surveillance

Bipartisan bill proposes oversight for commercial facial recognition

On Thursday, Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz and Missouri Senator Roy Blunt introduced a bill designed to offer legislative oversight for commercial applications of facial recognition technology. Known as the Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act, the bill would obligate companies to inform consumers about any use of facial recognition and proposes limiting companies from freely sharing […]

ICE has a huge license plate database targeting immigrants, documents reveal

Newly released documents reveal Immigration and Customs Enforcement is tracking and targeting immigrants through a massive license plate reader database supplied with data from local police departments — in some cases violating sanctuary laws. The documents, obtained by a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and released Tuesday, reveal the […]

New flaws in 4G, 5G allow attackers to intercept calls and track phone locations

A group of academics have found three new security flaws in 4G and 5G, which they say can be used to intercept phone calls and track the locations of cell phone users. The findings are said to be the first time vulnerabilities have affected both 4G and the incoming 5G standard, which promises faster speeds […]

When surveillance meets incompetence

Last week brought an extraordinary demonstration of the dangers of operating a surveillance state — especially a shabby one, as China’s apparently is. An unsecured database exposed millions of records of Chinese Muslims being tracked via facial recognition — an ugly trifecta of prejudice, bureaucracy, and incompetence.

Europe’s highest human rights court to hear challenge to UK’s bulk surveillance regime

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has agreed to hear a legal challenge to the use of bulk data collection surveillance powers by UK intelligence agencies. Last September a lower chamber of the ECHR ruled that UK surveillance practices violated human rights law but did not find bulk collection itself […]

The facts about Facebook

This is a critical reading of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s article in the WSJ on Thursday, also entitled The Facts About Facebook.  Yes Mark, you’re right; Facebook turns 15 next month. What a long time you’ve been in the social media business! We’re curious as to whether you’ve also been keeping count of how many times […]

Police license plate readers are still exposed on the internet

Smile! You’re on camera. At least, your license plate is. You might have heard of automatic license plate recognition — known as ALPR (or ANPR in the U.K. for number plates). These cameras are dotted across the U.S., and are controlled mostly by police departments and government agencies to track license plates — and people — […]

Why do hotels collect passport data anyway?

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Benjamin Braddock begins his affair with Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate by nervously checking into a hotel under the name Mr. Gladstone. After all, in our cultural imagination, booking a room in a hotel is a refuge for anonymity, and often, the vice that comes along with it. But that’s certainly not the case today — if it ever was, beyond the silver screen.

On Friday, Marriott provided an update on the 4-years-long data breach of its Starwood database announced in November. In the breach, hackers were able to access the *unencrypted* passport numbers of more than 5 million hotel guests.

More about Travel, Surveillance, Marriott, Data Breach, and Tech

In revamped transparency report, Apple reveals uptick in demands for user data

Apple’s transparency report just got a lot more — well, transparent. For years, the technology giant released a twice-a-year report on the number of government demands it received. It wasn’t much to look at in the beginning; a seven-page document with only two tables of data. Once in a while, Apple would tack on a […]

3D-printed heads let hackers – and cops – unlock your phone

There’s a lot you can make with a 3D printer: from prosthetics, corneas, and firearms — even an Olympic-standard luge. You can even 3D print a life-size replica of a human head — and not just for Hollywood. Forbes reporter Thomas Brewster commissioned a 3D printed model of his own head to test the face […]