Loss of Privacy

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

Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, requires that senior agency officials for privacy and civil liberties assess the privacy and civil liberties impacts of the activities their respective departments and agencies have undertaken to implement the Executive Order, and to publish their assessments annually in a report compiled by the DHS Privacy Office and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

This is the first of the required annual reports. It includes the DHS Privacy Office’s and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties’ assessments of certain DHS activities under Section 4 of the Executive Order (enhanced threat information sharing with the private sector) as well as assessments conducted independently by the Department of the Treasury and the Departments of Defense, Justice, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Energy, and by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the General Services Administration. April 2014. 152 pages.

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“PTSD was once thought to be something that was peculiar to Vietnam vets,” says Matt Warshauer, a history professor at Central Connecticut State University. ”We then figured out not surprisingly, that no, combat fatigue existed during World War II, shell shock existed during World War I, and Soldier’s Heart existed in the Civil War.”

There are many more books — now under lock and key — that Warshauer is eager to see. They’re about the size of a photo album and their covers, made of burlap and leather, have started to fall apart. Each contains the records of 325 or so patients and perhaps, of some Civil War veterans who walked across the lawns of the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in the late 1800′s.

“They mean the motherlode,” Warshauer says. “Those are the books that we need.”

This past February, Warshauer thought he might soon have access to what he needed. Connecticut legislators drafted a bill, allowing the release of medical records 50 years after a patient’s death. But then, with backing from mental health advocates as well as the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, lawmakers inserted an amendment: all names would be redacted, or blacked out, making patient files of little use to historians.

Warshauer’s research is now at a standstill. He says one reason he’s not giving up is that he wants to help returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD understand they’re part of a long line of soldiers who have suffered.

“They’re the ones who told me you have no idea how important this work is, how important it is for us to be able to tell this story,” he adds.


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Although the video is three hours long, you can skip around to any bit and find informative and interesting things about privacy.

The Next HOPE took place on July 16-18, 2010 at Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City.

This will be a wide-ranging lecture covering databases, privacy, and “computer-aided investigation.” This talk will include numerous examples of investigative online resources and databases, and will include an in-depth demonstration of an actual online investigation done on a volunteer subject.

Emphasis will be placed on discussing the “digital footprints” that we all leave in our daily lives, and how it is now possible for an investigator (or government agent) to determine a person’s likes and dislikes, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, habits, hobbies, friends, family, finances, health, and even the person’s actual physical whereabouts, solely by the use of online data and related activity. The final half hour of the talk will be devoted to Q&A.

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A prosecutor with the state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals said former Anchorage Police Department officer Mark Moeller had a lot going for him before “he acted incredibly stupid.”

During his year and half as an APD officer Moeller used the Alaska Public Safety Information Network, or APSIN, to access information about an arrest warrant for his sister-in-law, and search her former boyfriend. Moeller also looked up DUI charges against a woman he had entered a relationship with after arresting her; his actions came to light when Moeller called a prosecutor to ask that the DUI be dropped, prompting a call from the prosecutor to APD.

Moeller initially faced eight felony charges and five misdemeanors for his actions, before making his plea agreement. He has been given a suspension in sentence for the felony criminal computer-use charge, meaning if he doesn’t violate terms of probation for two years the charge will be expunged from his record.

It sure must be nice to be charged with felonies and misdemeanors and have them whittled down to two years probation.

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