Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

Creepy Barbie Doll Will Spy on Your Kids

March 16, 2015

Creepy Barbie Doll Will Spy on Your Kids
The Mattel corporation has introduced the Hello Barbie ™ interactive doll that not only talks, it listens. And records your kid’s conversation with her. And connects to WiFi so her recordings can be analyzed by the ToyTalk ™ voice-recognition software and the information shared with parents or … who knows.  What could possibly go wrong?

So now girls will have a role model of anatomically impossible proportions who will teach them fashion consumerism and will eavesdrop on them, too. Talk about your multi-tasking. Welcome to the 21st Century, female offspring!

More:

“Privacy advocates try to keep ‘creepy,’ ‘eavesdropping’ Hello Barbie from hitting shelves,” Sarah Halzack, Washington Post

“Big Brother Has Enormous Plastic Boobs: ‘Hello Barbie’ Can Spy on Kids,” Ellie Shechet, Jezebel

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Drone Defense

December 9, 2014

Drone Defense

On September 26th, a man in Lower Township, NJ shot down a neighbor’s drone quadcopter that was hovering over his yard and taking photos. Police decided that the small aircraft posed no immediate threat, and arrested the gunman on weapons and criminal mischief charges. Laws about personal drone incursions aren’t clear, so this case may establish precedent.

More:

— “Man Shoots Down Drone, Lawyers Scratch Their Heads,” Kelsey D. Atherton, Popular Science

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Image (“Drone Shooting, after Henry Thomas Alken”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Cellphone Spies in the Sky

November 16, 2014

Cellphone Spies in the Sky

The Wall Street Journal reports that, for the last seven years, the U.S. Marshals Service has flown Cessna aircraft over America’s cities, collecting cellphone location data from thousands of people with “dirtbox” devices that mimic cellular towers. The Marshals Service, a unit of the Department of Justice, predominately searches for federal fugitives, but its Special Operations Group conducts “tactical operations for sensitive and classified missions involving homeland security, national emergencies, domestic crises and the intelligence community.” Flying spying and data harvesting on such a broad scale raises serious Fourth Amendment questions.

More:

“Report: Secret government program uses aircraft for mass cellphone surveillance,” Gail Sullivan, Washington Post

“WSJ: A Secret U.S. Spy Program Is Using Planes to Target Cell Phones,” Kate Knibbs, Gizmodo

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Image (“Flying Phone Spy, after a 1964 comic book”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com 

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The Stalker Economy

December 4, 2013

The Stalker Economy

“Surveillance is the business model of the Internet ….”

— “‘Stalker economy’ here to stay,” Bruce Schneier, CNN

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Stop Spying!

October 21, 2013

Stop Spying!
More than 570,000 people have signed the StopWatching.Us petition demanding that Congress probe the NSA’s Internet spying programs and reform the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA< Amendments Act that allow it.

StopWatching.Us is broad bipartisan coalition of organizations including the ACLU, American Library Association,  the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Freedom Works, the Libertarian Party, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, MoveOn.org, Mozilla, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, PEN American Center, RootsAction.org, Women in Media & News, World Wide Web Foundation, Writers Guild of America West, and many others. They’re all gathering in Washington DC on Saturday, October 26th to protest against mass surveillance. Participants will gather at Columbus Circle in front of Union Station at Noon and march to the Capitol Reflecting Pool. More here.

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Et Tu, Skype? Yipe.

October 16, 2013

Et Tu, Skype? Yipe.

“Skype is being investigated by Luxembourg’s data protection commissioner over concerns about its secret involvement with the US National Security Agency (NSA) spy programme Prism, the Guardian has learned.

The Microsoft-owned internet chat company could potentially face criminal and administrative sanctions, including a ban on passing users’ communications covertly to the US signals Intelligence agency.

Skype itself is headquartered in the European country, and could also be fined if an investigation concludes that the data sharing is found in violation of the country’s data-protection laws.”

— “Skype under investigation in Luxembourg over link to NSA,” Ryan Gallagher The Guardian

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Your City is Watching You

October 15, 2013

Your City is Watching You
“From the first known use of closed-circuit television cameras to monitor crowds in London’s Trafalgar Square during a state visit by the king and queen of Thailand in 1960, urban video surveillance has come a long way. The Brookings Institution calculates that today it would cost $300 million in storage capacity to capture a year’s worth of footage from Chongqinq’s vast camera network. But by 2020, thanks to the steady decline of cost for digital storage devices, that figure could be just $3 million per year. ‘For the first time ever,’ they warn, ‘it will become technologically and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders — every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner.’ What’s worse is the active involvement of American firms like Cisco, which is supplying the city with network technology optimized for video transmission for an undisclosed sum.”

— “Your city is spying on you: From iPhones to cameras, you are being watched right now,” Anthony M. Townsend, Salon [links added]

More:

“Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Governments,” John Villasenor, Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution

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Image (“Grand Frère à Paris, after Caillebotte”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Who Elected You God? Oh Right, John Roberts.

July 7, 2013

Who Elected You God? Oh Right, John Roberts.

The 11 judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court meet in secret to approve or deny (mostly approve) government surveillance requests. All judges of this secret court were appointed by Chief Justice Warren G. Roberts.

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The U.S. Postal Service Is Logging Your Mail

July 5, 2013

The U.S. Postal Service Is Logging Your Mail

Snail Mail surveillance is lots older than PRISM, but it’s now computerized through the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program. Postal Service computers photograph all the 160 billion envelopes processed in the USA each year. Law enforcement agents don’t need a judge’s approval to request this information.

More:

“U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement,” Ron Nixon, New York Times

“USPS Procedures: Mail Cover Requests,” Postal Inspection Service via NYT

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Image (“Mr. Zip, G-Man!)” by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Party Like It’s 1984

June 30, 2013

Party Like It's 1984

Last week Dutch artists Thomas voor ‘t Hekke and Bas van Oerle celebrated the 110th birthday of writer George Orwell (Eric Blair, 1903-1950) by decorating surveillance cameras in the city of Utrecht with party hats to remind us how “the surveillance state described by Orwell is getting closer and closer to reality.”

More:

“Dutch Artists Celebrate George Orwell’s Birthday By Putting Party Hats On Surveillance Cameras,” Ellie Hall, Buzzfeed

Front 404 website

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