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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 ‘Technology’ Category

    Associated Press: California enacts strict student privacy law

    Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    The Associated Press reports that California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed SB1177, a bill concerning student privacy rights:

    SB1177 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, prohibits companies from using students’ personal information for profit.

    It makes companies responsible for protecting any personal information that they gather from elementary and high school students through websites, online applications and other services.

    The bill requires providers to use the data only for school purposes and bans the sale of students’ personal information to advertisers and third parties.

    Brown also approved a related bill, AB1584, by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, that says student information collected by outside companies remains the property of school districts.

     

    Washington Post: Maker of StealthGenie, an app used for spying, indicted in Virginia

    Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

    The Washington Post reports that the chief executive of the company that makes a mobile app for spying on individuals has been indicted by federal officials:

    Federal officials have indicted the Pakistani maker of a popular smartphone app designed for spying on a user’s children or romantic partner, the first case of its kind in the burgeoning market for private-sector surveillance software built for iPhones and Android devices.

    The program, called StealthGenie, allows users to monitor nearly all forms of a target’s communications — calls, texts, social media postings — while also tracking the smartphone’s location and secretly activating its microphone to make recordings.

    While similar to technology used by police to track suspects, its use by private individuals allegedly violates federal law. Activists against domestic violence have long expressed concern that surveillance software can lead to attacks on women suspected of infidelity.

    Los Angeles Times: Growing use of police body cameras raises privacy concerns

    Monday, September 29th, 2014

    The Los Angeles Times reports that local police departments nationwide are increasingly attaching body cameras to officers. This has raised privacy and civil liberties questions. The Times reports:

    The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department, along with police in New York, Chicago and Washington, have launched pilot programs to test cameras for wider deployment.

    But equipping police with such devices also raises new and unsettled issues over privacy at a time when many Americans have been critical of the kind of powerful government surveillance measures that technology has made possible.

    For many departments, questions remain about when officers should be allowed to turn off such cameras — especially in cases involving domestic violence or rape victims — and the extent to which video could be made public. [...] Read more »

    Article 29 Working Party Releases Opinion on Internet of Things

    Friday, September 26th, 2014

    The EU’s Article 29 Working Party on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data has released “Opinion 8/2014 on the on Recent Developments on the Internet of Things” (Working Party pdf; archive pdf). We’ve discussed before  the “Internet of Things,” which is a computerized network of physical objects. In IoT, sensors and data storage devices embedded in objects interact with Web services. (For more on privacy and the IoT, see a Center for Democracy and Technology report that I consulted on and contributed to, “Building the Digital Out-Of-Home Privacy Infrastructure.”) The Working Party writes in its summary:

    The Internet of Things (IoT) is on the threshold of integration into the lives of European citizens. The viability of many projects in the IoT still remains to be confirmed but “smart things” are being made available which monitor and communicate with our homes, cars, work environment and physical activities. Already today, connected devices successfully meet the needs of EU citizens on the large-scale markets of quantified self and domotics. The IoT thus hold significant prospects of growth for a great number of innovating and creative EU companies, whether big or small, which operate on these markets.

    The WP29 is keen that such expectations are met, in the interests of both citizens and industry in the EU. Yet, these expected benefits must also respect the many privacy and security challenges which can be associated with the IoT. Many questions arise around the vulnerability of these devices, often deployed outside a traditional IT structure and lacking sufficient security built into them. Data losses, infection by malware, but also unauthorized access to personal data, intrusive use of wearable devices, or unlawful surveillance are as many risks that stakeholders in the IoT must address to attract prospective end-users of their products or services. Read more »

    USA Today: 43% of companies had a data breach in the past year

    Thursday, September 25th, 2014

    USA Today reports on new research from the Ponemon Institute concerning the privacy and security of data at companies and the increasing number of breaches:

    SAN FRANCISCO – A staggering 43% of companies have experienced a data breach in the past year, an annual study on data breach preparedness finds.

    The report, released Wednesday, was conducted by the Ponemon Institute, which does independent research on privacy, data protection and information security policy. That’s up up 10% from the year before. [...]

    Despite the rise in breaches, 27% of companies didn’t have a data breach response plan or team in place, though that’s down from 39% who didn’t have them in the previous year’s survey.

    Even in companies that have breach plans in place, employees aren’t convinced they will work. Only 30% of those responding to the survey said their organization was “effective or very effective” at creating such plans. [...]

    The survey was conducted in , 2014 and included 567 U.S. executives, most of whom reported to their company’s information security officers.

    ZDNet: Barriers to BYOD? A lack of trust in employers to protect privacy

    Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

    ZDNet reports on the practice of Bring Your Own Device at companies, where employees’ personal computing products are used for company business.  For some employees, according to a recent survey, there are privacy questions:

    When it comes down to adopting bring-your-own-device (BYOD) schemes, employee adoption is hampered by a lack of trust in employers and a lack of faith that individual privacy will be protected.

    New research conducted by Ovum on behalf of mobile security firm AdaptiveMobile says these two factors remain a barrier to increased mobility within the enterprise. When asked to use personal devices for work purposes, end users trust mobile service providers more than employers to protect their privacy, according to the survey. While over 84 percent of employees rated privacy as a top three concern, there is a “clear lack of trust” and belief that corporations are able to manage their mobile security and privacy effectively.

    The Ovum Employee Mobility Survey was conducted in July 2014 and surveyed 5,187 employees in organisations worldwide. [...] In addition, 24 percent of respondents revealed a general mistrust of employers being granted any type of control over their devices.