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Legal academics are urging Members of Parliament to conduct an "open and transparent assessment and critique of UK surveillance powers," the Press Association reports.

Legal academics are calling on Members of Parliament (MPs) to carefully consider new laws that serve to increase government surveillance powers.

A group of esteemed academics have signed an open letter to new and returning MPs, issuing a warning against expanding the scope of state surveillance laws and policies without the full engagement of parliament and the general public.

Legal academics are urging Members of Parliament to conduct an "open and transparent assessment and critique of UK surveillance powers," the Press Association reports.

Legal academics are calling on Members of Parliament (MPs) to carefully consider new laws that serve to increase government surveillance powers.

A group of esteemed academics have signed an open letter to new and returning MPs, issuing a warning against expanding the scope of state surveillance laws and policies without the full engagement of parliament and the general public.

The government is looking to further extend its new "snooper charter" bill that would see the UK's intelligence agencies having greater access to the public's online communications.

Currently, the charter is intended to allow agencies to access anyone's web and social media use. However, the new bill will also have provisions for the police and GCHQ to intercept and store personal communications on a massive scale.

The government argues it is attempting to "modernise the law" by providing powers for the agencies to track and store online data. The Home Office has said the new bill will: "better equip law enforcement and intelligence agencies to meet their key operational requirements, and address the gap in these agencies' abilities to build intelligence and evidence where subjects of interest, suspects and vulnerable people have communicated online."

Yesterday, a US federal appeals court ruled the National Security Agency's (NSA) Section 215 collection of telephone metadata programme is illegal under the Patriot Act.

In December 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought the case of the NSA's metadata telephone surveillance to a district court in New York.

At the hearing, Judge William Pauley ruled the NSA's actions were constitutional, arguing: "the right to be free from searches is fundamental but not absolute" and "As the September 11 attacks demonstrate, the cost of missing such a threat can be horrific".

Privacy: Lib Dems plan to introduce bill of digital rights

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will introduce a bill of digital rights if they find themselves as part of a coalition after the coming election.

The bill is intended to bring the current civil and human rights of the UK into the digital sphere.

The Lib Dems have released a public consultation paper on the proposed bill. Within, the paper's highlights include: providing compensation for consumers in instances when companies use deliberately misleading terms and conditions online; prison sentences for companies that involve themselves in large-scale data theft and illegally selling personal data; and more powers to the information commissioner when inspecting companies in connection with data laws.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has announced on 8 April the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) broke electronic marketing rules.

An investigation in UCAS was launched by the ICO after the Guardian published an article in March 2014 showing UCAS had been selling data on over a million teenagers and students to companies such as Vodafone and Microsoft.

The ICO's investigation specifically focused on a part of the UCAS application form where students have the option to opt out of receiving marketing from commercial companies; however, the opt out option would mean they would also miss out on important information concerning their career and education.

The US Electronic Privacy Information Center is calling for an investigation of Samsung over claims that its voice-recording 'smart' TVs breach privacy laws, The Guardian reports.

An independent non-profit research centre in Washington DC is pushing for a federal investigation of Samsung over privacy concerns relating to its voice-recording 'smart' TVs.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) claims that Samsung smart TVs record the private conversations of users without informing them and is calling for a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation over privacy concerns.

The Belgian Privacy Commission has found that Facebook's new privacy policy continues to breach European data protection and privacy laws, The Guardian reports.

Despite a recent update of its privacy policy, social media giant, Facebook, remains in breach of European data protection and privacy laws, according to a report commissioned by the Belgian Privacy Commission.

The report, prepared by the Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT and Intellectual Property Rights at the University of Leuven in Belgium, concludes that Facebook's privacy policy update last month does not present new policies and practices, but merely expands on older versions.

A new report published by the UN has stated the surveillance of the internet by government intelligence agencies may undermine international law, reports the Guardian.

The report, written by Ben Emmerson QC, a specialist on counter-terrorism, was released as a response to the Edward Snowden revelations concerning the extent to which government agencies were spying on the public via digital channels.

The report focuses on Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, where it is stated: "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home and correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour or reputation."

Rumours have emerged implicating New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, of acting unlawfully by breaking privacy laws, reports the BBC.

While John Key denies any wrongdoing, an American investigative journalist claims that Mr Key was planning an undercover national surveillance operation and had even begun tapping into phone lines before being granted the legal authority to do so.

'The report was based on information disclosed by former US National Security Authority (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, who said the government had planned to exploit new spying laws', reports the BBC.

Information: Government to share private data for the first time

The government is planning to share the private data of millions of citizens across Whitehall databases for the first time, without seeking prior approval from the individuals concerned, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The government is planning to link access to databases containing reams of personal information in order to make the sharing of information within local and central government easier.

It is understood that the proposals will see private information shared between councils, schools and the police. The Telegraph speculates that the sort of data involved could include driving licence information held by the DVLA, police criminal records, and information stored by your local council.