Can your fitness bracelet be used against you in a court of law? The Fitbit has already been utilized in one case in Canada. Is this an invasion of privacy?

“It turns out that a fitness tracker can do more to betray you than showing your friends and families you’re a couch potato. It can also undermine your claims about being a victim of a crime.

In March, a Florida woman traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where she stayed at her boss’s home, reports ABC 27. On a Tuesday, police were called to the home where they found overturned furniture, a knife and a bottle of vodka, according to Lancaster Online. Jeannine Risley told police she’d been sleeping and that she was woken up around midnight and sexually assaulted by a “man in his 30s, wearing boots.” However, Risley was wearing her Fitbit band at the time. She initially said that the Fitbit had been lost in the struggle, but police found it in a hallway and when they downloaded its activity, the device became a witness against her.

According to ABC 27, Risley handed the username and password for her Fitbit account over to police. What they found contradicted her account of what happened that night.

More at Fusion.


President Obama is poised for one of the biggest victories of his second term after the Senate voted Tuesday to advance legislation enhancing his trade powers.

The Senate’s 60-37 vote sets the stage for passage on Wednesday of the trade-promotion authority (TPA) bill, or fast-track, which House GOP leaders ushered through the lower chamber last week. If the Senate approves the measure, as expected, it heads to the White House for Obama’s signature.

After the vote, liberal trade opponents on and off Capitol Hill acknowledged fast-track is all but certain to become law, throwing in the towel after a months-long legislative brawl that saw Obama siding with GOP leaders against his own Democratic base.

More at The Hill.


The Guardian is tracking police shootings by country and it yields surprising results for the United States compared to many of it’s peers. Police in specific US cities will kill more suspects in a few days than entire countries do in decades. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian (The Point) hosts of The Young Turks discuss. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“It’s rather difficult to compare data from different time periods, according to different methodologies, across different parts of the world, and still come to definitive conclusions.

But now that we have built The Counted, a definitive record of people killed by police in the US this year, at least there is some accountability in America – even if data from the rest of the world is still catching up.

It is undeniable that police in the US often contend with much more violent situations and more heavily armed individuals than police in other developed democratic societies. Still, looking at our data for the US against admittedly less reliable information on police killings elsewhere paints a dramatic portrait, and one that resonates with protests that have gone global since a killing last year in Ferguson, Missouri: the US is not just some outlier in terms of police violence when compared with countries of similar economic and political standing.”

More at The Guardian.

Cenk Uygur (host of The Young Turks) discusses the power of propaganda. A study has been released which looked into the effect of Nazi propaganda on Germany, particularly it’s long-term impact. Do you think the impact of Nazi propaganda is still felt today? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

Anti-Semitic propaganda had a life-long effect on German children schooled during the Nazi period, leaving them far more likely to harbor negative views of Jews than those born earlier and later, according to a study published Monday.

The findings indicate that attempts to influence public attitudes are most effective when they target young people, particularly if the message confirms existing beliefs, the authors said.

Researchers from the United States and Switzerland examined surveys conducted in 1996 and 2006 that asked respondents about a range of issues, including their opinions of Jews. The polls, known as the German General Social Survey, reflected the views of 5,300 people from 264 towns and cities across Germany, allowing the researchers to examine differences according to age, gender and location.

By focusing on those respondents who expressed consistently negative views of Jews in a number of questions, the researchers found that those born in the 1930s held the most extreme anti-Semitic opinions – even fifty years after the end of Nazi rule.

More at the AP.

Customs and border patrol will be using a new facial recognition system to try and find immigration violators.

The new technology is being used to help identify foreigners who stay in the United States too long.

“We do see people trying to use the legitimate document, but it belonging to someone else, to conceal their identity,” Customs and Border Protection Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Wagner said, “and we are vulnerable to that.”

The technology compares photos in passports with the faces of the people presenting them and rates how likely they are to be a real match.

If another person’s passport is presented, the computer catches it in seconds, alerting the officer to investigate further.

They claim it’s only for the next four months, but systems like these tend to be justified by officials and become permanent fixtures.

The three-month pilot project at Dulles is part of larger testing of biometric technology. This fall, customs agents will begin collecting face and iris scans of people entering and returning from Mexico on foot from a San Diego border crossing.

So, already, the three month project is going to be used for a longer period of time, they’re just shifting it to a different location.

“This is really just the beginning,” warned Harley Geiger, Senior Counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology.

“The real concern is not so much this particular pilot program, it is that this particular pilot program is a step towards a larger program,” Geiger said. “Not just in ports of entry, but also in public places, mass transit systems throughout the domestic United States.”

The Department of Homeland Security has already proven with several programs this is how it operates.

The customs agency says about 250 people per day have their pictures compared using the technology at Dulles, including Jeffrey Fazio, who was returning from the Dominican Republic.

“Makes travel a little more cumbersome, but if it’s keeping us safe then it’s worthwhile,” Fazio said.

This tired statement is really ridiculous. It doesn’t make anyone safer, but people like to feel like they’re safe so they try to convince themselves that this program will be it.

Customs says it’s taken close to 4,000 pictures of travelers at Dulles. Those images are being saved in a secure database that is not shared.

For now. It’s not shared for now. It’s a pilot project. When they make it permanent, it will be shared.

When the pilot project is complete, they will be deleted. A new privacy policy would need to be developed if the technology is put into widespread use.

When the new privacy policy is made for their program, nothing will be deleted.

But, officials say you are already require to present proof of your identity when you enter the country, the technology is simply helping to confirm that information.

People present their passports at the border, it is scanned and checked to confirm identity. This new technology does nothing other than gather another database to track individuals.

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