Apr 232014

Luke Funk reports:

A tiny new spy device aims to automatically transcribe and Tweet overheard conversations. It’s called Conversnitch.

Brian House and Kyle McDonald are behind the eavesdropping device.

They say it bridges the gap between (presumed) private physical space and public space online.

One of the creators, Kyle McDonald, released a video of the device being connected to a table lamp at a bank, in a hanging lamp at a McDonald’s, in a library light, and even a street lamp in a New York City park.

The device needs to have continuous access to an Internet-connected wireless network to work. It continually records 10 second samples, analyzes for interesting audio and uploads a transcribed version of it.

Their Twitter feed shows conversations they say have been captured by their device.

Read more on MyFoxNY.

Thanks to Joe Cadillic for this link.

Apr 232014

Mohammad Zahid was not the target of a joint military operation that came through his village in Khost Province in late February 2012.  However, that day the twenty-two year old man who claimed to be a student was arrested and eventually convicted in an Afghan court because his fingerprints reportedly matched those found on an improvised explosive device (IED) cache that had been discovered the previous year.

Zahid was one of more than a hundred military-age males that were scanned that day by the joint coalition forces and Afghan National Army operation.  As part of its effort to combat insurgent forces interspersed within an indigenous population, the use of biometrics has become a central component of the U.S. war effort.  Having expanded heavily since its introduction during the war in Iraq, biometric identification and tracking of individuals has become a core mission in Afghanistan with initiatives sponsored by the U.S. and Afghan governments seeking to obtain the biometric identifiers of nearly everyone in the country.

Read more on Public Intelligence.

Related: U.S. Army Commander’s Guide to Biometrics in Afghanistan (U/FUOU)

Thanks to Joe Cadillic for these links.

Apr 232014

William Dotinga reports:

Online daters failed to show that SuccessfulMatch.com misled them into believing their HIV and STD statuses would remain private, a federal judge ruled.

Jane Does 1 and 2, of Canada and Washington state, filed a federal class action against SuccessfulMatch.com in 2013, claiming the website preyed on the vulnerability of people who have tested positive for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, which led them to join its PositiveSingles.com dating site.

Read more on Courthouse News.

Apr 232014

Tim Pugmire reports:

The Minnesota Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill requiring police to obtain a warrant in order to track a person’s location by their cell phone or other electronic devices.

The vote today was 56 -1. Under the bill, law enforcement must show probable cause of a crime. There’s also a requirement for notifying people when their tracking information is collected.

Read more on MPR.

Note: The bill was amended to require a “tracking warrant,” which is not quite the same as a search warrant. The Star Tribune reports that a companion bill awaits a vote in the state House.

Apr 232014

AFP reports:

Brazil’s Congress on Tuesday passed comprehensive legislation on Internet privacy in what some have likened to a web-user’s bill of rights, after stunning revelations its own president was targeted by US cyber-snooping.

The lower House of Deputies had passed the bill earlier, and late Tuesday the Senate gave it a green light. That leaves only the expected signature into law from President Dilma Rousseff.

“The bill sets out principles, guarantees, rights, and duties for Internet users, and Internet service providers” in Brazil, a statement on the Senate’s website said.

The law is aimed at balancing freedom of expression and the web-users’ rights to privacy and protection of personal data, Rousseff says.

Read more on Phys.org.

Apr 232014

AP reports:

Hundreds of students and activists marched in Mexico’s capital Tuesday to protest a telecommunications law being debated by the Senate that they say will allow the government to arbitrarily censor Internet content.

Protesters carrying signs that read “No to Censorship” and “Freedom of Expression” walked along Mexico City’s main Reforma Avenue on their way to the Senate building after organizing the demonstration on social networks.

The government says the proposal seeks tools to combat illegal activities on the Internet, including child pornography.

Read more on ABC.

Apr 232014

Mark Leiser writes:

The government’s revenue collecting service has announced that it is going to sell anonymous personal data to commercial entities for money.

Again the privacy advocates have gone ape, arguing that the government is making money “off of me and you”. I have read numerous accounts on how this would work, and like most stories in the online environment, they are poorly researched, scaremongering, and devoid of any critical analysis as they essentially reword each other press releases.

Read more of his commentary on The Drum.