Family puts Ring camera in children's room, discovers that hacker is watching their kids 24/7, taunting them through the speaker

A family in DeSoto County, Mississippi, bought a Ring security camera so they could keep an eye on their three young girls in their bedroom. Four days later, they learned that a hacker had broken into the camera and subjected their children to continuous bedroom surveillance, taunting the children through the camera's built-in speaker. Read the rest

Make: a facial-recognition confounding "Opt Out Cap"

Mac Pierce created a simple wearable to challenge facial recognition: do a little munging to an image of a face, print it on heat transfer paper, iron it onto see-through mosquito netting, slice, and affix to a billed cap -- deploy it in the presence of facial recognition cameras and you'll be someone else. It's the kind of "adversarial example" countermeasure that fools computers pretty reliably but wouldn't work on a human. (via JWZ) Read the rest

Civil rights groups call for a stop to Amazon's doorbell surveillance partnerships with cops

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "More than 30 civil rights organizations, including Fight for the Future, Color of Change, National Immigration Law Center, and CAIR, have signed an open letter calling for elected officials to investigate Amazon Ring’s business practices and put an end to all Amazon-police surveillance partnerships. This is the first major action taken by groups to pressure lawmakers to address these partnerships and the threats they pose to privacy, civil liberties, and democracy. Our elected officials are supposed to protect us, both from abusive policing practices and corporate overreach. These partnerships are a clear case of both. If you're concerned about Amazon's surveillance partnerships, there's a petition you can sign to your local elected officials here." Read the rest

Prior to Amazon acquisition, Ring offered "swag" to customers who snitched on their neighbors

Amazon is under fire over revelations that it did secret deals with local police departments to buzz-market its Internet of Things "Ring" brand surveillance doorbells, but Ring's shady history predates its acquisition by Amazon in 2017. Read the rest

Amazon's secret deals with cops gave corporate PR a veto over everything the cops said about their products

Last week, Motherboard broke a story revealing that Amazon had entered into secret agreements with local law enforcement agencies that had the cops pushing Ring surveillance doorbells to the people they were sworn to protect, in exchange for freebies and access to a system that let them request access to footage recorded by the Amazon's industry-leading internet-of-shit home surveillance tools. Read the rest

Axon makes false statements to town that bought its police bodycams, threatens to tase their credit-rating if they cancel the contract

Axon -- formerly Taser International -- makes police bodycams that they sell to towns on the cheap, betting that they'll make it up by gouging the towns for cloud-based storage for footage from the cameras (what could possibly go wrong?!). Read the rest

Airbnb guest uses network sniffer to find hidden webcam, Airbnb finds no wrongdoing

Airbnb has a hidden camera problem: Airbnb hosts keep getting caught using hidden webcams to spy on people staying in their unlicensed hotel-rooms, and while the company proclaims a zero tolerance policy for the practice, the reality is that the company tacitly tolerates Airbnb hosts who engage in this creepy, voyeuristic behavior. Read the rest

EFF's first VR app trains you to spot surveillance devices in your community

Spot the Surveillance is the Electronic Frontier Foundation's first VR app: it's part of the organization's Street-Level Surveillance, which has tracked and resisted the spread of ubiquitous surveillance tools, from license-plate cameras to Stingrays and beyond. Read the rest

Consumer Reports finds that D-Link's home camera sends unencrypted video without unique passwords

As part of its ongoing commitment to evaluate information security and privacy when reviewing IoT devices (previously), Consumer Reports has published a scathing review of D-Link's home security camera. Read the rest

$28 Chinese app is a browser for insecure webcams

Chinese state media reports on a $28/RMB188 app that browses webcams whose default passwords haven't been changed, allowing subscribers to watch the goings-on in stores, living rooms, bedrooms, children's rooms, and anywhere a CCTV might be installed. Read the rest

Tour New York's invisible, networked surveillance infrastructure with Ingrid Burrington's new book

Writer/artist Ingrid Burrington has published a book called Networks of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure, which sketches the physical extrusions of the internet into New York City's streets and buildings, and makes especial note of how much of that infrastructure has been built as part of the post 9/11 surveillance network that NYC has erected over the past 15 years. Read the rest

Prestigious Pets of Dallas wants $1M from customers who said they overfed a fish

If you hire Prestigious Pets of Dallas, TX to take care of your pets, you have to sign a sleazy nondisparagement contract through which you promise not to complain in public about the company's service. Read the rest