• Privacy Risks of Home Security Cameras

    Researchers have used data from a major home Internet Protocol (IP) security camera provider to evaluate potential privacy risks for users. The researchers found that the traffic generated by the cameras could be monitored by attackers and used to predict when a house is occupied or not.

  • Coronavirus opens door to company surveillance of workers

    Employers are rushing to use digital tracking technology to reduce virus transmission in the workplace. Mohana Ravindranath writes in Politico that privacy experts worry that businesses will start using their newfound surveillance capabilities for purposes far beyond public health. The data could be used to evaluate workers’ productivity, see which colleagues are holding meetings or even flag an employee who unexpectedly ducks out of the office during work hours.

  • How Much Control Would People Be Willing to Grant to a Personal Privacy Assistant?

    CyLab’s Jessica Colnago believes that in the future, the simple act of walking down the street is going to be a little weird. “You know how every time you enter a website, and it says: ‘We use cookies. Do you consent?’ Imagine that same thing walking down the street, but for a light pole, or a surveillance camera, or an energy sensor on a house,” Colnago says.

  • Yes, Big Brother IS Watching: Russian Schools Installing Surveillance Systems Called “Orwell”

    You might think governments seeking digital oversight of their citizens would avoid invoking the author who coined the phrase “Big Brother is watching you” and implanted the nightmare of total state surveillance in the imaginations of millions of readers. Think again, because Russian officials appear to disagree. In the first phase of the project, the “total surveillance” system will be installed in 43,000 schools across Russia.

  • Was the Coronavirus Outbreak an Intelligence Failure?

    As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, it’s clear that having better information sooner, and acting more quickly on what was known, could have slowed the spread of the outbreak and saved more people’s lives. Initial indications are that the U.S. intelligence community did well in reporting on the virus once news of the outbreak in China became widely known by early January. Whether it could have done more before that time, and why the Trump administration did not act more decisively early on, will have to wait for a future national coronavirus commission to help us sort out.

  • High-Tech Surveillance Amplifies Police Bias and Overreach

    Local, state and federal law enforcement organizations use an array of surveillance technologies to identify and track protesters, from facial recognition to military-grade drones. Police use of these national security-style surveillance techniques – justified as cost-effective techniques that avoid human bias and error – has grown hand-in-hand with the increased militarization of law enforcement. Extensive research, including my own, has shown that these expansive and powerful surveillance capabilities have exacerbated rather than reduced bias, overreach and abuse in policing, and they pose a growing threat to civil liberties.

  • Calls for New Federal Authority to Regulate Facial Recognition Tech

    A group of artificial intelligence experts — citing profiling, breach of privacy and surveillance as potential societal risks — recently proposed a new model for managing facial recognition technologies at the federal level. The experts propose an FDA-inspired model that categorizes these technologies by degrees of risk and would institute corresponding controls.

  • IoT: Which Devices Are Spying on You?

    When hungry consumers want to know how many calories are in a bag of chips, they can check the nutrition label on the bag. When those same consumers want to check the security and privacy practices of a new IoT device, they aren’t able to find even the most basic facts. Not yet, at least.

  • A.C.L.U. Warns Against Fever-Screening Tools for Coronavirus

    Airports, office buildings, warehouses and restaurant chains are rushing to install new safety measures like fever-scanning cameras and infrared temperature-sensing guns. But the American Civil Liberties Union warned on Tuesday against using the tools to screen people for possible coronavirus symptoms, saying the devices were often inaccurate, ineffective and intrusive. Natasha Singer writes in the New York Times that in a new report, “Temperature Screening and Civil Liberties During an Epidemic,” the A.C.L.U. said that such technologies could give people a false sense of security, potentially leading them to be less vigilant about health measures like wearing masks or social distancing. The group also cautioned that the push for widespread temperature scans during the pandemic could usher in permanent new forms of surveillance and social control.

     

  • German Intelligence Cannot Spy on Foreigners Outside Germany without a Warrant

    The German government must come up with a new law regulating the German intelligence service (BND), after the country’s highest court ruled that the current practice of monitoring telecommunications of foreign citizens at will – that is, without a court warrant — violates constitutionally enshrined press freedoms and the privacy of communications. Until now, the BND had considered foreign nationals living outside Germany essentially fair game, on the assumption that they were not protected by Germany’s constitution.

  • Germany: Revised Domestic Surveillance Bill Submitted to Bundestag

    A draft law to reform Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency is to be re-submitted to parliament after long debate. It will allow German domestic intelligence and law enforcement to conduct electronic surveillance of telephone calls and SMS text services, including encrypted “chats” via services such as WhatsApp and Telegram, but will  not allow the use of cyber “Trojan” trawling tools.

  • Governments Shouldn’t Use “Centralized” Proximity Tracking Technology

    Companies and governments across the world are building and deploying a dizzying number of systems and apps to fight COVID-19. Many groups have converged on using Bluetooth-assisted proximity tracking for the purpose of exposure notification. Even so, there are many ways to approach the problem, and dozens of proposals have emerged. One way to categorize them is based on how much trust each proposal places in a central authority.

  • COVID Is Ushering in a Surveillance State That May Never Be Dismantled

    Is the “new normal” to be a surveillance society, with tracing apps and facial recognition health passports? Philip Johnston writes in The Telegraph that the British government insists not; but if we are hit by a second wave of COVID-19, the temptation to extend the monitoring will be hard to resist.

  • Wobbly” Tracing App “Failed” Clinical Safety and Cybersecurity Tests

    The government’s coronavirus contact tracing app has so far failed the tests needed to be included in the NHS app library, HSJ understands. Jasmine Rapson writes in HJS that the app is being trialed on the Isle of Wight this week, ahead of a national rollout later this month. Senior NHS sources told HSJ it had thus far failed all of the tests required for inclusion in the app library, including cyber security, performance and clinical safety. There are also concerns at high levels about how users’ privacy will be protected once they log that they have coronavirus symptoms, and become “traceable,” and how this information will be used. Senior figures told HSJ that it had been hard to assess the app because the government was “going about it in a kind of a ham-fisted way. They haven’t got clear versions, so it’s been impossible to get fixed code base from them for NHS Digital to test. They keep changing it all over the place.” HSJ’s source described the app as “a bit wobbly.”

  • The COVIDSafe App Was Just One Contact Tracing Option. These Alternatives Guarantee More Privacy

    Since its release on Sunday, experts and members of the public alike have raised privacy concerns with the Australian federal government’s COVIDSafe mobile app. Many Australians have said that they worried about “the security of personal information collected” by the app. In its coronavirus response, the government has a golden opportunity to build public trust. There are other ways to build a digital contact tracing system, some of which would arguably raise fewer doubts about data security than the app.