Two recent legislative efforts have been mounted to add police to the rolls of "disadvantaged" citizens in need of the additional shelter of "hate crime" laws. Hate crime laws are immediately problematic. They add additional punishments to criminal acts already punishable under existing laws. It's exactly the sort of thing justice ... (more)
State police in Michigan have been secretly using hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of cell site simulator equipment to locate and track cell phones since at least 2006, according to records obtained by the ACLU and ACLU of Michigan. And although the agency justified its initial purchase of the surveillance gear as "vital to the war on terrorism," the records show that the department used its cell site simulators in 128 run-of-the-mill investigations last year--not a single one of which wa... (more)
If there are two edicts I try to follow whenever I'm writing, they are, first, write what is true and, second, avoid cliche at all costs. I bring that up only as a preface before saying the following: the UK is walking down an Orwellian path. It's nearly the cliche of cliches to say something like this, and yet it happens that the cliche is true. While there is most certainly a real thing known as a threat from Islamic terrorism, there is also such a thing as overreaction. What started as the Br... (more)
Following a number of dedicated grassroots campaigns by consumer rights advocates, technology companies are coming out against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) as the controversial surveillance bill barrels toward a vote in the U.S. Senate.
Some of the industry titans now publicly opposing CISA are Google, Apple, and Twitter, among other well-known companies, while those who support the bill include Verizon, AT&T, and Cisco.
A middle school principal is withholding the results of a recent student body election because they ‘weren't diverse enough.' Principal Lena Van Haren of Everett Middle School in San Francisco, Calif., said the candidates who were elected ‘weren't representative' of the ‘diverse student body.'
“That is concerning to me because as principal I want to make sure all voices are heard from all backgrounds,” she said ... (more)
Major entertainment companies are asking the courts for more and more power over the basic operation of the Internet. On Tuesday, the major U.S. record labels filed suit against a Florida startup called Aurous, which is developing a music player application that uses BitTorrent. We've all seen this movie before--the labels' complaint looks similar to the ones they once filed against Napster, Grokster, Aimster, Kazaa, a... (more)
We've been waiting forever for the FAA to finally come up with some sort of rules around public drone use in the US. Earlier this month we noted that the FAA had simply ignored the mandated deadline to put rules in place. And in the few cases where the FAA has said stuff, it's been ridiculous or just confusing.
According to an award-winning paper presented at a security conference earlier this week by a group of prominent cryptographers, the NSA has likely used its access to vast computing power as well as weaknesses in the commonly used TLS security protocol in order to spy on encrypted communications, including VPNs, HTTPS and SSH. As two of the researchers, Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger explained, it was previously known that the... (more)
Californians can rest assured that law enforcement can't poke around in their digital records without first obtaining a warrant. Today, Gov. Jerry Brown has signed S.B. 178, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA).
After months of pressure from public interest groups, media organizations, privacy advocates, tech companies, and thousands of members of the public, California's elected leaders have updated the state's privacy laws so that they are in line with ... (more)
Matt Drudge warns that the very foundation of the free Internet is under severe threat from copyright laws that could ban independent media outlets, revealing that he was told directly by a Supreme Court Justice, “It’s over for me.”
During an appearance on the Alex Jones Show, Drudge asserted that copyright laws which prevent websites from even ... (more)
Anthony Silva, the mayor of Stockton, California, recently went to China for a mayor's conference. On his return to San Francisco airport he was detained by Homeland Security, and then had his two laptops and his mobile phone confiscated. They refused to show him any sort of warrant (of course) and then refused to let him leave until he agreed to hand over his password: ... (more)
One of the very first revelations from the Snowden leaks was a GCHQ program modestly entitled "Mastering the Internet". It was actually quite a good name, since it involved spying on vast swathes of the world's online activity by tapping into the many fiber optic cables carrying Internet traffic that entered and left the UK. The scale of ... (more)
Earlier this year, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) inserted language into the annual Intelligence Authorization bill that would have forced social media companies like Twitter to act as de facto law enforcement agents and censors of the users of their service. The language in question read a... (more)
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is currently working on a plan to put alcohol detection systems in every vehicle. The plan, called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), is still in its early stages, and they have not yet decided exactly how it will be implemented.
Some have suggested a system similar to Interlock, the breath system that people are required to install in their cars after they get ... (more)
General Keith B. Alexander, USA (Ret.), former director of the NSA and journalist Glenn Greenwald, widely known for writing a series of reports detailing U.S. surveillance programs based on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden debate security vs. privacy. What’s the right balance between protecting the data of your enterprise and protecting the pri... (more)
Truth is there is no balance between security and liberty, liberty begets security whereas government "security" begets tyranny. - Chris