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«Compiled and edited by Simon Davies June 2014 A Crisis of accountability 2 Contents Contents Acknowledgments ...»

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Civil Society’s reactions NGOs such as ContingenteMX and SonTusDatos joined and supported various campaigns aimed at opposing NSA’s espionage and its impact for human rights in Mexico. As an example, those two organisations, together with dozens of other NGOs around the world, sent a letter to the US Congress (14) and another one to US President Barack Obama (15) to oppose the NSA’s illegal surveillance practices.

On 21 June 2013, 3 Mexican activist organisations, ContingenteMX, Propuesta Civica and A Crisis of accountability 54 Al Consumidor, filed a complaint before the Federal Institute of Access to Information and Data Protection (IFAI) in order for the governmental authority to investigate Mexican servers that have allegedly hosted a spyware named “FinFisher” that might violate the country’s privacy and data protection legal framework and individuals’ human rights (16).

The investigation is still in progress.

On 11 February 2014, NGOs, including ContingenteMx and SonTusDatos, and companies such as Mozilla México and Wikimedia México, as well as Internet websites such as Nodo9 and Sopitas, joined the international campaign “The Day We Fight Back” to oppose NSA’s espionage (17). Beside these, no other actions and campaigns have been carried out in Mexico.

The public’s reaction During legislative discussions earlier this year about the reform to the telecommunications legal framework, thousands of people in the street, and many more online, urged Congress to protect their rights to privacy, data protection and freedom of expression from the Federal Government while congress members were debating the bill the government had submitted.

Social network users and NGOs, among others, have rejected that telecommunications bill because, among other things, the text, as it is currently drafted, mandates telecommunications providers to help the government obtain users’s geo-location data in real time without any judicial due process and to retain all of their communications’ metadata for two years. (18) The bill is still in discussion in Congress.

Conclusion What Snowden revealed about the US government’s espionage generated diverse reactions in Mexico. On the one hand, the Mexican government has shown a rather passive attitude towards the NSA’s invasion to its citizens’ privacy. On the other, the way Mexican civil society organisations have reacted has been decisive in nurturing more awareness among Mexicans about their entitlement to claim more respect from the government to their right to privacy. This awareness has been displayed in how the public reacted to the government’s telecommunications reform bill.

(1) The NSA had had unauthorized access to many emails, mobile phone calls and text messages of him and his closest collaborators. See C. Tardáguila, “EUA espionaram Dilma”, O Globo, 1 September 2013, http://oglobo.globo.com/pais/eua-espionaram-dilmaKerry: Spying 'not unusual' in international relations”, BBC, 1 July 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-23129690.

(3) “Report: NSA spy program focused on Latin America Oil, Energy Programs”, CBS DC, 9 July 2013, http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/07/09/report-nsa-spy-program-focusedon-latin-america-oil-energy-programs/.

(4) Segunda Comisión de Trabajo de la Comisión Permanente del H. Congreso de la Unión, Relaciones Exteriores, Defensa Nacional y Educación Pública, Dictamen con Punto A Crisis of accountability 55 de Acuerdo relativo al programa de espionaje de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional estadounidense, 31 July 2013, http://sitl.diputados.gob.mx/LXII_leg/dictameneslxii_pa.php?tipot=%20&pert=&idacut=576;


(5) A Congressmember also proposed to increase from 5 to 15 years of prison the penalty for those who carry out espionage through telecommunications by interfering with, stopping or intercepting wire, wireless or optic fiber communications. He also proposed to sanction those who sell equipment, devices or other computing equipment that enable the interception of communications by any electronic means over public telecommunications networks. The proposal, however, did not go through. See Chamber of Deputies, Histórico de Comunicación Social, 1 November 2013, http://www3.diputados.gob.mx/camara/005_comunicacion/b_agencia_de_noticias/009_201 3/11_noviembre/01_01/4852_plantea_sanchez_torres_reformar_el_codigo_penal_y_castig ar_con_hasta_15_anos_de_prision_a_quien_realice_espionaje_a_traves_de_redes_de_tel ecomunicacion.

(6) “Obama se compromete con Peña Nieto a investigar espionaje,” Excélsior, 5 September 2013, http://www.excelsior.com.mx/nacional/2013/09/05/917194.

(7) Julio Sánchez Onofre, “Google, Microsoft y Oracle, primeros ganadores de la Estrategia Digital,” El Economista, 6 March 2014, http://eleconomista.com.mx/tecnociencia/2014/03/06/google-microsoft-oracle-primerosganadores-estrategia-digital.

(8) “Acuerdo que tiene por objeto emitir las políticas y disposiciones para la Estrategia Digital Nacional, en materia de tecnologías de la información y comunicaciones, y en la de seguridad de la información, así como establecer el Manual Administrativo de Aplicación General en dichas materias,” 8 May 2014, DOF, http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5343881&fecha=08/05/2014. See also Korina Velázquez, “Nuevo MAAGTICSI: Emiten políticas para la Estrategia Digital Nacional en TIC y seguridad de la información”, Agenda Digital, 12 May 2014, http://agendadigital.info/2014/05/12/nuevo-maagticsi-emiten-politicas-para-la-estrategia-digital-nacionalen-tic-y-seguridad-de-la-informacion/.

(9) Academics such as Eduardo Rosales Herrera, PhD. in International Relations and René Jiménez Ornelas, PhD. in Social Sciences, both professors at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

(10) E. Olivares, “‘Tibia, sumisa y temerosa’ reacción de México a espionaje de EU:

especialistas”, La Jornada, 9 September 2013, http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2013/09/09/politica/017n1pol. In turn, at 2 conferences promoting a new reference deskbook about cloud computing, published in September 2013 and that had been fully financed by Microsoft, its author, Julio Tellez, another professor from the UNAM, did not mention anything about Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s espionage and how they could have impacted the development of cloud-related services in Mexico – neither did other government and industry and trade associations’ representatives present at those events. The person responsible for the Mexican Presidency’s National Digital Agenda, Alejandra Lagunes, speaking on behalf of Presidency did, however, mention the importance of protecting the country’s national security and Mexican citizens’ personal data, but without referring to Snowden’s revelations.

A Crisis of accountability 56 (11) Daniel Gershenson, Director of the NGO Al Consumidor, produced a video where he contrasted the reactions of Brazil and Mexico. The video makes a summary of the news and points at the different tones of the reactions in Brazil and Mexico. “El espionaje de Estados Unidos en México. Daniel Gershenson”, Revolución tres punto cero, 23 October 2013, http://revoluciontrespuntocero.com/el-espionaje-de-estados-unidos-en-mexicodaniel-gershenson/.

(12) D. Brooks, “La NSA ha espiado a Pemex, Petrobras y petroleras de Arabia Saudita e Irán,” La Jornada, 22 May 2014, http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/05/22/mundo/023n1mun.

(13) J. Watts, “NSA accused of spying on Brazilian oil company Petrobras”, The Guardian, 9 September 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/09/nsa-spying-brazil-oilpetrobras.

(14) SonTusDatos, “SonTusDatos firma carta al Congreso de Estados Unidos sobre Internet y vigilancia de telecomunicaciones,” 18 June 2013, http://sontusdatos.org/sontusdatos_firma_carta_para_congreso_eeuu_sobre_internet_y_vi gilancia_telecomunicaciones/.

(15) SonTusDatos, “SonTusDatos hace un llamado al Presidente de Estados Unidos para que proteja a los denunciantes y periodistas”, 14 August 2013, http://sontusdatos.org/sontusdatos_hace_llamado_al_presidente_de_eeuu_para_que_prot eja_a_denunciantes_y_periodistas/.

(16) El software ha sido presuntamente usado en varios países para espiar a activistas de derechos humanos. Algunos activistas mexicanos incluso han reportado haber sido espiados. La ONG Privacy International, establecida en Reino Unido, envió una carta al IFAI apoyando la petición de ContingenteMX, Propuesta Cívica y Al Consumidor. Ver B.

Jiménez, “Denuncian activistas cacería cibernética,” Criterio, 11 July 2013, http://www.criteriohidalgo.com/notas.asp?id=180404.

(17) SonTusDatos, “El Día que Contraatacamos (11 Feb. 2014),” 11 February 2014, http://sontusdatos.org/el-dia-que-contraatacamos/.

(18) Andrea Becerril, “ONG: viola derechos la iniciativa de ley secundaria en telecomunicaciones de Peña,” La Jornada, 5 April 2014, http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/04/05/politica/013n1pol; SonTusDatos, “Iniciativa de ley secundaria de telecomunicaciones: retroceso para los derechos fundamentales en México”, 22 April 2014, http://sontusdatos.org/iniciativa_ley_secundaria_telecomunicaciones_retroceso_para_dere chos_fundamentales_en_mexico/.

Correspondents: Cédric Laurant, Korina Velázquez and Monserrat Laguna Osorio A Crisis of accountability 57 Private sector The corporate sector is inextricably intertwined in the revelations about widespread secret government surveillance programs. The first document published on June 5th 2013 was a court order to telecommunications provider Verizon demanding the company turn over all call records on an “ongoing, daily basis.” The next day, a set of slides was published that accused several leading companies including Google, Facebook, and Apple of close relationships with the NSA. Companies were then forced to dive right in to the conversation.

Before Snowden, there were very few known instances of a corporate entity challenging the NSA’s legal authority to conduct spying activities. A thenunnamed company (since revealed to be Yahoo!) challenged the Protect America Act in 2007-2008, and it was recently reported that in 2010 Sprint had raised questions regarding the NSA’s bulk telephony metadata program.

In the post-Snowden world, companies have been more vocal than ever in opposition to government surveillance. A still-unknown telecommunications company filed a motion early in 2014 asking for the FISA Court to explain the legal rationale behind Section 215 bulk telephone metadata court orders (the court responded in March). Security firm Cisco is one of many companies that have publicly chided the U.S. government over its extensive surveillance activities. French telecom company Orange threatened to sue the NSA for wiretapping undersea fibre optic cables, but has not yet followed through.

In fall 2013, investors filed resolutions asking AT&T and Verizon to release “transparency reports.” Pioneered by Google, and now issued by most major internet companies - particularly in the wake of the Snowden revelations these reports provide statistics and policies on requests for user data, content removal and other actions impacting privacy and free expression. While the telecoms sector has historically been conspicuously silent on issues of state access to user data, both AT&T and Verizon complied and issued transparency reports, and Vodafone, CREDO Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Telstra, Comcast, and others have followed suit.

A Crisis of accountability 58 In late 2013, several major internet companies teamed up to create the “Reform Government Surveillance” Coalition. This initiative, which coalesced around an open letter to the U.S. President and Congress, supports five guiding principles around surveillance activities, including authority, oversight, and transparency. In May of 2014, Google sent an action alert to users who had previously taken action on digital rights issues, urging them to “demand real surveillance reform,” of the U.S. Senate, following the passage of an extremely watered down version of the USA FREEDOM Act -- originally the most promising proposal for NSA reform -- by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Company data security policies have also been impacted by revelations of mass surveillance resulting in improved security for users. Services geared toward providing anonymity and confidentiality while using the Web and internet have become more popular than ever before. For instance, use of Tor, an anonymous browsing network, doubled between October 2012 and October 2013. Digital rights group Access launched the Data Security Action Plan (DSAP) in March 2014, and several companies, including Twitter, Golden Frog, and Silent Circle, joined in “Supporting” the adoption of these seven steps toward a more secure Internet. The DSAP was intended to move the public conversation beyond transparency to talking about tangible steps companies can take to secure the data they hold and prevent unauthorized access to user data. Yahoo!, long a laggard on digital security, announced several new security features in response to revelations, including greater traffic encryption for email and searches. In March 2014, Google publicly announced that all traffic between its data centres would be encrypted and that all email messages would be routed over encrypted channels.

The role of the corporate sector in facilitating government mass surveillance has come into focus after the Snowden disclosures. Many companies have taken steps to increase the security of their networks and transparency around the troves of data they collect. There is, however, still much more progress to be made.

–  –  –

Netherlands The Snowden revelations have seen little to no effect in the Netherlands. Most significantly, the proposal to give the Dutch intelligence services similar powers as the NSA has been delayed for a few months.

As everywhere, the first Snowden revelations made headlines in the Dutch media. However, most of these reports did little more than translate the output of the original story. After a couple of months. as the audience became bored with the same story time after time, the amount of attention declined considerably. The revelations on Dutch involvement were highly anticipated and turned out to be somewhat of an anti-climax. As a result, attention was quickly lost. In the end, the most critical and extensive analyses were made by spare-time bloggers.

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