Dec 032016

Sam Biddle reports:

Every American corporation, from the largest conglomerate to the smallest firm, should ask itself right now: Will we do business with the Trump administration to further its most extreme, draconian goals? Or will we resist?

This question is perhaps most important for the country’s tech companies, which are particularly valuable partners for a budding authoritarian. The Intercept contacted nine of the most prominent such firms, from Facebook to Booz Allen Hamilton, to ask if they would sell their services to help create a national Muslim registry, an idea recently resurfaced by Donald Trump’s transition team. Only Twitter said no.

Read more on The Intercept.

Dec 022016
 December 2, 2016  Govt, Laws, U.S. No Responses »

From an editorial in the Tampa Bay Times:

In a four-month investigation, Tampa TV station WTVT-Fox 13 found that the DHSMV sells private driver records in bulk to more than 75 companies, despite federal and state laws deeming the information confidential. The federal Driver Privacy Protection Act, passed in 1994, says state motor vehicle agencies cannot disclose personal information “without the express consent of the person to whom such information applies.” Florida passed its own law a few years later. Personal information is defined as photographs, Social Security numbers, driver identification numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers, and medical or disability information. There are exceptions for government agencies carrying out official functions, private investigators, research activities and statistical reports, and some private businesses as long as the information is only used for verification purposes. Bulk distribution of personal information for marketing or solicitation is permitted only with the individual’s express consent.

Fox 13 found that the DHSMV sells personal information about Florida’s 15.5 million licensed drivers and 18 million registered vehicles to private vendors, including two major data brokers. The state claims it vets the companies to ensure they are entitled to the information under one of the law’s exemptions — but that vetting is limited to checking that the companies have business registration in Florida, the department told Fox 13. What’s more, the state has no way to keep the information from being handed off or resold to third parties.

Read the full editorial on the Tampa Bay Times. Given that Florida is a veritable hotbed of identity theft, you’d think the state and legislature would be looking to crack down on the sale of personal information that can be used to support an identity theft scheme.

Dec 022016
 December 2, 2016  Court, Misc, U.S. No Responses »

Marcia Coyle reports:

The Detroit Free Press is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a court decision that restricts public access to the mug shots of federal criminal defendants.

Booking photos provide an “important window” into the government’s exercise of its police powers, the media outlet said in its petition in Detroit Free Press v. U.S. Department of Justice.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in July ruled that Congress intended to exempt mug shots from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act because of “possible embarrassment and the existence of the internet.”

Read more on National Law Journal.

Dec 022016
 December 2, 2016  Surveillance, U.S. No Responses »

Todd Heywood reports:

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s proposal aimed at regulating homegrown marijuana raises legal concerns and may even be unconstitutional, critics say.

The ordinance the mayor has called for would require the city-owned Lansing Board of Water & Light to monitor customers’ monthly electrical usage and report those using more than 5,000 kilowatts a month to enforcement agencies.

Read more on Lansing CityPulse.

h/t, Joe Cadillic