Loss of Privacy

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

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“[A big event] doesn’t trigger privacy concerns,” she says. “What does trigger privacy concerns is the City of Boston installing a network of cameras — some in residential neighborhoods — that enable law enforcement to track individual people from the moment that we leave our homes in the morning until the moment we return at night, seeing basically everywhere we went and everything that we did.”

Boston Police won’t say how many cameras are already in the city’s network, or how many new ones are going up for the marathon. But some of them will stay online afterward.

More at NPR.

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Would you lead a more active lifestyle if it meant lower life insurance premiums? Insurer John Hancock and Vitality, a global wellness firm, are hoping the answer is yes. But there is a condition: They get to track your activity.

The practice is already employed in Australia, Europe, Singapore and South Africa, where Vitality is based.

The companies announced the new plan Wednesday and posted a video on John Hancock’s website.

Here’s how the program works: Once you sign up, John Hancock sends you a Fitbit monitor as one way to track your fitness. You earn Vitality Points for your activities. As you accumulate points, your status rises — from bronze to silver to gold to platinum. The higher your status, the more you save each year on your life insurance premiums. The points also allow you benefits at stores like REI and Whole Foods as well as hotel chains like Hyatt.

More at NPR.

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After several community meetings, a San Jose city commission has decided to endorse use of a police drone. The pilot project still needs approval from the city council, but this marks an important step for police in getting the public to buy in.

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Illustration by Jesse Tahirali

Illustration by Jesse Tahirali

There’s a good chance your new car is going to be spying on you.

Modern vehicles are powerful data-scraping machines, warns a group of B.C. privacy advocates, and Canada urgently needs to regulate what companies can do with the information cars send them.

The British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) published a 123-page report Wednesday, detailing what your vehicle might know about you and who can access that information.

The report details its concerns about how much information it is tracking, including knowing nearly every part of your life by tracking your exact location.

Electronic control units keep track of everything from how fast you drive to how long your car idles and how suddenly you brake, the report says. Your car’s GPS system, for example, also keeps track of your exact location, sending that information to the car’s manufacturer, or possibly a third-party call centre or an insurance agency.

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