"surveillance" entries

Strata Week: Why we should care about what the NSA may or may not be doing

Response to NSA data mining and the troubling lack of technical details, Facebook's Open Compute data center, and local police are growing their own DNA databases.

It’s a question of power, not privacy — and what is the NSA really doing?

PEW graph

Pew Research Center national survey

In the wake of the leaked NSA data-collection programs, the Pew Research Center conducted a national survey to measure American’s response. The survey found that 56% of respondents think NSA’s telephone record tracking program is an acceptable method to investigate terrorism, and 62% said the government’s investigations into possible terrorist threats are more important than personal privacy.

Rebecca J. Rosen at The Atlantic took a look at legal scholar Daniel J. Solove’s argument that we should care about the government’s collection of our data, but not for the reasons one might think — the collection itself, he argues, isn’t as troubling as the fact that they’re holding the data in perpetuity and that we don’t have access to it. Rosen quotes Solove:

“The NSA program involves a massive database of information that individuals cannot access. … This kind of information processing, which forbids people’s knowledge or involvement, resembles in some ways a kind of due process problem. It is a structural problem involving the way people are treated by government institutions. Moreover, it creates a power imbalance between individuals and the government. … This issue is not about whether the information gathered is something people want to hide, but rather about the power and the structure of government.”

Read more…

Comments: 2

Strata Week: Court case sheds light on FBI stingray surveillance

Intrusiveness of FBI stingrays, IRS vs Fourth Amendment, Liquid Robotics' AWS of open seas, and Republicans want big data.

FBI and IRS push privacy envelope

Details about how the FBI uses stingray or IMSI-catcher technology — and how much more intrusive it is than previously known — have come to light in a tax fraud case against accused identity thief Daniel David Rigmaiden. Kim Zetter reports at Wired that the FBI, in coordination with Verizon Wireless, was able to track Rigmaiden’s location by reprogramming his air card to connect to the FBI’s fake cell tower, or stingray, when calls came to a landline controlled by the FBI. “The FBI calls, which contacted the air card silently in the background, operated as pings to force the air card into revealing its location,” Zetter explains.

The U.S. government claims it doesn’t need a warrant to use stingrays “because they don’t collect the content of phone calls and text messages and operate like pen-registers and trap-and-traces, collecting the equivalent of header information,” Zetter says, but in this particular case they got a probable-cause warrant because the stingray located and accessed the air card remotely through Rigmaiden’s apartment.

The issue at stake in this case is whether or not the court was fully informed as to the intrusiveness of the technology when it granted the warrant. Read more…

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Strata Week: The social graph that isn’t

Pinboard founder questions the social graph, Cloudera and Kaggle raise money for big data.

In this week's data news, Pinboard founder Maciej Ceglowski challenges the notion of a "social graph," Cloudera and Kaggle raise money for big data, and the Supreme Court looks at GPS and privacy issues.

Comments: 3

Strata Week: The social graph that isn't

Pinboard founder questions the social graph, Cloudera and Kaggle raise money for big data.

In this week's data news, Pinboard founder Maciej Ceglowski challenges the notion of a "social graph," Cloudera and Kaggle raise money for big data, and the Supreme Court looks at GPS and privacy issues.

Comments: 3

Open Media Boston forum examines revolution and Internet use in Middle East

I came away convinced that Internet sites — Facebook in
particular — were crucial to the spread of the revolutions.

Comments: 6

Computers, Freedom, and Privacy enters 21st year at a moment of hot debate

Lillie Coney of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Jules Polonetsky of the Future of Privacy Forum, cochairs of CFP this year, talk about what makes the conference unique and how it will illuminate the pressing issues of Twitter revolutions (or whatever role the Internet may play), surveillance and tracking, security of personal health data, and more.

Comment: 1

Susan Landau explores Internet security and the attribution problem

Landau, a noted privacy advocate, is seeking new technologies and new
policies to identify people on the Internet without onerous effects on privacy.

Comment: 1
Four short links: 12 May 2010

Four short links: 12 May 2010

Secrets to Success, Sousveillance, Etherpad Lives, Personal Social Networks

  1. The Ten Commandments of Rock and Roll (BoingBoing) — ten rules that should be posted in every workplace as a guide to how to fail poisonously.
  2. Snapscouts — rather creepy sousveillance site. It’s up to you to keep America safe! If you see something suspicious, Snap it! If you see someone who doesn’t belong, Snap it! Not sure if someone or something is suspicious? Snap it anyway! I like the idea of promoting a shared interest in keeping us all safe, but I’m not sure SnapScouts is there yet. (update: Ha, it’s a brilliant joke! See the comments for more)
  3. Etherpad Foundation — was open-sourced after Google acquired the company that offered it, has now acquired a life-after-death. Compare with the updated Google document editor which has a wordprocessing layout engine built in Javascript, and uses the algorithms behind Etherpad to offer simultaneous editing. (via Hacker News)
  4. Diaspora Kickstarter Project — team looking for seed funding to write an aGPLed “privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network” (no news of dessert topping or floor wax applicability). Received 2.5x their requested funding in a few days.
Comments: 3

Being online: Forged identities and non-identities

Creating a fake identity used to be more popular than it is now, but
some people have still hidden who they are when going online. This
section of the identity article covers some ways they do it.

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Being online: Your identity to advertisers–it's not all about you

Advertisers collect information on us for two reasons: to target us as
individuals and to place us in collective categories of consumers.
This section of the identity article coves a few of their techniques.

Comments: 4