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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

X-ray of the RFID and coil inside a US passport

Alan writes, "For a while, I wondered what the RFID chip looked like inside the front cover of a US passport. Yesterday, I had an x-ray image of my passport taken. Looks pretty cool. Chip is in the left upper front of the book, connected coiled wire (high-rez)." Read the rest

America's spooks want Congress to extend massive spying powers but still won't answer Congress's basic questions

Two of the NSA's mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden are Prism (which give the NSA "bulk data" access to the servers of Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others) and Upstream (through which the NSA taps the internet's fiber optic backbones). Both are possible because of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which expires this year. Read the rest

EFF presents: a guide to protecting your data privacy when crossing the US border

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just updated its 2011 guide to Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border with an all new edition that covers the law, administrative rules, technological options and potential repercussions of crossing the US border while not undergoing the warrantless seizure and indefinite retention of all of your sensitive data -- in a guide that breaks out the different risks for US citizens, US permanent residents, and visitors to the USA. Read the rest

Taser ships a pistol-holster sensor that triggers record mode in all nearby bodycams when cops draw their guns

The Signal Sidearm is a sensor designed to be fitted to a police pistol holster: when triggered, it wirelessly signals all nearby police bodycams to go into record-and-archive mode. It's made by Axon, the bodycam division of Taser International. Read the rest

Trump vs leaks: Spicer's staff forced to undergo "phone searches" and delete privacy apps

Sean Spicer -- spokesman for the leakiest White House in history -- summoned his staff to a surprise meeting where they were forced undergo a "phone check" where they unlocked their phones to prove they had "nothing to hide." Read the rest

Federal magistrate judge in Illinois rules that being forced to unlock your phone with a fingerprint could violate your rights

M. David Weisman, a magistrate judge in Illinois's Eastern Division, denied a federal warrant application that would have allowed law enforcement officers to force suspects to unlock their mobile devices with a fingerprint, ruling that the suspects' Fourth Amendment (undue search and seizure) and Fifth Amendment (self-incrimination) rights protected them from being forced to unlock their devices. Read the rest

A "travel mode" for social media - after all, you don't take all your other stuff with you on the road

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 our social media accounts. Read the rest

What it's like to be spied on by Android stalkerware marketed to suspicious spouses

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 track its location. Read the rest

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