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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

...but who watches the watchers

The Eternal Value of Privacy excellent article by Bruce Schneier.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi on May 19, 2006 - 13 comments

When Firefox, privacy and relationships collide...

Firefox “causes” breakup... One man uses his fiance's computer to surf dating and swinger websites. He's careful to wipe his passwords etc. as he surfs - and then for good measure, de-installs Firefox.

The fiance then decides to install Firefox for the usual reasons, not knowing the above and happens to decides to edit the list of sites to never save passwords for. And comes across a list of said websites, and realises that he's still an active member of those websites.

Surely when you de-install a program, the uninstallation process should get rid of program-related data too, like in games? Although the geniuses at Firefox manifestly disagree with this. Other commenters also think the man was in the right.
posted by badlydubbedboy on Mar 23, 2006 - 61 comments

Black-Bag Jobs

"Don't worry Mr. President, we have Kansas surrounded." Warrantless searches: they're not just for wiretaps anymore. U.S. News and World Report probes the Bush administration's covert drive to conduct physical searches of American homes without court approval.
posted by digaman on Mar 19, 2006 - 52 comments

But I was in a different country! That doesn't count right? RIGHT!?

Don't date him girl! Good news for the paranoid. Invasive site for documenting those unsavory men who have cheated on women. The rebuttal: warning: flash site with annoying birds. bugmenot
posted by AllesKlar on Mar 13, 2006 - 40 comments

For anything but privacy, there's MasterCard

DHS monitors your credit card payments. (via)
posted by trondant on Mar 2, 2006 - 56 comments

are they matched to the access code and do you keep a record of what code is mailed to what person?

So if you run the CD in your personal computer, by the end of it, the Minnesota GOP will not only know what you think on particular issues, but also who you are. --a cd being sent out to home by the Minnesota GOP is polling people who use the cd, sending their personal info, including name, address, and phone, among other info, back to party headquarters. No privacy policy or statement identifying what the cd does is visible anywhere: ...As far as I could tell, nothing tells you that the answers are about to be e-mailed or otherwise transmitted to the Minnesota GOP. So you finish, and then the phone rings. "Hello, Mr/Mrs. Voters, it's Joe and I notice you support gun control and the marriage amendment, would you like to donate some money to us?" That might startle the person who may have thought he/she was viewing the presentation in the privacy of the computer room. ...
posted by amberglow on Feb 28, 2006 - 80 comments

Pirating Firefox?

You can't just give away free software! Or can you? Firefox's copyleft premise destroys U.K. anti-piracy laws. Gervase Markham takes on a U.K. official who wants to arrest pirates for distributing firefox.
posted by FeldBum on Feb 23, 2006 - 14 comments

Houston Loves You

NewsFilter: I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?
posted by I Love Tacos on Feb 18, 2006 - 154 comments

Loose lips sink ships. Yahoo helps China jail dissidents again.

WTF, Yahoo‽ How many Chinese are you going to help put into the hell of Chinese prison, Terry, Jerry, and David?
posted by five fresh fish on Feb 8, 2006 - 26 comments

Information is not knowledge.

Privacy? No thanks.
posted by I Love Tacos on Feb 2, 2006 - 12 comments

Google Images Censored in China

Google Images Censored in China A picture says 1000 words, and Google.cn is censoring them all. Check out the side-by-side screens of a search for "tiananmen+square" in Google.com and Google.cn images. Looks like a nice place, with little historical significance. You can try the search yourself. The text on the bottom left is the censorship disclaimer. Very different than our results. A far cry from Google's claim that they do not censor results. Nice to know that they stand up to the government here but not abroad.

A good spoof of the whole thing.
posted by FeldBum on Jan 30, 2006 - 57 comments

FTC imposes $10M fine against ChoicePoint for data breach

FTC imposes $10M fine against ChoicePoint for data breach The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has fined ChoicePoint $10 million for a data breach that allowed identity thieves posing as legitimate businesses to steal social security numbers, credit reports, and other data from nearly 140,000 people. This is the largest fine ever levied by the FTC. ChoicePoint also has to set up a 'trust fund' for people victimized by identity thieves. From the article: 'As part of its agreement with the FTC, ChoicePoint will also have to submit to comprehensive security audits every two years for the next 20 years.'" BusinessWeek has additional info. Perhaps there might be hope for individual privacy after all. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.
posted by mk1gti on Jan 26, 2006 - 22 comments

Privacy and the need or right to know

NSA,FISA, and Privacy It is of course the president who finally approves of actions that may or may not be deemed legal but before 9/11, this is what he had been advised to consider "The largest U.S. spy agency warned the incoming Bush administration in its "Transition 2001" report that the Information Age required rethinking the policies and authorities that kept the National Security Agency in compliance with the Constitution's 4th Amendment prohibition on "unreasonable searches and seizures" without warrant and "probable cause," according to an updated briefing book of declassified NSA documents posted today on the World Wide Web. If this is the sort of reading you enjoy, then by all means dig about here: But then Windows allowed NSA to have a sure access to your machine . And by now we all know that Google will fight the government on making its search data base available in order to protect your privacy.(Reality: to protect Google stuff). And if you worry about search engines tracking you and making data available, then here is a workaround
posted by Postroad on Jan 20, 2006 - 16 comments

Information wants to be free.

Wikipedia wrangling once more: the entire German edition was shut down this week over the contents of a single entry. The parents of the article's subject, a German hacker who died in 1998 under mysterious circumstances, are displeased with his real name being disclosed in the encyclopedia. It is now back online; however, the future of the family's efforts is currently unclear, not only due to the German order's debatable validity in the US - but also because the order was, initially at least, mistakenly addressed to St. Petersburg, Russia, instead of St. Petersburg, Florida.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jan 20, 2006 - 18 comments

Feds want Google search records

Feds want Google search records according to Mercury News. John Batelle has some analysis as well. This isn't looking too good. Google promises to fight it, but even if they do, does a loss still hurt them the same amount?
posted by rhyax on Jan 18, 2006 - 53 comments

Geeks wear tinfoil hats too!

National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Sometimes, its the unheralded steps, that take you most quickly to your destination. On October 7, 2005, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and their associated domains announced the first release of the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Version 0.1. NIEM "establishes a single standard XML foundation for exchanging information between DHS, DOJ, and supporting domains, such as Justice, Emergency Management, and Intelligence." The release of this specification, and the development of the systems that utilize it may actually be the cataylst for more 'progress' in information mining on the individual than most other, well publicized efforts. NIEM Mission: "To assist in developing a unified strategy, partnerships, and technical implementations for national information sharing — laying the foundation for local, state, tribal, and federal interoperability by joining together communities of interest." When you say it like that, it sounds sort of cool!
posted by sfts2 on Jan 12, 2006 - 19 comments

Your Phone Records, Cheap

Psst... I know you called your girlfriend last night. No, not the one you live with. The naughty hottie that she doesn't know about. I know this because I paid a website $110 to buy your cell-phone records, which they delivered in two hours. Did you know that your private phone records are for sale?
posted by digaman on Jan 7, 2006 - 49 comments

Mohan also declined to say how often or in what volume CBP might be opening mail.

Private Mail--Not. ...Goodman, an 81-year-old retired University of Kansas history professor, received a letter from his friend in the Philippines that had been opened and resealed with a strip of dark green tape bearing the words “by Border Protection” and carrying the official Homeland Security seal. ...the agency can, will and does open mail coming to U.S. citizens that originates from a foreign country whenever it’s deemed necessary. ...
posted by amberglow on Jan 6, 2006 - 54 comments

The Agency That Could Be Big Brother

The Agency That Could Be Big Brother [when this guy talks about NSA, he is authoritative] "DEEP in a remote, fog-layered hollow near Sugar Grove, W.Va., hidden by fortress-like mountains, sits the country's largest eavesdropping bug. Located in a "radio quiet" zone, the station's large parabolic dishes secretly and silently sweep in millions of private telephone calls and e-mail messages an hour"...
posted by Postroad on Dec 26, 2005 - 100 comments

Because there just haven't been enough government scandals lately...

Federal surveillance of over a hundred homes, businesses, mosques, warehouses and other sites has been conducted without warrants, according to a new USNews report. Indications are that the persons so targeted were US citizens. "In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts."
posted by darkstar on Dec 23, 2005 - 131 comments

Swingers Clubs ruled legal in Canada

Newsfilter: Sex Clubs OK in Canada ruled the Supreme Court yesterday in a 7-2 decision that drastically alters the definition of indecency in this country. What will be the results of this far-reaching change? Will gay bathhouses and marijuana growing be affected? Will there be anti-social behaviour? "Now harm, rather than community standards, is the key yardstick that will be used to measure the point at which constitutional freedoms can be limited".
posted by stinkycheese on Dec 22, 2005 - 213 comments

Hello, 1984?

Our Domestic Intelligence Crisis Federal Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner imagines a world in which US citizens are constantly under electronic surveillance.... and is totally okay with it. Once you accept Posner's premise that "machine collection and processing of data cannot, as such, invade privacy," how far are we from cameras and microphones in private homes. After all, there is no privacy invasion so long as it is only a computer flagging "suspicious" activity, right?
posted by GregW on Dec 21, 2005 - 164 comments

Echelon: 60 Minutes discussion

Echelon This is what we know--or do not know--about NSA prgram called Echelon, from 60 Minute show (TV) in 2000. If we assume this what had been going on and there were some sort of restraints for internal spying, then what is going on now? This evening I had heard on radio that the White House claimed that only calls going in and out of the country might be monitored. But this early interview suggests that such calls were monitored previous to the "new" approach. Why were legal restraints put in place calling for judicial hearings? Because of spying abuse done under Nixon. Those restraints are now removed.
posted by Postroad on Dec 19, 2005 - 158 comments

Who are you and what have you done with my Senate?

Senate Blocks Patriot Act Renewal In a 52-47 vote, the Republican majority was unable to obtain the 60 votes necessary to end the bipartisan fillibuster. Roll call is in the title link as well as here, Patriot Act provisions set to expire on 12/31 via CNN.
posted by rzklkng on Dec 16, 2005 - 158 comments

So much for #31#

$110 gets you last 100 calls made by any cellphone. Apparently it is legal.
posted by riffola on Nov 29, 2005 - 26 comments

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