Category Archives: Human Rights

Technology and Human Rights

Photo courtesy of Espen Moe on Flickr |

Assange recites essay on BBC radio about mass surveillance

Last Thursday, Julian Assange appeared on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme to recite an essay on the government’s desire to achieve ‘god-like’ knowledge of its citizens.

“To keep a person ignorant is to place them in a cage.  So it follows that the powerful if they want to keep their power, will try to know as much as about us as they can and they will try to make sure that we know as little as possible about them,” said Assange.

His appearance on BBC has infuriated many. Labour MP Ian Austin tweeted, “In 30 years of listening, I already thought today’s @BBCr4today was worst ever. I cldn’t imagine it cld get worse. Then they put Assange on”.

Assange sought out political asylum in Ecuador amid rape charges in Sweden and an extradition request. He’s been residing in Ecuador since late-2012.

You can listen to essay on BBC  here

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Photo courtesy of Johan Larsson |

Parents’ ban Wi-Fi In New Zealand School

One of the problems unique to the 21st century has involved the clammoring over potential health-risks posed by WiFi signals. Parents in a New Zealand have decided to take things into their own hands to protect their kids from these risks.

“Two parents in New Zealand have orchestrated the removal of a school’s Wi-Fi system. They have expressed the concerns that Wi-Fi causes cancer and other health issues. The child of one of these parents died recently from brain cancer. This appears to be an emotional area and one where decisions appear to be being made without evidence. The NZ Ministry of Education provides guidelines for the safe use of Wi-Fi in schools and the school itself was operating within those guidelines.”

Although commonly cited in populare media, the actual effects of wi-fi signals on people is unknown. The following link offers a good rebuke to those that suggest they are harmful:

via Slashdot

Photo courtesy of Don McCullough on Flickr |

US drone operator: ‘We always wonder if we killed the right people’

There are few topics hotter right now in the world of security and privacy than the proliferation of drone technology.

To add fuel to the fire, The Gaurdian has published a report of a former US drone operator openly questioning the US drone program. An Air Force analyst for nearly 4 years, Heather Linebaugh says that the people calling the shots on the program don’t have a first-hand perspective on the brutality and casualties inflicted.

“I wish I could ask them a few questions,” Linebaugh writes. “I’d start with: ‘How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?’”

‘The program has become increasingly controversial in recent months, with the Defense Department effectively canceling a drone piloting medal. Earlier this month, a strike in Yemen mistook a wedding party for an Al Qaeda gathering, mistakenly killing at least 13 civilians.’

via The Verge

Photo courtesy of Guillaume Speurt on Flickr |

France joins the fray: Article 20 opens the gate for institutionalized surveillance

Europe has been saved from the brunt of criticism against civilian surveillance largely because of the EU’s vocal ciriticism of the US. They have, however, joined the fray at last. Article 20 (formerly Article 13), a policy in the works in France, is one which sanctions and almost encourages institutionalized surveillance of open communication.

La Quadrature du Net, a French publication focusing on internet technologies and open information is spearheading the critique against this policy. The following is an exerpt from their report, and a link to their support portal.

“La Quadrature du Net thanks all those who contributed to the opposition to this article.

It calls for the continuation of the fight against surveillance of our communications on the Internet by any means: before parliament or judges, through technology and usage choices.

Many other steps will enable citizens to continue the fight against the development of a generalised surveillance, which has become a tool for political powers unable to act for the common good.

But it is on the political and usage fronts that our rights and freedoms will be determined.”

via La Quadrature

Photo courtesy of Thierry Ehrmann on Flickr |

Former NSA official on Snowden: “He stole everything – literally everything”

Edward Snowden didn’t just leak little bits of information. According to a former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden stole every single bit of information and is holding on to it as a ransom for protection.

“He stole everything — literally everything,” the official said. “It’s only accessible for a few hours a day, and is triple encrypted to the point where no one can break it.”

The retired official doesn’t know how the situation is going to pan out. Another NSA task force official suggested the organization is considering offering Snowden amnesty in return for the safe return of the data because of the sensitive nature of the documents.

via DailyCaller