• Law,  Police State,  Privacy,  Tech

    This is weird and scary

    Private industry eavesdropping

    The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone — for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.

    Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official.

    Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often.

    And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist — or a competing company.

    I’ve been wondering about this. I wonder how much the media does this as well. There has been very little coverage about cell phone privacy since Gingrich was recorded illegally several years ago. PGP encryption coverage has been curiously non-existent as well.

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  • Cloak and Dagger,  NSA,  Privacy

    More NSA

    So now the NSA is under fire in the media for using cookies? Speaking as a web developer it’s difficult to do anything interesting without using them.

    On a more troubling note, it seems to have occurred to no one in the punditsphere as to why should the NSA eavesdrop on Americans at all? I recall reading somewhere a while back that there was a reciprocal arrangement with the British version of the NSA that would allow the NSA to eavesdrop on Britons and the Brits would eavesdrop on Americans? It was all nice and legal, and accomplished the same objective.

    As I said before, I had just assumed they were already doing this.

    Two reasons come to mind as to why not:

    1. They didn’t want the British to know, which doesn’t really seem that likely
    2. They’re using, if not a new technology, then a new technique to determine who to wiretap, and they were applying it retroactively to already recorded conversations. Also they’re monitoring patterns more than anything. This would allow them to profile effectively, without actually saying the word profiling, which makes everyone happy.
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  • Privacy,  Tech

    Weird and creepy

    The EFF does good work says the WaPo
    Sleuths Crack Tracking Code Discovered in Color Printers

    The feds claim that they do it to stop counterfeiters, but that seems a bit ridiculous. All the more reason to never register hardware.

    Schoen said that the existence of the encoded information could be a threat to people who live in repressive governments or those who have a legitimate need for privacy. It reminds him, he said, of a program the Soviet Union once had in place to record sample typewriter printouts in hopes of tracking the origins of underground, self-published literature.

    “It’s disturbing that something on this scale, with so many privacy implications, happened with such a tiny amount of publicity,” Schoen said.

    And it’s not as if the information is encrypted in a highly secure fashion, Schoen said. The EFF spent months collecting samples from printers around the world and then handed them off to an intern, who came back with the results in about a week.

    “We were able to break this code very rapidly,” Schoen said.

    How long before this code floats into Open Source?

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  • Privacy

    Vegan fist

    Naturally I was drawn to Vegans file lawsuit over surveillance at ham store.

    That day, two vegans — vegetarians who eat only plants and plant products — were wrapping up an animal cruelty protest with a handful of other vegans when they noticed a man in a CVS pharmacy parking lot taking pictures of them.

    Later, they would learn that the man was an undercover homeland security detective, according to a federal lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed Thursday on the vegans’ behalf.

    Short version: they have some protest, some guy takes pictures of them, they get the photographers tag number, photographer has them pulled over and then takes paper containing tag number.

    Grievances: They claim their right to privacy was violated, he claims he needed the car to be used in further undercover work (which is to say he regarded his earlier actions as private).

    There are too many annoyances to list individually so I’ll just stick with this one.

    The primary complaint of both parties was that the other violated their right to privacy in some way. While the abortionistas have been trying to define privacy as inherently vaginal this goes even further in lunacy.

    Both parties were obviously and self-consciously in public when all of this happened, namely in the Honeybaked Ham parking lot.

    One can’t be in private and in public at the same time.

    However isn’t it nice these three found each other?

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