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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Update on international developments

A brief update on a couple of the overseas issues previously noted here.

In India people power has won out - the Government has withdrawn proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act in the light of strong public protests. The scale of the protests and mobilisation of forces was quite something - involving signature drives in major US cities, and over 70 international participants in solidarity fasts supporting those on hunger strike in India. Will the Indian message - "Don't mess with our FOI Act" - roll on elsewhere?
Our earlier blog - Indian FOI activists on hunger strike.

AOL – after the release (and subsequent withdrawal) on the web of internet searches undertaken by 650,000 subscribers – reports that the Chief Technology Officer and two others have been fired. Our original blog is here.

Here’s some ammunition for those of you who are trying to ensure privacy issues get proper consideration in your organisation. AOL Chief Executive, in a memo to staff said:
“This incident took place because some employees did not exercise judgement or review their proposal with our privacy team”.
President Bush says that he is confident the decision that found warrantless phone tapping by the National Security Agency will be overturned on appeal. See our original blog.

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has formally commenced an investigation about whether US monitoring of the SWIFT interbank transfer system based in Belgium involves a breach of the privacy of Canadian citizens. Our earlier SWIFT blogs.

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (see item 9 Aug. "Air Force Lab will not fund Controverial FOIA study) has distanced itself from involvement in the project funded by a $1million allocation in its budget to undertake research on how to develop model FOI amendments to deny terrorists access to government information. Meanwhile a former student at the University that has received the funds has started a campaign to get it to return the money. See our earlier blog.

Thanks to David Fraser's Canadian Privacy Law blog for some of these leads

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