Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the United States Customs and Border Protection agency for his own travel records, including the notoriously comprehensive "Passenger Name Record" -- what he got was '72 pages of shit,' a redacted jumble of arbitrarily collected and retained nonsense. He didn't get his PNR. If you want to give it a try, he's signposted the procedure.
“You got 72 pages of shit, to put it crudely,” he said, explaining that the CBP didn’t give me the crown jewel of what I asked for: my own PNR records. His own PNR records, as he demonstrated in 2009, included far more detailed information, including the IP address used when he booked an airline ticket.
“Why they didn’t include that when you explicitly asked for it, I can’t tell you,” he added. Hasbrouck agreed with Crump’s assessment that the agency’s lack of response was to be expected. “It’s completely erratic. Some people get just the PNR and not the entry and exit data. Whether it’s gross incompetence, malign neglect, or if they’re overworked, whether it’s that they don’t understand the nature of what the data is—[it] suggests that the people doing the redacting don’t know what the data is.”
Hasbrouck also found the 2005 record of my being a journalist rather curious. He even wondered if this data point may be in violation of the United States Privacy Act, which states:
“Each agency that maintains a system of records shall…maintain no record describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity.”
Ask Ars: Can I see what information the feds have on my travel? [Cyrus Farivar/Ars Technica]
Many insurers offer breaks to people who wear activity trackers that gather data on them; as Cathy “Mathbabe” O’Neil points out, the allegedly “anonymized’ data-collection is trivial to re-identify (so this data might be used against you), and, more broadly, the real business model for this data isn’t improving your health outcomes — it’s dividing […]
As the US government ramps up its insistence that visitors (and US citizens) unlock their devices and provide their social media accounts, the solution have run the gamut from extreme technological caution, abandoning mobile devices while traveling, or asking the government to rethink its policy. But Maciej Cegłowski has another solution: a “travel mode” for […]
For $170, Motherboard’s Joseph Cox bought SpyPhone Android Rec Pro, an Android app that you have to sideload on your target’s phone (the software’s manufacturer sells passcode-defeating apps that help you do this); once it’s loaded, you activate it with an SMS and then you can covertly operate the phone’s mic, steal its photos, and […]
Although there will never be a consensus about the best way to make coffee, any coffee connoisseur will agree that controlling the grind of your beans and balancing water temperature are the keys to a tasty cup. Since your plastic coffee pot doesn’t really allow for that kind of customization, going back to the French […]
Not all hackers are malicious information thieves—white-hat ethical hackers work with technology companies to ensure the security of their computer systems and user data. With all of today’s high-profile data breaches, ethical hackers are in considerable demand. To learn these critical skills and break into the high-paying cyber security field, try taking the courses in this […]
Making people aware of goods and services in the digital age requires an array of new strategies from social media and email to number-crunching tools like Google Analytics. To get a handle on the techniques used to capture attention and convert traffic into dollars in a crowded online environment, the Full-Stack Marketer Bundle offers 22 hours of training to get […]