I’m just returned from the Cyber Threat Summit in Dublin, one of the most interesting European events in cyber security that gave me the opportunity to share opinion notes with expert professionals of international security context. The event revealed an alarming scenario on the main cyber threats, no matter if it is cybercrime, hacktivism, cyber terrorism or cyber warfare, all those ambits share a worrying growth of cyber attacks that are influencing our digital lives and not only.
One of the most debated arguments is the need to protect the digital identity that is daily menaced, highlighting the need to improve cyber counter measures to protect our privacy and at same time grant a sufficient level of security to network resources.
Of course one of the most effective measures is the increasing of systems for the network monitoring, despite the resistances of internet users that claim their digital rights, many governments are implementing and deploying, in a more or less transparent, technologies for massive surveillances.
Network appliances for massive analysis, systems for automated analysis of social networks and powerful systems for facial recognition are only few of the different solutions that many governments are deploying.
Today I read a news regarding a project promoted by the European Commission to fight terrorism online that describe a wide-ranging surveillance.
Apparently a leaked document, published by European digital rights group EDRi revealed the possible impact on civil liberties of a project named The CleanIT that was set up to improve the exacerbate the fight against cyber terrorism.
The impact on internet users and their privacy is dramatic, let’s consider that Internet Service Providers should be held liable for their operate in terms of surveillance on possible use of internet made by terrorists.
In internet are circulating two different documents that both refer CleanIT, the official one that reports only recommendations provided by the authors and the leaked one “Detailed Recommendations Document.”
The “public” version of the document appears quite different from the document posted by EDRi, but the project leader of the official proposal, But Klassen, declared that the leaked version was created collecting observations expressed during a debate on the project.
“The term ‘recommendations’ on the food for discussion document is misleading, we shouldn’t have used that term. These are just ideas that we are collecting. Everything everyone says at the meeting is written down, but the public document contains the points that we have reached a consensus on,”
One of the main concern is related to the recommendations to improve the monitoring of social media, platforms that are considerable great mines of information that could be aggregate to prepare “any kind” of analysis, just the misuse of the data collected by governments is one of the principal concern for the organizations that defend the rights of internet users.
The proposed measures are very stringent, the document states that is illegal to divulge and propose “knowingly” references to terrorist contents.
The proposals have with main objective the avoidance of anonymity access to web services, internet users have to be identified.
“CleanIT wants binding engagements from internet companies to carry out surveillance, to block and to filter (albeit only at “end user” – meaning local network – level). It wants a network of trusted online informants and, contrary to everything that they have ever said, they also want new, stricter legislation from Member States.”
The post of EDRi group reminds that the project is financed by DG Communications Networks of the European Commission that operates without coordination limiting in sensible way the users operations on internet
“CleanIT (terrorism), financed by DG Home Affairs of the European Commission is duplicating much of the work of the CEO Coalition (child protection), which is financed by DG Communications Networks of the European Commission. Both are, independently and without coordination, developing policies on issues such as reporting buttons and flagging of possibly illegal material. Both CleanIT and the CEO Coalition are duplicating each other’s work on creating “voluntary” rules for notification and removal of possibly illegal content and are jointly duplicating the evidence-based policy work being done by DG Internal Market of the European Commission, which recently completed a consultation on this subject. Both have also been discussing upload filtering, to monitor all content being put online by European citizens.”
But Klassen refuted allegations by EDRi that the project has overstepped its mandate sustaining that the team of CleanIT has to complete the final design by next March.
Other Key measures being proposed for the project are:
Despite governments today use systems for network monitoring with the aim of preventing criminal activities, particularly in combating terrorism, the project as shown in the leaked document represents a serious threat to freedom of thought and undermines the fundamental principles underlying the genesis of Internet.
It raises multiple perplexities such as
Do we really want this?