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Intersection: Sidewalks & Public Space

Chapter by Melissa Ngo

"The Myth of Security Under Camera Surveillance"


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    Archive for the ‘International’ Category

    Washington Post: For sale: Systems that can secretly track where cellphone users go around the globe

    Sunday, August 24th, 2014

    The Washington Post reports on technology that allows the global surveillance and secret tracking of cellphone users:

    Makers of surveillance systems are offering governments across the world the ability to track the movements of almost anybody who carries a cellphone, whether they are blocks away or on another continent.

    The technology works by exploiting an essential fact of all cellular networks: They must keep detailed, up-to-the-minute records on the locations of their customers to deliver calls and other services to them. Surveillance systems are secretly collecting these records to map people’s travels over days, weeks or longer, according to company marketing documents and experts in surveillance technology.

    The world’s most powerful intelligence services, such as the National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ, long have used cellphone data to track targets around the globe. But experts say these new systems allow less technically advanced governments to track people in any nation — including the United States — with relative ease and precision. [...] Read more »

    Sydney Morning Herald: Could peer-to-peer technology solve the privacy conundrum?

    Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

    The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a privacy proposal concerning peer-to-peer technology by computer scientists from Saarland University and the Center for IT Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA), in Germany, and the Italian IMT Institute for Advanced Studies:

    A unique approach to crunching website visitor data promises the best of both worlds between accuracy and privacy.

    Data leaned from people’s behaviour online is an important tool in everything from marketing to social planning, but consumers lose control over their privacy the more data is collected about them. [...]

    [The computer scientists'] technology, known as Privada, uses peer-to-peer file sharing as the inspiration to send parts of website visitor data to different servers for processing and storage.

    When Privada collects a behavioural metric on visitors (women aged 35-45, for example) it sends it to a third-party server. Other metrics are sent to other servers, so no central database has the complete picture.

    Each server then adds up to 10 per cent of data “noise” to their records, enough to keep any single user from being identified and leaving the reassembled data 90 per cent accurate. [...] Read more »

    Privacy International: Identity theft persists in Pakistan’s biometric era

    Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

    Privacy International recently looked into identity theft in Pakistan, a country that has registered many of its inhabitants’ biometric information and issued computerized national identification cards:

    Even in the world of biometric identity and strong systems, people are able to obtain fraudulent identity cards by changing their particular details, or, in some cases, only the photo ID. The former Chairman of [National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), the independent government agency responsible for the management of the entire national database system], Tariq Malik also said that given increasing levels of forgery and misuse in other personal documents, now is the hour to get expired identity cards renewed. He said that the menace of bogus identity cards could be wiped out by updating personal biometric details in the national database. [...]

    NADRA reports that it has deployed a state-of-the-art facial matching system with the capabilities to stop fraud and forgery in identity documents, yet people are still able to obtain forged identity cards. This was very puzzling to understand given the supposed surety, accuracy and privacy of NADRA database that such a scam was still happening even after the introduction of new chip-based identity cards.

    Read the full article for more information on identity theft in Pakistan.

    New York Times: Judge Rules That Microsoft Must Turn Over Data Stored in Ireland

    Friday, August 1st, 2014

    The News York Times reports on a case concerning the privacy and the data of Microsoft customers:

    Microsoft has suffered a setback in its efforts to block federal prosecutors from seizing a customer’s data that is stored overseas.

    Judge Loretta A. Preska of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday upheld a magistrate judge’s ruling that Microsoft must turn over the customer’s emails, held in a Microsoft data center in Ireland. Big technology companies have rallied around Microsoft in the case, seeing the ruling as a potential threat to their plans to offer cloud computing services overseas.

    Microsoft plans to appeal the ruling. Judge Preska agreed to stay her order while the company pursues the appeal. Read more »

    Reuters: Internet privacy service Tor warns users it was attacked

    Thursday, July 31st, 2014

    Reuters reports that Tor, an anonymization network for online activities, told users that it had been attacked:

    Tor, the prominent system for protecting Internet privacy, said on Wednesday many of its users trying to reach hidden sites might have been identified by government-funded researchers.

    In a note on the nonprofit’s website, Tor Project leader Roger Dingledine said the service had identified computers on its network that had been quietly altering Tor traffic for five months in an attempt to unmask users connecting to what are known as “hidden services.”

    Dingledine said it was “likely” the attacking computers, which were removed on July 4, were operated on behalf of two researchers at the Software Engineering Institute, which is housed at Carnegie-Mellon University, but funded mainly by the U.S. Department of Defense.

    The pair had been scheduled to speak on identifying Tor users at the Black Hat security conference next month. After Tor developers complained to Carnegie-Mellon, officials there said the research had not been cleared and canceled the talk. Read more »

    Courthouse News Service: Class Claims Apple iPhones Invade Privacy and Pass Along the Info

    Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

    Courthouse News Service reports on a class-action suit filed against Apple concerning the privacy of users of its iPhones:

    SAN JOSE (CN) – Apple uses the “location service” function on iPhones to spy on customers and give their private information to third parties, including the federal government, a class action claims in Federal Court.

    Lead plaintiff Chen Ma sued Apple on behalf of roughly 100 million iPhone users, claiming Apple violated their privacy.

    “In or around September 2012, Apple released iPhone 4 which contains an iOS operating system software that enables iPhone 4 to track its users’ whereabouts down to every minute, record the duration that users stay at any given geographical point, and periodically transmit these data stored on the users’ devices to Apple’s database for future references,” according to the July 24 complaint. [...]

    She seeks class certification and an injunction preventing Apple from collecting and storing customers’ private information without giving them prior notice, and from sending their data to a third party without their permission. She also seeks compensatory and punitive damages for invasion of privacy.