Jul 312013
 July 31, 2013  Posted by  Non-U.S., Youth & Schools

Glen McGregor reports:

Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner has ordered Carleton University to hand over 12 years of student grade records to the Ottawa Citizen.

The Citizen filed a Freedom of Information request in 2011 seeking “anonymized” grade data — without names or student numbers attached — but Carleton refused to release them, arguing that the records would violate students’ privacy and damage the school financially if they were made public.

Read more on Ottawa Citizen.

Jul 312013
 July 31, 2013  Posted by  Surveillance, U.S.

Sari Horwitz reports:

The Obama administration has declassified a secret order directing Verizon Communications to turn over a vast number of Americans’ phone records, and it plans to disclose the document Wednesday morning in time for a Senate hearing, according to senior U.S. officials.

The order was issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to a subsidiary of Verizon in April. Officials described it as the formal order underlying the directive that was disclosed in June by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.

Read more on The Washington Post.

Jul 302013
 July 30, 2013  Posted by  Govt, Surveillance, U.S.

Mike Masnick writes:

Even while NSA defenders are bitching about Senator Ron Wyden hinting strongly about the NSA and the DOJ abusing various interpretations of the law to spy on Americans with the bulk collection of data, it seems that neither Wyden nor Senator Mark Udall are planning to back down. Specifically, Wyden noted (as explained below) that the feds admitted to serious violations of the law — but have done so in classified letters, rather than publicly. He’s hoping to change that.

Read more on TechDirt.  Sadly, I missed watching Senators Wyden and Udall on the floor of the Senate a while ago talking about how the government continues to mislead the public.  Hopefully there will be an archive of their comments available on C-Span later.

Given the both senators are limited in their ability to reveal what they know, they seem to be coming as close to publicly revealing what would be one huge lie concerning whether the government is engaging in bulk collection of location data:

How many times has the government denied obtaining location data?

In the absence of genuine transparency on the part of the government, we need more leaks, not fewer. And the sooner, the better.   Michele Bachmann’s and Mike Rogers’ histrionics notwithstanding, Congress should immediately repeal Section 215 or amend it significantly to protect us all from these government surveillance programs.

Jul 302013
 July 30, 2013  Posted by  Business, Surveillance, U.S.

The Honorable Edith Ramirez,
Federal Trade Commission

Dear Chairwoman Ramirez,

Over the past several months retailers around the country have increasingly been exploring technologies that use a shopper’s unique cell phone ID to follow their movements throughout shopping centers and individual stores. The technology allows shoppers to be tracked throughout a store, allowing a retailer to acquire information about shoppers without their permission. Retailers do not ever receive affirmative consent from the consumer for this type of tracking, and the only options for a consumer to not be tracked are to turn off their phone’s Wi-Fi, or to leave the phone at home.

Geophysical location data about a person is obviously highly sensitive; however, retailers are collecting this information anonymously without consent. I would ask that the Federal Trade Commission investigate this practice, and clarify that it is an unfair or deceptive trade practice to fail to notify shoppers that their movements are being tracked in a store or to give them an opportunity to opt out of this type of tracking before it begins. As these technologies become more widespread, it is imperative that we protect our consumers from unknowingly giving out information they do not desire to.

I look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.


Senator Charles E. Schumer

SOURCE: Senator Schumer

Well, it’s a step in the right direction, but why not require opt-in consent instead of just permitting opt-out?