Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts in USA Privacy

The smooth, perforated sheaths of metal are decorative, but their job is to protect and conceal a system of data-collection sensors that will measure air quality, light intensity, sound volume, heat, precipitation and wind. The sensors will also count people by measuring wireless signals on mobile devices.

Some experts caution that efforts like the one launching here to collect data from people and their surroundings pose concerns of a Big Brother intrusion into personal privacy.

In particular, sensors collecting cellphone data make privacy proponents nervous. But computer scientist Charlie Catlett said the planners have taken precautions to design their sensors to observe mobile devices and count contact with the signal rather than record the digital address of each device.

Many cities around the globe have tried in recent years to collect enormous piles of “big data” in order to better understand their people and surroundings, but scientists say Chicago’s project to create a permanent data collection infrastructure is unusual.

Sounds innocent enough, until you keep reading.

Data-hungry researchers are unabashedly enthusiastic about the project, but some experts said that the system’s flexibility and planned partnerships with industry beg to be closely monitored. Questions include whether the sensors are gathering too much personal information about people who may be passing by without giving a second thought to the amount of data that their movements — and the signals from their smartphones — may be giving off.

But such an effort could still lead to gathering more sensitive information than is intended, said Fred Cate, an expert on privacy matters related to technology who teaches at Indiana University’s law school.

“Almost any data that starts with an individual is going to be identifiable,” Cate said. When tracking activity from mobile phones, “you actually collect the traffic. You may not care about the fact that it’s personally identifiable. It’s still going to be personally identifiable.”

King, the Harvard sociologist and data expert, agreed that the Chicago scientists will inevitably scoop up personally identifiable data.

“If they do a good job they’ll collect identifiable data. You can (gather) identifiable data with remarkably little information,” King said. “You have to be careful. Good things can produce bad things.”

Researchers hope these sensors will eventually expand into neighborhoods.

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Deborah C. Peel, MD is the world’s leading advocate for patients’ rights to control the use of personal health information in electronic systems. She is also a practicing physician and Freudian psychoanalyst. She became an expert and privacy warrior to stop patients from being harmed. The lack of health privacy causes millions of US citizens to avoid early diagnosis and treatment for cancer, depression, and STDs every year.

Her passion is informing the public about privacy-enhancing technologies and the major fixes needed in law and policy, so they can join the battle to restore our civil and human rights to health privacy.

Before you think this isn’t a big deal, think again. Hospitals have begun creating profiles on current and potential patients by tracking their consumer data to identify when a person may become ill.

Information compiled by data brokers from public records and credit card transactions can reveal where a person shops, the food they buy, and whether they smoke. The largest hospital chain in the Carolinas is plugging data for 2 million people into algorithms designed to identify high-risk patients, while Pennsylvania’s biggest system uses household and demographic data.

Carolinas HealthCare System operates the largest group of medical centers in North Carolina and South Carolina, with more than 900 care centers, including hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices and surgical centers. The health system is placing its data, which include purchases a patient has made using a credit card or store loyalty card, into predictive models that give a risk score to patients.

While all information would be bound by doctor-patient confidentiality, he said he’s aware some people may be uncomfortable with data going to doctors and hospitals. For these people, the system is considering an opt-out mechanism that will keep their data private,

How about just making the system opt-in? Anyone who wants to be spied upon and have others making their lifestyle decisions for them can participate. Those who value their privacy wouldn’t have to do a thing.

Video.

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It started with a hidden camera we discovered was at the Mobile On The Run on Clarkson, just south of the Chesterfield Mall. Video from a hidden camera showed people going to the bathroom and the videos were posted on a pornographic web site.

Our investigation started on the East Coast, where a man said he clicked on a banner that took him to the offensive porn web site. He noticed many victims wearing company shirts. That’s how we found victim Rob Cheney who told us, “When I saw myself pooping, I was just like you’ve gotta be kidding me.”

We asked Cheney for a list of places where he used the bathroom. He explained, “I had to think because you don’t document everywhere you go to the bathroom, so it took me awhile to pinpoint where it was.”

Fox 2 checked his list of rest rooms, comparing the online video to each bathroom. Then we found a perfect match, from the floor tiles to the drain by the toilet. Cheney just moved to the area and laughed, “Three weeks and I’m already on a poop cam pretty much. So three weeks and everybody’s seen me poop? That’s terrible. Hahaha.”

The police officer is set to face a grand jury.

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backscatter_large

After years of backlash, the TSA removed the controversial screening machines that had the capability of revealing too much in their images. They weren’t scrapped entirely. They are now being transferred to state and local prisons across the country.

So far, 154 of the machines have been transferred to prisons in states including Iowa, Virginia and Louisiana. It’s a good fit because privacy concerns raised by airport passengers do not apply in many cases to prisoners, according to TSA.

Arkansas received five of the scanners in early May for use by local sheriffs as well, according to TSA. The remaining 96 scanners are still being stored in the warehouses of scanner manufacturer Rapiscan.

“TSA and the vendor are working with other government agencies interested in receiving the units for their security mission needs and for use in a different environment,” TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein said.

TSA owned about 250 of the screening machines at its peak — valued at about $40 million — before removing them from airports in the first half of 2013 in response to pressure over the virtually nude images it created of passengers.

The machines were banned in Europe. The TSA trivialized health and safety concerns until Congress got involved, but, somehow, after sitting in a warehouse for a while, they are magically okay to use on prisoners.

The very real health concerns were never addressed and will become a problem if these machines are widely used on a regular basis.

The systemic repercussions of widespread application of X-Ray backscatter systems in the various private penal colonies of the united states, while financially sound at its salesmans word, certainly isnt a long term bet to hedge. Incidences of debilitating cancers will need medical treatment for both guards and prisoners alike as has been shown in the incidences of cancer for certain groups of TSA screeners. Liability for introducing a prisoner or employee to a cancer suspect agent will likely follow the course of most other folly of american scientific perversion in the hands of government.

It will likely be assigned to the government, who in turn will insist it was the technology, and in turn the manufacturer will absolve itself through a complex series of medical puppet shows, out of court settlements, and evasive restructuring practices so as to ensure no real harm comes to the corporation. Once your sentence is complete, and you emerge from prison, the biblical retribution set upon you is now the denial of employment, housing, food stamps, medicare, and finally a malignant cancer risk substantially greater than the rest of society as your corrections system applied background scanners quietly and incessantly for the duration of your incarceration.

America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The consequences could be staggering.

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