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Intersection: Sidewalks & Public Space

Chapter by Melissa Ngo

"The Myth of Security Under Camera Surveillance"


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    EU Court: European Union Data Retention Directive Is Invalid

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    The Court of Justice of the European Union announced that it has ruled (pdf) that the EU’s Data Retention Directive is invalid. The court said:

    The Court observes first of all that the data to be retained make it possible, in particular, (1) to know the identity of the person with whom a subscriber or registered user has communicated and by what means, (2) to identify the time of the communication as well as the place from which that communication took place and (3) to know the frequency of the communications of the subscriber or registered user with certain persons during a given period. Those data, taken as a whole, may provide very precise information on the private lives of the persons whose data are retained, such as the habits of everyday life, permanent or temporary places of residence, daily or other movements, activities carried out, social relationships and the social environments frequented. Read more »

    Guardian (UK): Smart cities: are you willing to trade privacy for efficiency?

    Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

    The Guardian reports onquestions of privacy concerning “smart” cities — where data is increasingly collected on the habits of citizens and residents:

    Privacy must play an instrumental role in any smart city strategy otherwise citizens might fear the introduction of other innovative technology, according to an executive at one of the world’s largest infrastructure companies.

    Wim Elfrink, executive vice president of industry solutions and chief globalisation officer of Cisco, heads up the company’s smart cities team and warned that if cities did not give citizens the choice of whether or not to allow the government to use their data, they might opt-out of future initiatives. [...]

    A number of councils have already installed a number of sensors around London with the aim of creating a smarter city. This is done through collecting large amounts of data – from information about available parking spaces, electricity usage and even refuse levels – before then analysing it and understanding problems they may not know existed. Read more »

    NSS Labs: Why Your Data Breach Is My Problem

    Friday, April 4th, 2014

    In an analyst brief, “Why Your Data Breach Is My Problem,” for NSS Labs, Stefan Frei and Bob Walder discuss the wider effect of data security breaches on the use of identifiers such as Social Security Numbers and birth dates. Here’s an excerpt from the overview:

    For authentication, users typically rely on only a small number of unique personal information attributes. The same information attributes are used in several places and inevitably are lost, in large numbers, through data breaches. Cyber criminals have built comprehensive profiles of millions of users, which they constantly refine with each new data breach. Once lost, breached data cannot be taken back. This rapid erosion of security (and also privacy) presents huge challenges as this same information, which many still consider “private,” is used across diverse services, both online and offline, While users can change login and password information after a breach, social security numbers (SSNs) and date of birth (DOB) information cannot be changed after such an event. Read more »

    New York Times: A Nudge on Digital Privacy Law From E.U. Official

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

    The New York Times reports that Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, is urging on changes to a European data privacy law:

    BRUSSELS — The top data protection official for the European Union called Tuesday for member governments to restore public trust in the Internet by pressing ahead with an overhaul of the bloc’s electronic privacy laws by the end of this year.

    The official, Peter Hustinx, the European data protection supervisor, also called on President Obama to stick to his pledge to review American privacy rules in the wake of disclosures that have exposed the vast reach of government surveillance that has shaken trans-Atlantic relations.

    Legislation to revamp European digital privacy law has been in the works since November 2010, when the European Union’s justice commissioner, Vivian Reding, first proposed updating rules set during the mid-1990s in the early part of the Internet era. She presented her version of the legislation in January 2012. Read more »

    Reuters: Data privacy shapes up as a next-generation trade barrier

    Friday, March 28th, 2014

    Reuters reports on data privacy and how it could affect international trade:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Revelations about U.S. digital eavesdropping have fanned concerns about Internet privacy and may complicate U.S. attempts to write rules enshrining the free flow of data into trade pacts with European and Pacific trading partners.

    As more and more consumers and businesses shop and sign up for services online, the IT industry is working to fend off rising digital protectionism it sees as threatening an e-commerce marketplace estimated at up to $8 trillion a year. [...]

    The unease of U.S. technology companies has mounted in lockstep with rising worries overseas about data privacy.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel — a target of U.S. spying — has called for a European Internet protected from Washington’s snooping. Brazil and the European Union plan to lay their own undersea communications cable to reduce reliance on the United States. And other countries are showing a preference for storing data on local servers rather than in the United States. Read more »

    CBC (Canada): Privacy rules not followed on lost student loan data, report finds

    Thursday, March 27th, 2014

    CBC reports on a security breach concerning student data in Canada:

    Canada’s interim privacy commissioner says the government didn’t follow its own policies to protect sensitive data of more than 583,000 student loan recipients.

    A report tabled in Parliament Tuesday says the disappearance of a portable hard drive containing personal information of over 500,000 Canadians was the result of the device being left unsecured, without password protection or encryption. The report also points out that employees were not aware of the sensitivity of the information on the device. [...]

    The investigation was launched in January 2013, after Employment and Social Development Canada reported the hard drive had been missing for two months. It contained the Social Insurance number, name, date of birth, home address, telephone number, loan amounts and balances for more than half a million student loan recipients from 2000 to 2006. [...] Read more »