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Category Archives for "Surveillance"

Uber under pressure over facial recognition checks for drivers

Uber’s use of facial recognition technology for a driver identity system is being challenged in the U.K., where the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) and Worker Info Exchange (WIE) have called for Microsoft to suspend the ride-hailing giant’s use of B2B facial recognition after finding multiple cases where drivers were mis-identified and went on to have their licence to operate revoked by Transport for London (TfL).

The union said it has identified seven cases of “failed facial recognition and other identity checks” leading to drivers losing their jobs and licence revocation action by TfL.

Labor activists are piling pressure on Uber from the other direction too — pointing out that no regulatory standard has been set around the workplace surveillance technology that the ADCU says TfL encouraged Uber to implement.

Source: Uber under pressure over facial recognition checks for drivers | TechCrunch

ICE Investigators Use Private Database Covering Millions of Individuals to Pursue Immigration Violations

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have bought private data containing millions of individuals’ phone, water, electricity, and other utility records.

ICE will use these records to pursue immigration violations. ICE’s use of this private data shows how government agencies exploit commercial data to gain access to information that they are not to compile themselves.

Source: ICE Investigators Using Private Database

Amazon Subjects Its Drivers to Biometric Surveillance

It comes as little surprise that Amazon, the company that brought you Ring doorbell cameras and Rekognition face surveillance, has a tenuous understanding of both privacy and consent. Earlier this week, Motherboard revealed the company’s cruel “take it or leave” demand to its 75,000 delivery drivers: submit to biometric surveillance or lose your job.

Amazon’s “Privacy Policy for Vehicle Camera Technology” states it may collect “face image and biometric information.” The company uses this information, among other things, to verify driver identity, and to provide “real-time in-vehicle alerts” about driver behaviors such as potentially distracted driving.

Source: Dystopia Prime: Amazon Subjects Its Drivers to Biometric Surveillance | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Ikea France on trial over claims it spied on staff, clients

Ikea’s French subsidiary and several of its former executives went on trial Monday over accusations that they illegally spied on employees and customers.

Trade unions reported the furniture and home goods company to French authorities in 2012, accusing it of collecting personal data by fraudulent means and the illicit disclosure of personal information.

The unions alleged that Ikea France paid to gain access to police files that had information about targeted individuals, particularly union activists and customers who were in disputes with Ikea. The company fired four executives and changed internal policy after French prosecutors opened a criminal probe in 2012. But at Monday’s trial in the Versailles court, lawyers for Ikea France denied any strategy of “generalized espionage.”

Source: Ikea France on trial over claims it spied on staff, clients

The End of the Privacy of Digital Correspondence

The EU wants to have all private chats, messages, and emails automatically searched for suspicious content, generally and indiscriminately.

In 2020, the European Commission proposed “temporary” legislation aimed at allowing the search of all private chats, messages, and emails for illegal depictions of minors and attempted initiation of contacts with minors. This is to allow the providers of Facebook Messenger, Gmail, and others to scan every message for suspicious text and images.

This takes place in a fully automated process and using error-prone “artificial intelligence”. If an algorithm considers a message suspicious, its content and meta-data are disclosed automatically and without human verification to a private US-based organization and from there to national police authorities worldwide. The reported users are not notified.

Some U.S. providers of services such as Gmail and Outlook.com are already performing such automated messaging and chat controls. Through a second piece of legislation, the EU Commission intends to oblige all providers of chat, messaging and e-mail services to deploy this mass surveillance technology.

Full article: The End of the Privacy of Digital Correspondence | European Pirate Party

Facial Recognition: What Happens When We’re Tracked Everywhere We Go?

A majority of us go around showing our faces all the time. We post selfies on the internet. Walking down the street, we are unwittingly photographed by surveillance cameras and by strangers we inadvertently photo-bomb. Until recently, we’ve had little reason to think deeply about the fact that each of our faces is as unique as a fingerprint or a Social Security number.

Behind the scenes, though, a quiet revolution has been afoot to unlock the secrets of our faceprints. It has been powered by an enormous influx of AI expertise into Silicon Valley in recent decades, much of it drawn out of the computer-science departments of elite universities. These experts have been put to work on a number of long-term projects, including language translation and self-driving cars, and one particularly intense area of research has been facial recognition.

Full article: Facial Recognition: What Happens When We’re Tracked Everywhere We Go? – The New York Times

Cars Have Your Location. This Spy Firm Wants to Sell It to the U.S. Military

A surveillance contractor that has previously sold services to the U.S. military is advertising a product that it says can locate the real-time locations of specific cars in nearly any country on Earth. It says it does this by using data collected and sent by the cars and their components themselves, according to a document obtained by Motherboard.

Consumers may be unaware that automakers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) often include sensors in vehicle parts that collect information such as their airbag and seatbelt status, engine temperature, and current location, and then transmit that information either back to the automaker or to third parties. Aggregator companies also purchase or obtain this data, repackage it, and then sell that data or products based on it to their own clients.

Source: Cars Have Your Location. This Spy Firm Wants to Sell It to the U.S. Military

As Digital Currency’s Popularity Rises, So Do Privacy Fears

A digital dollar, however, would have an inherent value, just like physical cash. It would be the thing itself, not a representation of something else.

But digital payments have a hard time staying private. When we make payments using bank accounts and credit cards, we make a Faustian bargain: convenience in exchange for the knowledge that our transactions will be visible to the companies involved. Every swipe and transfer leaves a trail.

Full article: As Digital Currency’s Popularity Rises, So Do Privacy Fears | WIRED

Surveillance Camera Hack Raises Legal Risk of Digital Device Use

A recent hack into a massive collection of security camera data from Verkada Inc. shows the cyber and privacy-related vulnerabilities of digital devices that could give way to lawsuits and government enforcement actions.

The Verkada hack could bring attention from the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general who enforce laws protecting against unfair and deceptive business practices. The company also could be found liable under state-level data breach laws that require security controls to be in place.

Wiretapping laws could come into play, too, if there are audio recordings implicated in the hack. So could health privacy laws, for hacked video footage from hospitals or clinics.

Full article: Surveillance Camera Hack Raises Legal Risk of Digital Device Use

Advocacy Groups Again Ask CBP to Withdraw Biometrics Expansion Proposal

Technology and immigration advocacy organizations and other researchers are again calling for Customs and Border Protection to put the brakes on the planned expansion of its biometric entry-exit program.

CBP proposed a rule to “advance the legal framework” so that the Homeland Security Department could initiate a full-scale biometric entry-exit program—which at least initially relies on facial recognition technology—by moving beyond pilots and port limitations.

Advocacy groups all opposed the rule, citing privacy concerns, risks of error, and failure to explain how to prevent discrimination in the implementation of the program.

Source: Advocacy Groups Again Ask CBP to Withdraw Biometrics Expansion Proposal – Nextgov

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