Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts in USA Privacy

There have been several stories this past week that have stated that the IRS has upgraded its technology so that tax collectors can track what you do online, including reading emails, Facebook and Twitter, without a warrant.

Shepard Smith, Johnathan Hunt, and Judge Andrew Napolitano try to clear up what is happening.

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The controversial CISPA bill has passed out of committee in the House of Representatives, but it still needs to be discussed and voted on in the House as well as the Senate, but the White House says it will not support the bill in its current form.

“As US cybersecurity bill CISPA heads to the House Floor for a vote, the White House National Security Council has issued a statement suggesting that the President won’t support it in its current form. “We continue to believe that information sharing improvements are essential to effective legislation,” said NSC spokesperson Caitlin Hayden told the Los Angeles Times in a statement. “but they must include privacy and civil liberties protections, reinforce the roles of civilian and intelligence agencies, and include targeted liability protections.”

CISPA, the controversial bill that greatly threatens the privacy of anyone online, is making its way to Congress after passing in a closed-door vote by the House Intelligence Committee by a huge margin. There were no changes to the language to protect personal privacy. How is this happening after the internet so loudly cried foul, and why is it being ignored in the press? Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian break it down.

Politicians continue to beat the 9/11 drum, while the real purpose of bills such as CISPA is to eliminate any kind of privacy on the internet. Right now, President Obama is objecting the bill because it doesn’t do enough to protect civil liberties, but how long will he hold out?

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From KABC-TV in Los Angeles:

One way to accomplish protecting email on your own end is to use something like PGP by default.

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Luke Gildea placed a hidden camera in the boys locker room. When students found out, they were disgusted.

Gildea was arrested after authorities discovered a pinhole camera hidden in a boys locker room.  Prosecutors say he used the camera to capture images of fellow students undressing.

The camera was not capable of transmitting the images it captured, so officials say nothing was ever posted online.  Still, students say there concern throughout the school.

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In Dallas, Texas, the police department is set to begin using license plate scanners in several locations throughout the city. The scanners will scan all license plates, regardless of suspicion.

Motorists driving on a Dallas street could have their license plates read by the new technology that pinpoints where there vehicle was at a certain time. Police would retain that information at least temporarily.

At the Council’s Public Safety Committee, police reported where the stationary cameras will be installed. The 14 cameras will be in ten targeted high-crime areas of Dallas initially.

The other 14 will be mounted on police cars.

Police are excited about these automated license plate readers and hope to get them working by mid-March.

There are, however, two glaring privacy concerns.

Initially, police indicated they might hold onto the data for six months. But Brown says the plan now is a 90-day retention policy, and that the software will track who in the police department examines that data to prevent snooping.

The police have indicated that they wish to keep data on all motorists for six months, but had to settle on a 90-day retention policy, for now. If there aren’t a lot of complaints over legal, law-abiding citizens’ privacy being invaded, the police department will likely revisit the retention period and request a longer retention policy.

“We know which officer has made which query to the system, and we can go back and audit to determine if they made those queries for the right reasons,” Chief Brown said.

This is the police coyly admitting that such information has been abused before and they are trying to assure the public that this will not happen in their city. It will. It’s human nature. It doesn’t make it right, but at least there are measures put into place to be able to monitor police officers and anyone else who would attempt to abuse this system.

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