Oct 232014

Joseph Bernstein and Jeremy Singer-Vine report:

Devices identical to those secretly planted in New York City phone booths have been installed in public spaces in Los Angeles and Chicago, BuzzFeed News has learned.

The Bluetooth devices known as “beacons” were installed in bus benches in Los Angeles and train stations in Chicago. Additional information obtained suggests that the devices were also installed in San Francisco, though BuzzFeed News was unable to independently confirm that allegation.

Read more on BuzzFeed.

Thanks to Joe Cadillic for this link.

Oct 232014

Kim Zetter reports:

Senator Ron Wyden thought he knew what was going on.

The Democrat from Oregon, who has served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence since 2001, thought he knew the nature of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities. As a committee member with a classified clearance, he received regular briefings to conduct oversight.

But when the The New York Times broke the story in late 2005 that the spy agency was engaging in warrantless wiretapping, Wyden was as surprised as the rest of us.

Read more on Wired.

Oct 222014

The following press release was issued on Monday:

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is taking action against a telemarketer accused of calling Hoosiers registered on the state’s Do Not Call list and making illegal robocalls.

A lawsuit has been filed against Peter Tolman of California, doing business as Leads Direct Marketing, for placing calls to protected numbers in an attempt to sell home security systems, home security monitoring services and related products. Almost all of the calls made were “robocalls,” meaning the caller used an automatic dialing device to disseminate a prerecorded voice message.

According to the lawsuit filed in Marion County court, the Attorney General’s Office received 60 complaints against this caller from Indiana residents, most of whom are from the Indianapolis area. Of the 60 complaints, 55 were on the Do Not Call List at the time of the telephone calls. Many Indiana residents who filed complaints reported receiving calls from the company multiple times per week.

“Do Not Call means exactly that in Indiana. Constantly dodging unwanted calls is frustrating and tiresome, especially when the same calls come in over and over again,” Zoeller said. “My office hears from Hoosiers every day who are being harassed by telemarketers, which is why I’ve made telephone privacy a priority. I take violations of the Do Not Call list and our robocalling statutes very seriously, and urge people to file complaints with my office if they are being targeted.”

Since Indiana’s Do Not Call law took effect in January of 2002, the Attorney General’s Office has obtained 314 settlements with, or judgments against, telemarketers resulting in awards of penalties and costs totaling more than $22 million.  

In Indiana, most robocalls are illegal regardless of whether or not a consumer’s number is registered on the Do Not Call list. Exceptions include calls from school districts to students, parents or employees and businesses advising employees of work schedules. It is also legal if a live phone operator first obtains the person’s permission before playing a pre-recorded message.

Zoeller said the next quarterly deadline to sign up for the Do Not Call list and help block annoying sales calls and text messages is midnight ET on Nov. 18. Individuals do not need to re-register unless their address has changed. To sign up, visit www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1.888.834.9969. Out-of-state area codes can also be added as long as the billing address is located in Indiana.

To file a Do Not Call or robocalling consumer complaint, visit www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1.888.834.9969. 

SOURCE: Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller

Oct 222014

Over on PHIprivacy.net, I’ve posted links to some articles concerning ebola, HIPAA, and public health authorities. But Elizabeth Litten raises another aspect when students are involved:

Recent news articles regarding a New Jersey elementary school’s handling of the enrollment of two new students from Rwanda provided another glimpse of Ebola hysteria and the opportunity for me to follow up on Bill Maruca’s blog about Ebola and HIPAA with yet another (fairly obscure) statutory acronym.  When it comes to protecting the privacy of students, HIPAA often does not even apply and it’s the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as FERPA, that matters.

Read more on HIPAA, HITECH & HIT.

Oct 222014

Ashkan Soltani (who will be FTC’s new Chief Technologist) and Craig Timberg report:

Wireless carrier T-Mobile US has been quietly upgrading its network in a way that makes it harder for surveillance equipment to eavesdrop on calls and monitor texts, even on the company’s legacy system.

The upgrade involves switching to a new encryption standard, called A5/3, that is harder to crack than older forms of encryption.

Read more on Washington Post.

Oct 222014

The Online Citizen reports:

National University of Singapore (NUS) sociologist Daniel Goh says that he does not think that Singaporeans are more open to public surveillance compared to people in other societies around the world, but instead they are less resistant towards the idea of being surveilled upon.

This is in response to questions posed by local newspaper, Straits Times (ST) in regards to the CCTVs installed around Singapore, which police say will cover every Housing Board block by end of 2016.

Read more on The Online Citizen.