Apr 192019
 April 19, 2019  Posted by  Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

Nathan Sheard and Jennifer Lynch of EFF write:

Thanks to a recent ruling by Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Robert J. Smith, drivers in Fairfax County, Virginia need not worry that local police are maintaining ALPR records of their travels for work, prayer, protest or play.

Earlier this month, Judge Smith ordered an injunction against the use of the license plate database, finding that the “passive” use of Fairfax County Police Department’s Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) system violated Virginia’s Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act (Data Act).

Read more on EFF.

Apr 182019
 April 18, 2019  Posted by  Featured News

Joe Cadillic had sent along this item a few days ago, and I am still thinking about it. See what you think. JD Heyes reports, in part:

When does it become illegal for a large technology company to record people?

Building a device with a microphone in it is a pretty big deal; doing so and then somehow neglecting to inform consumers that a mic is included in the device they just bought isn’t an oversight; it’s an intentional act of omission.

Okay, but — is this really even a big deal? Surely Google wouldn’t use its devices to secretly record or eavesdrop on consumers, which is highly illegal in many states, would it?

In a word, yes. As NewsTarget reported back in 2017:

Complaints have been made by users who feel that they are being spied on by Google’s assistant. One instance is when Google’s assistant picked up the conversation between one man and his friend, and even recorded the code to his backdoor security. Another example is when a different individual was cursing at something, without him noticing that he was being recorded.

In 11 states, this kind of recording is highly illegal. So-called “two-party states” require the consent of both parties in phone calls and other electronic communications before they can be recorded legally. They are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

Other states are “one-party” states where only one person or party need know the recording is taking place. The question is, in states where consent from both is required, why aren’t the tech giants facing any legal repercussions for stealing consumer data via voice recording?

Read more on Surveillance.news.

Apr 182019
 April 18, 2019  Posted by  Non-U.S., Surveillance

Caitlin L. Chandler and Chris Jones report:

The European Union is about to become a lot safer — at least on paper.

Lawmakers are set to approve plans for an enormous new database that will collect biometric data on almost all non-EU citizens in Europe’s visa-free Schengen area. The database — merging previously separate systems tracking migration, travel and crime — will grant officials access to a person’s verified identity with a single fingerprint scan.

The question, say the plan’s critics, is whether it truly represents an improvement to safety — and whether it adequately takes into account concerns about civil liberties and privacy.

Read more on Politico.eu

h/t, Joe Cadillic

Apr 182019
 April 18, 2019  Posted by  Breaches, Business, Featured News, Online, U.S.

Rob Price reports:

Facebook harvested the email contacts of 1.5 million users without their knowledge or consent when they opened their accounts.

Since May 2016, the social-networking company has collected the contact lists of 1.5 million users new to the social network, Business Insider can reveal. The Silicon Valley company said the contact data was “unintentionally uploaded to Facebook,” and it is now deleting them.

The revelation comes after pseudononymous security researcher e-sushi noticed that Facebook was asking some users to enter their email passwords when they signed up for new accounts to verify their identities, a move widely condemned by security experts. Business Insider then discovered that if you entered your email password, a message popped up saying it was “importing” your contacts without asking for permission first.

Read more on Business Insider.