The fight against surveillance capitalism and mass state surveillance has reached a tipping point, the peak-indifference moment, when new privacy advocates are self-radicalizing as they witness firsthand the undeniable risks of overcollection, over-retention, and secret manipulation of personal data.
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Surveillance capitalism sucks: it improves the scattershot, low-performance success-rate of untargeted advertising (well below 1 percent) and doubles or triples it (to well below 1 percent!).
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Fedex acquired a company called Bongo International in 2014; Bongo specialized in helping North American companies sell overseas and after the acquisition, Fedex renamed the company FedEx Cross-Border International.
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Police in China's Zhejiang announced that they worked with colleagues in four provinces to arrest 22 suspects in a data-theft ring that raided Apple's internal networks for Iphone owners' sensitive personal information ("names, phone numbers, Apple IDs, and other data") which they sold to criminals for as little as $1.50. Read the rest
Aadhaar kicked off in 2009, linking each Indian resident's biometric data and sensitive personally identifying information to a unique 12-digit number. Read the rest
Earlier this month, Wikileaks published a database of six years' of email from AKP, Turkey's ruling party -- but as outside experts have plumbed that database, all they can find is archives from public mailing lists, old spam, and some sensitive personal information from private citizens. Read the rest
Justin Shafer was roused from his bed this week by thunderous knocking at his North Richland Hills, Texas home, and when he opened the door, found himself staring down the barrel of a 'big green' assault weapon, wielded by one of the 12-15 armed FBI agents on his lawn. Read the rest
They were the first company to dabble in a laughably crude version of the surveillance business-model, aggressively collecting your address every time you bought batteries so they could get into the direct-mail racket. Read the rest
Using some clever computing, Atockar took the NYC Taxicab Dataset and not only calculated the annual income of every hack in New York, but also figured out who goes to strip clubs, what celebrities' home addresses were, and how they tipped. Read the rest
A group of researchers at Drexel University have demonstrated a method of recovering credit card details and other sensitive information from used Xbox 360s, even after they have been "reset to factory defaults." The method is straightforward and uses readily available tools. Ashley Podhradsky, one of the Drexel researchers, says, "Microsoft does a great job of protecting their proprietary information. But they don't do a great job of protecting the user's data."
Which is to say that Microsoft is spending a lot of money and resource in ensuring that your Xbox 360 only runs software that is authorized by Microsoft (like Apple and iOS and Nintendo and the Wii/3DS, Microsoft charges money for the right to sell software that will play on your device). But they don't pay any particular attention to protecting your interests as the owner of the device.
What's more, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which regulates the breaking of software locks, makes it illegal to investigate the internal workings of devices like the Xbox 360, and to publish the details of your findings, where those findings might also aid people in choosing to run unauthorized software on their own property.
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Podhradsky, along with colleagues Rob D'Ovidio and Cindy Casey at Drexel and Pat Engebretson at Dakota State University, bought a refurbished Xbox 360 from a Microsoft-authorized retailer last year. They downloaded a basic modding tool and used it to crack open the gaming console, giving them access to its files and folders. After some work, they were able to identify and extract the original owner's credit card information.