Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged Privacy

Caution: Annoying commercials in the video.

They’re called data brokers, and they are collecting, analyzing and packaging some of our most sensitive personal information and selling it as a commodity…to each other, to advertisers, even the government, often without our direct knowledge. Much of this is the kind of harmless consumer marketing that’s been going on for decades. What’s changed is the volume and nature of the data being mined from the Internet and our mobile devices, and the growth of a multibillion dollar industry that operates in the shadows with virtually no oversight.

Companies and marketing firms have been gathering information about customers and potential customers for years, collecting their names and addresses, tracking credit card purchases, and asking them to fill out questionnaires, so they can offer discounts and send catalogues. But today we are giving up more and more private information online without knowing that it’s being harvested and personalized and sold to lots of different people…our likes and dislikes, our closest friends, our bad habits, even your daily movements, both on and offline. Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill says we have lost control of our most personal information.


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Bitcoin’s been around since 2009, and while it’s no longer the sole province of hard-core Web geeks and fortunate (if occasionally forgetful) speculators, it’s not exactly a household name, either.



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There’s no doubt in my mind that we, as an Internet community, need to take back our state legislatures. We need our current legislators to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, to focus their energies on the problems that they properly understand and are best suited to solving (which almost never involve Internet regulation), and to find another job if they can’t wield their power wisely. Before you just vote for your incumbent state legislators next election, ask yourself if they have been doing right by the Internet.

Why State Legislatures Shouldn’t Regulate Internet Privacy from Whittier Law School on Vimeo.

Whittier Law School, 2013-14 Colloquia and Distinguished Speaker Series
Distinguished Speaker in Privacy Law:
Prof. Eric Goldman, Santa Clara Law School
"Why State Legislatures Shouldn't Regulate Internet Privacy"

Slides and audio.

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“Let me put it this way: If one year from now, you’re not using Dark Mail, it’s because you enjoy knowing the NSA is reading your emails,” says Ladar Levison, founder of Lavabit, the email provider used by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

After Snowden’s identity became known, Levison shut down Lavabit, posting the following message on the company website: I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot.

Levison was prohibited from discussing any details of the case until last October, when the court unsealed a portion of the documents. The unsealed records reveal that the FBI was demanding access to Lavabit’s Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) keys, which would essentially allow the agency access to all messages on Lavabit’s server. While the FBI was ostensibly targeting only a single user, Levison was unwilling to sacrifice the privacy of his other 400,000+ users.

He is still not allowed to discuss the identity of the user the FBI hoped to target.

Levison sat down with Reason TV’s Zach Weissmueller at the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) conference to talk more about his decision to fight the federal government, his thoughts on Edward Snowden, and his vision for Dark Mail, a collaborative effort with Silent Circle, another encrypted email service that shut down in the wake of Snowden’s NSA revelations.


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This is a product looking for a problem. It’s not needed and parents need to stop thinking the world is out to get their precious little child at every moment of the day.

TraqCloud (TM) is your very own personal GPS Tracking System. We can track anything – anywhere via our custom HTML5 interface that renders on all types of devices, like Mobile, Tablets & PC’s. Our goal is simple and that’s to provide a quality product, at a cost effective price that gives you that much needed peace of mind.

Why the hell are you letting a 3-year old go walk a hound dog alone?

If you really want to track your pets, use Tagg Pet Tracker. It’s similar in price and you won’t have to worry about a kickstarter failing.

From Ars Technica:

The real kicker here is the price: TraqCloud charges just $69 for the device plus $10 per month in service fees, which covers both the GSM data connection and the company’s cloud service. (Similar cheap devices are largely made by no-name manufacturers in Asia, selling on eBay.) For some time now, commercial products have made it easy for anyone to track anyone else for any reason, but those cost around $150 upfront, with a $20 to $50 monthly service fee after that. (Intrepid tinkerers have developed cheaper, DIY-basd solutions, particularly to track your own car.)

“Over time, technology gets smaller, cheaper, and more available to consumers, and there’s no reason to think GPS is an exception to that rule,” he wrote in an e-mail. “That said, it is awfully easy to imagine many scary examples of how a $19 consumer-grade GPS unit could be misused.

“Moreover, because you are tracking your own device’s signal, even if it is in somebody else’s bag or car, current surveillance law is likely to be irrelevant, something else that is remarkably familiar,” he added. “Ironically, the keys to whether this succeeds or fails will probably be ease of use, battery life, and reliability—certainly not privacy. I could teach a whole privacy course based on this one device.”

Without regulation and registration, this device is going to be abused by stalkers, thieves and anyone else who wants to commit crimes. If the government can’t hide a GPS device on someone’s car without a warrant, I’m sure this device isn’t going to be able to track and stalk people either.

For children, this device is not very secure, even if they know about it. I’m sure no one will ever think to abuse this system. No one will ever switch it with a friend, leave it in their locker while they skip school or hide it under the seat of a car.

Further, Ruthann Robson, a law professor at the City University of New York, told Ars that users of this product may find civil lawsuits knocking at their door.

“While criminal contexts may first come to mind, there are personal injury cases, workers’ compensation, employment, and many family law cases, including divorce, custody, and abuse and neglect,” she said. “The video jokingly refers to tracking one’s ‘significant other,’ but perhaps that’s not a joke, especially when it comes to intimate partner violence. We’ve been worried about government surveillance, but in a surveilled society, we might be able to do the government’s work by watching each other”

Stalking is a serious crime and can lead to the death of the victim. It isn’t anything to joke about.

Once you begin tracking your children at age 3, you’ll justify tracking them their entire lives, including hacking into their emails, phones and anything else that someone may want to keep private. One should feel sorry for you child if this is how you intend to “raise” your children.

A commenter on Ars Technica said that he fully intends on doing such a thing with his daugther.

And at 12 years old she will not have a private email – no more than my parents gave me a private phone line. She will have an email that my wife and I will have the password to, and she will know that we will be checking on it periodically. As she proves herself trustworthy using it, we will monitor less, until we agree she is ready for a private email. Same with something like this. As she gets to the point she wants to be out doing things without us, we will ask that she keep this (or something like it) with her so we know where she is. If she follows through with that, and we find we can trust her to be where she says she will be then we will be able to stop using it.

Your 12-year old will also never use that email account other than to email her parents and grandparents. She will have other email accounts that you will not have access to and you will never know about. She will do this because you never trusted her or taught her the responsibility of an email account.

By using a device to track her every movement, she will find ways around it. It’s not that difficult to say you are going to Friend A’s house and leave this device at Friend A’s house while going somewhere else.

I have no problem extending trust to my children, as they earn it. But I do not blindly assume they will have the proper tools in their mental toolbox to handle new situations unless I help them develop those tools. To my mind handing a 10-12 year old a private email address with no training period is the same as giving them the keys to the car without spending time sitting in the passenger seat training them. Same for a cell phone, or laptop.

No parent should blindly assume their child knows or understands anything. It’s your job as a parent to teach them these things. It is not your job to be a helicopter parent, stalking their every move in life. If you wish for them to rebel or runaway, by all means, start tracking them and never trust them.

This parent is correct that their child needs to learn how to use technology. Teach them. Don’t stalk them and tell them it’s for their own good.

Children are necessarily naive, they will see all the benefits of having without understanding the risks and responsibilities that go with it. It is my job as a parent to impart to them an understanding of those risks in a safe way so that they are not a danger to themselves and others.

Yes, I’ve said this; teach them, don’t stalk them. A 10 year old is perfectly capable of understanding technology, what it does and how it works. By demeaning your child and telling them, “Oh this stuff is for adults and we have to spy on you to make sure you’re alright,” is only going to anger the child and they will do things behind your back without any understanding.

You will never know where your children are all the time. It is an impossible task. Teach your children responsibility from day one and you will not have to worry about where they are or who they are with.

This device needs regulation. Tracking people is not a good idea and never will be.

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