws might be based on subjective moral judgments that suppress what is considered protected speech under international human rights standards. 

As such, these provisions could result in heightened cross-border monitoring and potential repercussions for individuals, leading to torture or even the death penalty in countries like Iran. For example, activists urged the UN to relocate Cop27 from Egypt due to concerns over Egypt’s record of LGBTQ+ torture, woman slaughter, civil rights suppression, and limitations on the participation of diverse voices, including protesters and indigenous rights groups.

The Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association has observed that states increasingly use technology to silence, surveil, and harass dissidents, political opposition, human rights defenders, activists, and protesters, as well as manipulate public opinion. This includes the use of digital surveillance (...) to suppress civil society activities.

Effectively, whenever countries deem any criminal act to be subject to a prison term of at least four years in their domestic law, they can use the Convention to ask other governments to assist in spying to collect evidence, even if they are speech offenses or otherwise criminalize human rights protected activities. All these illustrate how repressive regimes can exploit the broad scope of the Convention’s international cooperation regime—including cross-border spying assistance, and extradition—to gather evidence and target marginalized communities, posing significant human rights problems.

Even worse, the situation is exacerbated by the fact that cross-border data sharing and surveillance assistance between states are not subject to the safeguards in Article 24. Instead, the safeguards will be those of the requesting country, whatever that standard may be, further amplifying the risk of human rights abuses and transnational repression.

Transnational repression refers to actions by governments that reach beyond their borders to silence dissent among their nationals abroad through tactics like surveillance, harassment, and intimidation. For decades, Human Rights Watch has documented governments reaching outside their borders to silence or deter dissent by committing human rights abuses against their own nationals or former nationals. Governments have targeted human rights defenders, journalists, civil society activists, and political opponents, among others, deemed to be a security threat. Many are asylum seekers or recognized refugees in their place of exile. These governmental actions beyond borders leave individuals unable to find genuine safety for themselves and their families. See table of cases at the end.

According to research by Freedom House, the top five perpetrators of transnational repression are China, Turkey, Tajikistan, Egypt, and Russia. Followed by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Belarus, and Rwanda, with the 10 nations collectively responsible for 80 percent of documented cases. China alone accounts for 30 percent of these cases.

It is a growing concern that poses significant challenges to international human rights norms and protections. Several other organizations have also been warning that existing international law enforcement cooperation mechanisms are being abused or twisted to allow political repression even beyond forceful data localization mandates that seek to bypass international cooperation rules. 

INTERPOL, for instance, is an intergovernmental organization of 193 countries that facilitates worldwide police cooperation. But Human Rights Watch has documented numerous allegations of how China, Bahrain, Turkey, and other countries have abused INTERPOL’s Red Notice system—a request to law enforcement worldwide to “locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action”—to locate peaceful critics of government policies ostensibly for minor offenses but really, for political gain

While states continue to negotiate over whether some of the conventions’ specific cross-border surveillance powers will be limited in application to a subset of crimes, the overall impact of the convention is concerning. By obligating states to process cooperation requests in relation to any offense deemed serious as defined by national law, the convention’s broad scope threatens to overwhelm the ability of already overburdened legal assistance bodies to ensure they are processing requests in a way that is consistent with their own human rights obligations. It would also operate as an internationally authorized vehicle of cooperation between states where the rule of law has broken down and which have a track record of abusing international cooperation instruments for repression.

While some democratic countries may believe they can sidestep these pitfalls by not collaborating with countries that have controversial laws, this confidence may be misplaced. First, grounds for refusal are optional, not obligatory. The draft convention allows countries to refuse a request if the activity in question is not a crime in its domestic regime (the principle of "dual criminality"). However, given the current strain on the mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) system, there's an increasing likelihood that requests, even from countries with contentious laws, could slip through the cracks. This opens the door for nations to inadvertently assist in operations that might contradict global human rights norms. Second, where countries do share the same subjective values and problematically criminalize the same conduct, this draft convention seemingly provides a justification for their cooperation. And even governments that claim to uphold free expression and privacy domestically frequently abandon these principles in international cooperation, especially under the pretext of counterterrorism.

It's now less likely that governments will refuse mutual legal assistance requests on human rights grounds

Third, as we previously discussed with Deborah Brown, with the rise of cloud computing and companies storing data in various countries, including those with poor human rights records like Saudi Arabia, it's now less likely that governments will refuse mutual legal assistance requests on human rights grounds. In the past, most data was stored in only a handful of countries, making it easier to deny disproportionate requests. Today, with data scattered across multiple jurisdictions, enforcing human rights protections becomes more complicated and less consistent.

Article 40: Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA)

Article 40 outlines the principles and procedures for mutual legal assistance (MLA) between states. It mandates that states provide the broadest measure of MLA in investigations, prosecutions, and judicial proceedings related to offenses established "in accordance with the Convention," specifically those outlined in Articles 6 to 16, which cover various cybercrimes. The article sets the framework for cooperation in collecting electronic evidence and ensures that MLA is provided to the fullest extent possible under relevant laws and treaties. There is a bracket in Article 40(1) ["as well as of serious crimes"] indicating the text has received preliminary approval during informal discussions, but the bracket is still under negotiation and has not yet been finalized. The inclusion of "serious crimes" would broaden the scope of mutual legal assistance to include serious crimes beyond those specifically defined in the Convention, pending consensus among the negotiating states. 

Additionally, Article 40(8) of the Convention allows countries to refuse requests for help if: the request doesn’t follow the rules of the Convention; helping would harm the country’s sovereignty, security, or other important interests; the requested action would be illegal under the requested country’s own laws if it were applied to a similar crime within their jurisdiction; or granting the request would go against the requested country’s legal system. However, these grounds of refusal are not enough. The chair has proposed the addition of Article 40.20 (bis), allowing states to refuse mutual legal assistance if the request is believed to be made for political purposes or to prosecute someone based on their political opinions, sex, race, language, religion, nationality, or ethnic origin. However, the high evidentiary threshold may limit the practical effectiveness of this safeguard, making it difficult for states to justify refusals and potentially allowing such requests to proceed. 

Article 40.4: Proactive Information Sharing and Its Risks

Article 40.4 also allows authorities to share information about criminal matters with foreign counterparts proactively, without a formal request. While intended to facilitate international cooperation, this provision poses significant risks to privacy and data protection. Without stringent safeguards, sensitive personal data could be shared too freely, potentially leading to misuse, especially if the receiving country lacks strong data protection laws. Article 40.4 must be amended to ensure that personal data is only shared when absolutely necessary for specific criminal investigations, prosecutions, and judicial proceedings, and with robust data protections rules in place.

Article 47: Extensive Data Sharing for Investigative Purposes

Article 47 also presents significant and troubling legal challenges due to its expansive scope and the absence of essential safeguards. This new version continues to authorize extensive cooperation among States Parties, including the sharing of personal and sensitive data for analytical or investigative purposes, but now it has been limited to a set of crimes. However, it fails to incorporate critical protections found in Article 24, such as principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, transparency, prior judicial authorization, and robust data protection measures. This omission is alarming, as it could permit the unregulated exchange of  potentially biometric, traffic, and location data. The provision's lack of specificity and its disconnection from particular criminal investigations or proceedings exacerbate these concerns, potentially enabling large scale data-sharing and the targeting of vulnerable populations, including journalists, activists, and minority groups.

Moreover, the absence of oversight by central authorities and the lack of clear limitations or exclusions for sharing sensitive personal data further amplify the risk of human rights violations. It is imperative that this article be fundamentally revised to include robust human rights protections, ensuring that international cooperation does not come at the expense of civil liberties and data protection.

In conclusion, the breadth of the cross-border regime and the absence of adequate human rights safeguards will facilitate human rights abuses by allowing states to request assistance in national investigations. Disagreements—from the broad scope to the absence of robust minimum human rights safeguards—are deep and substantive, and continue to be on the negotiating table, albeit now in closed-door informal meetings. Yet despite these fundamental issues, negotiators continue to present compromises that sweep these problems under the rug as a manufactured potential consensus

The breadth of the cross-border regime and the absence of adequate human rights safeguards will facilitate human rights abuses

The next version of the Convention’s text, expected early June, must address these issues that were left unresolved in the chair’s compromise text published in February 2024. Critical unanswered questions remain. The text continues to reflect the deep divides among states. Minimal progress has been made in limiting the convention's scope of cross border spying assistance and data sharing or strengthening human rights safeguards, even less in ensuring these safeguards apply to the international cooperation chapter. Prioritizing consensus over human rights protections risks disproportionate surveillance abuses and significant erosion of privacy and freedom of expression. EFF and a coalition of NGOs have consistently warned about the dangers of such compromises, cautioning that "there is a real risk that, in an attempt to entice all States to sign a proposed UN cybercrime convention, bad human rights practices will be accommodated, resulting in a race to the bottom.”

Missed Opportunities: The Exclusion of Key Safeguards 

To mitigate the harm of the Convention’s broad scope and limited safeguards, during the January session Canada proposed an amendment to Article 3, to narrow the application of the Convention so it does not apply to acts of repression.

“Nothing in this Convention shall be interpreted as permitting or facilitating repression of expression, conscience, opinion, belief, peaceful assembly or association; or permitting or facilitating discrimination or persecution based on individual characteristics.”

 This proposal would, in principle, render some of the Convention’s more problematic features such as its cross-border cooperation regime inapplicable to acts of repression or discrimination.

The current chair's proposal would permit (but not require) states to refuse cross-border MLA requests that are politically motivated or discriminatory, provided there are substantial grounds for believing this to be the case. However, the requirement for substantial grounds sets a high evidentiary threshold that may limit the practical effectiveness of this safeguard, making it challenging for states to justify refusals and potentially allowing politically motivated or discriminatory requests to proceed.

Similarly, Article 59 (3) of the chair's proposal is intended to safeguard human rights by ensuring that the Convention cannot be used to justify unlawful restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms. However, its general language and lack of specific enforcement mechanisms render it weak. The provision relies on the interpretation and goodwill of states, which can vary significantly, particularly in jurisdictions with poor human rights records. 

Neither of these proposals, however, would solve all of the Convention’s ills. Rights-respecting states will be better equipped to refuse requests that conflict with their human rights obligations, but the Convention's broad scope will flood national MLAT units with requests from governments around the world in relation to all serious crimes. 

This will make it far more difficult for these already over-burdened MLAT units to identify human rights abuses when processing foreign requests. Canada’s proposal would also further permit impacted people to challenge government action directly on the basis that it falls outside the scope of the Convention, including action taken on the basis of its substantive criminal provisions and its domestic surveillance powers. However, the Convention includes a number of secrecy provisions and fails to include an individual notice obligation. As a result, individuals rarely will be aware that they are the object of a request and will have limited opportunities to challenge these on the basis that they fall outside the scope of the Convention.

Nonetheless, these proposals would have provided tools to mitigate some of the convention’s more problematic aspects, yet neither is included in the current text.

Broadening Criminalization: Risks of Overreach and Repression in the Convention

Since the start of the process, a number of states have pushed for including a much expanded list of criminal offenses in the convention, simply on the basis these offenses were committed using communications technologies. These include proposals for vaguely defined “terrorism” crimes and offenses that would criminalize “incitement to subversion”.  

The chair’s amendment Article 60bis (Article 17 in previous versions) ensures that offenses established under other applicable United Nations conventions and protocols are also considered criminal offenses under domestic law when committed through the use of information and communications technology systems. The provision is improved over past proposals which would have applied to all present and future conventions, but continues to be a source of concern in that it could require the creation of new offenses based on convention’s obligations that were not designed with ICT networks in mind.

Article 60bis is also an improvement over its predecessor in that it adds subsection (2), which clarifies that Article 60bis “shall not be interpreted as establishing offenses under this Convention.” As a number of the Convention’s provisions are carefully limited to offenses “established in accordance with the Convention,” including the convention’s extradition provision, this could have the impact of limiting those provisions so that they do not apply to Article 60bis offenses. However, as our ally ARTICLE 19 pointed out, subtle differences in language might mean that Article 60bis offenses might be considered as established “in accordance with the Convention” despite not being “established under this Convention”, resulting in a far greater scope of application.

One surprising element of the chair’s compromise was its inclusion of a proposal to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee to negotiate a future protocol supplementing the Convention immediately upon adoption of the Convention by the General Assembly. This could include another list of crimes for a subset of states, further expanding the Convention's reach and exacerbating the risk of human rights abuses.

Real-World Implications

The proposed UN Cybercrime Convention, with its broad cross-border assistance scope and lack of minimum robust safeguards, poses significant risks to human rights. The potential for misuse and abuse is not theoretical: It is a reality faced by individuals and communities around the world. The proposed convention amplifies the existing threats to the LGBTQ+ community, journalists, activists and minority religious groups among others. It endorses a framework where nations can surveil benign activities such as simply sharing LGBTQ+ content, potentially intensifying the already-precarious situation for this community in many regions.

The following examples illustrate how transnational repression is already being practiced by various governments, highlighting the urgent need for a narrow scope and robust safeguards in the Convention.

Examples of Transnational Repression Documented by Human Rights Watch's Report “We Will Find You” A Global Look at How Governments Repress Nationals Abroad:

Country

Description

China

The Chinese government has been implicated in targeting political dissidents abroad through online harassment and defamation campaigns. These tactics aim to silence criticism and control the narrative internationally.

Turkey

Documented instances of Turkey misusing INTERPOL’s Red Notice system to target political opponents abroad. This misuse extends to other multilateral tools, increasing the risk of transnational repression.

Rwanda

Authorities targeted thousands of activists, journalists, and politicians using NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. This surveillance extends to those living abroad, creating a pervasive sense of fear and threat among the diaspora.

Saudi Arabia

Government agents infiltrated Twitter to spy on dissidents. Similarly, Saudi authorities have been known to use other platforms to gather information on critics, exacerbating the risks faced by activists both domestically and internationally.

Ethiopia

Surveillance follows political refugees abroad, with Ethiopian authorities using commercial spyware to target family members of dissidents living in the UK, thereby exerting pressure on the individuals in exile.

Examples of Arbitrary, Illegitimate and Disproportionate Laws that Could Trigger Surveillance and International Cooperation

Country

Description

Russia Following the 2023 Supreme Court decision designating the “international LGBT movement” as extremist, arbitrary prosecutions for activities such as displaying the rainbow flag or wearing rainbow-colored accessories have occurred, with penalties up to four years in prison for repeat offenses. Under Article 35’s provisions, Russia could request other countries to surveil and track LGBTQ+ individuals in real time, treating their expressions of identity as serious crimes. Egypt In 2017, during a concert where attendees waved rainbow flags, numerous individuals were arrested, with some sentenced to six years in prison for "debauchery" and "inciting debauchery." Cybercrime Law No. 175/2018 contains broad provisions to silence dissent and target LGBTQ+ individuals. Articles 25 and 26 have been used to prosecute "violations of family values," and other forms of online expression. Thailand It is a crime of lèse-majesté to defame, insult, or threaten members of the royal family, carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. This law has been used to target activists. Thailand could request assistance from its allies to track down and intercept communications of their nationals criticizing the monarch, even while traveling or living abroad. Jordan The pre-existing cybercrime law has been used against LGBTQ+ people, and the new Cybercrime Law of 2023 expands its capacity to do so. With overly broad and vaguely defined terms, this law will severely restrict individual human rights and will become a tool for prosecuting innocent individuals for their online speech. Saudi Arabia Between 2011 and 2015, at least 39 individuals were jailed under the pretense of counterterrorism for expressing themselves online. Authorities have used the 2007 Anti-Cyber Crime Law to criminalize online content and activity that is considered to impinge on “public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy.” Tunisia Decree-Law No. 54 (2022) has been used to prosecute media and individuals for "false news," information that harms “public security,” and opposition to government policies, mandating a five-year prison sentence. The first criminal investigation saw the arrest of student Ahmed Hamada for reporting on law enforcement clashes. In the year since Decree-Law 54 was enacted, authorities in Tunisia have prosecuted media outlets. United
Arab Emirates Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021 replaces an older law used to stifle dissent, such as sentencing human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor to 10 years in prison. Article 22 mandates prison sentences for sharing unauthorized information online, further restricting the already heavily-monitored online space and making it harder for ordinary citizens, as well as journalists and activists, to share information.

The inclusion of these examples underscores the importance of ensuring that the UN Cybercrime Convention incorporates robust human rights safeguards to prevent its misuse as a tool for transnational repression. The international community must prioritize the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms in the drafting and implementation of this Convention. 

Katitza Rodriguez

Surveillance Defense for Campus Protests

5 days 8 hours ago

The recent wave of protests calling for peace in Palestine have been met with unwarranted and aggressive suppression from law enforcement, universities, and other bad actors. It’s clear that the changing role of surveillance on college campuses exacerbates the dangers faced by all of the communities colleges are meant to support, and only serves to suppress lawful speech. These harmful practices must come to an end, and until they do, activists should take precautions to protect themselves and their communities. There are no easy or universal answers, but here we outline some common considerations to help guide campus activists.

Protest Pocket Guide How We Got Here

Over the past decade, many campuses have been building up their surveillance arsenal and inviting a greater police presence on campus. EFF and fellow privacy and speech advocates have been clear that this is a dangerous trend that chills free expression and makes students feel less safe, while fostering an adversarial and distrustful relationship with the administration.

Many tools used on campuses overlap with the street-level surveillance used by law enforcement, but universities are in a unique position of power over students being monitored. For students, universities are not just their school, but often their home, employer, healthcare provider, visa sponsor, place of worship, and much more. This reliance heightens the risks imposed by surveillance, and brings it into potentially every aspect of students’ lives.

Putting together a security plan is an essential first step to protect yourself from surveillance.

EFF has also been clear for years: as campuses build up their surveillance capabilities in the name of safety, they chill speech and foster a more adversarial relationship between students and the administration. Yet, this expansion has continued in recent years, especially after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

This came to a head in April, when groups across the U.S. pressured their universities to disclose and divest their financial interest in companies doing business in Israel and weapons manufacturers, and to distance themselves from ties to the defense industry. These protests echo similar campus divestment campaigns against the prison industry in 2015, and the campaign against apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. However, the current divestment movement has been met with disroportionate suppression and unprecedented digital surveillance from many universities.

This guide is written with those involved in protests in mind. Student journalists covering protests may also face digital threats and can refer to our previous guide to journalists covering protests.

Campus Security Planning

Putting together a security plan is an essential first step to protect yourself from surveillance. You can’t protect all information from everyone, and as a practical matter you probably wouldn’t want to. Instead, you want to identify what information is sensitive and who should and shouldn’t have access to it.

That means this plan will be very specific to your context and your own tolerance of risk from physical and psychological harm. For a more general walkthrough you can check out our Security Plan article on Surveillance Self-Defense. Here, we will walk through this process with prevalent concerns from current campus protests.

What do I want to protect?

Current university protests are a rapid and decentralized response to what the UN International Court of Justice ruled as a plausible case of genocide in Gaza, and to the reported humanitarian crisis in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Such movements will need to focus on secure communication, immediate safety at protests, and protection from collected data being used for retaliation—either at protests themselves or on social media.

At a protest, a mix of visible and invisible surveillance may be used to identify protesters. This can include administrators or law enforcement simply attending and keeping notes of what is said, but often digital recordings can make that same approach less plainly visible. This doesn't just include video and audio recordings—protesters may also be subject to tracking methods like face recognition technology and location tracking from their phone, school ID usage, or other sensors. So here, you want to be mindful of anything you say or anything on your person, which can reveal your identity or role in the protest, or those of fellow protestors.

This may also be paired with online surveillance. The university or police may monitor activity on social media, even joining private or closed groups to gather information. Of course, any services hosted by the university, such as email or WiFi networks, can also be monitored for activity. Again, taking care of what information is shared with whom is essential, including carefully separating public information (like the time of a rally) and private information (like your location when attending). Also keep in mind how what you say publicly, even in a moment of frustration, may be used to draw negative attention to yourself and undermine the cause.

However, many people may strategically use their position and identity publicly to lend credibility to a movement, such as a prominent author or alumnus. In doing so they should be mindful of those around them in more vulnerable positions.

Who do I want to protect it from?

Divestment challenges the financial underpinning of many institutions in higher education. The most immediate adversaries are clear: the university being pressured and the institutions being targeted for divestment.

However, many schools are escalating by inviting police on campus, sometimes as support for their existing campus police, making them yet another potential adversary. Pro-Palestine protests have drawn attention from some federal agencies, meaning law enforcement will inevitably be a potential surveillance adversary even when not invited by universities.

With any sensitive political issue, there are also people who will oppose your position. Others at the protest can escalate threats to safety, or try to intimidate and discredit those they disagree with. Private actors, whether individuals or groups, can weaponize surveillance tools available to consumers online or at a protest, even if it is as simple as video recording and doxxing attendees.

How bad are the consequences if I fail?

Failing to protect information can have a range of consequences that will depend on the institution and local law enforcement’s response. Some schools defused campus protests by agreeing to enter talks with protesters. Others opted to escalate tensions by having police dismantle encampments and having participants suspended, expelled, or arrested. Such disproportionate disciplinary actions put students at risk in myriad ways, depending how they relied on the institution. The extent to which institutions will attempt to chill speech with surveillance will vary, but unlike direct physical disruption, surveillance tools may be used with less hesitation.

The safest bet is to lock your devices with a pin or password, turn off biometric unlocks such as face or fingerprint, and say nothing but to assert your rights.

All interactions with law enforcement carry some risk, and will differ based on your identity and history of police interactions. This risk can be mitigated by knowing your rights and limiting your communication with police unless in the presence of an attorney. 

How likely is it that I will need to protect it?

Disproportionate disciplinary actions will often coincide with and be preceded by some form of surveillance. Even schools that are more accommodating of peace protests may engage in some level of monitoring, particularly schools that have already adopted surveillance tech. School devices, services, and networks are also easy targets, so try to use alternatives to these when possible. Stick to using personal devices and not university-administered ones for sensitive information, and adopt tools to limit monitoring, like Tor. Even banal systems like campus ID cards, presence monitors, class attendance monitoring, and wifi access points can create a record of student locations or tip off schools to people congregating. Online surveillance is also easy to implement by simply joining groups on social media, or even adopting commercial social media monitoring tools.

Schools that invite a police presence make their students and workers subject to the current practices of local law enforcement. Our resource, the Atlas of Surveillance, gives an idea of what technology local law enforcement is capable of using, and our Street-Level Surveillance hub breaks down the capabilities of each device. But other factors, like how well-resourced local law enforcement is, will determine the scale of the response. For example, if local law enforcement already have social media monitoring programs, they may use them on protesters at the request of the university.

Bad actors not directly affiliated with the university or law enforcement may be the most difficult factor to anticipate. These threats can arise from people who are physically present, such as onlookers or counter-protesters, and individuals who are offsite. Information about protesters can be turned against them for purposes of surveillance, harassment, or doxxing. Taking measures found in this guide will also be useful to protect yourself from this potentiality.

Finally, don’t confuse your rights with your safety. Even if you are in a context where assembly is legal and surveillance and suppression is not, be prepared for it to happen anyway. Legal protections are retrospective, so for your own safety, be prepared for adversaries willing to overstep these protections.

How much trouble am I willing to go through to try to prevent potential consequences?

There is no perfect answer to this question, and every individual protester has their own risks and considerations. In setting this boundary, it is important to communicate it with others and find workable solutions that meet people where they’re at. Being open and judgment-free in these discussions make the movement being built more consensual and less prone to abuses.  Centering consent in organizing can also help weed out bad actors in your own camp who will raise the risk for all who participate, deliberately or not.

Keep in mind that nearly any electronic device you own can be used to track you, but there are a few steps you can take to make that data collection more difficult. 

Sometimes a surveillance self-defense tactic will invite new threats. Some universities and governments have been so eager to get images of protesters’ faces they have threatened criminal penalties on people wearing masks at gatherings. These new potential charges must now need to be weighed against the potential harms of face recognition technology, doxxing, and retribution someone may face by exposing their face.

Privacy is also a team sport. Investing a lot of energy in only your own personal surveillance defense may have diminishing returns, but making an effort to educate peers and adjust the norms of the movement puts less work on any one person has a potentially greater impact. Sharing resources in this post and the surveillance self-defense guides, and hosting your own workshops with the security education companion, are good first steps.

Who are my allies?

Cast a wide net of support; many members of faculty and staff may be able to provide forms of support to students, like institutional knowledge about school policies. Many school alumni are also invested in the reputation of their alma mater, and can bring outside knowledge and resources.

A number of non-profit organizations can also support protesters who face risks on campus. For example, many campus bail funds have been set up to support arrested protesters. The National Lawyers Guild has chapters across the U.S. that can offer Know Your Rights training and provide and train people to become legal observers (people who document a protest so that there is a clear legal record of civil liberties’ infringements should protesters face prosecution).

Many local solidarity groups may also be able to help provide trainings, street medics, and jail support. Many groups in EFF’s grassroots network, the Electronic Frontier Alliance, also offer free digital rights training and consultations.

Finally, EFF can help victims of surveillance directly when they email info@eff.org or Signal 510-243-8020. Even when EFF cannot take on your case, we have a wide network of attorneys and cybersecurity researchers who can offer support.

Beyond preparing according to your security plan, preparing plans with networks of support outside of the protest is a good idea.

Tips and Resources

Keep in mind that nearly any electronic device you own can be used to track you, but there are a few steps you can take to make that data collection more difficult. To prevent tracking, your best option is to leave all your devices at home, but that’s not always possible, and makes communication and planning much more difficult. So, it’s useful to get an idea of what sorts of surveillance is feasible, and what you can do to prevent it. This is meant as a starting point, not a comprehensive summary of everything you may need to do or know:

Prepare yourself and your devices for protests

Our guide for attending a protest covers the basics for protecting your smartphone and laptop, as well as providing guidance on how to communicate and share information responsibly. We have a handy printable version available here, too, that makes it easy to share with others.

Beyond preparing according to your security plan, preparing plans with networks of support outside of the protest is a good idea. Tell friends or family when you plan to attend and leave, so that if there are arrests or harassment they can follow up to make sure you are safe. If there may be arrests, make sure to have the phone number of an attorney and possibly coordinate with a jail support group.

Protect your online accounts

Doxxing, when someone exposes information about you, is a tactic reportedly being used on some protesters. This information is often found in public places, like "people search" sites and social media. Being doxxed can be overwhelming and difficult to control in the moment, but you can take some steps to manage it or at least prepare yourself for what information is available. To get started, check out this guide that the New York Times created to train its journalists how to dox themselves, and Pen America's Online Harassment Field Manual

Compartmentalize

Being deliberate about how and where information is shared can limit the impact of any one breach of privacy. Online, this might look like using different accounts for different purposes or preferring smaller Signal chats, and offline it might mean being deliberate about with whom information is shared, and bringing “clean” devices (without sensitive information) to protests.

Be mindful of potential student surveillance tools 

It’s difficult to track what tools each campus is using to track protesters, but it’s possible that colleges are using the same tricks they’ve used for monitoring students in the past alongside surveillance tools often used by campus police. One good rule of thumb: if a device, software, or an online account was provided by the school (like an .edu email address or test-taking monitoring software), then the school may be able to access what you do on it. Likewise, remember that if you use a corporate or university-controlled tool without end-to-end encryption for communication or collaboration, like online documents or email, content may be shared by the corporation or university with law enforcement when compelled with a warrant. 

Know your rights if you’re arrested: 

Thousands of students, staff, faculty, and community members have been arrested, but it’s important to remember that the vast majority of the people who have participated in street and campus demonstrations have not been arrested nor taken into custody. Nevertheless, be careful and know what to do if you’re arrested.

The safest bet is to lock your devices with a pin or password, turn off biometric unlocks such as face or fingerprint, and say nothing but to assert your rights, for example, refusing consent to a search of your devices, bags, vehicles, or home. Law enforcement can lie and pressure arrestees into saying things that are later used against them, so waiting until you have a lawyer before speaking is always the right call.

Barring a warrant, law enforcement cannot compel you to unlock your devices or answer questions, beyond basic identification in some jurisdictions. Law enforcement may not respect your rights when they’re taking you into custody, but your lawyer and the courts can protect your rights later, especially if you assert them during the arrest and any time in custody.

Rory Mir

【支部リポート】福岡 日常に近づく自衛隊 憲法集会 今年も協賛=白垣詔男

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[B] 「TICAD9に先駆け韓国・アフリカ首脳会議」【西サハラ最新情報】  平田伊都子

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韓国は、2024年6月4日と5日に首都ソウルで、<韓国・アフリカ首脳会議>を開催しました。 韓国の聯合ニュースは、「アフリカ大陸から48か国の首脳と閣僚が参加した」と、その盛会ぶりを報じました。 おめでとう!お隣さん!! 来年8月には、日本もTICAD9(アフリカ開発会議)を開くそうです。 先を越された〜〜感が、否めまセン、
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7/7(日)@東村 高江座り込み17周年報告集会のお知らせ

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