Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged big brother

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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Far too many people in this video and in the comments are happy to allow the school systems to spy on what their kids are doing online. Educating children about bullying and how to deal with it appropriately. No one needs to snoop in people’s private lives without their permission. Yes, bullying is a problem, especially online, but teach the children what to do when it happens and stop spying on every minute detail of their lives.

More at CNN.

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Political prankster Mark Dice asks San Diego beach-goers if they’ll sign a petition supporting “the Police State” which includes “Orwellian” and “Nazi-Style” tactics to “keep Americans safe” in this “Brave New World.”

Although the video is amusing, it is cut and we don’t ever see the full, unedited version.


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The group Oath Keepers has placed a pro-Snowden sign at the DC Metro station stop closest to the White House. The sign is intended to expose the NSA’s spying on Americans.


Last month, they placed a similar billboard near at the Pentagon stop depicting Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in the Big Brother role.


The ultimate goal of these signs is to encourage more whistleblowers to come forward.

Picture source.

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In a unanimous decision, the Oakland City Council accepted a $2 million federal grant that will create a Domain Awareness Center (DAC) that will watch the city around the clock. At the May 2013 meeting, the Port of Oakland detailed the system. On page 12, was the following slide.


the system would combine not only existing surveillance cameras and thermal imaging devices at the Port of Oakland, but also the Oakland Police Department’s license plate readers, ShotSpotter gunshot detection devices, CCTV cameras, surveillance cameras at Oakland city schools, and dozens of other cameras from regional law enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol. According to that schedule, the DAC should be fully operational by the end of June 2014, and it will aggregate more than 1,000 camera feeds.

For the record, the city’s schools have said that they are not involved at the moment.

“Currently, the system is activated in times of emergency. If it is completed by July 2014, then we would be looking to staff the facility on a 24/7 basis,” Renee Domingo, the city’s director of emergency services and homeland security, told the council.

Many privacy advocates, however, are insisting that this is equivalent to the surveillance state. Linda Lye, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, has written a detailed letter, explaining why the DAC is not a good idea.https://www.aclunc.org/blog/asset_upload_file83_12519.pdf

Download (PDF, 2.8MB)

“There are serious questions whether a system such as the DAC—which is intended to collect and store vast amounts of information about Oakland residents who have engaged in no wrongdoing—should ever be approved,” she wrote. “But what is even more troubling is that the City has not yet developed any guidelines on privacy and data retention. Although the City’s contract for the DAC takes pains to describe in minute detail the precise manner in which, for example, metal framing systems are to be installed (studs are to be placed no more than 2 inches from abutting walls), there are no privacy provisions in place at all.”

While it is true that Oakland has its problems, they are systemic and aren’t going to be solved by increasing surveillance. To think that surveillance will prevent crime is just as bad as thinking that the War on Drugs has prevented drug use. Residents should be wary of letting a police department that has been investigated and threatened by the federal government several times for corruption be in charge of such a system.

The DAC will also only be paid for during its first two years. After that, the city will be responsible for the cost. The city already cannot afford its police and firemen. The school district is woefully lacking. Yet, they believe that they will be able to pay for a system that is intended on spying on its very citizens.

Port of Oakland (DAC) – May 2013 by Ars Technica

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