privacy

Microsoft Continues Its Campaign Against A US Warrant Demanding Overseas Data

microsoft-earnings A search warrant commanding Microsoft to turn over certain customer email data that is currently stored overseas was unfrozen late this week. The company declined to comply. In a statement, Microsoft said that it “will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal.” This¬†protest act by Microsoft, arguing that domestic warrants should not be able to command access to data… Read More

Judge Allows L.A. Cops To Keep License Plate Reader Data Secret

An anonymous reader writes: A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that the Los Angeles Police Department is not required to hand over a week’s worth of license plate reader data to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). He cited the potential of compromising criminal investigations and giving (un-charged) criminals the ability to determine whether or not they were being targeted by law enforcement (PDF). The ACLU and the EFF sought the data under the California Public Records Act, but the judge invoked Section 6254(f), “which protects investigatory files.” ACLU attorney Peter Bibring notes, “New surveillance techniques may function better if people don’t know about them, but that kind of secrecy is inconsistent with democratic policing.”

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850 Billion NSA Surveillance Records Searchable By Domestic Law Enforcement

onproton (3434437) writes The Intercept reported today on classified documents revealing that the NSA has built its own “Google-like” search engine to provide over 850 billion collected records directly to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the DEA. Reporter Ryan Gallagher explains, “The documents provide the first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies.” The search engine, called ICREACH, allows analysts to search an array of databases, some of which contain metadata collected on innocent American citizens, for the purposes of “foreign intelligence.” However, questions have been raised over its potential for abuse in what is known as “parallel construction,” a process in which agencies use surveillance resources in domestic investigations, and then later cover it up by creating a different evidence trail to use in court.

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Access To User Data: If Microsoft Wins, Do Startups And Innovators Lose?

msft-sun1 With user trust at an all-time low, keeping the FBI’s hands off foreign users’ data seems like good business sense for US companies. Microsoft says it’s “fighting the feds over your email, but it also happens to be fighting to support the Microsoft business model. If your business isn’t like Microsoft (and if you’re a tech company that’s less than 10… Read More

The Most Connected Man Is You, Just a Few Years From Now

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DENVER, Colorado — Chris Dancy, the self-described “most connected guy in the world,” reclines in a throne in the corner of his home office. The walls around him are a scrapbook of his life, pinned with foreign currency, concert tickets and pictures of his icons, like Michael Jackson and Andy Warhol.

In between stories of his travels, he mentions his newfound Internet fame. He has been thrown into the spotlight for using between 300 and 700 tracking and lifelogging systems at all times, from the fitness wristband Fitbit to the Beddit mattress cover.

But then the conversation shifts to his childhood, a time when Dancy (now 45) and his family struggled to make ends meet. While describing his mother’s role in helping them through a difficult time, he closes his eyes and cuts himself off. The lights in the room have started to flicker. It’s the only moment all day where you can hear a pin drop. Read more…

More about Mobile, Apps, Privacy, Tech, and Feature

AOL, Adobe, Salesforce Among 30 US Companies Said To Be Violating EU Data Transfer Deal

8016617207_1150507227_z Thirty US companies — including software giant Adobe, TechCrunch owner AOL and SaaS CRM purveyor Salesforce.com — have been identified as in probable violation of a EU-US agreement aimed at safeguarding personal data transfers in a complaint filed with the FTC by US consumer privacy rights NGO the Center for Digital Democracy. Read More

John McAfee Airs His Beefs About Privacy In Def Con Surprise Talk

John McAfee made a surprise appearance at Def Con to talk about privacy: he’s for it. Trouble is, he says, lots of companies feel otherwise, and he took the stage to single out “don’t be evil” Google: “Google, or at least certain people within Google, I will not mention names because I am not a rude gentleman, would like us to believe that if we have nothing to hide, we should not mind if everybody knows everything that we do,” he said from the podium. “I have to take serious issue with that.” The BBC has video. McAfee also announced his new complaints website, The Brown List. (Good usernames are still available, and your complaint can be about anything, not just privacy violations by humongous corporations.)

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Facebook Data Privacy Class Action Now Oversubscribed

facebook-like-icon A civil class action lawsuit being brought against Facebook on privacy grounds by Europe vs Facebook campaigner Max Schrems has hit its current maximum of 25,000 participants less than a week after the action was announced. Read More

40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes with the chilling, but not really surprising, news that the U.S. government is aware that many names in its terrorist suspect database are not linked to terrorism in any way. From the article: Nearly half of the people on the U.S. government’s widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group, according to classified government documents obtained by The Intercept. Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database — a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments — more than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” That category — 280,000 people — dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined.

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Want To Work Without Prying Eyes? Try Wearing a Body Sock

Nerval’s Lobster writes The “Compubody Sock,” which anyone with knitting skills can make at home, is a giant sock-hoodie-bag in which you place your laptop or tablet, along with your head and hands, giving you total privacy while freaking out anyone who happens to be sitting next to you. Designer Becky Stern told Forbes’ Kashmir Hill that the Sock was meant more as commentary on privacy and device addiction; even so, considering how NSA employees reportedly drape themselves in hoods in order to thwart hidden cameras while typing in passwords, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that an ultra-paranoid someone could find a practical use for a body sock. But that paranoid android better have expert knitting skills: putting together the Sock necessitates a whole lot of steps (“Purl 5, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn the work,” etc.). Your other option, of course, is to simply avoid working on sensitive stuff in public.

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