Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged Privacy

(Photo: William Petroski/Register photo)

(Photo: William Petroski/Register photo)

The Iowa Department of Transportation would like it if everyone would carry their driver’s license on their cell phone.

The app, which will be provided to drivers at no additional cost, will be available sometime in 2015, DOT Director Paul Trombino told Gov. Terry Branstad during a state agency budget hearing Monday.

“We are really moving forward on this,” Trombino said. “The way things are going, we may be the first in the nation.”

People will still be able to stick a traditional plastic driver’s license in their wallet or purse if they choose, Trombino said. But the new digital license, which he described as “an identity vault app,” will be accepted by Iowa law enforcement officers during traffic stops and by security officers screening travelers at Iowa’s airports, he said.

“It is basically your license on your phone,” he said.

At least for now, it’s possible to stick to the traditional license, but what happens when that becomes mandatory? What if you don’t have a cell phone? Will you be forced to get one in order to have a driver’s license or not be allowed to drive?

There are also privacy concerns. Right now, nearly every state requires some sort of warrant before police can unlock your phone. Once you unlock your phone to show your driver’s license, police are free to search it at will.

The new app should be highly secure, Trombino said. People will use a pin number for verification.

Should be. How long is the PIN? If it’s the traditional 4-digit PIN, it’s not highly secure.

While Iowa may be the first to allow driver’s licenses on phones, it is among 30 states that already allow electronic proof of insurance.

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At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.

HOW IT WORKS

“The idea that the government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what’s inside is problematic,” said Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist. “Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have.”

Agents’ use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that “the government’s warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.”

By then, however, the technology was hardly new. Federal contract records show the Marshals Service began buying the radars in 2012, and has so far spent at least $180,000 on them.

More at USA Today.

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Bruce Schneier, Harvard Berkman Center Fellow, talks with Edward Snowden about government surveillance and the effectiveness of privacy tools like encryption to an audience at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. This conversation kicks off the annual symposium on the future of computation in science and engineering hosted by the IACS- Harvard’s Institute for Applied Computational Science.

The Boston Globe also covered the event.

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President Obama just unveiled a number of proposals to crack down on hackers. It’s great that the government is working on this but we need to do a better job of protecting ourselves. So we sent a camera out onto Hollywood Boulevard to help people by asking them to tell us their password.

Source.

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The new law says an employer cannot force you to tell them your social media passwords or login to let them see what you’re doing. That seems obvious to most people. But what an employer also cannot do anymore is tell an employee or applicant, I need you to ‘friend’ me on Facebook, or I need you to friend me on Instagram, or follow me on Twitter. That way I can see what you’re doing,” said Chris McCarty, a Knoxville attorney who specializes in employment law.

Tennessee now joins a list of dozens of states that have passed an Employee Online Privacy Act. McCarty says it protects people who make their online settings private, not the information someone shares with the entire world wide web.

“The default setting for most social media accounts is ‘public’ so anyone can see it. Anything that is public is still fair game for an employer to see what its workers or an applicant is doing. I tell people to be smart, because everything you do online that is public, it’s just like going in the street and doing it,” said McCarty.

The new law says employers cannot force an employee or job applicant to provide access to private information.

“You have to take an active role as the user and make everything friend-only and set your privacy settings. If you don’t do that, this law doesn’t protect you at all,” said McCarty.

More at WIBR.

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