"The results were astounding. In a six-month period — from Aug 31, 2009, to Feb. 28, 2010, Deutsche Telekom had recorded and saved his longitude and latitude coordinates more than 35,000 times. It traced him from a train on the way to Erlangen at the start through to that last night, when he was home in Berlin. Mr. Spitz has provided a rare glimpse — an unprecedented one, privacy experts say — of what is being collected as we walk around with our phones
posted by Scoop
on Mar 26, 2011 -
An anonymous hacking outfit called "Gnosis" has infiltrated Gawker Media
, hijacking the front page
and leaking the company's internal chat logs, source code, and content databases along with the usernames, email addresses, and passwords of over 1.3 million users
(including Gawker staff). The attack, which was motivated by what the group describes as the "outright arrogance"
with which the company's bloggers taunted anonymous imageboard 4chan (semi-previously)
, affects every site in the Gawker network, including Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, Jezebel, Deadspin, Jalopnik, and io9. While most of the leaked passwords are encrypted, more than 200,000 of the simpler ones in the torrent file have been cracked, and the links between account names and email addresses are in plaintext for all to see. Since the integrity of Gawker's encryption methods remains in doubt
, it is recommended that anyone who has ever registered an account on any Gawker property change their passwords immediately, especially if the same log-in information is used for other services.
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 12, 2010 -
Nov. 24 is National Opt-out Day from airport back-scatter scanners
Time to call BS on TSA's kabuki theater of airport security:
"As public anger grows over the TSA's body scanners and intrusive new airport pat-down procedure, a Web site is urging travelers to "opt out" from the body scanners and instead choose to have a pat-down in public view, so that everyone can "see for themselves how the government treats law-abiding citizens."
declares November 24 to be the day when air travelers should refuse to submit to a full body scan and choose the enhanced pat-down -- an option many travelers have described as little short of a molestation."
posted by TDIpod
on Nov 10, 2010 -
"With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches," [Google CEO Eric Schmidt] said. "We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about... We can look at bad behavior and modify it.
" The Atlantic
's editor James Bennet discusses with Schmidt how lobbyists write America's laws, how America's research universities are the best in the world, how the Chinese are going all-out in investing in their infrastructure, how the US should have allowed automakers to fail, and ultimately Google's evolving role in an technologically-augmented society in this broad, interesting and scary interview
(~25 min Flash video) [via
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Oct 4, 2010 -
A Google engineer was recently fired for spying on several teens
through their GTalk, Gmail, and Google Voice accounts. He accessed contact lists and chat transcripts, and in one case quoted from an IM that he'd looked up behind the person's back... In another incident, Barksdale unblocked himself from a Gtalk buddy list even though the teen in question had taken steps to cut communications with the Google engineer.
confirming the shenanigans.
posted by swift
on Sep 15, 2010 -
"The meteoric rise of Facebook raises four general questions . . . How is it possible for a teenager, however brilliant, to create a multibillion-dollar online business in such a short time? How likely is such a business to flame out? What, if any, legal protection from competition should be given to the ideas that power these businesses? And how far will social networking erode privacy or have other social consequences, good or bad?" Richard Posner (the federal judge and University of Chicago law professor best known as one of the pioneers of the "law and economics" movement [Wikipedia]
) answers these questions in his brief history and critique of Facebook. (This is a printer-friendly version that may cause a print dialogue box to pop up, but it's the only link that will work unless you subscribe to The New Republic. The article is nominally a book review but spends barely any time talking about the book that's supposed to be reviewed.)
posted by Jaltcoh
on Aug 5, 2010 -
The Wall Street Journal investigates web snoops. The 50 sites installed a total of 3,180 tracking files on a test computer used to conduct the study. Only one site, the encyclopedia Wikipedia.org, installed none. Twelve sites, including IAC/InterActive Corp.'s Dictionary.com, Comcast Corp.'s Comcast.net and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.com, installed more than 100 tracking tools apiece in the course of the Journal's test. [more inside]
posted by chavenet
on Jul 30, 2010 -
The ACLU of Maryland
Anthony Graber for violating Maryland wiretap laws because he recorded a video
of a plain clothes officer drawing a gun during a traffic stop without first identifying himself as a police officer. The Maryland State Police raided Graber's parents' after learning of the video on YouTube. Another person has since been similarly charged under the same statute. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges
on Jul 27, 2010 -
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against a fourth amendment claim of a right against an employer search of texts on a work pager.
The decision, City of Ontario v. Quon, rejected the claims, by the officer and by others who texted him on the device, that the employer city and the city's service provider violated their rights by reviewing transcripts of the text messages. Justice Kennedy's decision
assumed the officer had a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, he said, the city’s search was not unduly intrusive. There was a “legitimate work-related purpose” for the audit, Justice Kennedy wrote. The city “had a legitimate interest in ensuring that employees were not being forced to pay out of their own pockets for work-related expenses, or on the other hand that the city was not paying for extensive personal communications.” Interestingly, the officer's direct supervisor had told him
that he could use the pager for personal messages, as long as he paid their cost. Kennedy nonetheless opined for the Court that he likely only had a "limited privacy interest." The Court did not reach the question of whether there is an employee privacy interest in email on work servers, or conversations on work telephones.
posted by bearwife
on Jun 17, 2010 -
Facebook's Gone Rogue; It's Time for an Open Alternative [I]n December, with the help of newly hired Beltway privacy experts, it reneged on its privacy promises and made much of your profile information public by default. That includes the city that you live in, your name, your photo, the names of your friends and the causes you’ve signed onto.
This spring Facebook took that even further. All the items you list as things you like must become public and linked to public profile pages. If you don’t want them linked and made public, then you don’t get them — though Facebook nicely hangs onto them in its database in order to let advertisers target you.
posted by mecran01
on May 9, 2010 -
Do you have a life-changing medical condition? Patientslikeme (mentioned previously in a 2008 post on mood conditions)
is a way for you share information online with other people who have the same condition. Some of the conditions with groups established already are epilepsy, depression, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Started by 3 MIT engineers who had personal experiences with ALS (Lou Gherig's disease), the site is funded by partnerships with healthcare providers
who have access to anonymised data about the member base. The stated goal in their Openness Policy
has a plain-English description of what happens to information that members share.
posted by harriet vane
on Mar 16, 2010 -
Changes to Orphan Works copyright legislation in the US began to crumble
in 2008 when the NPPA and a grassroots initiative finally gained momentum. Still, the ASMP has a FAQ
outlining their position on the 2008 Orphan Works bill stating that it is inevitable legislation and they should take advantage of a favourable congress to retain as positive a position for photographers as possible.
It seems that new laws are close to coming into effect in the UK government seemingly nationalising orphan works
and in a separate action (same article) banning non-consentual photography making street photography essentially impossible. [via]
posted by michswiss
on Feb 25, 2010 -
In 2006 some Italian teenagers filmed themselves assaulting a youth with Down Syndrome and uploaded the video to Google Video Italia. It was pulled from the site within hours, but that did not satisfy the Italian Down Syndrome support group named Vivi Down
, who filed a complaint that resulted in a two-year investigation. That lead to charges and indictment of four Google executives, who were never aware of the video until after it had been removed, for violating Italy’s privacy code.
Today the Italian court ruled
that three of the four - chief legal officer David Drummond, global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer and former CFO George Reyes - are guilty, and sentenced them to 6 months to a year of jail-time. The fourth, Arvind Desikan, former head of Google Video in London, was acquitted. [more inside]
posted by BeerFilter
on Feb 24, 2010 -