Surveillance, privacy, data & the protection of Journalists' sources: Lauri Love opens the discussion at Byline Festival
After the revelations from Edward Snowden made clear absolutely anyone’s privacy and security on the internet is not at all guaranteed, and that government agencies will circumvent laws to enable them to do this, undermining a fundamental principle of democracy and the UN Human Rights charter.
Privacy and the mining of big data is of concern to Lauri Love.
Love is a lovely warm caring person, when you meet him, he is also incredibly clever and articulate.
So clever the US want the UK authorities to extradite him for prosecution so what did he do wrong?
Lauri Love allegedly used a “security flaw to gain admin access to the servers... and he used the elevated privileges to steal confidential data.” from US government databases.
He was arrested in 2013 but released with no charge. Instead he’d been served by the National Crime Agency a RIPA notice- Section 49 to decrypt the technology, to which the judge found unnecessary in 2016.
Since then the US applied for him to be extradited to stand trial in three different states for the alleged crimes, the wait for the trials alone could mean years behind bars.
Despite Amber Rudd, the Home secretary approving his extradition, many MP’s signed in support for Lauri Love to stand trial here in the UK, which has happened before for alleged crimes against the US, they stated; “A young man with Asperger’s syndrome has affected his mental health, and it has been said he may very likely kill himself.”
The impending appeal is in the spring, with possible further appeals to the UK’s supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
Love meanwhile stands for the rights for people to have the right to get on with their lives and their data should not be arbitrarily interfered with.
But the recently approved Intelligence Powers Bill allows for ‘equipment interference’ which includes the hacking of personal devices, for passwords, emails, photographs, diaries, contacts – everything you hold on your computer, phone or tablet.
Challenge to this action has layers and laborious, and doesn’t necessarily result in the cessation after a data capture has begun; it will usually be post the event, so sensitive data will have already been seen and gathered.
The new IPBill laws threaten democracy and freedom of speech, and the freedom of press, as these infringe a journalists’ ability to protect sources and with the new Trump administration raises even more concerns, after journalists were arrested covering the inauguration protests. These journalists had charges hanging over them, for simply doing their jobs as reporters, many of them freelance.
Big data, surveillance and privacy issues will all be vigorously discussed at the Byline Festival with Lauri intended to be a keynote speaker.
Speaking about the Intelligence Powers Bill Love says “you should be able to store your own data securely and not have your rights infringed. We can't have a free society under the rule of law under a system like that."
Moreover Love makes clear that the people who are best able to help us to encrypt our devices should not be criminalised, ironically as Snowden revealed, many of these people would be those working at GCHQ and the NSA.
*The Byline festival takes place 2-4th June at Pippingford Park in East Sussex.