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It's not dead, it's just resting

Privacy is dead - get over it [part 2] is a talk by private investigator Steve Rambam. It's a talk he has been giving for a number of years where he shows how privacy is being taken away, not by sinister plots but because people are giving it away. With people putting up everything and nothing on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and so on, as well as a growing quantity of data held in private databases, he shows how easy it is to find out enormous amounts of data on just about anyone. [more inside]
posted by bjrn on Sep 2, 2008 - 65 comments

WhoTubes?

Google has been ordered to turn over all of its electronic records of the videos watched by users on YouTube to Viacom. The 12 terabytes of data include records of every video watched by every user, including the user's login name (if any) and IP address. Google had complained that the disclosure would invade user's privacy, but this argument was blunted somewhat by Google's earlier statement that IP Addresses are not, in and of themselves, personally identifying information. Google was also ordered to turn over certain other information, including its video classification database schema, but was not ordered to turn over information regarding videos marked as private, its source code, or its advertising database schema.
posted by The Bellman on Jul 3, 2008 - 267 comments

Cyber Command Über Alles

Attention Geeks and Hackers: Uncle Sam's Cyber Force Wants You! [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 5, 2008 - 29 comments

Mental Privacy

The Government Is Trying to Wrap Its Mind Around Yours. Why the Next Civil Rights Battle Will Be Over the Mind.
posted by homunculus on Apr 13, 2008 - 54 comments

Keep your telescreens on comrades

With Comcast, your TV watches you. Comcast is developing cable boxes with cameras to watch the room. They will know who is there to provide shows in your profile, engage parental controls, and of course, deliver targeted advertising. Ceiling Cat Comcast is watching you....
posted by caddis on Mar 23, 2008 - 44 comments

Watch Lists

ACLU Watch List Counter: U.S. Terror List Now Exceeds 900,000 Names. That's an awful lot of terrorists. More Privacy and Surveillance Filter: Bruce Schneier on The Myth of the 'Transparent Society', Glenn Greenwald on The Banality of the Surveillance State, and Stephen Colbert on AT & Treason. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Mar 8, 2008 - 46 comments

Internet Troll Moves to Quash Subpoena Designed to Uncover their IRL Identity

Two Yale Law School graduates who allege they were subjected to a campaign of online harassment file suit against the site's owner and two dozen internet trolls for copyright infringement, defamation, and a variety of other tort and IP claims. In the latest developments, the website's owner was dropped from the lawsuit, and another defendant moved (seemingly pro se) to quash a subpoena served originally on their ISP to reveal their identity. [more inside]
posted by Law Talkin' Guy on Feb 28, 2008 - 25 comments

"Leaving no trace [of our daily lives] is nearly impossible."

The Anonymity Experiment. Is it possible to hide in plain sight? Privacy-minded people have long warned of a world in which an individual’s every action leaves a trace, in which corporations and governments can peer at will into your life with a few keystrokes on a computer. Now one of the people in charge of information-gathering for the U.S. government says, essentially, that such a world has arrived.
posted by amyms on Feb 16, 2008 - 44 comments

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has a blog. This is an "official" blog covering issues of privacy issues and legislation in Canada.
posted by blue_beetle on Feb 12, 2008 - 8 comments

EFF vs. AT&T

Up Against Big Brother: "For 18 years the Electronic Frontier Foundation has fought for the rights of ordinary Americans in cyberspace. Now it’s stepped into the limelight with a legal challenge to warrantless surveillance." [Via Boing Boing.]
posted by homunculus on Feb 2, 2008 - 25 comments

Big healthcare is watching.

A new medical bill payment reporting system called MedFICO is said to be going live this summer. This system is being developed by the health care industry in an effort to judge a patient's ability to pay. Healthcare Analytics, a healthcare actuarial company, is developing the score in conjunction with Tenet Healthcare, credit scoring company Fair Issac, and venture capitalists. [more inside]
posted by uaudio on Jan 19, 2008 - 55 comments

Sears Wants To Hack Your Computer

Online communities to become more 'all-encompassing.' If you join the SHC community on Sears.com, all web traffic to and from your computer thereafter will be copied and sent to a third party marketing research firm - including, for example, your secure sessions with your bank! The Sears.com proxy will send your logins and passwords along with a cleartext copy of all the supposedly secure data. But wait, it gets better: you can only view the true TOS once the proxy has already been installed. [more inside]
posted by ikkyu2 on Jan 3, 2008 - 70 comments

I'm watching you reading this post *right now*.

The 2007 International Privacy ranking. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jan 1, 2008 - 33 comments

Google is forcing social down your throat

A few weeks ago, Google Reader's team decided to show your private data to all your GMail contacts. This is now the default, no need to opt-in. Some people think it's not a big deal. Other's see it as a gross violation of privacy, a warning sign of more violations to come, as evidenced by the recent code updates to Gmail and other Google applications.
posted by m2002 on Dec 29, 2007 - 61 comments

The naked and the drunk

Local newsrag covers Tufts annual Naked Quad Run and posts video of event to YouTube. Outrage ensues. (privacy! ethics! wah!) See also: Local LJ community's take. (video embedded in body of article is NSFW) [more inside]
posted by FreezBoy on Dec 12, 2007 - 46 comments

Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act

Yesterday, the US House passed the SAFE Act. No, not that one. Points of note:
- If signed into law, the SAFE Act will require people offering WiFi at their cafe, library, or even allowing their neighbours to use it, who notice that someone appears to have viewed certain dirty cartoons, or pictures of fully-clothed children looking sexy, to immediately make a comprehensive report to John Walsh's CyberTipLine, and retain the images, or face a fine of up to $150,000.
- ISPs or email services have the same obligations, and must store all data relating to the user's account, to be handed over to the authorities.
- The Democrats rushed the legislation through using a mechanism intended for non-controversial legislation. There was no hearing or committee vote. The legislation changed significantly before the vote and was not available for public review.
- The bill passed 409-2. Opposed were Paul Broun (R-Georgia) and Ron Paul (R-Texas). The Senate is next, so consider telling them what you think.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Dec 6, 2007 - 98 comments

Amazing discoveries in plain-text Tor exit traffic.

This is an ironic tale of the consequences of inept application of cryptographic tools. Or is it? Dan Egerstad, a Swedish hacker, gained access to hundreds of computer network accounts around the world, belonging to various embassies, corporations and other organizations. How did he do it? Very easily: by sniffing exit traffic on his Tor nodes. [more inside]
posted by Anything on Dec 4, 2007 - 27 comments

Your favorite book sucks, and is un-American

So, whatcha readin? The John Ashcroft Alberto Gonzales Michael Mukasey Book Club wants to discuss your latest reads. Amazon thinks it's none of their business. So does your librarian. While it may seem that your reading list is safe, fact is you're actually just one National Security Letter or subpoena away from full disclosure. Want to change that? One step in the right direction would be to contact your Senator about getting S.2088 out of Committee and on to the floor. Oh, and tell them to vote for it. And then to override the veto.
posted by Toekneesan on Nov 28, 2007 - 19 comments

Secret Warrants Granted Without Probable Cause

Secret Warrants Granted Without Probable Cause
posted by rxrfrx on Nov 22, 2007 - 79 comments

Moveon Facebook

Moveon.org has now joined the fight. Now you can join too. Previously.
posted by gman on Nov 21, 2007 - 75 comments

The Courier's Tragedy

Worried about government eavesdropping on your e-mails? Hushmail allows you to communicate securely with other Hush users. Unless the government is involved. The guy who created PGP said the company only undoes encryption when given a court order and is not turning over customer records wholesale to government agencies. But who needs a court order?
posted by Smedleyman on Nov 21, 2007 - 33 comments

You were poked by Big Brother.

Over the past couple of years, Facebook has become increasingly popular, until it seemed like everyone and their grandma was joining up. A new feature, called Facebook Beacon, lets corporations join the fray. Might this be cause for concern? [more inside]
posted by Reggie Digest on Nov 19, 2007 - 49 comments

falafelfilter: FBI data mining bad ideas

The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area. I've read this article twice now because I was laughing too hard the first time. If I were more paranoid I might actually seriously ask what sort of data mining the FBI is doing, but... falafel sales! via. [more inside]
posted by tarheelcoxn on Nov 6, 2007 - 75 comments

You and I were/weren't meant to fly....

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is proposing new rules regarding passenger pre-screening both domestically and internationally. Interestingly, this includes flights that overfly the continental US without ever touching the ground. [more inside]
posted by never used baby shoes on Oct 12, 2007 - 40 comments

Who's Soft on Terrorism?

Who's soft on terrorism? Surely not the Democrats, who are about to enable the National Security Agency to extend its secret domestic wiretapping program after saying otherwise for months. Surely not the Republican White House, determined to rush out a new Osama bin Laden video even if it burns an intelligence connection spying on Al Qaeda that has been carefully cultivated for years.
posted by digaman on Oct 9, 2007 - 81 comments

The kids are allright

This is what happens when paranoia overwhelms common sense. A high school in NY state banned backpacks and bags from the student body. The whole situation reached a critical mass when a security guard pulled a young woman out of class because she had a small purse. He asked her if she was on her period. Way to humiliate teenagers. [more inside]
posted by wuwei on Oct 7, 2007 - 78 comments

Neighbourhood Watch 2.0?

Frustrated with perceived inefficacy of local law enforcement and government, residents of Calle de la Montera have started posting video of criminal behaviour (mainly prostitution) on their street to YouTube. The Data Protection Agency (tasked with privacy enforcement) is not amused (in Spanish; machine translation), but the neighbourhood watch group maintains it is not breaking the law (m.t.).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 5, 2007 - 15 comments

Canadian border guards gone wild

Facebook and MySpace posts embarrass Canadian border guards. PDF. Another example of Jan Wong's advice in 15 minutes of shame, about a 2005 incident at a Toronto private school: Don't write anything you wouldn't want someone to forward to [the national newspaper].
posted by russilwvong on Oct 2, 2007 - 51 comments

The Automated Targeting System, the US government's record-keeping system on travelers

Today's Washington Post: "The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials." [more inside]
posted by ibmcginty on Sep 22, 2007 - 81 comments

The Age of Disaster Capitalism

The Age of Disaster Capitalism [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Sep 12, 2007 - 124 comments

Geek Squad Steals Porn?

Using a computer set to auto-screencast, The Consumerist catches a Geek Squad technician copying porn from a client's computer to a thumbdrive, and they've got video and logfiles (CSV) to prove it. Also, the Geek Squad CEO responds, and an anonymous Geek Squad tech confesses that this is not an uncommon practice: "stealing customers' nudie pics was an easter egg hunt." Consumerist users suggest that this practice might not be limited to Geek Squad. Via.
posted by charmston on Jul 6, 2007 - 73 comments

Big Brother is Watching You. On CCTV.

George Orwell, Big Brother is watching your house. With CCTV. Perhaps the Surveillance Camera Players could put on a performance there. It looks like Britain really is becoming a surveillance society. [Via Digg.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 2, 2007 - 44 comments

Shooting Down the Privacy of VA Gun Owners

So Much for Privacy (Part II) In another Sunshine Week "exposé" columnist Christian Trebjal of the Roanoke (Va.) Times decided that everyone needed to know the full names and addresses of every Concealed Handgun Permit holder in Virginia. So he got a list from the VA state police and had the newspaper put it in a handy searchable database. In the ensuing blog post regarding the column and database comments quickly got heated and comments were closed for several hours for unknown and unstated reasons (though perhaps due to the publication of Trebjal's home address). Of course, Virginian CHP holders were completely and wholly unamused. Following the outcry, the newspaper has removed the database, with a self-serving statement about concern for public safety but there was no concern for public safety guiding their actions before the objections. Overall, a question is raised: if Sunshine Week is supposed to be about open government why are newspapers aggregating and publishing information about private citizens at all?
posted by Dreama on Mar 13, 2007 - 46 comments

You had to live -- did live, from the habit that became instinct and the assumption that every sound you made was overheard.

For Your Eyes Only? Allegations that the government is reading your e-mails, with the help of AT&T. The latest episode of NOW did a good piece on the NSA's domestic surveillance program (previously discussed here.) It can be viewed on their website. Meanwhile, Canadian human rights attorney Maureen Webb has written a new book on the scope of government surveillance, and found that the use of sophisticated methods to search for terrorists is not identifying the right suspects.
posted by homunculus on Feb 21, 2007 - 72 comments

Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy: The Greatest Generation Gap Since Rock and Roll

Kids today. They have no sense of shame. They have no sense of privacy. They are show-offs, fame whores, pornographic little loons who post their diaries, their phone numbers, their stupid poetry—for God’s sake, their dirty photos!—online. They have virtual friends instead of real ones. They talk in illiterate instant messages. They are interested only in attention—and yet they have zero attention span, flitting like hummingbirds from one virtual stage to another.
So goes the common wisdom but things in fact are more complex.
Say Everything
posted by y2karl on Feb 17, 2007 - 94 comments

"Mere production of these videos or pictures may also result in psychological trauma to the teenagers involved."

Teens convicted of producing and possessing child pornography for taking pictures of themselves. [via]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 12, 2007 - 53 comments

Autoplaying an Encrypted Thumb drive

Autoplaying an Encrypted Thumb drive: Step by step instructions to get a thumb drive encrypted with TrueCrypt to automatically mount on Windows when inserted. Truecrypt requires Administrative Access.
posted by Mitheral on Jan 31, 2007 - 15 comments

Your world, delivered to the NSA

AT&T Ducks Accountability. Lawsuits, Questions Follow NSA Surveillance Approval.
posted by homunculus on Jan 21, 2007 - 14 comments

Privacy? Who cares?

Why don't Americans care about the loss of privacy? Give your SSN for a 50 cent coupon? Have your car tracked by EZ-Pass? Have a security camera on the corner? Who cares?
posted by SansPoint on Oct 16, 2006 - 112 comments

Connectedness, Betweenness, Closeness???

Big Brother 101 -- Could your social networks brand you an enemy of the state? (Popular Science Mag) And one staffer finds out it might--due to a connection to the Buffalo Six. Think 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but with tapping and surveillance and worse at the other end.
posted by amberglow on Sep 22, 2006 - 15 comments

If you've done nothing wrong...we still want to know what you do.

Gonzales wants Internet records saved for two years. Because any of you could be child porn perverts. "Gonzales acknowledged the concerns of some company executives who say legislation might be overly intrusive and encroach on customers' privacy rights. But he said the growing threat of child pornography over the Internet was too great.
posted by Kickstart70 on Sep 19, 2006 - 100 comments

Harshin' My Mellow

Drugs at music festivals are nothing new. Sometimes this results in comically bad journalism and sometimes the results are not so funny. At the Wakarusa Music Festival this past year police used new, creepy tools pursue drug dealers on the Festival grounds in an attempt to seperate the drugs from the music.
posted by aburd on Sep 16, 2006 - 28 comments

View of Fawlty Towers not included

Attention lovers of privacy & salt air! This island, the house on top of it, and the bridge connecting it to the mainland are all on sale for a mere 750,000 pounds.
posted by jonson on Sep 9, 2006 - 44 comments

"We understand that your data is private and sensitive."

'Thanks to FlexiSpy, I finally figured out my wife was cheating on me with my brother,' he claims. 'My life is so much better.'
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 3, 2006 - 27 comments

"You've got...WTF?"

AOL releases 3-months of queries from 500k users. AOL, either fairly or unfairly, is sometimes considered the internet with training wheels. So while parsing this data, keep that in mind. Some of these queries seem like spam email subjects, don't they? Don't forget, this is the same demographic that brought you the September that didn't end. AOL tried to retract the data, but it's of no use - it's out there, on the web.
posted by rzklkng on Aug 7, 2006 - 89 comments

The next big thing in stalking!

You are being followed.
posted by panoptican on Jul 25, 2006 - 53 comments

Self-examination from the Fourth Estate — "Yep, still there."

"And yet the people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy, and an essential ingredient for self-government." Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, publicly responds to criticisms on the publication of information about clandestine surveillance of private bank records of Americans, offering a rare glimpse into the Fourth Estate's complicated negotiations with the government over issues of public interest.
posted by Mr. Six on Jun 26, 2006 - 58 comments

The future, Conan?

Before I was even aware that such a plan existed, the FAA has put the brakes on a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office plan to purchase a fleet of 20 camera-equipped unmanned spy drone planes (only $30,000 apiece) to fly over my city and monitor civilian behavior round the clock. Sadly, the plan is not permanently kiboshed, but merely on hold until authorization can be obtained.
posted by jonson on Jun 22, 2006 - 39 comments

All your data are belong to us.

Privacy Schmivacy On the eve of its hearing on charges that it assisted in the government’s illegal spying on millions of Americans, AT&T, the largest phone company in the United States, has changed its privacy policy to clearly establish its ownership of its customers’ personal account information. In its revised policy, AT&T makes it clear that “while your account information may be personal to you, these records constitute business records that are owned by AT&T. As such, AT&T may disclose such records to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process." Oh, really?
posted by squirrel on Jun 22, 2006 - 53 comments

Representatives from AOL, Microsoft, Google, Verizon and Comcast talk to US government

Newsfilter. Surveillenve of everything you do online: "It was clear that they would go beyond kiddie porn and terrorism and use it for general law enforcement." Offline: "I'm John Doe, and if I had told you before today that the F.B.I. was requesting library records, I could have gone to jail." Previously, here. On your phone? We've already discussed that, too.
posted by |n$eCur3 on Jun 2, 2006 - 36 comments

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