Big Data refusal: the nuclear disarmament movement of the 21st century


James Bridle's new essay (adapted from a speech at the Through Post-Atomic Eyes event in Toronto last month) draws a connection between the terror of life in the nuclear shadow and the days we live in now, when we know that huge privacy disasters are looming, but are seemingly powerless to stop the proliferation of surveillance. Read the rest

Spooks everywhere: EFF's Hallowe'en guide to street-level surveillance


If you really want to be scared this Hallowe'en, spare a moment to ponder six ways that the state engages in widepread and indiscriminate surveillance, from social media monitoring to license plate and toll-transponder readers to IMSI catchers, biometrics and more. Read the rest

UK police & spies will have warrantless access to your browsing history


A new plan from Tory Home Secretary/Sith Lord Theresa May will require ISPs to retain one year's worth of Britons' online activity, and hand it over to the police and security services on demand, without a warrant. Read the rest

Hundreds of city police license plate cams are insecure and can be watched by anyone


Dave Maass from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "Earlier this year, security researcher John Matherly alerted us to potentially massive vulnerabilities in a certain vendor's automated license plate reader systems. We dug into the data and found that, sure enough, hundreds of LPR systems were potentially vulnerable, with many openly accessible online." Read the rest

Mobile carriers make $24B/year selling your secrets


The largest carriers in the world partner with companies like SAP to package up data on your movements, social graph and wake/sleep patterns and sell it to marketing firms. Read the rest

Secret surveillance laws make it impossible to have an informed debate about privacy


James Losey's new, open access, peer-reviewed article in the Journal of International Communication analyzes how secret laws underpinning surveillance undermine democratic principles and how transparency from both companies and governments is a critical first step for supporting an informed debate.. Read the rest

NSA spying: judge tosses out case because Wikipedia isn't widely read enough


Wikimedia -- Wikipedia's parent org -- has had its case against the NSA dismissed by a Federal judge who said that the mere fact that the site is one of the most popular destinations on the net was not a basis for assuming that the NSA had intercepted data between Wikipedia and its users. Read the rest

Canada's new Liberal majority: better than the Tories, still terrible for the Internet


Justin Trudeau is certainly an improvement on outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He's unlikely to go on burning Canada's archives and warring on its scientists, and he'll probably stop ignoring the murder of hundreds of aboriginal women and girls, and he's not a racist asshole who plays to other racist assholes to keep power. Read the rest

DHS admits it uses Stingrays for VIPs, vows to sometimes get warrants, stop lying to judges


The DHS's newly released policy statement on the use of Stingrays (stationary fake cellphone towers used to track people in a specific location) and Dirt Boxes (airplane-mounted surveillance that tracks whole populations) represents a welcome, if overdue, transparency in the use of cellphone surveillance by federal agencies. Read the rest



Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "The privacy-killing law CISA -- which gives legal immunity to corporations when they share your private data with the U.S. government -- is back on the Senate floor after Internet activists have successfully delayed it many times. This could be our last chance to stop it for good." Read the rest

How a mathematician teaches "Little Brother" to a first-year seminar


Derek Bruff teaches a first-year college writing seminar in mathematics, an unusual kind of course that covers a lot of ground, and uses a novel as some of its instructional material -- specifically, my novel Little Brother. Read the rest

Every email NSA says it got after asking Americans for tips on how to protect their privacy

Former NSA chief Keith Alexander at Black Hat 2013 [Reuters]

At the Black Hat hacker convention in 2013, Former NSA director Keith Alexander asked hackers to help the NSA come up with ways to protect Americans' privacy and civil liberties.

"How do we start this discussion on defending our nation and protecting our civil liberties and privacy?" Alexander asked the Las Vegas crowd. "The reason I'm here is because you may have some ideas of how we can do it better. We need to hear those ideas."

Read the rest

Next time a government hacks your Facebook account, Facebook will let you know

Photo: Reuters
Facebook says that starting today, they will notify users “if we believe your account has been targeted or compromised by an attacker suspected of working on behalf of a nation-state.”

Read the rest

UK MPs learn that GCHQ can spy on them, too, so now we may get a debate on surveillance


In 1966, UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson told MPs that the UK spy agencies weren't allowed to tap their phones and that if that changed, he'd tell them about it first. In 1997, Prime Minister Tony Blair asserted that this applied to electronic communications. This Monday, UK Home Secretary Theresa May asserted that the "Wilson Doctrine" still applied to MPs. Then, on Wednesday, the investigatory powers tribunal ruled that this was all rubbish. Read the rest

California passes the country's best-ever online privacy law

CA Gov. Jerry Brown at a news conference in Sacramento.

Governor Jerry Brown has signed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which "bars any state law enforcement agency or other investigative entity from compelling a business to turn over any metadata or digital communications—including emails, texts, documents stored in the cloud—without a warrant. It also requires a warrant to track the location of electronic devices like mobile phones, or to search them." Read the rest

Reputation Economy Dystopia: China's new "Citizen Scores" will rate every person in the country


The Chinese government has announced a new universal reputation score, tied to every person in the country's nation ID number and based on such factors as political compliance, hobbies, shopping, and whether you play videogames. Read the rest

Global coalition tells Facebook to kill its Real Names policy


The Nameless Coaltion, a global alliance of women's groups, LGBTQ groups, human rights and digital rights groups has asked Facebook to abandon its "Real Names" policy, which puts Facebook users in danger of reprisals including state violence, stalkers, and on-the-job harassment. Read the rest

More posts