Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged Technology

fingerprint

Pupils at Redhill School in Stourbridge, United Kingdom are set to have their fingerprints taken. The schools say the controversial technology is part of a cashless system throughout the school and is necessary to reduce queues and monitor pupils’ diets.

The 1,200-pupil school in Junction Road detailed its plans in a letter to parents last month. Headteacher Stephen Dunster said the scheme was part of a long-term plan to allow parents to pay for any school related fees over the internet.

He said: “We are aiming to have a cashless system throughout the school. The catering system is better for parents because they don’t have to provide children with lunch money every morning. From our perspective it is far more efficient as it reduces waiting times.”

“We will also be able to monitor what children are buying to make sure they are eating a healthy diet.”

Just because a student takes an orange to eat for lunch does not mean the student eats that orange. You can force children to take healthy foods at lunch, but you can’t make them eat it.

Around half of Dudley’s secondary schools use some form of biometric system. But its use has come under fire from civil liberties campaigners, who fear the information could be stored on school databases. Mr Dunster added: “We don’t hold fingerprints on file. This is about using technology to benefit our pupils and parents.”

If the fingerprints are not held on file, who has them? Who has access to these fingerprints and how secure are they?

More at the Express and Star.

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As online hacking becomes more common, interest in the individuals and groups behind such cyber attacks rises. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with David Kushner of The New Yorker on the origins of one of the most infamous hacking groups, “Anonymous.”

Transcript and podcast at PBS.

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The San Jose and Davis police departments are returning their military equipment obtained from the government.

Citing fears after seeing images of Ferguson, the city of Davis, California is set to return its armored vehicle.

The police wanted to keep the vehicle. The city said no.

The Davis Police Department now has 60 days to get rid of a $689,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle, which police acquired through a U.S. Defense Department program, and must consider other rescue vehicle options.

The Davis Police Department took possession of the free vehicle two weeks ago through the Defense Department’s 1033 program — administered by the California Office of Emergency Services — which is aimed at repurposing federal and military equipment for local law enforcement.

Through the program, the police department has obtained a number of free surplus military hardware, including body armor, binoculars, riot helmets and training rifles.

San Jose police will be returning its mine-resistant armored truck.

San Jose police spokeswoman Sgt. Heather Randol told KCBS the decision was made based on concerns for potential damage to the department’s image and community relationships.

“We want to keep their trust. We don’t want them to feel we are going off on another path with our police department,” she said. “We want them to feel comfortable about the tools that we use.”

Used by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mine-resistant, ambush-protected troop transport, or MRAP, became a focus for debate after a military surplus vehicle and equipment were used at protests in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this month when local law enforcement responded to civil unrest over the police killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

According the San Jose Mercury News, Redwood City, South San Francisco, and Antioch, have decided to keep their armored transports.

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Facial recognition software has come a long way in the past few years. While early face recognition software needed human input at every step, it’s advanced enough today that it can compare a single face against millions of faces on record in just a few seconds.

Face-Recognition

Source.

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Ralph Lauren is the first luxury lifestyle brand to offer apparel that tracks and streams real-time workout data directly to your smartphone or tablet.

From Wired UK:

The shirt has biosensing silver fibres woven into its core and it can therefore be used to track distance, calories burned, movement intensity, heart rate and stress rate in real time. The moisture-wicking compression fabric apparently also increases blood circulation and aids muscle recovery — although this is the aim of much existing athletic garb.

The shirts have been created with the help of Canadian tech company OMsignal. The data collected by the shirt is stored in a black box, which incorporates an accelerometer and gyroscope. This black box then transmits data into the cloud, where it encounters a number of algorithms that pick out the key biometrics and psychometrics that the athlete, and maybe their coach, will want to know.

This black box is a separate device that can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and will last for up to 30 workouts before it needs recharging. It fits into the Ralph Lauren shirt and will ensure all the relevant data is properly transmitted to the app on your smartphone in real-time.

It should also be noted that OMsignal have a number of similar products already on the market that are no doubt cheaper than the Ralph Lauren version will be — and even then, they ain’t cheap.

More at Ralph Lauren.

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