Loss of Privacy

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

fingerprint

Pupils at Redhill School in Stourbridge, United Kingdom are set to have their fingerprints taken. The schools say the controversial technology is part of a cashless system throughout the school and is necessary to reduce queues and monitor pupils’ diets.

The 1,200-pupil school in Junction Road detailed its plans in a letter to parents last month. Headteacher Stephen Dunster said the scheme was part of a long-term plan to allow parents to pay for any school related fees over the internet.

He said: “We are aiming to have a cashless system throughout the school. The catering system is better for parents because they don’t have to provide children with lunch money every morning. From our perspective it is far more efficient as it reduces waiting times.”

“We will also be able to monitor what children are buying to make sure they are eating a healthy diet.”

Just because a student takes an orange to eat for lunch does not mean the student eats that orange. You can force children to take healthy foods at lunch, but you can’t make them eat it.

Around half of Dudley’s secondary schools use some form of biometric system. But its use has come under fire from civil liberties campaigners, who fear the information could be stored on school databases. Mr Dunster added: “We don’t hold fingerprints on file. This is about using technology to benefit our pupils and parents.”

If the fingerprints are not held on file, who has them? Who has access to these fingerprints and how secure are they?

More at the Express and Star.

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TSA Logic

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tsa logic

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In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, an aggressive brand of policing called “highway interdiction,” which involves authorities seizing money and property during traffic stops, has grown in popularity. Thousands of people not charged with crimes are left fighting legal battles to regain their money.

Cash seizures can be made under state or federal civil law. One of the primary ways police departments are able to seize money and share in the proceeds at the federal level is through a long-standing Justice Department civil asset forfeiture program known as Equitable Sharing. Asset forfeiture is an extraordinarily powerful law enforcement tool that allows the government to take cash and property without pressing criminal charges and then requires the owners to prove their possessions were legally acquired.

The practice has been controversial since its inception at the height of the drug war more than three decades ago, and its abuses have been the subject of journalistic exposés and congressional hearings. But unexplored until now is the role of the federal government and the private police trainers in encouraging officers to target cash on the nation’s highways since 9/11.

“Those laws were meant to take a guy out for selling $1 million in cocaine or who was trying to launder large amounts of money,” said Mark Overton, the police chief in Bal Harbour, Fla., who once oversaw a federal drug task force in South Florida. “It was never meant for a street cop to take a few thousand dollars from a driver by the side of the road.”

It’s the same, no matter where the police are conducting these stops.

In case after case, highway interdictors appeared to follow a similar script. Police set up what amounted to rolling checkpoints on busy highways and pulled over motorists for minor violations, such as following too closely or improper signaling. They quickly issued warnings or tickets. They studied drivers for signs of nervousness, including pulsing carotid arteries, clenched jaws and perspiration. They also looked for supposed “indicators” of criminal activity, which can include such things as trash on the floor of a vehicle, abundant energy drinks or air fresheners hanging from rearview mirrors.

More at The Washington Post.

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The notion that certain rights are guaranteed to citizens is being proven false every day. For instance, you have the First Amendment right to film police officers and other public officials, but it often takes an official policy change (usually prompted by lawsuits) before these public servants will begrudgingly respect that right.

More at techdirt.

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Two teens were cited for sexting after police said they shared a nude photo of a girl while in class at West Port High School in Marion County.

The boys, 14 and 15, were cited under Florida’s sexting statute, which makes a first-time offense a civil infraction and not a crime for minors.

Police said the first teen downloaded the photo from Instagram, then shared it with the other teen via Kik Messenger. The second boy shared the picture with his cousin, according to Ocala police. A school resource officer uncovered the information and filed the report.

The first teen was cited for possessing and distributing the nude photo, while the second was cited for distributing it. Police said since the photo was sent to his mother’s phone he wasn’t charged with possession.

The girl told police the picture had been edited via Photoshop.

Both teens face a fine or eight hours of community service. A second offense is a first-degree misdemeanor. The teens were not arrested, but they do have a mandatory court appearance.

Source.

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