Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts in Technology

Reports of drone sightings near other planes, helicopters and airfields are reaching the government almost daily, say federal and industry officials.

The FAA requires that drone and model aircraft operators keep flights to under 400 feet in altitude, keep the aircraft within sight of the operator and stay at least 5 miles away from an airport. Small drones are often indistinguishable from model aircraft, which have grown in sophistication.

Commercial operators and government officials from police to research scientists must obtain FAA certificates of authorization to fly drones. Exceptions are made for some government drones such as those the military flies in great swaths of airspace in reserved, remote areas. Customs and Border Protection flies high-altitude drones along the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada.

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FBI director James Comey has made encryption a key issue of his tenure. He continued his push against encryption today.

Don’t forget to think of the children!

Governance Studies at Brookings will host FBI Director James Comey for a discussion of the impact of technology on the work of law enforcement. Law enforcement officials worry that the explosion in the volume and the means by which we all communicate threatens its access to the evidence it needs to investigate and prosecute crime and to prevent acts of terrorism.

In particular, officials worry that the emergence of default encryption settings and encrypted devices and networks – designed to increase security and privacy – may leave law enforcement in the dark. Director Comey will talk about the need for better cooperation between the private sector and law enforcement agencies. He will also discuss potential solutions to the challenge of “going dark,” as well as the FBI’s dedication to protecting public safety while safeguarding privacy and promoting network security and innovation.

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Auto loans to borrowers considered subprime, those with credit scores at or below 640, have spiked in the last five years. The jump has been driven in large part by the demand among investors for securities backed by the loans, which offer high returns at a time of low interest rates. Roughly 25 percent of all new auto loans made last year were subprime, and the volume of subprime auto loans reached more than $145 billion in the first three months of this year.

But before they can drive off the lot, many subprime borrowers like Ms. Bolender must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition. Using the GPS technology on the devices, the lenders can also track the cars’ location and movements.

The devices, which have been installed in about two million vehicles, are helping feed the subprime boom by enabling more high-risk borrowers to get loans. But there is a big catch. By simply clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone, lenders retain the ultimate control. Borrowers must stay current with their payments, or lose access to their vehicle.

More at the New York Times and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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It doesn’t actually fire but like a radar gun, but this new device can let law enforcement know who is using a device to text or talk while driving.

ComSonics, a company in Virginia, developed the technology for the Sniffer Sleuth II.

For now, the texting gun that weighs about 1.6 pounds awaits legislative approval. The gun is ready for the assembly line, but no release date has been attached to the innovation.

Makers say the gun is sensitive enough to determine if it’s the driver or passenger who is texting.

ComSonics says each Sniffer Sleuth would cost about $2,000.

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News9.com – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Due to the REAL-ID Act of 2005, and Oklahoma refusing to comply, Oklahomans’ driver’s licenses won’t be valid in federal buildings next year.

If you rely on your Oklahoma Driver’s license to get into a secure area like a federal building or an airplane, things will be changing. Oklahoma is one of a handful of states that hasn’t complied with a federal mandate to make our driver’s licenses more secure.

“You would be required to have a driver’s license and a passport or some other federal ID to actually go through the TSA checkpoint or fly on a commercial aircraft,” explained Karen Carney, spokeswoman with the Will Rogers World Airport.

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