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‘privacy’ Archives

Freedom of press takes HUGE blow. Congress passes bill that forces reporters to reveal sources in “national security” cases. Obama WILL sign.

Freedom of press takes HUGE blow. Congress passes bill that forces reporters to reveal sources in “national security” cases. Obama WILL sign.

The White House, key senators and media representatives have reached a compromise on legislation to protect reporters from being forced to disclose their confidential sources in federal court. Senate supporters of the so-called media shield bill said Friday that the deal gives the government authority to override those rights in certain [...]

The raid that rocked the Met: Why gun and drugs op on 6,717 safety deposit boxes could cost taxpayer a fortune

The raid that rocked the Met: Why gun and drugs op on 6,717 safety deposit boxes could cost taxpayer a fortune

It's gonna cost the cops, and us taxpayers, probably 10 times what they netted in actual criminal proceeds once the operation's finances has been collated from all the investigations and several hundred court cases of "slightly suspect" boxes with the cops paying out a 6 figure sum in each to resolve the trials on the basis that the suspects are [...]

Repository of Freedom of Information Act docs

Repository of Freedom of Information Act docs

Government Attic is a searchable repository of government docs released through Freedom of Information Act requests... governmentattic.org provides electronic copies of hundreds of interesting Federal Government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Fascinating historical documents, reports on items in the news, oddities and [...]

Wanted by the FBI: Aaron Swartz

Wanted by the FBI: Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz, co-founder of Reddit, was investigated by the FBI for participating in a project to take the publicly owned US court records from the PACER database (where they were very expensive to access) and put them on the web. He's requested his FBI file and put it on the web: AARON SWARTZ has a profile on the website LINKEDIN, at [...]

New York City to Establish Surveillance Network in Midtown

New York City to Establish Surveillance Network in Midtown

We're only going to see more and more of this. Ugh. The plan devised to protect downtown Manhattan, known as the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, was introduced by Mr. Kelly in 2005. That raised concern among civil liberties groups, which have called for more public discussion as the police peer, with greater intensity, at more corners of the [...]

Man evicted from house for resisting warrantless inspections

Man evicted from house for resisting warrantless inspections

I feel sorry for the guy, but I would appreciate it if my municipality would put me on notice if they have these polices, I wouldn't want to live in that jurisdiction. Sadly, though, it's the Fed's policies, so that jurisdiction is the USA. Ugh. Borough Ordinance No. 1188 of Lansdowne, Penn., requires all rental properties – including the [...]

Using Twitter to defy the Government in Iran: Good. Using Twitter to defy the Government in Pittsburgh: Bad

Using Twitter to defy the Government in Iran: Good. Using Twitter to defy the Government in Pittsburgh: Bad

On Thursday, F.B.I. agents descended on a house in Jackson Heights, Queens, and spent 16 hours searching it. The most likely reason for the raid: a man who lived there had helped coordinate communications among protesters at the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh. The man, Elliot Madison, 41, a social worker who has described himself as an [...]

Bank of America demands thumbprint from man with no arms

Bank of America demands thumbprint from man with no arms

The Bank of America in Tampa, Florida has a no-exceptions policy requiring a thumbprint when cashing a check. And they do mean no exceptions: the bank refused to cash a check for a man with no arms because he couldn't provide a fingerprint. "They looked at my prosthetic hands and the teller said, 'Well, obviously you can't give us a thumbprint'," [...]

Massachusetts: Cops Need Warrant To Stick GPS Device On Your Car

Massachusetts: Cops Need Warrant To Stick GPS Device On Your Car

For the past few years, it's become increasingly common for police to put GPS devices on suspects' cars to track where they are. But, that's kicked up a bunch of legal questions concerning whether or not it's legal to do that without a warrant. So far, the courts have not really agreed. Earlier this year, we saw one court (a federal appeals [...]

Newly Declassified Files Detail Massive FBI Data-Mining Project

Newly Declassified Files Detail Massive FBI Data-Mining Project

A fast-growing FBI data-mining system billed as a tool for hunting terrorists is being used in hacker and domestic criminal investigations, and now contains tens of thousands of records from private corporate databases, including car-rental companies, large hotel chains and at least one national department store, declassified documents obtained by [...]

Subway yearbook photos from Improv Everywhere

The Subway Yearbook project is the latest bit of fun from the joy-sharing pranksters at Improv Everywhere... We installed a photography studio on a random subway car. We claimed that the MTA had hired us to take photos of every single person who rides the subway and that we'd be producing a yearbook at the end of the year. Most people were happy [...]

Netflix is about to commit a privacy Valdez with its customers’ viewing data

Netflix is about to commit a privacy Valdez with its customers’ viewing data

How about Netflix's insane new plan to release millions of customers' personal information -- ZIP code, gender, year of birth -- as a sequel to its Netflix Challenge. Latanya Sweeney's famous study on de-anonymizing data has shown that date (not just year) of birth, gender and ZIP are sufficient to personally identify 87% of Americans. In other [...]

MIT’s Project “Gaydar”

MIT’s Project “Gaydar”

They just check to see if you are a fan of Project Runway and a fan of Twilight, if yes (and not 14 year old girl) = gay. Using data from the social network Facebook, they made a striking discovery: just by looking at a person’s online friends, they could predict whether the person was gay. They did this with a software program that looked at [...]

Spies in Canada

Spies in Canada

Canada is apparently a hive of foreign spies and Ottawa is "crawling with them," according to an Ottawa Citizen article about a new book, titled Nest of Spies. The book was written by an investigative journalist and a former intelligence officer with the RCMP Security Service and Canadian Security Intelligence Service. If the article is any [...]

Obama supports extending Patriot Act provisions

Obama supports extending Patriot Act provisions

While you were all talking about Obama's calling Kanye West a "jackass," he was talking about extending The Patriot Act.... The Obama administration supports extending three key provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire at the end of the year, the Justice Department told Congress in a letter made public Tuesday. Lawmakers and civil [...]

Yet another creepy research paper proving you have no privacy online

Yet another creepy research paper proving you have no privacy online

Research by Carnegie Mellon professor Latanya Sweeney and other experts shows that an alarming number of seemingly innocuous, neutral, or "common" data points, can potentially identify an individual online. "Privacy law, mainly clinging to a traditional intuitive notion of identifiability, has largely not kept up with the technical reality," says [...]

Google’s Data Liberation Front commits to making it easy to get your data off of Google’s servers

Google’s Data Liberation Front commits to making it easy to get your data off of Google’s servers

Kudos to Google for committing to data-portability in its online applications: its new "Data Liberation Front" initiative makes it easier to take your data and move it back to your own computer, or a competing service... We're a small team of Google Chicago engineers (named after a Monty Python skit about the Judean People's Front) that aims to [...]

TxtNinja Stashes Your Text Inside Images

TxtNinja Stashes Your Text Inside Images

Have something you want other people to read but not spam bots and search-engine crawlers? TxtNinja will turn your plain text into an image to keep the bots at bay. Why might you want to forgo plain text? One of the more popular reasons is to mask your email to keep spam bots from sucking it up as they scan web pages. Leaving your [...]

Man avoids 37 speed camera tickets

Man avoids 37 speed camera tickets

Authorities have sent 37 speeding tickets to Dave Vontesmar, claiming he'd been captured each time by speed camera. Dave denies he's at fault, saying he doesn't resemble the monkey driver portrayed in camera images... (more…)

Inumbr Creates Temporary Disposable Phone Numbers

Inumbr Creates Temporary Disposable Phone Numbers

If you ever need to hand out your phone number in a public forum or, say, give your number to a stranger on Craigslist, you rarely want to give away your real number. Free service inumbr generates free, auto-expiring phone numbers. I've used inumbr twice before when it was called Craigsnumber and simply numbr, but it's been renamed yet again, [...]

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