privacy

Public Records Request Returns 4.6M License Plate Scans From Oakland PD

schwit1 points out a report from Ars Technica on how they used a public records request to acquire an entire License Plate Reader dataset from the Oakland Police Department. The dataset includes 4.6 million total reads from 1.1 million unique plates. They built a custom visualization tool to demonstrate how this data could be abused. “For instance, during a meeting with an Oakland city council member, Ars was able to accurately guess the block where the council member lives after less than a minute of research using his license plate data. Similarly, while “working” at an Oakland bar mere blocks from Oakland police headquarters, we ran a plate from a car parked in the bar’s driveway through our tool. The plate had been read 48 times over two years in two small clusters: one near the bar and a much larger cluster 24 blocks north in a residential area—likely the driver’s home.” Though the Oakland PD has periodically deleted data to free up space — the 4.6 million records were strewn across 18 different Excel spreadsheets with hundreds of thousands of lines each — there is no formal retention limit.

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The U.S. can legally access your old emails and it wants to keep it that way

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Many people around the globe might assume these days that the U.S. government can enact some shady magic called the NSA to access any email it wants, even if that shady magic is considered by some to be illegal

But how many people—particularly U.S. residents—know that the American government technically has perfectly legal access to everyone’s emails, so long as it says those digital notes might be useful for an investigation and the emails are more than 180 days old?

That’s what U.S. law says as it was written in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in 1986, and the government made very clear earlier this month that it would like the law to stay that way, even if privacy law experts think this rule is so archaic it may as well be collecting dust in a museum Read more…

More about Digital, Government, United States, Privacy, and Us World

The U.S. can legally access your old emails and it wants to keep it that way

Email

Feed-twFeed-fb

Many people around the globe might assume these days that the U.S. government can enact some shady magic called the NSA to access any email it wants, even if that shady magic is considered by some to be illegal

But how many people—particularly U.S. residents—know that the American government technically has perfectly legal access to everyone’s emails, so long as it says those digital notes might be useful for an investigation and the emails are more than 180 days old?

That’s what U.S. law says as it was written in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in 1986, and the government made very clear earlier this month that it would like the law to stay that way, even if privacy law experts think this rule is so archaic it may as well be collecting dust in a museum Read more…

More about Digital, Government, United States, Privacy, and Us World

Google: Our New System For Recognizing Faces Is the Best

schwit1 writes Last week, a trio of Google researchers published a paper on a new artificial intelligence system dubbed FaceNet that it claims represents the most accurate approach yet to recognizing human faces. FaceNet achieved nearly 100-percent accuracy on a popular facial-recognition dataset called Labeled Faces in the Wild, which includes more than 13,000 pictures of faces from across the web. Trained on a massive 260-million-image dataset, FaceNet performed with better than 86 percent accuracy.

The approach Google’s researchers took goes beyond simply verifying whether two faces are the same. Its system can also put a name to a face—classic facial recognition—and even present collections of faces that look the most similar or the most distinct.

Every advance in facial recognition makes me think of Paul Theroux’s dystopian Ozone.

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Hertz Puts Cameras In Its Rental Cars, Says It Has No Plans To Use Them

schwit1 writes Hertz has added a camera to many of its newer cars that uses the “NeverLost” navigational device. So why is Hertz creeping out customers with cameras it’s not using? “Hertz added the camera as a feature of the NeverLost 6 in the event it was decided, in the future, to activate live agent connectivity to customers by video. In that plan the customer would have needed to turn on the camera by pushing a button (while stationary),” Hertz spokesperson Evelin Imperatrice explained. “The camera feature has not been launched, cannot be operated and we have no current plans to do so.”

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Senator: ‘Plenty’ of Domestic Surveillance We Still Don’t Know About

An anonymous reader writes: In a recent interview, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has complained about the Obama administration’s failure to shut down the NSA’s bulk collection of phone metadata. This program and most other programs we’ve heard of were disclosed by Edward Snowden. But Snowden couldn’t tell us everything. When asked if there were further domestic surveillance programs about which the public knows nothing, Senator Wyden said, “Yeah, there’s plenty of stuff.” The ones he knows about are classified, so he couldn’t elaborate. “Even in cases where the public has been informed of government practices, Wyden warned the government still collects far too much information on millions of citizens with virtually no accountability.”

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Uber Sued Over Driver Data Breach, Adding To Legal Woes

wabrandsma writes with news about the latest trouble facing Uber. “Uber Technologies Inc has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit over a recently disclosed data breach involving the personal information of about 50,000 drivers, the latest in a series of legal woes to hit the Internet car service. The suit, filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco by Sasha Antman, an Uber driver in Portland, Oregon, says the company did not do enough to prevent the 2014 breach and waited too long — about five months — to disclose it. Antman says Uber violated a California law requiring companies to safeguard employee’s personal information.”

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Eavesdropping Barbie is “downright creepy,” privacy advocates say

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Mattel’s new “Hello Barbie” has more tricks up her sleeve than just saying hello.

With the press of a button, Barbie’s embedded microphone turns on and records the voice of the child playing with her. The recordings are then uploaded to a cloud server, where voice detection technology helps the doll make sense of the data. The result? An inquisitive Barbie who remembers your dog’s name and brings up your favorite hobbies in your next chitchat

The doll, which made her debut at the 2015 American International Toy Fair, has privacy activists demanding its removal. Read more…

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Court Overturns Dutch Data Retention Law, Privacy More Important

wabrandsma writes According to DutchNews.nl: “Internet providers no longer have to keep their clients phone, internet and email details because privacy is more important, a Dutch court ruled on Wednesday.” Digital rights organization Bits of Freedom writes in a blog: “The law’s underlying European directive was meant as a tool in the fight against serious crimes. The Dutch law, however, is much more expansive, including everything from terrorism to bike theft. During the hearing, the state’s attorneys avowed that the Public Prosecution does not take the law lightly, and would not call on the law to request data in case of a bicycle theft. The judge’s response: it doesn’t matter if you exploit the possibility or not, the fact that the possibility exists is already reason enough to conclude that the current safeguards are unsatisfactory.”

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Fujitsu Tech Can Track Heavily Blurred People In Security Videos

itwbennett writes Fujitsu has developed image-processing technology that can be used to track people in security camera footage, even when the images are heavily blurred to protect their privacy. The company says that detecting the movements of people in this way could be useful for retail design, reducing pedestrian congestion in crowded urban areas or improving evacuation routes for emergencies. An indoor test of the system was able to track the paths of 80 percent of test subjects, according to the company.

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