Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged surveillance

Known as Stingrays, the FBI has admitted to using cell phone towers to track you. Their usual response includes they must do this to catch terrorists, pedophiles and missing children.

The press conference actually occurred back in October, but the video didn’t surface until this weekend and hadn’t been reported on until the Charlotte Observer’s excellent investigation into the use of Stingrays by local police was published on Sunday.

Stingrays work by allowing police to track the movement of a suspect, and are often used without a warrant, which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court.

Comey also said that the agency has “nothing to hide” from “good people,” but that secrecy is important if Stingrays are going to be effective. Comey doesn’t note, however, that, in trying to track down any one “bad person,” the agency law enforcement necessarily tracks the locations of everyone within a wide geographic radius, thanks to the way the technology works.

The ACLU, meanwhile, has said that every year, millions of good people are getting wrapped up in a surveillance dragnet they didn’t ask to be involved in.

“The devices wrap up innocent people, which looks like a dragnet search that’s not legal under the Fourth Amendment,” Nate Wessler, a staff attorney for the ACLU, recently told me. “Even if they’re tracking a specific suspect, they’re getting info about every bystander. That’s a concern.”

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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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Tell no-one

A century of secret deals between the NSA and the telecom industry

For nearly one hundred years, the NSA and its predecessors have been engaging in secret, illegal deals with the American telecom industry, with both virtually immune from prosecution.
How did this begin? How does it work? How much have US presidents known? What happens when they get caught? Will it change after the Snowden revelations? A fascinating look at a hundred years of handshakes and backroom deals between the eavesdroppers and the telecom executives.

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There is one law (FISA 702) and one policy (EO12333) which authorizes the US government to conduct mass surveillance on “foreigners in foreign lands”. These are drafted in terms which discriminate the privacy rights you have by the passport you hold – in fact there are no rights at all for non-Americans outside the US.

It is obvious that this is a reasonably important dimension of the whole Snowden affair, because it starkly conflicts with ECHR norms that rights are universal and equal.

The only possible resolution compatible with universal rights is data localization, or construction of a virtual zone in which countries have agreed mutual verifiable inspections that mass-surveillance is not occurring (and at present this seems unlikely). There is a widespread misconception that somehow the new GDPR privacy regulation will curb foreign spying, when in fact it is designed to widen loopholes into floodgates.

Video.

Source.

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Never in human history have people been more connected than they are today — nor have they been more thoroughly monitored. Over the past year, the disclosures spurred by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have drawn public attention to the stunning surveillance capabilities of the American intelligence community, and the unprecedented volume of data they collect from hundreds of millions of people around the world. But the growth of government surveillance is by no means restricted to spies: Even ordinary law enforcement agencies increasingly employ sophisticated tracking technologies, from face recognition software to “Stingray” devices that can locate suspects by sniffing out their cellular phone signals. Are these tools a vital weapon against criminals and terrorists — or a threat to privacy and freedom? How should these tracking technologies be regulated by the Fourth Amendment and federal law? Can we reconcile the secrecy that spying demands with the transparency that democratic accountability requires?

This inaugural Cato Institute Surveillance Conference will explore these questions, guided by a diverse array of experts: top journalists and privacy advocates; lawyers and technologists; intelligence officials … and those who’ve been targets of surveillance. And for the more practically minded, a special Crypto Reception, following the Conference, will teach attendees how to use privacy-enhancing technologies to secure their own communications.

More videos are available at the Cato Institute. Though in separate videos, the entire conference is available to view online or download.

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