• States move to draft their own drone laws

    Advances in drone technology and drop in prices have led media and other organizations, and even private citizens, to purchase drones to do their own investigations. Several states have now drafted their own drone laws.

  • Studying how journalists and private citizens use of drones

    Newly published research offers a groundbreaking perspective on the controversial use of unmanned aerial vehicles in journalism and mass communication, or “drone journalism.” Until now, there has been no formal research and academic writing on the use of smaller drones by news organizations and private citizens.

  • ACLU files lawsuit challenging NSA's phone surveillance

    In the wake of the past week’s revelations about the NSA’s surveillance of phone calls, the yesterday American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit charging that the program violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy.

  • Cloud computing user privacy needs serious reform: scholars

    When Web surfers sign up for a new online service or download a Web application for their smartphone or tablet, the service typically requires them to click a seemingly innocuous box and accept the company’s terms of service and privacy policy. Agreeing to terms without reading them beforehand, however, can adversely affect a user’s legal rights, says a new paper by an expert in technology and legal issues.

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  • NIST publishes draft cloud computing security document for comment

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a draft document on security for cloud computing as used in the federal government. The public comment period runs through 12 July 2013.

  • DHS: electronic devices of border crossers can be searched without reasonable suspicion

    An internal DHS study says there was no legal problem with U.S. border agents searching a traveler’s laptop, cellphone, or other electronic devices based solely on a hunch. The study says that the searches do not violate the First and Fourth amendments, and that a 1986 government policy allowing only a cursory review of a traveler’s documents was insufficient.

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  • NSA collecting information on Verizon customers’ communications

    The National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting massive amounts of “metadata,” or transactional information, on millions of Verizon’s U.S. customers. A court granted the NSA permission to begin information collection on 25 April, stipulating the collection must end by 19 July. The court order instructs Verizon to “continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this order.” It specifies that the records to be produced include “session identifying information,” such as “originating and terminating number,” the duration of each call, telephone calling card numbers, trunk identifiers, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, and “comprehensive communication routing information.”

  • Iowa City to ban red-light cameras, drones, license plate readers

    Iowa City could become the first city in the United States to issue a sweeping ban on three law-enforcement technologies:  drones, license plate readers, and red-light cameras. Privacy advocates say each of these technologies poses a threat to privacy, and the cumulative effect of using all three would turn America into a surveillance society.

  • Divided Supreme Court allows collection of DNA samples from suspects upon arrest

    The Supreme Court on Monday, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that law enforcement is now allowed to take samples of DNA from people who have been arrested on suspicion of committing a serious crime.“Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment,”Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.

  • DHS debars scanner maker from government contracts

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has sent OSI Systems, the manufacturer of airport body scanners, a debarment notice which would prevent the company from receiving government contacts in the future. The notice was sent to the company after TSA determined that the company had failed to address security concerns about its scanners.

  • Social sites’ privacy practices “seriously deficient”

    The privacy management of sixteen popular social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, is “seriously deficient,” according to a new study. Researchers found a disconnect between privacy statements and the site’s actual privacy controls.

  • U.S. secretly obtains AP phone records to identify source of story

    In what the AP calls a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into the news organization’s news work, the U.S. Justice Department secretly gathered two-months-worth of telephone records of the agency’s reporters and editors. The AP says the records listed incoming and outgoing calls to the offices and homes of reporters and editors. The Justice Department began collecting the phone records in order to identify the source or sources of a 7 May 2012 AP story which detailed a secret CIA operation in Yemen to intercept an al Qaeda-sponsored attempt to load an IED onto a U.S.-bound airplane.

  • Texas legislators want TSA out to allow for anti-groping policy

    Texas lawmakers  are considering proposals  to opt out of federal protection at all airports in the state. One of the proposals calls for charging airport security officials who aggressively check passengers.

  • Pervasive surveillance threatens privacy, gives power advantage to the watcher

    Surveillance is everywhere, from street corner cameras to the subject of books and movies. A researcher says that pervasive surveillance menaces our intellectual privacy and it gives the watcher a power advantage over the watched, which can be used for blackmail, persuasion, or discrimination.

  • In 2012, Microsoft received 70,665 law-enforcement requests for customer information

    On Thursday, Microsoft released the number of law enforcement requests it has received for information on its hundreds of millions of customers. By releasing the information, Microsoft is now putting itself on the same team as Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and other Web businesses which have published reports on law-enforcement request for customer information. In 2012 Microsoft received a total of 70,665 law-enforcement requests for customer information.