Loss of Privacy

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

A woman accused of making it through airport security without a boarding pass and taking a Southwest Airlines flight from San Jose to Los Angeles pleaded no contest Wednesday to a misdemeanor trespassing charge after being arrested at LAX two nights earlier.

Marilyn Hartman, 62, was charged in connection with willfully and unlawfully entering Los Angeles as a stowaway on an aircraft, a misdemeanor, according to the LA City Attorney’s Office. She was ordered to 24 months on probation and three days in jail.

More at NBC Los Angeles.

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Social media consultant Sarah Milston, who runs The Spark Mill, said the new changes with Facebook Messenger will affect users starting this week.

Milston said she has already received calls from clients and explained that those who choose to download the app are giving Facebook the right to access their cameras and microphones.

The app will also be able to access your contact list, and see your phone call log including who you called and how long the call lasted.

Downloading the app also gives permission for Facebook to send photos back and forth. Milston said that if you choose not to download it, it does mean you won’t be able to send messages through the Facebook application on your phone.

Snopes is already on the case on this one.

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When GameStop buys used video games from customers, the chain says it is following a local law that allows the store to collect thumb prints, which go into a database to help law enforcement track down thieves who fence stolen goods.

City Solicitor Shelley Smith says, however, the city is not requiring GameStop to abide by the pawnbroker’s ordinance:

“What GameStop does doesn’t meet any of the elements of the definition in the code, so the pawnbreaker ordinance doesn’t apply to GameStop.”

The Philadelphia Police Department says the company is being proactive by storing fingerprints in a secure database – LeadsOnline – which is the nation’s largest online investigation system.

Don’t sell your games back at GameStop. Sell them on ebay or Amazon, or anywhere else.

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Washington County public school officials announced they will be using new software to monitor students’ social media posts.

The county will be one of only four school districts in the nation to enlist a new software program called Social Sentinel that tracks social media accounts for certain keywords.

To those that question the legality of such monitoring in the face of privacy rights, school officials said the software uses “geofencing” protocol to only track posts that are made while the student is on school property.

School officials said the goal is to protect student safety. Examples of such posts that will be tracked include those that feature keywords like “kill,” “bomb” and others.

Some student will kill it on that Science test while others bomb it. This system will be completely useless as soon as everyone figures out euphemisms for search words.

School officials said they will also be consulting with parents and members of student government for feedback on what additional keywords should be added to the watch-list.

Threats will be flushed out, officials added – if a keyword is caught, the post will be read to check for threats of violence, bullying or harassment, reference to using drugs or alcohol, references to weapons, and the like.

One of two things is going to happen. The school is going to quickly be overloaded and realize what a waste of money this systems is. The students will not communicate on any system that’s monitored by the school and will have a “school” social media account and their real account.

Neither of these situations should be happening. The first forces students to protest a system that is hindering their free speech. The second forces them to either self-censor or be deceitful.

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Read the entire article at Foreign Policy.

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