Browsing Posts in Science

When privacy advocates thought they had won in Texas in defeating the need for all 10 fingerprints for a driver’s license, the Department of Public Safety stepped in to pledge they will work towards restoring the requirement. The Senate Transportation Committee had passed a bill in March that prohibited the DPS from the procedure, after Sen. Charles Schwertner, R- Georgetown argued that it was an invasion of privacy. As a results, DPS returned to the old standard – a single index finger. This week, DPS Director Steven McCraw told the Texas Public Safety Commission that […]

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Police traffic stops are in the news again, tragically, sparking a new round of discussion on whether and how to outfit police with cameras and other technology. For several years now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center have been testing an iris recognition system that can be used to identify subjects at a range of up to 40 feet. More. Tweet

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A new ruling states that criminal defendants can be compelled to give up their fingerprints, but not a pass code in allowing police to search a cellphone. The issue arose during the case of David Baust, who was charged with trying to strangle his girlfriend. Prosecutors had said video equipment in Baust’s bedroom may have recorded the couple’s fight and, if so, the video could be on his cellphone. They wanted a judge to force Baust to unlock his phone, but Baust’s attorney, James Broccoletti, argued pass codes are protected by the Fifth Amendment, which […]

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Researchers at the University of Rochester Create a Three-dimensional,Transmitting, Continuously Multidirectional Cloaking Device Inspired perhaps by Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, scientists have recently developed several ways—some simple and some involving new technologies—to hide objects from view. The latest effort, developed at the University of Rochester, not only overcomes some of the limitations of previous devices, but it uses inexpensive, readily available materials in a novel configuration. “There’ve been many high tech approaches to cloaking and the basic idea behind these is to take light and have it pass around something as if it isn’t there, […]

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From EPIC: The FBI announced that the Next Generation Identification system, one of the largest biometric databases in the world, has reached “full operational capability.” In 2013, EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit about the NGI program. EPIC obtained documents that revealed an acceptance of a 20% error rate in facial recognition searches. Earlier this year, EPIC joined a coalition of civil liberties groups to urge the Attorney General Eric Holder to release an updated Privacy Impact Assessment for the NGI. The NGI is tied to “Rap Back,” the FBI’s ongoing investigation of […]

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