Edward Snowden: How phones are used to spy on you

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Smartphones are an important way for governments, tech companies and bad actors to snoop on you, as you leave a digital paper trail. But how does this happen?

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden detailed just how smartphones can be used to spy on users in an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast

Snowden noted that the biggest change in how the government conducts surveillance is that it’s moved to a “mobile-first” approach owing to the prevalence of smartphones. He explained once again how bulk collection of data for surveillance works.

The whistleblower said that carriers are able to track your device and therefore figure out your identity via cellular towers. Snowden adds that the movements of your phone are the movements of you as a person and are unique, as you go to your home and workplace every day.

“What this means is that whenever you’re carrying a phone, whenever the phone is turned on, there’s a record of your presence at that place that is made and being created by companies. It does not need to be kept forever, and in fact there’s no good argument for it to be kept forever. But these companies see that as valuable information,” Snowden explains.

The former NSA contractor says all of this data is stored as part of bulk collection or mass surveillance, regardless of whether you did anything wrong. “And that was just talking about how you connect to the phone network. That’s not talking about all those apps on your phone that are contacting the network even more frequently.”

Snowden says that shutting your phone off does work in some ways, but questioned how you would know that your modern, sealed smartphone is actually turned off.

“When I was in Geneva for example, working for the CIA, we would all carry like drug dealer phones (sic). The old dumb phones, they’re not smartphones, and the reason why was just because they had the removable backs where you could take the battery out.” In other words, you might want to buy an LG V20 or Nokia 2.2 if you want some peace of mind, as these are two of the few phones with removable batteries.

What is your smartphone actually doing?

Snowden says that the central issue surrounding modern smartphone use is that we don’t know what the device is doing and what it’s connecting to.

“Apple, and iOS, unfortunately, makes it impossible to see what kind of network connections are constantly made on the device and to intermediate them,” he explained, saying that users should be able to make “intelligent decisions” on an app-by-app and connection-by-connection basis.

“If there was a button on my phone that said ‘do what I want but not spy on me,’ you would press that button! That button does not exist right now. And both Google and Apple — unfortunately Apple’s a lot better than this than Google — neither of them allow that button to exist. In fact they actively interfere with it because they say it’s a security risk, and from a particular perspective, they actually aren’t wrong.”

Snowden asserts that Apple and Google don’t implement this functionality because they claim it’s too complicated for people to use. “If you think people can’t understand it, if you think there are too many communications happening, if you think there’s too much complexity in there, it needs to be simplified.”

Fortunately, Google is taking privacy more seriously with Android 10, as it offers more granular location controls, the ability to disable ad personalization, restrictions on background activity, and restrictions on apps accessing your hardware identifiers (e.g. IMEI number). Now, if only Google implemented a “do not spy on me” button.

Snowden’s remarks regarding bulk collection and phone manufacturers weren’t particularly revelatory. But it still shows that manufacturers, network operators, and governments can do much more to ensure privacy is a higher priority for people. Do you take your privacy seriously? Let us know in the comments!

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ASCPD announces the election of a new Board of Directors and the establishment of the Advisory Board

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Three years after its founding, the Romanian Association of Specialists in Privacy and Data Protection (ASCPD) announces the new Board of Directors which begins its activity on November 1, 2020, for a 24 months term, as well as establishment of the Advisory Board.

Our association guides data protection officers and other data privacy specialists in resolving many legal, technical and organizational issues, in order to achieve an appropriate balance between the interests of data subjects, who need protection, and those of the controllers. I am proud of every member who has chosen to be actively involved in the activity of the association and who makes possible a change of mentality in Romania regarding the security and protection of personal data. Together with the members of the new Board of Directors and the Advisory Board, I am convinced that we will turn into reality all the projects that we set out to launch in this term ", said Dumitrescu Marius, President of ASCPD.

Following the elections that took place in October 2020, the ASCPD members decided the structure of the ASCPD Board of Directors for the 2020 - 2022 term, consisting of one President and nine Vice Presidents:

  • Dumitrescu Marius - President
  • Cireașă Daniela Irina - Vice President
  • Deca Cristiana - Vice President
  • Donciu Cristian Ștefan - Vice President
  • Dumbravă Andrei Nicolae - Vice President
  • Olteanu Alin - Vice President
  • Panait Bogdan - Vice President
  • Popescu-Chiliment Ionuț - Vice President
  • Simionovici Daniela - Vice President
  • Stoica Paul Sebastian - Vice President

The increase in the number of vice presidents is in line with the organization's strategy and the projects undertaken for the next term, being a necessity in the context in which the number of members, from all regions of Romania, increases greatly.

The ASCPD Advisory Board is composed of Honorary Members who have had a special contribution in promoting and developing the field of confidentiality and personal data protection in Romania, but also of personalities from abroad who contribute, through their constant activity, to increasing the degree of the public’s awareness on the importance of confidentiality and protection of personal data:

  • Giulescu Cătălin, former Head of Personal Data Protection of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
  • Ploeșteanu Nicolae, Director of the Center for Data Protection - "George Emil Palade" University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology from Târgu Mureș
  • Hodoș Felix, President of the Romanian Research Society for Public and Private Affairs from Tîrgu Mureș (SOROCAPP), Lawyer and insolvency practitioner, coordinator of "Hodoș and Associates" and "Hodoș Business Recovery"
  • Cîmpean Dan, General Manager of the National Cyber ​​Security Incident Response Center - CERT-RO
  • Bozianu Sergiu, President of the Association for the Protection of Privacy, Former Deputy Director - General Directorate of Surveillance and Compliance at the National Center for Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Moldova
  • Săvescu Andrei, Managing Partner at SAVESCU & ASOCIATII and Juridice.ro
  • Păun Ciprian, Co-head of Cluj Office of NNDKP, Director of RRPDSCP
  • Costea Roland, Cyber ​​Security / GDPR technical expert and trainer, head of security, compliance and privacy architect
  • Cîmpeanu Toma, President of the National Association for Information Systems Security
  • Iancu Ștefan, Legal Advisor, Ethics & Compliance Specialist, CEO Iprivacy
  • Buzianu Oana, Security Consultant – Certified Ethical Hacker – Pentester, CEO WINTECH

This new council is involved by the ASCPD Board of Directors in order to make strategic decisions and before launching projects with a major impact on the image of the ASCPD. The result of this consultation is materialized by issuing opinions and recommendations that the ASCPD Advisory Board communicates to the President.

People interested in becoming members of ASCPD can find all the information on the association's website www.ascpd.ro

The ASCPD projects for the 2020-2022 period are the following:

  1. Launching a national campaign to evaluate and raise awareness of the importance of the DPO in the public institutions in Romania, which aims to assess the degree of compliance of public institutions in Romania from the point of view of art. 37 of Regulation 679/2016, creation of new jobs for the DPOs in public institutions in Romania and conducting a study on the evolution of compliance of public institutions in Romania from the point of view of art. 37 of Regulation 679/2016.
  2. Creating and implementing a certification system for ASCPD members by passing an exam with high difficulty and the obligation to obtain annually a minimum number of continuing professional education credits. Development and publication of the National Register of ASCPD certified members.
  3. Elaboration of a “Code of Conduct for Romanian Controllers”, according to art. 40 of EU Regulation 2016/679.
  4. Elaboration and adoption of a “Code of Conduct of the Data Protection Officer” and of a “Code of Ethics of the ASCPD member” to which all members of the association will adhere.
  5. Obtaining a place in the Economic and Social Committee through which all legislative proposals are approved, in an advisory role, according to Law 248/2013.
  6. Obtaining the status of rapporteur for the European Data Protection Authorities
  7. Continuation of the exchange programs within European institutions or associations with similar status, intended for ASCPD members.
  8. Launching a mentoring program for ASCPD members.
  9. Annual organization of a national conference on the occasion of the European Data Protection Day ( January 28)
  10. Promoting May 25 as the Romanian National Day of the Data Protection Officer in Romania.

 

About the Romanian Association of Specialists in Privacy and Data Protection (ASCPD)

The Association of Privacy and Data Protection Specialists (ASCPD) is created to inform and bring together professionals wishing to successfully manage the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 and related legislation, acting as an advisory body. professional for individuals and organizations. ASPDC is a non-governmental, autonomous, apolitical and non-profit organization that helps to define, support and improve the profession of Data Protection Officer and other specialists in the field and operates in accordance with the provisions of GO no. 26/2000.

The ASCPD guides data protection officers and other data privacy specialists in resolving many legal, technical and organizational issues in order to strike an appropriate balance between the interests of data subjects, who need protection, and those of operators.

The objective of the ASCPD is to provide concrete solutions to the problems faced by privacy and data protection specialists, to raise awareness of the legislation and to provide its members with a forum in which these topics can be debated, as well as a place for continuous professional training. ASCPD advocates for raising awareness of privacy-threatening technologies and laws to ensure that the public is informed and involved.

After a period of 12 months of monitoring the activity of ASCPD in Romania, the members of the Confederation of European Organizations for Data Protection (CEDPO) approved in April 2020, the accession of the Romanian organization, thus becoming the tenth full member.

The Confederation of European Data Protection Organizations (CEDPO) is an “umbrella organization” that brings together the most representative national data protection associations in the European Union. CEDPO was founded in September 2011 by the French Association of Correspondents for the Protection of Personal Data (AFCDP, France), Asociación Profesional Española de Privacidad (APEP, Spain), Gesellschaft fur Datenschutz und Datensicherheit eV (GDD, Germany) and the Netherlands Genootschap van Functionarissen voor de Gegevensbescherming (NGFG, The Netherlands). From the moment of its founding in 2011 until the accession of the Association of Specialists in Confidentiality and Data Protection (ASCPD) , only five other organizations were invited to join the Confederation: ADPO from Ireland, ARGE Daten from Austria, ASSO DPO from Italy, SABI from Poland and AEPT from Portugal

The purpose of this Confederation is to promote the role of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) and to advocate for a balanced data protection system based on practical experience and efficiency. In addition, CEDPO actively contributes to better harmonization of data protection legislation and practices in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), uniting all member organizations in one voice and thus capitalizing on the rich and diverse experience. of CEDPO member associations, who have practical knowledge of the issues surrounding the role and position of the DPO, as well as the day-to-day challenges they face.CEDPO is also an active interlocutor for European decision-makers and data protection authorities in the context of the adoption and implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), its proposals playing an important role in defining current legislation, in particular as regards position regulation and the role of the Data Protection Officer (DPO). The EDPS also participated in the modernization of Council of Europe Convention 108 ("Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data"), supporting better recognition of the crucial role that the DPO plays in data protection in the days to come. our. More details about the association's projects can be found on www.ascpd.ro

Contact: Marius Dumitrescu, marius.dumitrescu@ascpd.ro, +40769041200

 

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ASCPD EXPRESSED ITS CONCERN ABOUT THE USE OF THE TERM “BAZACONIE” („NAUGHTINESS”) IN THE PUBLIC STATEMENTS OF THE PREMIER

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The Romanian Association of Privacy and Data Protection Specialists in Romania (ASCPD) expresses its concern regarding statements made in the public space, belonging to Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, in which he uses the term "bazaconie” ("naughtiness”)   to answer a question at the press conference held on of 02.10.2020, a question that had as a subject the invocation of GDPR by teachers.

It is not clear from Prime Minister Ludovic Orban's statement what he meant when he used the term "bazaconie"  ("naughtiness”) and there are two ways in which we can interpret this unfortunate statement.

When it comes to “ teachers invoking the GDPR to avoid online lessons ”, we should all acknowledge that there are good reasons why these teachers worry about protecting students' personal data, most of them students being minors, but also of teachers and parents. Teachers complain that the school moved online in a hurry, without clear rules, without personal data protection measures, using insecure and vulnerable applications.

We present you ten examples of practices encountered in Romania in the process of tele-education that violate EU Regulation 2016/679, generating considerable risks to the fundamental rights and freedoms of all actors involved in online education:

  1. Use of poorly secured communication platforms, with dozens of security incidents transferring data to the US, in breach of the CJEU decision in case C 311/18, on the invalidation of the Privacy Shield.
  2. Use of own, unsecured terminals of teachers and students, without antivirus, without passwords and use of internet sources (often domestic), without security;
  3. Lack of adequate training for teachers for the use of online platforms that has led to security incidents;
  4. Transmission of login codes and passwords on Facebook or Whatsapp groups;
  5. The use of communication methods between school and students without complying with art. 28 of the GDPR, respectively the conclusion of written agreements between the school (personal data operator) and the IT solution provider (authorized person);
  6. Use of free yahoo or gmail accounts by schools for professional purposes;
  7. Use by teachers in communication with students and parents of personal e-mail addresses.
  8. Lack of information about the personal data storage spaces of teachers, students and their parents;
  9. Lack of operational procedures leading to a lack of transparency in the teaching of tele-education lessons.
  10. Capturing and storing images (photo / video) with students in order to demonstrate support for online classes without unitary procedures regarding the management of equipment that can be stored, storage time, where data is transmitted, etc.);

In the scenario in which the term “bazaconia” was used to refer to EU Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) would mean that the Romanian state violates the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which in art. 16 clearly stipulates that every European citizen has the right to the protection of personal data.

European Regulation 679/2016 is a normative act, unitary and valid in all EU Member States, which protects the fundamental rights of European citizens, being created in accordance with Article 16 TFEU, as well as Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: The right to liberty and security, the right to respect for private and family life and the right to the protection of personal data.

We are concerned about the way in which data subjects and personal data controllers might draw wrong conclusions from this statement, given the poor  awareness of the importance of personal data  protection in Romania and the even lower degree of compliance with the Regulation in Romania.

We would like to emphasize, once again, the need for the Romanian authorities to launch a large-scale campaign on the rights of data subjects and the obligations of data controllers, in the context of the fast implementation of digitization  , especially during this current epidemiological crisis .

" Unfortunately, we needed this virus to pay more attention to the benefits of digitization and today we talk more than ever about tele-work, telemedicine, tele-education and especially about fake news. We must also realize that all this digitization, on fast forward, comes with the assumption of risks that I would like to be aware of from the beginning. I don't think we are ready yet to embrace digitalization and make the most of its benefits. Following the recommendations of the Romanian authorities, several companies and institutions decided to accept, overnight, that  their employees should work from home. From a legal point of view, we were prepared, the Romanian legislation had clear provisions regarding telework, and most companies have now signed with each employee only one additional act to the employment contract, in order to fulfill this bureaucratic formality. Very few organizations have invested in securing equipment and communication channels, often choosing the fastest and cheapest solutions, most often using employees' own equipment. We watched as the number of security incidents increased, with an estimated increase of over 300%, usually through phishing campaigns, affecting thousands of computers, based on the naivety of users who now read any email related to this Coronavirus. I would have liked to talk about the digitalization of the Romanian business environment, as well as of the public administration, in other conditions than today ” , declares Marius Dumitrescu, President of ASCPD.

Romania, being a signatory to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which represents the Constitution of Europe, has assumed the responsibility of complying with all the provisions of this European document as well as the subsequent acts. This responsibility must not only be a formal one, through the coercion of these provisions, but also a moral one, which the national actors must assume at the level of discourse and promoted values. ”, declares Cristiana Deca, Vice President of ASCPD.

Finally, we emphasize that there are solutions for all these problems reported and ASCPD supports the process of digitization  of Romanian education, in compliance with the provisions of Art. 32 of the GDPR. In this way, we remind school institutions that they have the obligation to appoint a Data Protection Officer, and his role is to advise and guide the organization in compliance with the provisions and principles of GDPR and ensure that this balance between legal obligations and public and commercial interests.

In the same time, ASCPD expresses its willingness and desire to invite to the dialogue the Ministry of Education, school institutions and their representatives to provide support in creating a coherent operational framework, to provide a safe educational climate for students and teachers and to agree with the provisions of Regulation 679/2016 (GDPR).

 

About the Romanian Association of Specialists in Privacy and Data Protection (ASCPD)

The Association of Privacy and Data Protection Specialists (ASCPD) is created to inform and bring together professionals wishing to successfully manage the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 and related legislation, acting as an advisory body. professional for individuals and organizations. ASPDC is a non-governmental, autonomous, apolitical and non-profit organization that helps to define, support and improve the profession of Data Protection Officer and other specialists in the field and operates in accordance with the provisions of GO no. 26/2000.

The ASCPD guides data protection officers and other data privacy specialists in resolving many legal, technical and organizational issues in order to strike an appropriate balance between the interests of data subjects, who need protection, and those of operators.

The objective of the ASCPD is to provide concrete solutions to the problems faced by privacy and data protection specialists, to raise awareness of the legislation and to provide its members with a forum in which these topics can be debated, as well as a place continuous professional training. ASCPD advocates for raising awareness of privacy-threatening technologies and laws to ensure that the public is informed and involved.

After a period of 12 months of monitoring the activity of ASCPD in Romania, the members of the Confederation of European Organizations for Data Protection (CEDPO) approved in April 2020, the accession of the Romanian organization, thus becoming the tenth full member.

The Confederation of European Data Protection Organizations (CEDPO) is an “umbrella organization” that brings together the most representative national data protection associations in the European Union. CEDPO was founded in September 2011 by the French Association of Correspondents for the Protection of Personal Data (AFCDP, France), Asociación Profesional Española de Privacidad (APEP, Spain), Gesellschaft fur Datenschutz und Datensicherheit eV (GDD, Germany) and the Netherlands Genootschap van Functionarissen voor de Gegevensbescherming (NGFG, The Netherlands). From the moment of its founding in 2011 until the accession of the Association of Specialists in Confidentiality and Data Protection (ASCPD) , only five other organizations were invited to join the Confederation: ADPO from Ireland, ARGE Daten from Austria, ASSO DPO from Italy, SABI from Poland and AEPT from Portugal

The purpose of this Confederation is to promote the role of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) and to advocate for a balanced data protection system based on practical experience and efficiency. In addition, CEDPO actively contributes to better harmonization of data protection legislation and practices in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), uniting all member organizations in one voice and thus capitalizing on the rich and diverse experience. of CEDPO member associations, who have practical knowledge of the issues surrounding the role and position of the DPO, as well as the day-to-day challenges they face.CEDPO is also an active interlocutor for European decision-makers and data protection authorities in the context of the adoption and implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), its proposals playing an important role in defining current legislation, in particular as regards position regulation and the role of the Data Protection Officer (DPO). The EDPS also participated in the modernization of Council of Europe Convention 108 ("Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data"), supporting better recognition of the crucial role that the DPO plays in data protection in the days to come. our. More details about the association's projects can be found on www.ascpd.ro

Contact: Marius Dumitrescu, marius.dumitrescu@ascpd.ro, 0769041200

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Acest articol este protejat de către dispoziţiile legale incidente și este interzisă copierea, reproducerea, recompilarea, modificarea, precum şi orice modalitate de exploatare a acestuia. Articolele publicate pe DPO-NET.RO pot fi preluate doar în limita a maxim 500 de caractere, fără a depăşi jumătate din totalul de caractere, şi cu citarea obligatorie a sursei, cu link activ. Orice abatere de la această regulă constituie o încălcare a Legii 8/1996 privind dreptul de autor. Dacă sunteţi interesaţi de preluarea ştirilor și articolelor publicate pe DPO-NET.RO, vă rugăm să ne contactati.

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