• 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

  • Schools are spearheading the use of biometrics

    Approximately 10 percent of U.K. schools are deploying biometric technologies, according to Alasdair Darroch, director of Biostore

  • U.K. abandons DNA retention project

    At present in England and Wales, DNA is taken from every person arrested; at the last count the National DNA Database contained 986,000 profiles belonging to people never convicted of a crime; the DNA records were supposed to be kept for twelve years; the Home Office says it is now reconsidering this policy

  • The personal spy: the smartphone in your pocket may be spying on you, II

    The advances in smartphone technology could well be exploited in much the same way that e-mail and the Internet can be used to “phish” for personal information such as bank details

  • The personal spy: the smartphone in your pocket may be spying on you, I

    The advances in smartphone technology could well be exploited in much the same way that e-mail and the Internet can be used to “phish” for personal information such as bank details

  • "Absent individualized suspicion": DHS "search at will" policy violates the Fourth Amendment

    Customs agents can now instruct you to log on to your laptop so they can read your e-mails and personal files and examine which Web sites you have visited; they can make a copy of your hard drive, and of any other storage device, so the government can comb through the contents more leisurely; this contents, without your knowledge, may be shared with any other government agency; it can be kept in perpetuity; the same applies to your BlackBerry, iPhone, and other digital devices; customs agents can do all that, according to DHS policy, “absent individualized suspicion”; a law professor says the government’s substitution of “search at will” for “reasonable suspicion” is a flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment

  • U.K.'s ubiquitous camera network to be made smarter

    U.K. researchers develop behavioral recognition software which will focus CCTVs in public places — and on public transportation — on people behaving in a suspicious or odd manner; developers say their software would have spotted a man carrying a samurai sword to a bus in Leeds — which he used to attack the bus driver