Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged Technology

Hiding in Foursquare’s revamped mobile app is a feature some users might find creepy: It tracks your every movement, even when the app is closed.

users who download or update the Foursquare app will automatically let the company track their GPS coordinates any time their phone is powered on. Foursquare previously required users to give the app permission to turn on location-tracking. Now users must change a setting within the app to opt out.

Tracking user whereabouts could arm Foursquare with more valuable data it can sell to partners and advertisers as it searches for new streams of revenue. The company hopes to analyze trends in where users go and what destinations are popular, and may sell that data to its partners, Chief Executive Dennis Crowley said in an interview.

But this type of persistent location tracking could scare off users who are growing increasingly wary of threats to their mobile privacy. A third of smartphone owners surveyed by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in 2012 said they have turned off the location-tracking capability on their devices, and most of those people were motivated by privacy concerns.


More at The Wall Street Journal
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The film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare.

It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

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Child-tracking wristbands, drug-delivering implants and wearable computing devices are popping up and promising to make our lives better. The question of the effects these new technologies will have on children’s development and society at large remains largely unanswered though.

If a parent tracks their child with a GPS, how will they react when they are a teenager and no longer constantly monitored? RT’s Lindsay France seeks to answer this and other questions by speaking with Shiv Gaglani, editor of Medgadget.

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DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets. This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are offset from where the sniper rifle is initially aimed. EXACTO’s specially designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement and other factors that could impede successful aim.

The EXACTO program is developing new approaches and advanced capabilities to improve the range and accuracy of sniper systems beyond the current state of the art. For more information, visit the program page.

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Tor-Anonymity-Tor-path

In a shocking story on the German site Tagesschau (Google translate), Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz report on the rules used by the NSA to decide who is a “target” for surveillance.

You can read more at Boing Boing.

From Panorama:

The investigation discloses the following:

Two servers in Germany – in Berlin and Nuremberg – are under surveillance by the NSA.
Merely searching the web for the privacy-enhancing software tools outlined in the XKeyscore rules causes the NSA to mark and track the IP address of the person doing the search. Not only are German privacy software users tracked, but the source code shows that privacy software users worldwide are tracked by the NSA.
Among the NSA’s targets is the Tor network funded primarily by the US government to aid democracy advocates in authoritarian states.
The XKeyscore rules reveal that the NSA tracks all connections to a server that hosts part of an anonymous email service at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It also records details about visits to a popular internet journal for Linux operating system users called “the Linux Journal – the Original Magazine of the Linux Community”, and calls it an “extremist forum”.

The authors of the Tagesschau story have seen the “deep packet inspection” rules used to determine who is considered to be a legitimate target for deep surveillance, and the results are bizarre.

According to the story, the NSA targets anyone who searches for online articles about Tails — like this one that we published in April, or this article for teens that I wrote in May — or Tor (The Onion Router, which we’ve been posted about since 2004). Anyone who is determined to be using Tor is also targeted for long-term surveillance and retention.

Bruce Schneier thinks there may be a second leaker.

I do not believe that this came from the Snowden documents. I also don’t believe the TAO catalog came from the Snowden documents. I think there’s a second leaker out there.

EDITED TO ADD (7/3): More news stories. Thread on Reddit. I don’t expect this to get much coverage in the US mainstream media.

Hacker News and Slashdot threads. ArsTechnica and Wired articles.

There is also the live blog [in German] of William Binney in front of the German Parliament.

There is also another post on reddit. After reading all of these links the last few days, I’m probably on the NSA’s list now too.

The facts also bear out that all this surveillance to protect us is useless. You are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer and 6 times more likely to die from hot weather than a terrorist attack.

Feel free to download Tor.

Read/download the XKeyscore rules.

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