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Concerns About Equal Access to the Benefit and Fresh Fears Over the ‘Five-Week Wait’

A bleak Covid-19 winter is coming. Cases are soaring and the UK government has imposed a further one-month lockdown in England. The lockdown could push more than 2 million people into furlough, or temporary leave from work. Hundreds of thousands more…
Citizens Advice operates the “Help to Claim” service, which helps people apply for Universal Credit online. 
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Ruling a Victory for Claimants’ Rights, but Problems Remain

When Rachelle, 35, a single working mother in London, received her first Universal Credit payment in March, she had a panic attack. It was far short of what she needed to pay the rent and support her two children, one of whom has a disability. “I am…
A branch of the UK employment social security agency where claimants seek assistance with their benefits, Newcastle, March 4, 2020.
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An Opportunity to Help Victims Obtain Justice

The British government is expected to announce this week whether an independent inquiry will resume into the UK’s involvement in overseas torture and transfers (known as “renditions”) in US-led counterterrorism operations after the 9/11 attacks. If…
A motorboat passes by the MI6 building in London August 25, 2010.
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US Could Use Data Demanded from UK – But Pretend It Didn’t

After heated debate, the United Kingdom has just inched closer to adopting laws that would allow the United States to demand and obtain digital evidence – such as e-mails, texts, and chats – directly from companies that are storing it…
WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons are seen on an iPhone in Manchester , Britain March 27, 2017.
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Parliamentary Reports Underscore Lack of Accountability and Scant Learning from Past Mistakes

Today, the UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee confirmed that, while cooperating with US-led post-2001 counterterrorism operations, the UK took and tolerated actions that were “inexcusable”. For those unfamiliar with…
A motorboat passes by the MI6 building in London August 25, 2010.
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UK Home Secretary Suggests Only Bad Guys Want ‘Unbreakable Security’

In a recent op-ed, United Kingdom Home Secretary Amber Rudd argued strong encryption was thwarting the government’s ability to monitor terrorists and criminals. Rudd expressed skepticism about the need for end-to-end encryption,…
WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons are seen on an iPhone in Manchester , Britain March 27, 2017.
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Says Hostile to Privacy, Democratic Freedoms

This week, the European Union’s top court once again found that blanket data retention mandates are hostile to privacy and democratic freedoms, and incompatible with EU law. Such mandates require service providers to store data on all of the provider’s…
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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who will be in London next week to pitch foreign investment, is mired in political controversy at home. The corruption scandal involving the government-owned 1 Malaysia Development Berhad fund refuses to…
Malaysia's (L-R) Prime Minister Najib Razak and King Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah wave Malaysian national flags during National Day celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, August 31, 2015.
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On January 6, a retired 36-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistleblower, William Binney, cautioned United Kingdom lawmakers against legalizing mass surveillance in the proposed Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. Binney told the…
A man and woman use their mobile phones as commuters walk past the columns of the Bank of England in the City of London, July 3, 2012.
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The British government’s concern for the safety and well-being of the Yemeni people – already extremely feeble – reached a new low this week. In Geneva, Britain failed to actively promote a Dutch resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council that…
Damaged buildings in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, May 8, 2015.
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A much-anticipated government report officially acknowledges what Edward Snowden revealed to the world many months ago: the UK has been intercepting communications en masse. But rather than condemn the widespread snooping, the report endorses the so-…
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An open Internet offers both benefits and risks for human rights. It has allowed activists anywhere to have global impact and hold institutions accountable. But digital technologies have enabled surveillance on an unprecedented scope and scale. When…
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You might think that, with decades of experience in dealing with the threat of terrorism, the UK would have learned to avoid the obvious mistakes in rushed legislation that abuses rights and alienates the communities whose support is needed to tackle the…
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Counterterrorism proposals aimed at preventing British citizens from becoming foreign fighters with groups such as Islamic State (ISIS) were announced by UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday. Unless accompanied by strict safeguards, these measures…
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Today Julian Assange, the Wikileaks publisher, begins his third year confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He fled there, receiving political asylum, when Sweden sought his extradition to answer sexual assault allegations. Although both Assange…
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After a year of silence over reports of its involvement in the indiscriminate surveillance of millions of people around the world, the UK government has confirmed what many had feared – snooping on a mass scale is not only happening, but existing laws do…
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Today’s Westminster debate on the role of the UK intelligence and security services is long overdue. Four months after the Guardian newspaper first published details of mass surveillance by the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the US…