Japan secretly funneled hundreds of millions to the NSA, breaking its own laws

The Intercept publishes a previously-unseen set of Snowden docs detailing more than $500,000,000 worth of secret payments by the Japanese government to the NSA, in exchange for access to the NSA's specialized surveillance capabilities, in likely contravention of Japanese privacy law (the secrecy of the program means that the legality was never debated, so no one is sure whether it broke the law). Read the rest

Lawsuit claims Bose tracks what you listen to then sells the data

According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Chigago, Bose uses software to track the music and other audio listened to on its wireless headphones, violating the privacy of its users and selling the information.

The complaint filed on Tuesday by Kyle Zak in federal court in Chicago seeks an injunction to stop Bose's "wholesale disregard" for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple Inc or Google Play stores to their smartphones.

"People should be uncomfortable with it," Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak, said in an interview. "People put headphones on their head because they think it's private, but they can be giving out information they don't want to share."

The headphones alone aren't the problem, apparently, but an optional app bundled with them. Savvy users may know that such things are often sleazy marketing wheezes, but that hardly excuses it. Read the rest

Lawsuit alleges Bose's headphone app exfiltrates your listening habits to creepy data-miners

Bose's $350 wireless headphones need an app to "get the most" out of them, and this app monitors everything you listen to -- the names of the podcasts, the music, videos, etc -- and sends them to Bose without your permission, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Chicago by Kyle Zak. Read the rest

Vast majority of Americans reject mass surveillance to thwart terrorist attacks

75% surveyed by Ipsos/Reuters said, "they would not let investigators tap into their Internet activity to help the U.S. combat domestic terrorism"(up from 67% in 2013). Read the rest

Activists vow to make ISP privacy sellout a "major issue" in the 2018 elections

The Republican Congressjerks who passed legislation allowing your ISP to spy on your online activity and sell the data from it without your permission will be firmly reminded of their calumny in the 2018 election cycle, as the Center for Media Justice and its privacy allies plan "street-level tactics" to hold them accountable for their sellout. Read the rest

Trump administration wants to force visitors to US to reveal social media passwords and answer questions about political beliefs

The latest crayon-scrawled, unconstitutional, sure-to-be-challenged plan from the Trump White House for America's borders would require visitors to the US to reveal their social media passwords so CBP officers could read their private messages and look at their friends lists; they will also have to answer questions about their political beliefs -- the plan would cover visitors from all over, including countries in the US Visa Waiver program. Read the rest

Bipartisan bill would end warrantless border searches of US persons' data

Under the Protecting Data at the Border Act, devices "belonging to or in the possession of a United States person" (a citizen or Green Card holder) could no longer be searched at the border without a warrant. Agents would no longer be able to deny US persons entry or exit on the basis of a refusal to allow such a search (but they could seize the equipment). Read the rest

Camera-equipped sex toy manufacturer ignores multiple warnings about horrible, gaping security vulnerability

The uniquely horribly named Svakom Siime Eye is an Internet of Things sex-toy with a wireless camera that allows you to stream video of the insides of your orifices as they are penetrated by it; researchers at the UK's Pen Test Partners discovered that once you login to it via the wifi network (default password "88888888"), you can root it and control it from anywhere in the world. Read the rest

DJI proposing "electronic license plates" for drones

Drone manufacturer DJI published a white paper proposing a kind of license plate for drones in the form of a wireless identifier that the buzzing UAVs would be required to broadcast. The paper describes a possible way to balance the privacy of drone operators with perceived public concern about whose controlling the bots buzzing overhead. You can read the full paper as a PDF here. From David Schneider's column in IEEE Spectrum:

As the company points out in its whitepaper, drone operators might want to maintain anonymity even if there were people around to witness their flights. Suppose, for example, that a company were surveying land in anticipation of purchasing and developing it. That company might not want to clue in competitors. Or perhaps the drone is being flown for the purposes of investigative journalism, in which case the journalists involved might not want others to know about their investigations.

DJI proposes that drones be required to broadcast an identifying code by radio . . . That code would not include the name and address of the owner, but authorities would be able to use it to look that information up in a non-public database—a kind of electronic license plates for drones.

At the same time, it’s easy to understand why law-enforcement or regulatory authorities would sometimes want to identify the owner or operator of a drone, say, if somebody felt the drone were invading their privacy or if a drone were being flown close to a nuclear power plant.

Read the rest

Verizon mandates pre-installed spyware for all its Android customers

"Appflash" will come pre-installed on all Verizon Android handsets; it's a Google search-bar replacement, but instead of feeding telemetry about your searches, handset, apps and activities to Google, it will send them to Verizon. Read the rest

Senate votes to allow ISPs to collect and sell personal data without permission

In a party-line split, the U.S. Senate today voted to allow internet service providers to retain personal data without permission and sell it to whomever might pay for it.

The Senate voted 50:48 in favor of S.J. 34, which would remove the rules and, under the authority of the Congressional Review Act, prevent similar rules from being enacted. It now heads to the House for approval.

“If signed by the President, this law would repeal the FCC’s widely-supported broadband privacy framework, and eliminate the requirement that cable and broadband providers offer customers a choice before selling their sensitive, personal information,” said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny in a joint statement.

Read the rest

What creepy stuff will your ISP do once the FCC allows them to spy on your internet usage?

Senate Republicans have introduced a bill to ensure that the FCC won't be able to prevent your ISP from spying on your internet usage and selling your private information. What does that mean in practice? Read the rest

How Kenyan spies and cops use electronic surveillance for illegal murder and torture squads

Privacy International interviewed 57 sources for their report on the link between surveillance and torture and murder in Kenya, including 32 law enforcement, military or intelligence officers with direct firsthand knowledge of the programs. Read the rest

Justice Dept. to charge 2 Russian spies and 2 criminal hackers with 2014 Yahoo breach of 500 million accounts

Before today's anticipated announcement by the Justice Department, more details are already leaking out about who they're after: “two Russian spies, and two criminal hackers.”

Read the rest

CBP conducted more device searches at the border in Feb than in all of 2015

There's been precious little litgation about the Customs and Border Protection Agency's far-reaching policy of invasively searching devices at the US border, so it's a legal greyzone (but you do have some rights). Read the rest

An anti-eavesdropping hands-free headset/muzzle that looks like Bane's mask and changes your voice to Vader's

Hushme is an electronic muzzle that you strap around your face, talking into its built-in mic in order to prevent people from eavesdropping on your calls; you can also use it to change your voice so you sound like a howler monkey or Darth Vader. If this isn't a hoax, its so deep into Poe's Law territory that it might as well be one. Read the rest

Charming animated short on The Power of Privacy

The Power of Privacy is a brisk animated jaunt through the legal development of privacy, starting with the fireplace chimney. Read the rest

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