Amazon-CIA Partnership Critics Launch Ad Campaign, Includes Billboard In Front Of Amazon HQ

By: Friday October 31, 2014 11:16 am

Amazon’s $600 million contract with the CIA related to cloud computing services has caused alarm throughout the civil liberties community. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed raising concern that the CIA could be using its access to Amazon’s massive data to conduct intelligence work rather than simply storing data. In light of the ongoing domestic spying scandal regarding the NSA, fewer and fewer people are willing to take government assurances on protecting the public’s privacy.

 

U.S. Postal Service Spying on Americans Without Oversight

By: Thursday October 30, 2014 8:45 am

he United States Postal Service disclosed it approved nearly 50,000 requests, called “mail covers,” last year alone from law enforcement to secretly monitor the snail mail of Americans.

An audit shows the surveillance program is more extensive than widely known and that oversight protecting Americans is lax: 21 percent of the covers examined were approved without even the minimal required written authorization and 13 percent that did have authorization “were not adequately justified.” The Post Office has no standing review procedures.

Holder and FBI Looking to Stop Civilian Use of Strong Crypto

By: Friday October 10, 2014 10:26 am

Need more evidence that the government wants access to all your private information? Then check out the recent move by Attorney General Eric Holder and the FBI to subvert the use of strong cryptography by the average citizen.

As noted by Cory Doctorow, the move to weaken civilian use of strong crypto is actually a rehash of an issue that was temporarily settled in 1995 when the Electronic Frontier Foundation won a court case that declared computer code to be part of free speech.

Government Claims Right To Create Fake Social Media Accounts From Stolen Identities

By: Wednesday October 8, 2014 7:06 am

Is the government sending you a friend request? The DEA has claimed in court documents that it has the right to use information obtained from someone arrested to create a fake social media account in order to further a drug investigation.

Judge Rejects DOJ’s Secrecy Argument That Public Doesn’t Know How to Evade Location Tracking

By: Wednesday October 1, 2014 9:33 am

In a case involving a Freedom of Information Act request for information related to government policies and procedures for law enforcement use of cell phone tracking, a federal judge has ordered the release of records, which the Justice Department sought to keep secret by claiming they would “alert law violators”—otherwise known as criminals—to how to evade detection.

The ACLU in Northern California and San Francisco Bay Guardian filed a lawsuit seeking documents on location tracking technology on July 31, 2012. The Justice Department has produced a few documents but has continued to insist that many of the documents requested are “work product” so they are protected from disclosure. The agency has also refused to search for documents that were requested.

Documents Reveal More Details on How US Intelligence Gets Around Regulations Against Spying on US Persons

By: Monday September 29, 2014 1:45 pm

The American Civil Liberties Union posted a trove of documents obtained in their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for information about an executive order President Ronald Reagan signed, which gives the government broad authority to engage in surveillance of international communications, including the communications of numerous Americans. One key “exemption” gives intelligence agencies the ability to get around regulations intended to protect privacy.

Executive Order 12333 “governs” most of what the National Security Agency does, when it comes to collection of information on “Americans’ cellphone and Internet usage.”

Are Privacy Concerns Generational?

By: Sunday September 21, 2014 6:55 pm

On Monday I came across a post at Techdirt about the reaction to Apple putting a U2 album in iCloud users’ storage space. The post described how after a backlash, Apple created a bit of code that would allow iPhone users to delete the unwanted freebie.

A bit of background: On September 9th, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the mega-band U2 decided to release its latest album free on iTunes…

Mysterious Phony Cell Towers: Who Is Spying on You Now?

By: Thursday September 4, 2014 1:10 pm

A security researcher identified multiple “fake” cell phone towers around the United States, many near military bases, designed to intercept calls and texts without your knowledge, and to potentially inject spyware into your phone by defeating built-in encryption.

The researcher has located a number of towers; what he can’t figure out is who built them and who controls them.

Big Data Knows When You’re Sleeping and Knows When You’re Awake

By: Monday August 25, 2014 2:23 pm

Control and regulation of all this data could easily end up the biggest political and economic issue of the 21st century.

EU Group Launches Class Action Suit Against Facebook For Privacy Violations, Including Support for PRISM

By: Monday August 4, 2014 11:22 am

Viennese lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems has filed a class action suit with the Commercial Court for Vienna against the Irish subsidiary of Facebook for violation of European data protection laws.

The Europe v Facebook website has an app that allows EU residents to become part of the suit. So far the organization is reporting that 11,000 people have signed on.

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