Dec 312009
 December 31, 2009  Posted by  Featured News, U.S.

Chris Elliott has this happy update on the Department of Homeland Security’s attempt to subpoena his records:

The Department of Homeland Security has withdrawn a subpoena that would have required me to furnish it with all documents related to the Dec. 25 TSA Security Directive which was published on my Web site.

The move came after my attorneys were granted an extension on the government request. I also signaled my intent to challenge the subpoena in federal court next week.

Steven Frischling, the blogger at Flying With Fish who also received a subpoena also received an all-clear as he reported on Twitter:

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ME! TSA’s Dep Chief Counsel for Enforcement just called me to let me know I am in the clear & good to go! Woo Woo #TSAFail

Dec 312009
 December 31, 2009  Posted by  Breaches, Featured News

Robert O’Harrow Jr. reports:

The White House nominee to lead the Transportation Security Administration gave Congress misleading information about incidents in which he inappropriately accessed a federal database, possibly in violation of privacy laws, documents obtained by The Washington Post show.

The disclosure comes as pressure builds from Democrats on Capitol Hill for quick January confirmation of Erroll Southers, whose nomination has been held up by GOP opponents. In the aftermath of an attempted airline bombing on Christmas Day, calls have intensified for lawmakers to install permanent leadership at the TSA, a critical agency in enforcing airline security.

Southers, a former FBI agent, has described inconsistencies in his accounts to Congress as “inadvertent” and the result of poor memory of an incident that dates back 20 years. He said in a Nov. 20 letter to key senators obtained by The Post that he accepted full responsibility long ago for a “grave error in judgment” in accessing confidential criminal records about his estranged wife’s new boyfriend.

Read more in The Washington Post.

Dec 312009
 December 31, 2009  Posted by  Breaches, Court, Non-U.S., Youth & Schools

A court in Halmstad on the southwest coast of Sweden has dismissed charges against a man who reportedly took a photo of a 17-year-old girl’s genitals while she was sleeping. The court said that the incident was was not a punishable offense.

The girl had laid down to sleep on a sofa during a New Year’s party. The 49-year-old reportedly lifted up the girl’s skirt and photographed her genitals. The man, whose teenage son was hosting the party, was indicted on charges of sexual harassment, local newspaper Hallandsposten reports.

Citing several other cases, the Halmstad district court said that the man had not committed a crime. There is no general prohibition against photographing people without their consent. The same applies to people who are asleep.

Read more on The Local (Sweden).

Dec 312009
 December 31, 2009  Posted by  Breaches, Featured News, Online, Surveillance

Lauren Weinstein blogs:

Greetings. Here’s a “fun” question to think about as we get ready to close out 2009. With politicians clamoring for massive deployment of full body scanners at airports, how long do you imagine it will take before we start to see headlines like the title of this posting, inappropriately blaming the Internet generally and Search Engines in particular for the mess that these scanners are likely to create?

Subscription sites for body scan celebrity images (and different sorts of sites focused on imagery of children) would seem inevitable, as well as more routine “gawking at the big breasts” sites.

Despite claims of privacy improvements, most of these full body scanners still present imagery in astonishing detail.

Read more on Lauren’s blog, here.