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Category Archives for "Surveillance"

Privacy Debated in Fight Over Google Chrome Browser History Tracking

The plaintiffs in the class action claim they signed up for Chrome because Google explicitly said they would not have their browsing history sent to Google unless they decided to “sync” the browser with their account.

Despite these assurances, Chrome tracked their web browsing and sent it to Google, in violation of federal law and the newly minted California Consumer Privacy Act.

Google attorney Andrew Schapiro said plaintiffs had misconstrued the issue, saying that each of the plaintiffs was notified their web browsing history would be tracked when they agreed to the terms of service.

The attorney for Google also said the plaintiffs misunderstand how the advertising tracking component of the company works, because it tracks web browsing based on the website not on the browser.

Source: Privacy Debated in Fight Over Google Chrome Browser History Tracking – Courthouse News Service

Greece Moves Ahead with Biometric Border Management System

Greece is planning to implement a biometric border management system that will record all crossings at ports, airports and border check points.

This means that all ports, airports and border check points in Greece will be equipped with biometric detection systems for facial recognition and fingerprinting.

Information on the movements of third country nationals within the Schengen Area will be collected and stored at Hellenic Police headquarters. Traveler data will be stored for five years and includes names, passport numbers, four fingerprints, and biometric photos

Source: GTP Headlines Greece Moves Ahead with Biometric Border Management System | GTP Headlines

A patent shows how surveillance drones could ID you from above

An Israeli biometrics startup with a history of defense contracts has applied for a patent on technology that repositions drones to get a better shot of a person on the ground.

The patent application, titled “Adaptive Positioning of Drones for Enhanced Face Recognition,” describes a computer vision system that analyzes the angle of a drone camera in relation to the face of a person on the ground, then instructs the drone on how to improve its vantage point. The system can then send that image through a machine-learning model trained to classify individual faces. The model sends back a classification with a probability score. If the probability score falls below a certain threshold, the whole process starts over again.

A future defined by this type of mass surveillance would “obliterate privacy and anonymity in public as we know it,” said Kade Crockford, head of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts.

Source: A patent shows how surveillance drones could ID you from above

Tracker pixels in emails are now an ‘endemic’ privacy concern

Spy pixels, also known as tracking pixels or web beacons, are invisible, tiny image files — including .PNGs and .GIFs — that are inserted in the content body of an email.

They may appear as clear, white, or another color to merge with the content and remain unseen by a recipient and are often as small as 1×1 pixels. Similar pixels are also widely used on web domains to track visitors.

However, according to Hey co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson, they also represent a “grotesque invasion of privacy.”

Full article: Tracker pixels in emails are now an ‘endemic’ privacy concern | ZDNet

New EFF Report Shows Cops Used Ring Cameras to Monitor Black Lives Matter Protests

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has obtained emails that show that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) sent at least one request—and likely many more—for Amazon Ring camera video of last summer’s Black-led protests against police violence.

In a report released yesterday, EFF shows that the LAPD asked for video related to “the recent protests,” and refused to disclose to EFF what crime it was investigating or how many hours of footage it ultimately requested.

Source: New EFF Report Shows Cops Used Ring Cameras to Monitor Black Lives Matter Protests | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Russian police go digital against protesters

Georgy Malets didn’t make it to an anti-Kremlin rally last month. He was detained on his way there by police using facial recognition technology in the Moscow metro.

The 30-year-old Russian photo blogger said the police told him he had been identified by a “Face-ID” camera system and must accompany them to a police station for checks.

Reports from other protesters who have attend rallies in recent weeks in support of jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny also indicate police are using facial recognition technology to make preventive arrests and detentions.

An unnamed law enforcement source told TASS news agency the technology used images stored on a database of regular protesters. Rights advocates expressed concern surveillance systems were being used for this purpose.

Source: “Face control”: Russian police go digital against protesters | Reuters

Google admits failing to wipe all Android apps with location-selling X-Mode SDK from its Play Store

Google on Friday removed 25 Android apps from the Google Play Store after missing them during a prior purge. The apps contained the X-Mode SDK that the Chocolate Factory previously banned for selling location data.

The SDK gathers location data that X-Mode, a Reston, Virginia-based data broker, then sells to third-parties. In early December, Google and Apple gave mobile app developers seven days and two weeks respectively to jettison the X-Mode SDK, a software library the developers had integrated into their apps in exchange for payment.

Due to an oversight during our enforcement process, 25 apps containing the X-Mode SDK were not removed from Google Play after the developers were given a 7-day warning.

Source: Oops: Google admits failing to wipe all Android apps with location-selling X-Mode SDK from its Play Store • The Register

Google is reportedly working on an anti-tracking feature for Android

Google is looking to develop an anti—tracking feature for Android similar to the one Apple is rolling out with iOS 14.5.

The tech giant is reportedly in the early stages of exploring how it can limit data collection and cross-app tracking for its mobile OS. However, it intends to find a less stringent solution than Apple’s so as not to completely alienate its advertising partners.

Source: Google is reportedly working on an anti-tracking feature for Android | Engadget

Facebook faces new UK class action after data harvesting scandal

Facebook is facing a second London High Court class action over allegations it failed to protect the personal details of about one million people in England and Wales, in the latest lawsuit to spring from a scandal over data harvesting.

Journalist and writer Peter Jukes said on Tuesday he had filed a lawsuit for unspecified but “substantial” damages three years after the social media giant was fined in Britain over how third-party app “This Is Your Digital Life” gathered Facebook users’ data without consent between 2013 and 2015.

The lawsuit is the second to allege Facebook allowed third-party apps to harvest the data of friends without their permission or knowledge. Litigation firm Milberg London, which is advising on a similar claim filed last October, said it was surprised to hear about the rival lawsuit.

Source: Facebook faces new UK class action after data harvesting scandal | Reuters

The CBP Used COVID As An Excuse To Install Facial Recognition At 76 Airports

A recent DHS report titled the “CBP Trade and Travel Report” reads like an instruction manual on how to exploit the public’s fear of COVID. The report is a perfect example of how the Feds used the pandemic as an excuse to install facial recognition cameras across the country.

The CBP has used the pandemic to embark on “transformative biometric measures” to enroll more Americans into their “Trusted Traveler” database. he CBP’s biometric Trusted Traveler program is now being used in 76 airports. In two years, the CBP’s Global Entry Facial Comparison program has expanded to 20 international airports in the U.S. However, since 2018, the CBP has used facial recognition to ID a grand total of 7 imposters who tried getting into the United States.

Source: The CBP Used COVID As An Excuse To Install Facial Recognition At 76 Airports | MassPrivateI

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