• Deadline for Massachusetts' “Written Information Security Program” looms

    As of 1 March 2010, Massachusetts will require that all Massachusetts companies — and even companies operating outside the Commonwealth, but which do business in Massachusetts — to implement stringent personal data privacy law, the data protections pertain to not just electronically stored and transmitted information but also hard copy formats

  • Muslim religious group: Airport body scanners violate Islamic law

    A leading Muslim organization in the United States issues a ruling saying that whole-body scanners violates Islamic laws on modesty; the organizations urges all Muslims to choose pat-downs instead; TSA says that the pat-down option is available to all passengers

  • New Hampshire considering banning biometrics in ID cards

    The New Hampshire legislature is considering a bill which would ban biometric data, including fingerprints, retinal scans, DNA, palm prints, facial feature patterns, handwritten signature characteristics, voice data, iris recognition, keystroke dynamics, and hand characteristics from being used in state or privately issued ID cards, except for employee ID cards

  • Student sues TSA, saying he was detained for five hours over English-Arabic flashcards

    A Pomona College student who takes Arabic classes in school was stopped by TSA and FBI agents at the Philadelphia International Airport because he was carrying English-Arabic flashcards; the student, backed by the ACLU, is suing, charging that he abusively interrogated, handcuffed, and detained for five hours; TSA says the student’s behavior was erratic

  • FBI wants two year retention for ISP data

    Since 1986 U.S. phone companies have been obliged to keep records of who makes calls, who they call, when they call, and how long the call lasts; Now, the Feds want to include Web activity tools; it is not clear is whether the FBI means which Web sites are visited or the specific URLs

  • Yemen bolsters airport security – and adheres to Muslim strictures

    Growing pressure from European countries lead Yemen to bolster its lax airport security measures; among the new measures are whole-body scanners; because of Muslim sensibilities, female security scanners would watch the images of women passengers’ body images, and male security scanners would observe the images of male passengers

  • U.S. Supreme Court will eventually rule on the legality of whole-body scanning

    In the absence, at least for now, of an overarching U.S. Supreme Court decision, how would U.S. courts react to the privacy concerns surrounding whole-body searches, assuming a legal challenge is initiated against taking pictures of one’s private parts while trying to fly to the United States? An answer may be found on the fact that at least two U.S. circuit courts of appeal have beaten back challenges to airport security measures; in the most recent one, in 2006, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — Justice Samuel Alito’s old stomping grounds — ruled a suspicionless, unwarranted search during airport screening was allowable under the “administrative search doctrine”; the doctrine, elucidated in a 1971 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said that “searches conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme in furtherance of an administrative purpose, rather than as part of a criminal investigation to secure evidence of a crime, may be permissible under the Fourth Amendment though not supported by a showing of probable cause directed to a particular place or person to be searched”

  • Police camera use puts focus on privacy in public

    South Portland, Maine, police is using automated license plate recognition CCTV which targets traffic scofflaws — but it is connected to a centralized databank which helps the policy pick up people who are wanted on warrants and other potential offenders; supporters say new license-plate recognition technology will improve the safety

  • ACLU challenges U.S. laptop border searches

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents searched more than 1,500 electronic devices at the U.S. border over a period of nine months between October 2008 and June 2009; customs agents forwarded electronic files found on travelers’ devices to other agencies almost 300 times; civil liberties groups argue this policy is overly broad without meaningfully contributing to U.S. security

  • Discrimination warning over U.K. airport body scanners

    U.K. equality watchdog wrote U.K. home secretary to say it was “concerned that that the proposals to introduce body scanners are likely to have a negative impact on individuals’ rights to privacy, especially members of particular groups including disabled people, older people, children, transgendered people, women and religious groups”

  • Tories say they will set up a permanent “War Cabinet”

    The Conservative Party is favored to win the next general elections in Britain, which will be held before the summer; on Friday the party’s leader, David Cameron, set out the party’s national security plan, emphasizing cybersecurity

  • Google’s decision a rare show of defiance in China

    Google’s decision to leave China is a rare show of defiance in a market where the government punishes those who do not play by the rules; in industries from automaking to fast food, companies have been forced to allow communist authorities to influence — and sometimes dictate — their choice of local partners, where to operate, and what products to sell; many high-tech companies operating in China are forced to open their intellectual property and industrial secrets to their Chinese competitors – or to Chinese government officials, who pass on that property to Chinese companies – allowing these Chinese companies to reverse engineer and copy Western companies’ products and solutions; Western companies have struggled to make headway against intense competition from Chinese rivals – rivals who enjoy the fact that the Chinese government writes rules which tilt the playing field in favor of Chinese companies

  • French court says “pourquoi pas?” to work-place smut

    French court rules that Peugeot was wrong to fire an employee who used his work PC to download pornography; the court said that the mere act of downloading smut is not enough to have an employee fired; the hold for the company, the court said Peugot had to show that that the downloading impacted on performance because the employee was busy doing things he should not during his working day, or that the downloads were so big that they interfered with the proper functioning of the system, or came with viruses attached, or that the content was itself illegal (featuring child abuse)

  • FTC to examine cloud computing privacy concerns

    The FTC says it wants to examine potential threats to consumer privacy and data security posed by cloud computing services; David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection: “The ability of cloud computing services to collect and centrally store increasing amounts of consumer data, combined with the ease with which such centrally stored data may be shared with others, create a risk that larger amounts of data may be used by entities in ways not originally intended or understood by consumers”

  • Interim U.K. CCTV regulator is appointed

    The U.K. government appointment of an interim CCTV regulator in an effort to improve the public’s power in regards to the technology; the regulator will advise the government on matters surrounding the use of CCTV in public places, including the need for a regulatory framework.