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Privacy Rights Groups Say EU Aid Funds Pay for Government Surveillance in Developing Countries

Privacy groups are raising alarms about some EU aid programs. Funds, equipment and training are reportedly going to repressive governments and being used explicitly for domestic surveillance.

Examples include training seminars that taught participants how to perform “man in the middle” WiFi attacks and monitor dissidents on social media.

The training included subjects such as techniques for cracking mobile devices, methods for investigating charities, and how to monitor social media users and map out their connections using open source tools.

Source: Privacy Rights Groups Criticize EU Aid in Developing Countries, Claiming Funds Pay for Government Surveillance – CPO Magazine

DEA Pursues Vast Expansion of Patient Surveillance

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is looking to expand its anti-diversion surveillance infrastructure by being able to search and analyze myriad patient behaviors for the vast majority of controlled and scheduled drug prescriptions—all accompanied by a rapid process for legally unveiling personally identifying information.

In early September, the agency requested proposals for the creation of software capable of searching at least 85 percent of all US residents’ controlled-substance prescriptions for certain patient behaviors, as well as prescriber and pharmacist practices.

Source: DEA Pursues Vast Expansion of Patient Surveillance

Leaks and lawsuits blight Russia facial recognition

The rise of cloud computing and AI technologies have popularised the technology globally, with supporters saying it promises greater security and efficiency.

With more than 105,000 cameras, Moscow boasts one of the world’s most comprehensive surveillance systems. It became fully operational this year and authorities say it has cut crime and helped the city enforce coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

But the backlash is growing, too, as critics say benefits come at the cost of lost privacy and increased surveillance. The rights activists say cameras have been used to monitor political rallies and a lack of clear rules allows for abuse.

Full article: Leaks and lawsuits blight Russia facial recognition

EU criticised over surveillance aid in nations where privacy at risk

European Union aid has been used to pay for surveillance equipment and training in countries with inadequate safeguards against excessive state snooping, rights groups said on Wednesday, calling for an end to the “unacceptable” practice.

From training Algerian police on social media monitoring to equipping Niger with phone-tracking tools, the EU has helped numerous nations boost their surveillance capacity in recent years, a report by London-based Privacy International (PI) said.

Source: EU criticised over surveillance aid in nations where privacy at risk | Reuters

Police stream live video from Ring doorbells using third-party tech

A handful of police departments across the US are using software that lets them register the locations of people’s home security cameras including Amazon Ring doorbells and get residents’ permission to stream live video from the cameras.

Amazon distanced itself from the practice, saying that Ring “is not working with any of the companies” making the tech that police are using.

The software is sold by Fusus — a Georgia-based tech firm with no connection to Amazon — that builds dashboards for police departments that combine feeds from public and private security cameras in one place. Fusus also has contracts with police departments in Minnesota, Georgia, California, and Illinois, according to its marketing materials.

Source: Police stream live video from Ring doorbells using third-party tech – Business Insider

Police Are Tapping Into Ring Cameras to Expand Surveillance Network In Mississippi

The police department in Jackson, Mississippi is partnering with two companies to stream surveillance footage from Ring cameras in a 45-day pilot program.

This may come as a surprise to those who remember that just a few months ago, Jackson was the first city in the South to ban police from using facial recognition technology. Amazon’s Ring subsidiary has made numerous successful inroads with police across the U.S., however, and police are continuing to warm up to the technology.

Source: Police Are Tapping Into Ring Cameras to Expand Surveillance Network In Mississippi

DHS Authorities Are Buying Moment-By-Moment Geolocation Cellphone Data To Track People

The Department of Homeland Security is purchasing consumer cellphone data that allows authorities to track immigrants trying to cross the southern border, which privacy advocates say could lead to a vast “surveillance partnership” between the government and private corporations.

In an internal memo obtained by BuzzFeed News, the DHS’s top attorney, Chad Mizelle, outlined how ICE officials can look up locations and track cellphone data activity to make decisions on enforcement.

Mizelle also believes the agency can use the data without obtaining a warrant or violating the Fourth Amendment, which protects the public against unreasonable searches and seizures. That logic could lay the groundwork for the government to use the same data to track everyday Americans, raising red flags among privacy advocates.

Source: DHS Authorities Are Buying Moment-By-Moment Geolocation Cellphone Data To Track People

Real estate company collected 5 million shoppers’ images

Cadillac Fairview – one of North America’s largest commercial real estate companies – embedded cameras inside their digital information kiosks at 12 shopping malls across Canada and used facial recognition technology without their customers’ knowledge or consent, an investigation by the federal, Alberta and BC Privacy Commissioners has found.

The goal, the company said, was to analyze the age and gender of shoppers and not to identify individuals. Cadillac Fairview also asserted that shoppers were made aware of the activity via decals it had placed on shopping mall entry doors that referred to their privacy policy – a measure the Commissioners determined was insufficient.

Source: News release: Cadillac Fairview collected 5 million shoppers’ images – Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Intrusive, omnipresent surveillance growing during COVID-19 pandemic, UN expert warns

Widespread use of contact tracing technology to fight the COVID-19 pandemic has led to almost incessant and omnipresent surveillance in some parts of the world, a UN expert on privacy told the General Assembly today.

“This is a very disturbing trend; all-pervasive surveillance is no panacea for COVID-19,” Joseph Cannataci, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, said as he delivered his annual report, which examines the privacy impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: OHCHR | Intrusive, omnipresent surveillance growing during COVID-19 pandemic, UN expert warns

‘Love Contracts’ Go Mainstream as Employers Track Office Romance

While workplace dating policies have been commonplace for years, typically targeting relationships between managers and subordinates, many companies have been compelled to update them to take into account new state anti-harassment laws and remote work activity spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Some companies are having workers sign “love contracts,” requiring employees to clue employers into when they are in (and potentially out of) love. They also might include real-world examples in the policies, demonstrating exactly at what point in a relationship workers have to flag their newfound romance for an employer. From an anti-harassment stand-point, the policies are in place for good reasons.

Source: ‘Love Contracts’ Go Mainstream as Employers Track Office Romance

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