Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts in USA Privacy

Who could have seen this coming? (/sarcasm)

Have you seen the Capitol Hill drone pilot? You’ve read concerns about Seattle Police using drones for surveillance but a resident of the Miller Park area around 19th and Thomas tells CHS she is concerned about a fellow citizen employing a drone near her home:

This afternoon, a stranger set an aerial drone into flight over my yard and beside my house near Miller Playfield.  I initially mistook its noisy buzzing for a weed-whacker on this warm spring day.  After several minutes, I looked out my third-story window to see a drone hovering a few feet away.  My husband went to talk to the man on the sidewalk outside our home who was operating the drone with a remote control, to ask him to not fly his drone near our home.  The man insisted that it is legal for him to fly an aerial drone over our yard and adjacent to our windows.  He noted that the drone has a camera, which transmits images he viewed through a set of glasses.  He purported to be doing “research”.  We are extremely concerned, as he could very easily be a criminal who plans to break into our house or a peeping-tom.

The woman tells us she called police but they decided not to show up when the man left. She wonders if anybody else has encountered this Capitol Hill drone pilot.

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From Democracy Now:

The American Civil Liberties Union has obtained documents revealing that the FBI and IRS may be reading emails and other electronic communications of U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant. This comes just as reports have emerged that the Obama administration is considering approving an overhaul of government surveillance of the Internet. The New York Times reported the new rules would make it easier to wiretap users of web services such as instant messaging. “The FBI wants to be able to intercept every kind of possible communication,” says attorney Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “The FBI basically wants to require all of these companies to rewrite their code in order to enable more government surveillance. … And in order to accomplish that, they would make the whole Internet less secure.”

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The NSA says the Utah Data Center is a facility for the intelligence community that will have a major focus on cyber security. The agency will neither confirm nor deny specifics. Some published reports suggest it could hold 5 zettabytes of data. (Just one zettabyte is the equivalent of about 62 billion stacked iPhones 5’s– that stretches past the moon.


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With camera technology increasing while prices decrease, the use of surveillance cameras seems ubiquitous in larger cities like Boston and New York City. With the large amount of people in Boston for the marathon taking photos, law enforcement were able to use private and public photos to find the bombers and piece together what happened. While this is a great thing, there are still many questions that need to be asked about the dangers of all the time surveillance.

privacy advocates remain concerned about pervasive, and potentially invasive, surveillance technology.

Government use of surveillance technology has expanded considerably in the past decade, amid advances in computing as well as government spending on homeland security. Such technology includes a high density of cameras in some urban centers, traffic cameras along highways, and well as the use of advanced technology such as facial recognition in airports.

Some privacy advocates said the ability of investigators to track the suspects within a matter of days demonstrates that more invasive surveillance isn’t needed. “It’s one thing to have private closed-circuit cameras and look at feeds after the fact,” said Alan Butler, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “It’s very different if you’re talking about systems of cameras identifying and tracking people over time, all the time. Especially if you couple that with facial recognition and license-plate readers and databases.”


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John Anton discovered a hidden camera in a piece of wood in his Dalworthington Gardens, Texas home. The camera, roughly the size of a matchbox, was used to stakeout hig-end homes. After the police performed their own stakeout, they arrested 21-year old Cain Santoyo. Dalworthington Gardens police detective Ben Singleton said it was a part of a sophisticated burglary scheme that had been running for a long time.

Shortly after midnight, they caught 21-year-old Cain Santoyo. Search warrants on his car and Grand Prairie home revealed evidence including lock-picking tools, police scanners, a disguise, a combination flashlight/stun gun, and a total of nine cameras loaded with surveillance video.

Officers also seized computer data and a motion detector rigged to a small radio transmitter. Singleton said that could be used to alert a burglar inside a house, giving them time to get away.

Inside Santoyo’s house, police said they found jewelry hidden in an attic crawlspace.

But they think that almost everything that was stolen has already been sold on the Internet. They say they won’t know the extent of the damage until they get responses on subpoenas issued to several online sites.

Police expect multiple burglary charges to be filed. For now, Santoyo is held on a charge of unlawful interception, use, or disclosure of wire, oral or electronic communications.

Singleton said it’s illegal to record audio and video of two parties who are not aware they are being recorded.

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