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Mass Surveillance

    April 13, 2015

    It’s time to “draw a line under” the debate Edward Snowden sparked with his revelations about intrusive government mass surveillance and “move on”. So the UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told a meeting of national security and intelligence professionals last month.

    He was wrong. In fact, the debate is only beginning.

    Just two days after Hammond’s speech, the UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee released a report which concluded that British laws governing intelligence agencies and mass surveillance require a complete overhaul to make them more transparent and understandable. Amnesty International called the country’s regulation of government surveillance “an inadequate mess”.

    This is not mere rhetoric. The organization is in the process of bringing fresh legal action against both the UK and US governments to challenge their use of indiscriminate mass surveillance programmes to hoover up our communications – emails, calls, internet searches, contact lists, phone locations, webcam images and more – on an unprecedented scale.

    April 01, 2015

    By Thomas Coombes, Campaigns press officer at Amnesty International. Follow Thomas on Twitter @T_Coombes.  

    Four decades of domination over almost all aspects of life in East Germany came to an abrupt halt exactly 25 years ago today. On 31 March 1990, one of the most intrusive surveillance organisations in human history, the Ministry for State Security, more infamously known as the Stasi, was dissolved.

    Two months ago I was at the old Stasi headquarters, today a museum in Berlin, for an open day commemorating the storming of the building by East Germans a few weeks after the Berlin Wall fell. There were film screenings, discussions, information stands and a tour through the Stasi’s enormous archive that at one point contained files on an estimated six million people. Some say a file was kept for one in three citizens.