Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Never in human history have people been more connected than they are today — nor have they been more thoroughly monitored. Over the past year, the disclosures spurred by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have drawn public attention to the stunning surveillance capabilities of the American intelligence community, and the unprecedented volume of data they collect from hundreds of millions of people around the world. But the growth of government surveillance is by no means restricted to spies: Even ordinary law enforcement agencies increasingly employ sophisticated tracking technologies, from face recognition software to “Stingray” devices that can locate suspects by sniffing out their cellular phone signals. Are these tools a vital weapon against criminals and terrorists — or a threat to privacy and freedom? How should these tracking technologies be regulated by the Fourth Amendment and federal law? Can we reconcile the secrecy that spying demands with the transparency that democratic accountability requires?

This inaugural Cato Institute Surveillance Conference will explore these questions, guided by a diverse array of experts: top journalists and privacy advocates; lawyers and technologists; intelligence officials … and those who’ve been targets of surveillance. And for the more practically minded, a special Crypto Reception, following the Conference, will teach attendees how to use privacy-enhancing technologies to secure their own communications.

More videos are available at the Cato Institute. Though in separate videos, the entire conference is available to view online or download.

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Minister of law, Anders Anundsen, on the matter, December 13th:

“If this is true, such surveillance is completely unacceptable.”

Fast forward one single day to December 14th, and Anders Anundsen publishes a bill proposing that the police be able to use IMSI catchers — the exact same piece of equipment that it’s apparently unacceptable to set up close to The Storting — to surveil the mobile network without the need to go court for permission, and without any suspicion of crime.

More at Aftenposten and Reddit.

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RFID/NFC (radio-frequency identification/near-field communication) readers can now be used to steal your personal information, including credit-card data, right from your pocket. More than 10 million identities are digitally pick pocketed every year, and these devices are among the most common tools criminals use.

That’s why we partnered with with global information-protection authority Norton to create the world’s first RFID-blocking jeans to develop the world’s first RFID-block jeans and blazer. The READY Active Jeans and Work-It Blazer protected by Norton have two pockets lined with special RFID-blocking fabric, which shields your credit cards from scanning devices.

Source.

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The US navy has demonstrated a ship-mounted laser weapon system in the Persian Gulf, off the coast of Iran, capable of destroying targets on speeding boats or even aircraft with pin-point accuracy, it told reporters Wednesday.

The laser weapon is 30 kilowatts in power, which makes it 30m times more powerful than a hand-held laser pointer. It can be run at lower power, to “dazzle” – which disrupts or damages sensors and instruments – or at full power to destroy targets.

In a video of the demonstration, the device is shown targeting a mounted missile on a speeding boat, and then first dazzling, then destroying, an unmanned aerial drone in mid-flight.

The navy was keen to point out that this was not just a scientific test – the laser device is fully operational. “We’re not testing any more – it’s working,” Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, the chief of naval research, said in a press conference at the Pentagon Wednesday.”

More.

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From EPIC:

Beginning in 2015, many federal facilities will require a “Real ID” for entry where identification is required. Several states have opted out of the Real ID Act, a federal mandate to modify the design of state drivers licenses, raising questions about the ability of people in those states to access federal buildings and board commercial aircraft. EPIC, supported by a broad coalition, opposed the Real ID regulations, arguing that many of the required identification techniques, such as facial recognition and RFID tags, compromise privacy and enable surveillance. EPIC, joined by technical experts and legal scholars, also provided detailed comments to the Department of Homeland Security about the program and later issued a L6[report: “REAL ID Implementation Review: Few Benefits, Staggering Costs” (May 2008). For more information see: EPIC: National ID and the Real ID Act.

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