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Ban The Use Of Sensitive Data For Political Advertising

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As a watchdog organisation, Liberties reminds politicians that respect for human rights is non-negotiable. We're determined to keep championing your civil liberties, will you stand with us? Every donation, big or small, counts.

We’re grateful to all our supporters

Your contributions help us in the following ways

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We are in the News

The EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act — the world's first comprehensive legal framework for AI — is in the final stages of negotiations before becoming law. Now, as the last details are being agreed, European lawmakers must seize the opportunity to safeguard human rights and firmly regulate the use of artificial intelligence. Crucially, however, the debate around the AI Act has given insufficient attention to a key feature: the act must establish a clearly defined link between artificial intelligence and the rule of law.

It's not that we don’t need to remind people of the speed or severity of the damage being caused to the planet. But if we want to bring people to our side, it can’t be the dominant ingredient in our messaging, Israel Butler writes.

As the GDPR turns five, certain EU lawmakers want to rip out some of its protections, so they can use our deeply personal information to tailor political ads and tip political elections and campaigns in their favour, Eleanor Brooks and Balazs Denes write.

The Commission’s proposed rules adopt and legitimize the smear that CSOs are potential trojan horses for foreign governments. As witnessed in Hungary and in Russia, authoritarian leaders weaponize transparency restrictions to break public trust in the work of CSOs, making it harder for them to fulfil their missions.

The European Commission vice-president was speaking in a week when the human rights watchdog Civil Liberties Union for Europe said abusive lawsuits against journalists were on the rise in a dozen EU countries.

Bringing together more than 20 citizens' rights organizations from 18 European Union countries, the Civil Liberties Union for Europe has just published the "Liberties 2023 Media Freedom Report.

Monday also saw the publication of the “Media Freedom Report 2023”, the second annual report on media freedom in the EU produced by the Civil Liberties Union for Europe.

A new report by the Civil Liberties Union for Europe shows that media freedom and pluralism continue to erode across the bloc. In some member states, new trends signal threats to media freedom where it has long been taken for granted; in others, free and independent journalism is nearing its final breath.

"The fourth annual rule of law report released on Tuesday by Liberties concluded that most EU countries made "little effort" over the past 12 months to resolve documented rule of law issues."

"The rule of law situation in 18 European countries, including Hungary, has been assessed in Liberties' Rule of Law 2023 report, and Hungary - along with Poland - remains at the bottom of the list," reports the Hungarian Telex.

"In a 21st February report on the rule of law in the European Union by the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, Bulgaria was once again criticised for its justice system, SLAPP cases against publicists, and appointments to key institutions and organisations," reports the Bulgarian media outlet.

"Most European Union countries have made little effort to address the rule of law issues that emerged during 2022 and, in some cases, have even made the situation worse, as revealed in the new Civil Liberties Union for Europe report focused on issues such as freedom of information, independence of judges, and respect for the work of NGOs," reports the Italian La Repubblica.

"The Qatargate bribery scandal in the European Parliament could undermine the EU’s attempts to hold national governments to account for rule of law abuses, the Civil Liberties Union for Europe has warned."

"In its 2022 report on the state of the rule of law in the 18 EU Member States, the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, a non-governmental organisation for the protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms, concludes that democracy in Slovenia is recovering after the change of power last year."

"Europe Day is an occasion to remind ourselves that what unites us is greater than what divides us. The EU gives people a way to come together across national, cultural and religious differences to pursue values we all share, like democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights" says our op-ed in EUObserver.

The primary purpose of the DSA is to check the power of Big Tech and make the internet a safer place for everyday users, claim Liberties' Eva Simon and Jonathan Day in their opinion piece in EurActiv.

In its report, the Berlin-based Civil Liberties Union for Europe said that countries such as Hungary, Poland or Slovenia had used the pandemic to strengthen their hold on power and limit criticism of the government.

A new report from the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, based in Germany, suggests that the pandemic has played an important part in weakening democracy across the continent.

“Beyond being a distraction from the task of vaccination, the pass could end up creating a two-tier society,” Israel Butler of the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, a human rights watchdog, said about the EU Commission's vaccine pass plan.

“The recommendation is a good start, but the Commission should go further and implement concrete safeguards into EU law, similar to what it intends to do as a means to counter strategic lawsuits against journalists,” Eva Simon, senior advocacy officer at the Civil Liberties Union For Europe, said in a statement.

“Real-time bidding, which is the bedrock of the online advertising industry, is an abuse of people’s right to privacy,” said Dr Orsolya Reich, senior advocacy officer at Liberties.

The Berlin-based Civil Liberties Union for Europe singled out the two formerly communist EU countries in a broader report highlighting how the rule of law has deteriorated across the 27-nation bloc during the coronavirus pandemic.

“People’s freedoms have been curtailed in a bid to stop the spread of the virus,” said Linda Ravo, senior advocacy consultant at the Civil Liberties Union for Europe. While some measures were necessary to protect people’s health, she said that “several governments have placed disproportionate restrictions on civic space, media freedom and democratic participation.”

Signatories of the open letter include U.S.-based Center for Digital Democracy and the Consumer Federation of America, the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, and other NGOs.

The Coalition against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), which includes Reporters Without Borders (RSF), FIDH, Liberties and Transparency International, has identified 539 such prosecutions in 31 European countries, including Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

"Europe has finally spoken to stop BigTech from using surveillance advertising," said Eva Simon senior advocacy officer at Civil Liberties Union For Europe.

The Berlin-based rights watchdog Civil Liberties Union for Europe warned in a report last year that measures targeting the unvaccinated could "exacerbate existing inequalities".

Mandatory vaccines are not usually seen as a violation of human rights, according to Orsolya Reich, a senior advocacy officer at the NGO Civil Liberties Union for Europe. "States have a duty to protect everyone's life," she said.

Saint-Marin est donc un des derniers Etats d’Europe – avec ces autres «petits» recensés par le site Liberties.eu que sont Malte, le Liechtenstein, Andorre, Gibraltar et le Vatican – à interdire totalement l’avortement ou à le pénaliser très lourdement.

Jascha Galaski, advocacy officer at Civil Liberties Union for Europe, views external oversight as the way forward, and U.S. and European authorities are indeed drawing rules for the fledgling area.

The Civil Liberties Union for Europe wants the [Artificial Intelligence] Act to require a third-party audit for all high-risk AI systems; the current draft requires it only for some forms of biometric identification like facial recognition.

Orsolya Reich, representante de la ONG Civil Liberties Union for Europe, piensa lo contrario: “En sociedades democráticas puede ser necesario restringir la libertad de una persona para asegurarse de que se respeten los derechos de todos.”

"Certain rights can be restricted in certain circumstances, but only to the extent that it is absolutely necessary and proportionate to achieve a legitimate aim," Dr. Orsolya Reich, senior advocacy officer at Liberties, an NGO monitoring human rights across Europe, told Euronews.

Think of the recently-adopted EU regulation on "Terrorist Content", often referred to as #TERREG on social media. Digital rights groups, including Liberties, criticised the proposal because its provisions are so sweeping that it is likely to muzzle free speech and public debate over the internet.

The European Parliament has approved a EU regulation against 'terrorist' content online. It allows one EU state to ask another to remove content hosted in another. (…) The Civil Liberties Union for Europe and other NGOs say the new rules amount to censorship.

For some civil liberties activists the new rules do not go far enough in curbing potential abuses in the cutting-edge technologies that look set have a far-reaching impact on everyday life. "It still allows some problematic uses, such as mass biometric surveillance," said Orsolya Reich of umbrella group Liberties.

"We have the opportunity to create an internet that better serves users by stopping built-in data harvesting and tracing methods," Eva Simon, senior advocacy officer at the Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties), said in a statement.

Some EU member states have bolstered their existing authoritarian tendencies, as leaders strengthened their grip on power under the cover of Covid-19 curbs, according to the EU-focused human rights watchdog organisation, Civil Liberties Union for Europe.

The civil rights groups, which include (...) Civil Liberties Union for Europe said the proposal threatened freedom of expression, freedom to access information, the right to privacy and the rule of law.

"Vaccination can't be the only way to unlock all sorts of freedoms when there are people who can't or won't get vaccinated – often through no fault of their own," said Israel Butler of the Civil Liberties Union for Europe.

“Vaccination can’t be the only way to unlock all sorts of freedoms when there are people who can’t or won’t get vaccinated—often through no fault of their own,” said Israel Butler, head of advocacy at the Civil Liberties Union for Europe.

“La vacunación no puede ser la única forma de desbloquear todo tipo de libertades cuando hay personas que no pueden o no quieren vacunarse, a menudo sin culpa alguna", ha señalado Israel Butler, jefe de defensa de la Unión de Libertades Civiles para Europa.

The lawmakers' debate comes a day after the Civil Liberties Union for Europe warned that "authoritarians" in Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia "abused the pandemic to continue eroding democratic standards."

The EU lawmakers’ debate with Jourova came a day after the Civil Liberties Union for Europe advocacy group singled out the same three countries, and others, for increasing political pressure on the media amid a broader squeeze on democracy under the cover of COVID-19 curbs.

“Countries such as Hungary, Poland or Slovenia have just used the pandemic to strengthen their hold on power and limit criticism of the government,” Linda Ravo, senior adviser to the NGO, said in a statement.

Laut der Anwältin Eva Simon von der Civil Liberties Union for Europe, würden die Entwürfe „klare Regeln für Online-Dienste aufstellen und die Situation verbessern. Aber es ist unwahrscheinlich, dass sie ohne angemessene Durchsetzung einen Wendepunkt darstellt.“

Human rights activists spend too much time focusing on problems without explaining them, while research also shows that trying to debunk myths actually reinforces them. Therefore, activists need to drop abstract language, make human rights popular, and envelop misinformation in a ‘truth sandwich’, writes Israel Butler.

One year ago, on 15 March 2019, a terrorist entered a Christchurch mosque, murdering more than fifty people. Beyond the atrocity of such a hate crime, it hit the whole world for two reasons. First, it happened in New Zealand, which had been considered a peaceful corner of the world. Second, the massacre was broadcast by the terrorist through Facebook live.

If mainstream political groups do not collectively expel their bad apples it could spell an end to measures by the EU to protect democracy in its member countries, write John Morijn and Israel Butler.

The EU should support independent media, education and civil society to halt the far-right’s erosion of the rule of law and fundamental rights, argues Israel Butler.

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