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As people move an increasing part of their lives into global and local networks, the development of privacy intrusion techniques and technologies faces exponential growth. The will to eavesdrop on other's private communication is reaching new heights. As this occurs, the concept of privacy is being obliterated. Privacy is under attack, giving birth to the current situation where consumer's private information is commonly considered to be an approved target. The constantly increasing demand to acquire personal and confidential information has boosted the supply of eavesdropping techniques and technology.
A U.S. district judge has ordered Google, the Search Engine, to release information about users that use their YouTube service. The major entertainment corporation Viacom won the legal battle against Google, resulting in access for Viacom to information about YouTube users and their "tubing" behavior, i.e. which videos they watch on the YouTube site. The verdict will also give Viacom access to the login-names and IP-addresses of the YouTube users, even though Viacom says that they will not use the information to frame individuals.
The FRA, Swedish National Defense Radio Establishment, that recently was approved to start their extended surveillance activity targeting wire-based Internet traffic and traffic in the mobile networks, may intercept personal e-mails between local Danish vicars and Danish people in their search for a cure of the souls. How is this possible, you ask? The e-mail of the Danish church is handled via servers placed in Sweden, and FRA is allowed to intercept communications as they pass the Swedish border, according to the newly adopted FRA law.
We are disappointed to announce that the FRA-law that we discussed in yesterday's blog was actually accepted as law by the Swedish Riksdag (national government) yesterday. The number of delegates voting for the new law was 143 and the number of delegates voting against the law was 138. The number of delegates that were absent, and therefore did not vote, was 67. Only one delegate refused to vote on the matter. Apparently, there was "no time" to wait for a proper investigation of the entire proposal and the addendum, and the decision was to accept the law quickly and then wait for an extra addendum proposal this autumn. The fast process was highly criticized but the directive was to come to a resolution before the summer holidays.
There is an ongoing debate about whether FRA, the Swedish National Defense Radio Establishment, should be allowed to extend their surveillance activities to include the surveillance of wire-based Internet traffic and phone conversations that pass the Swedish borders.
The proposed law was first discussed in 2007, and a decision was tabled during this past year. The proposal has resurfaced with the same vague wording as in the original proposal presented a year ago, and there are few clear rules for when such extended surveillance activities should or should not be allowed. There is also a big question mark regarding the authorization of the wire-based surveillance activities as well as the storage and the destruction of sensitive surveillance data.
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