Rush Holt (D-NJ) has introduced a bill called the "Surveillance State Repeal Act" that repeals the PATRIOT Act and much of FISA (though it leaves some pretty terrible parts of FISA intact). It's only 8 pages long, but it has the potential to do a lot of good.
Read the rest
A woman who valet-parked her car at Rochester airport returned to find a notice informing her that the valet had searched her car, on orders from the TSA. The TSA does not search cars in the other garages, and they do not provide notice to valet parkers that their cars are subject to search. The TSA says it searches the parked cars because they are stored close enough to the terminal that a bomb could do serious damage.
John McCaffery, TSA, said, “No, those vehicles that are in the garage, short term long term parking, even if they carry pretty large amounts of explosives, they would not cause damage to the front of the airport. But for those who use the valet, the car could be there for a half hour or an hour so there is a vulnerability.”
News10NBC went to the valet parking and one of the attendants showed us the notice they put in the cars.
We asked, “You're required, they tell you, you have to search the car?” Valet Parking Attendant Frank Dettorre said, “I have to do it.”
My prediction: the TSA will erect a sign at the valet drop-off saying, "By valet parking, you agree that we can search your car." And that will be the end of it. Because in the 21st century, posting a notice of your unreasonable conduct is the same as getting consent for it.
TSA searches valet parked car [Berkeley Brean/WHEC.com]
Sean Ragan says: "I’ve rounded up a pseudorandom smattering of some of my favorite secret-hiding-place posts from MAKE's online archives."
Seventeen Sneaky Secret Hides
sez, "Wyndham council in the Australian state of Victoria has been spying on residents
for three years to find not terrorists, but people who litter and keep unregistered pets, and advertise without permission.
Words fail me. If this isn't a wake-up call for greater privacy protection, I don't know what is."
Clayton Seymour, a Navy vet, was outraged to discover that his Freedom of Information Act request to the NSA to see his file was rejected because telling him what information they'd gathered in secret would expose their secret information-gathering techniques
. Obama's 2009 Executive Order 13526 requires all government agencies to make all records public, other than in exceptional circumstances. The NSA has effectively crammed all
of its information into an exceptional circumstance because to disclose anything would lead to disclosure of its methods. This is the basis on which it is rejecting all FOIA requests.
A few days before the NSA/Snowden fiasco, we released the first English version of Data Dealer, a game to provoke conversation about surveillance, personal data & online privacy in a really new, clever and fun way. It's a browser game about running your own Smoogle & Tracebook, tracking people, collecting millions of personal profiles and selling them to health insurance companies or governmental agencies. Play 'god' with other people's data! Or simply: PRISM, the Game. It's a nonprofit project, based on extensive research and offers a simple but important perspective on the personal data ecosystem of today's digital age.
In the last couple of weeks we have been mentioned in The New Yorker, ProPublica, Fast Company, Guardian, Mashable, Washington Post, Le Monde and many more. Recently we won the prominent "Games for Change Award" in NYC and other awards in the fields of serious gaming and digital literacy in Austria, Germany and France. We've also been featured by leading privacy & consumer rights organizations.
The game is 100% free to play and even licensed under Creative Commons. But a project like this isn't free to create. Two years in the making, and we've been working hard on it. There are several future partnerships in preparation, but to realize them, we'll have to survive the next couple months. That's why we have launched a Kickstarter for a funding injection. Deadline is on Thursday July 11th:
It's a very worthy project, and they've already done the development; they're looking for $50K to keep the doors open while they finish a deluxe, multiplayer version with a wide variety of exciting features (scroll down the Kickstarter page to "Full Featured Multiplayer Version").
Data Dealer - Legal? Illegal? Whatever.
Here's a read-aloud
of my recent Guardian column, "The NSA's Prism: why we should care
," which sets out the reasons for caring about the recent revelations of bulk, warrantless, suspicionless, indiscriminate surveillance. It's mastered by John Taylor Williams, and you can hear it (and more) in my podcast feed
. — Cory
Remember when rogue archivist Carl Malamud asked the IRS for data on $1.5 trillion worth of data from nonprofit organizations? Well, it turns out that the IRS has totally failed to redact it properly, and left in the Social Security Numbers for thousands of people. So they've asked the IRS to take the database down and get it right. He explains:
Public.Resource.Org has issued a statement explaining why we asked the I.R.S. to temporarily take their political money database off the Internet and why they complied with our request.
This database is a vital tool for researchers and we apologize to those of you that use this database on a daily basis.
This is only one of several exempt organization databases that the IRS has totally bungled. They've become addicted to bad Internet hygiene and it is time now for the Service to admit it needs help.
We deserve better for the public filings of exempt organizations, a category that makes up 10% of US wages and over $1.5 trillion in economic activity. Let's hope the administration takes this seriously and sends in the A team.
Why We Asked the I.R.S. to Temporarily Turn the Lights Off on Section 527 Data
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC
) has asked the Supreme Court
to allow it to sue the US government over NSA spying; EPIC argues that only the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and so they should be able to start with the Supremes and skip the lower courts.
The Stasi versus the NSA
: "How much space would the filing cabinets of the Stasi and the NSA consume if the NSA would print their 5 zettabytes?" [in German, via @ioerror
] — Xeni
My latest Guardian column is a one-act historical drama about metadata, starring Winston Churchill, Alan Turing and UK Home Secretary Theresa May:
May: Mr Turing and his colleagues have laboured hard with every hour that God has sent, but try as they might, they can extract nothing of use from the Enigma cipher.
Churchill: (roaring) Nothing? All these years, all this work, and you have nothing?
May: Well, not precisely nothing, prime minister. The lads have got far enough that they are able to extract "meta-data," but I stress again that this is of no strategic import and would in no way help us to compromise the foe.
Churchill: Meta-data? Tell me more of this meta-data? Is it a Greek word?
(May turns to Turing, who wipes his palms on his trousers)
Metadata – a wartime drama
Ben Lincoln discovered that his Motorola Droid X2 was silently sending an enormous amount of private, sensitive information to Motorola
, without permission -- much of it without any encryption. He carefully documented the scope of the leaks, and gave the steps necessary to repeat his work. It's a terrible, and potentially criminal, design decision by Motorola, and demands full disclosure from the company and full investigation by independent researchers. (via /.
today that it will now allow advertisers to tailor ads for you based on your activities off of Twitter (for instance, browsing third-party websites), and will also use personal information like email addresses to target the ads you see.
"Users won’t see more ads on Twitter, but they may see better ones," wrote Twitter's Senior Director of Product and Revenue, Kevin Weil, touting the change as a way to make the service "more useful" to users.
Privacy-minded folks won't be too happy.
Read the rest
[Video Link] Mark Hurst, founder of the Gel conference, says. "Duck Duck Go founder Gabriel Weinberg gave a great talk (about his search engine, and Google's practices that people may not know about) at Gel."
This 15-minute talk is full of eye-opening stuff. Every year, more lawyers are requesting users' Google records for court cases, for example.
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