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Category Archives for "Surveillance"

Wyden and Warren Demand Investigation into IRS Warrantless Location Tracking

A unit of the IRS previously bought access to location data harvested from ordinary apps installed on peoples’ phones to try and identify individuals.

The news highlights the continued tread of law enforcement agencies obtaining location data that would ordinarily require a warrant to do, by simply purchasing the data from commercial providers instead. Ron Wyden and Elizabeth Warren want a formal investigation into the IRS’ use of smartphone location data to track Americans without a warrant.

Source: Wyden and Warren Demand Investigation into IRS Warrantless Location Tracking

The EU’s Timetable for Dismantling End-to-End Encryption

Lobbying of “lawful access” to end-to-end encrypted services has moved from the U.S. to the European Union—where advocates for anti-encryption laws hope to have a smoother ride.

The public signs of this shift in the EU—which until now has been largely supportive toward privacy-protecting technologies like end-to-end encryption—began in June with a speech by Ylva Johansson, the EU’s Commissioner for Home Affairs.

Source: Orders from the Top: The EU’s Timetable for Dismantling End-to-End Encryption

Europe’s top court confirms no mass surveillance without limits

Europe’s top court has delivered another slap-down to indiscriminate government mass surveillance regimes.

In a ruling the CJEU has made it clear that national security concerns do not exclude EU Member States from the need to comply with general principles of EU law such as proportionality and respect for fundamental rights to privacy, data protection and freedom of expression.

However the court has also allowed for derogations, saying that a pressing national security threat can justify limited and temporary bulk data collection and retention — capped to ‘what is strictly necessary’.

Source: Europe’s top court confirms no mass surveillance without limits | TechCrunch

Students Are Rebelling Against Eye-Tracking Exam Surveillance Tools

Invasive test-taking software has become mandatory in many places, and some companies are retaliating against those who speak out.

he software turns students’ computers into powerful invigilators—webcams monitor eye and head movements, microphones record noise in the room, and algorithms log how often a test taker moves their mouse, scrolls up and down on a page, and pushes keys. The software flags any behavior its algorithm deems suspicious for later viewing by the class instructor.

Students’ and educators’ objections to exam proctoring software go beyond the privacy concerns around being watched and listened to in their bedrooms while they take a test. As more evidence emerges about how the programs work, and fail to work, critics say the tools are bound to hurt low-income students, students with disabilities, students with children or other dependents, and other groups who already face barriers in higher education.

Source: Students Are Rebelling Against Eye-Tracking Exam Surveillance Tools

MEPs raise concerns on EU plans for police facial recognition database

MEPs on the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee have questioned EU plans to establish a bloc-wide facial recognition database for use by police authorities, citing the potential abuse of data as well as the likelihood of false positives.

As part of a planned extension of the EU’s 2008 Prum Decision, which allows for the exchange of DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data, member states have proposed that police authorities be given powers that permit them to share facial images.

Source: MEPs raise concerns on EU plans for police facial recognition database – EURACTIV.com

TikTok unclear on how old EU data will be transferred to new Irish data centre

TikTok has admitted that it will not retroactively transfer all EU personal data to its new data site in Ireland when the facility is completed next year, in a decision that could provoke concern among data protection activists in Europe.

The company currently stores EU personal data at sites in the United States and Singapore, but has plans to construct a €420 million site in Ireland in 2021, as a means to allay some of the worries related to the transmission of personal data from the EU, to countries with less stringent data protection regimes.

Source: TikTok unclear on how old EU data will be transferred to new Irish data centre – EURACTIV.com

Japan’s police introduce facial recognition system in criminal probes

About 10 million facial images are currently stored in the agency’s database, including those of suspects referred to prosecutors who have not been arrested.

Japanese police have been using a system that can match photos of people who have been previously arrested with images gathered by surveillance cameras and social media, police officials said Saturday, a move that could raise concerns about privacy violations.

The facial analysis system has been operated by police across the nation since March to identify criminal suspects more quickly and accurately, the officials said. But critics warn that the system could turn the country into a surveillance society unless it is operated under strict rules.

Source: Japan’s police introduce facial recognition system in criminal probes | The Japan Times

Apple delays new anti-tracking privacy feature for phones and tablets

Apple has delayed the introduction of a stricter privacy feature designed to stop apps and websites tracking people online without their consent. The company had previously announced a change that would mean app developers have to ask users for permission to track them for advertising purposes.

The company had previously announced a change that would mean app developers have to ask users for permission to track them for advertising purposes. The measures were due to be implemented in the iOS 14 update to its operating system in the autumn.

Source: Apple delays new anti-tracking privacy feature for phones and tablets

Doorbell Cameras Help to Spy on Police

Two leaked documents show how a monitoring tool used by police has been turned against them.

The rise of the internet-connected home security camera has generally been a boon to police, as owners of these devices can (and frequently do) share footage with cops at the touch of a button. But according to a leaked FBI bulletin, law enforcement has discovered an ironic downside to ubiquitous privatized surveillance: The cameras are alerting residents when police show up to conduct searches.

Source: Doorbell Cameras Like Ring Give Early Warning of Police Searches, FBI Warned

NSA Mass Surveillance Program Illegal, U.S. Court Rules

The NSA argued its mass surveillance program stopped terrorist attacks – but a new U.S. court ruling found that this is not, and may have even been unconstitutional.

A U.S. federal appeals court ruled that the controversial National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance program exposed in 2013 was illegal – and may have even been unconstitutional.

Source: NSA Mass Surveillance Program Illegal, U.S. Court Rules | Threatpost

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