HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP Privacy International has gathered 30 other like-minded organisations together so that they can send another letter and ask another time for more information about how national intelligence agencies trade and exchange data between themselves.
It is starting to feel like Privacy International does this once a week, but the answers just aren't coming for the group. It said this week that countries, such as those in the Five Eyes, break rules on surveillance and privacy, and that someone needs to explain why or stop it altogether.
"Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments," said the group.
"Countries may use secret intelligence sharing arrangements to circumvent international and domestic rules on direct surveillance. These arrangements can also lead to the exchange of information that can facilitate human rights abuses, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or weak rule of law."
There are national oversight agencies in each of these countries, or so PI hopes, and the rights group is expecting to get responses from them by the deadline of 31 October 2017. We wouldn't hold our breath, but Privacy International remains positive in the face of such challenges.
"As intelligence agencies around the world have expanded their surveillance capabilities, so has the amount of information they exchange with each other, including data collected in bulk," said Scarlet Kim, legal officer at Privacy International.
"These sharing arrangements are shrouded in secrecy and shielded from accountability. National oversight bodies perform a critical role in holding intelligence agencies accountable. The public has a right to know whether their mandates include scrutiny of intelligence sharing and what form this scrutiny takes." µ
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