Search


Intersection: Sidewalks & Public Space

Chapter by Melissa Ngo

"The Myth of Security Under Camera Surveillance"


  • Categories


  • Archives

    « Home

    Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

    News Tribune: Documents: Tacoma police using surveillance device to sweep up cellphone data

    Thursday, August 28th, 2014

    The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, reports on the Tacoma police’s use of “Stingray” technology, which simulates a cellphone tower so that nearby mobile devices will connect to it and reveal its location and other information:

    The Tacoma Police Department apparently has bought — and quietly used for six years — controversial surveillance equipment that can sweep up records of every cellphone call, text message and data transfer up to a half a mile away.

    You don’t have to be a criminal to be caught in this law enforcement snare. You just have to be near one and use a cellphone. [...]

    News that the city was using the surveillance equipment surprised City Council members, who approved an update for a device last year, and prosecutors, defense attorneys and even judges, who in court deal with evidence gathered using the surveillance equipment.

    “If they use it wisely and within limits, that’s one thing,” said Ronald Culpepper, the presiding judge of Pierce County Superior Court, when informed of the device Tuesday. “I would certainly personally have some concerns about just sweeping up information from non-involved and innocent parties — and to do it with a whole neighborhood? That’s concerning.” [...] Read more »

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Electronics end privacy for many employees

    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on privacy complications that can arise for employees when they use employer-issued technology:

    ATLANTA — In an era of company-issued GPS-enabled smartphones and tablets, employers now have the technology to track workers’ every move from sunrise to bedtime.

    Companies say tracking employees can be good for business. For example, it can help improve safety — ensuring that truckers drive safely and get the rest required by law. Tracking can also make companies more productive and competitive by monitoring performance and productivity. [...]

    But the capabilities also mean employers can also easily keep tabs on anyone from sales staff to office workers whether at work or at home. Read more »

    Column at Yahoo Tech: What Are Schools Doing with Your Kids’ Data?

    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

    At Yahoo Tech, columnist Dan Tynan discusses children’s privacy and how their data is used by schools:

    Every student in every school district generates hundreds of data points each year — from their race and gender to their economic status, behavioral issues, biometric data, health status, and more. This tsunami of data is then absorbed and stored by school districts, state databases, educational service providers, websites, and app makers.

    Of course, schools have been collecting data on students since there have been schools. In the past, though, this information was squirreled away in filing cabinets or just on computers used in district offices. Now it lives in the cloud, and it’s being accessed by non-educators who want to apply the principles of big data analysis to it.

    What could go wrong? Plenty. Potentially damaging information about your child’s medical conditions or behavioral issues could accidentally leak or be exposed by hackers. Private companies could decide to use the information for commercial purposes. Potential employers, insurance companies, or other government agencies may someday lobby to get their hands on this data. [...] Read more »

    Opinion at Forbes: Why A Philosopher Teaches Privacy

    Monday, August 25th, 2014

    At Forbes, Evan Selinger (an associate professor of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology) has an opinion column about why privacy is important to philosophy and why he makes it part of his curriculum:

    Not too long ago, a privacy course in the humanities would be of limited interest. Many students were predisposed to believe that privacy issues mostly concerned bad things that happened to indiscreet blabbermouths or anxiety experienced by folks with skeletons in the closet—you know, people with something to hide.

    But since privacy became a headline-grabbing issue, things have changed. Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA activity, fast-moving developments in surveillance and online information and communication technology, potent advances in data storage and analysis, and the emergence of powerful data brokers have all played a part in making privacy a matter of great daily concern for everyone. Read more »

    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 »

    NACDL: Retaining Fourth Amendment Protections in Warranted Digital Searches

    Friday, August 22nd, 2014

    The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has released a white paper, “What’s Old Is New Again: Retaining Fourth Amendment Protections in Warranted Digital Searches (Pre-Search Instructions and Post-Search Reasonableness),” concerning law enforcement officials’ searches of digital evidence. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

    New technologies have challenged the jurisprudence of Fourth Amendment searches and seizures. Despite the disruptive and transformational changes that digital technologies have brought to our society, the constitutional prerequisites for searches and seizures of digital evidence should be no different than searching a physical place. Neither the technological sophistication nor the diminutive physical dimensions of a device to be searched are dispositive of the privacy interests in the information stored on the device.

    The fact that computers, external file storage and cloud servers are employed does not require one to alter the high threshold that must be met to justify government intrusion. Each new technology that affords a different type of private place to preserve private communications does not require a different standard for the search and seizure of its contents than is constitutionally required for the search of a file cabinet or the search of a home. What is different is the amount of private information that can be improperly searched and the substantially greater intrusion upon privacy and Fourth Amendment interests that may result.

    One must look to the Fourth Amendment to define the limits of such searches and then ask whether the existing policies, procedures and guidelines applied to the technologies of the day appropriately mirror our fundamental constitutional values. Currently, they do not. The starting point cannot be that everything is fair game. [...] Read more »