• 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.

  • Israel tests biometric database

    Israel will start a 2-year biometric database pilot; citizens applying for various identification documents will, on a voluntary basis, have their fingerprints taken along with a picture of their face; after two years the government will decide whether to make the biometric information collection mandatory

  • Decode's demise raises privacy worries

    Icelandic company with genetic and medical records of thousands of customers closed its doors; the data might be sold on and end up in the hands of an unscrupulous company or individual

  • Hawaii judge throws out child porn evidence found by TSA

    U.S. judges keep telling TSA that the agency’s security screeners at airport are there to prevent weapons and explosives from being taken on board — nothing else; it is not the screeners’ job to ask passengers why they carry a lot of cash in the luggage — or child porn

  • TSA limits scope of screeners' searches

    An assistant to congressman Ron Paul was detained in a small room at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and interrogated by TSA officials for nearly half an hour after he passed a metal box containing cash through a security checkpoint X-ray machine; under a threat of a law suit, TSA has changed its search policies: TSA screeners can now only conduct searches aimed at keeping firearms and explosives off of airplanes and cannot search for crimes unrelated to transportation security, and the agency also told screeners that passengers carrying large sums of cash have not broken the law

  • U.K. regulator warns on school CCTV schemes

    A Manchester school installed CCTVs in school during the holidays, without notifying parents; the cameras were filming students changing for PE classes — and the pictures were kept on the schools’ computers; Information Commissioner says that there is no need for cameras to be on during the day, when the school is staffed

  • US CERT: BlackBerry app may be spying on you

    A new BlackBerry application has the ability to turn their smartphone into a surveillance tool