Big Brother is watching you

“The race to embrace invasive tools underscores a simple dynamic at play during the current global pandemic: Public health concerns are trumping the desire to protect individuals’ privacy online and in the real world, even in the home of the General Data Protection Regulation, Europe’s sweeping privacy rules. …

“Pointing to a wave of new surveillance powers approved nationally and EU-wide in 2015- 2017, following a wave of terrorist attacks, critics argue that regulators are green-lighting practices that will be almost impossible to unwind once the pandemic has passed. …

“According to European Commissioner Breton and other top officials urging telecoms operators to hand over data, privacy can be respected because the data concerned is anonymized and aggregated.

“But that is a little reassurance, according to privacy experts who point out that an individual’s identity can easily be deduced from just a handful of anonymized mobile phone location data points.”

European countries are hollowing out hard-fought privacy standards as they embrace tech solutions to fight the coronavirus.

This investigation is long overdue

Probe is expected to look into alleged crimes committed by both Israelis and Palestinians, including militant group Hamas

Doubters and defenders of Israel would do well to read Amnesty International’s annual report on Israel and the Occupied Territories. Here’s the overview: “New legislation entrenched discrimination against non-Jewish citizens. Israeli forces killed more than 290 Palestinians, including over 50 children; many were unlawfully killed as they were shot while posing no imminent threat to life. Israel imposed an illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip for the 11th year in a row, subjecting approximately 2 million inhabitants to collective punishment and exacerbating a humanitarian crisis. Freedom of movement for Palestinians in the West Bank remained restricted through a system of military checkpoints and roadblocks. Israeli authorities unlawfully detained within Israel thousands of Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), holding hundreds in administrative detention without charge or trial. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, including children, remained pervasive and was committed with impunity. Israel continued to demolish Palestinian homes and other structures in the West Bank and in Palestinian villages inside Israel, forcibly evicting residents. The Israeli justice system continued to fail to adequately ensure accountability and redress for victims of grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The authorities continued to deny asylumseekers access to a fair or prompt refugee status determination process; hundreds of African asylum-seekers were deported and thousands were threatened with deportation. Conscientious objectors to military service were imprisoned.”