Thanks to "consent" buried deep in sales agreements, car manufacturers are tracking tens of millions of US cars

Millions of new cars sold in the US and Europe are "connected," having some mechanism for exchanging data with their manufacturers after the cars are sold; these cars stream or batch-upload location data and other telemetry to their manufacturers, who argue that they are allowed to do virtually anything they want with this data, thanks to the "explicit consent" of the car owners -- who signed a lengthy contract at purchase time that contained a vague and misleading clause deep in its fine-print. Read the rest

EFF to NSA: you scammed your way to another six years of warrantless spying, and you'd better enjoy it while it lasts

Last week, cowards from both sides of the aisle caved into America's lawless spy agencies, and today bipartisan senators reprised that cowardice to ensure that the Senate would not get a chance to vote on amendments to the renewal of Section 702, the rule that has allowed the NSA to conduct mass, warrantless surveillance on Americans in secret, without meaningful oversight or limits. Read the rest

Surveillance advocate Eric Schmidt is stepping down as head of Google parent company Alphabet

Eric Schmidt, the ex-Sun CEO who came onboard at Google to be the "adult supervision" for the founders and who has repeatedly declared privacy dead and dismissed people who worried about surveillance business-models as unrealistic nutcases, is stepping down as head of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Read the rest

Google Maps knows all

Google is way ahead of the competition when it comes to the detail and complexity of its maps, writes Justin O’Beirne, and its thanks to a relentless program of turning satellite and street view imagery into accurate 3D models of buildings. It knows where your rooftop AC units are, and it's showing them to the world. And it's now calculating the most interesting groups of buildings and depicting them as algorithmically-generated "areas of interest."

And as we saw in “A Year of Google & Apple Maps”, Google has been using computer vision and machine learning to extract business names and locations from its Street View imagery. In other words, Google’s buildings are byproducts of its Satellite/Aerial imagery. And some of Google’s places are byproducts of its Street View imagery......so this makes AOIs a byproduct of byproducts. This is bonkers, isn’t it?

Google is creating data out of data.

It appears the competition (Apple, Microsoft) are so far behind they don't even have the data they need to create the data that Google has. Read the rest

When Justin Trudeau was in opposition, he voted for Canada's PATRIOT Act but promised to fix it; instead he's making it much, much worse

Back in 2015, Canada's failing, doomed Conservative government introduced Bill C-51, a far-reaching mass surveillance bill that read like PATRIOT Act fanfic; Justin Trudeau, leader of what was then a minority opposition party, whipped his MPs to vote for it, allowing it to pass, and cynically admitting that he was only turning this into law because he didn't want to give the Conservatives a rhetorical stick to beat him with in the next election -- he promised that once he was Prime Minister, he'd fix it. Read the rest

China will collect the DNA of every adult in Xinjiang province, where Uyghur people are systematically oppressed

Xinjiang province is the site of intense surveillance and oppression, even by Chinese standards; it's home to the largely Muslim Uyghur minority, and a combination of racism and Islamaphobia drive a uniquely intrusive grade of policing and surveillance. Read the rest

Airbnb guests repeatedly discover hidden cameras in the homes they rent

As the new Wired Guide to Digital Security points out, finding hidden cameras is really, really hard, so the fact that several Airbnb guests have discovered them suggests that there are a bunch more that have never been spotted. Read the rest

Facebook to demand "clear photo of your face"

Facebook is planning to request a "clear photo of your face" on pain of lockout, reports Wired's Nitasha Tiku. It wants you to prove you are a real engagement node, not a bot.

In a statement to WIRED, a Facebook spokesperson said the photo test is intended to “help us catch suspicious activity at various points of interaction on the site, including creating an account, sending Friend requests, setting up ads payments, and creating or editing ads.”

The process is automated, including identifying suspicious activity and checking the photo. To determine if the account is authentic, Facebook looks at whether the photo is unique. The Facebook spokesperson said the photo test is one of several methods, both automated and manual, used to detect suspicious activity.

Soon, Windows 95 Tips will be reality:

Read the rest

Australia is a world leader in internet usage and bad internet policies, so Australians want better policies

Australia is one of the world leaders in internet adoption and usage, and it's also been one of the worst offenders in bad internet policy, with a track record to rival even America's reckless indifference to the internet's overall importance. Read the rest

Reverse-engineering a connected Furby toy, revealing its disturbing security defects

When Context Labs teamed up with UK consumer group Which? to produce an outstanding report on the surveillance, privacy and security risks of kids' "connected toys," it undertook the reverse-engineering of Hasbro's new Furby Connect, a device that works with a mobile app to listen and watch the people around it and interact with them. Read the rest

Investigators claim that Oxbridge and other top UK universities are operating a massive, illegal surveillance dragnet aimed at students/alumni and their friends and families

An investigation by the (generally terrible) Daily Mail claims that the Russell Group, which includes top UK universities like Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, the LSE, and 20 other universities, hired "wealth screening firms" that illegally spied on students, grads and their families and friends to determine who to ask for money, and how much to ask for. Read the rest

The only known recording of Hitler's normal speaking voice

In 1942, Hitler paid a secret visit to Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland and Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Defence Forces in honor of Mannerheim's 75th birthday. Read the rest

Web analytics companies offer "replay sessions" that let corporations watch every click and keystroke for individual users

The "replay sessions" captured by surveillance-oriented "analytics" companies like Fullstory allow their customers -- "Walgreens, Zocdoc, Shopify, CareerBuilder, SeatGeek, Wix.com, Digital Ocean, DonorsChoose.org, and more" -- to watch everything you do when you're on their webpages -- every move of the mouse, every keystroke (even keystrokes you delete before submitting), and more, all attached to your real name, stored indefinitely, and shared widely with many, many "partners." Read the rest

The Internet of Shit is so manifestly insecure that people are staying away from it in droves

In Deloitte's new 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, the company notes that "connected home systems—a category that includes home security, thermostats, and lighting—continue to lag behind other connected devices such as entertainment systems and connected vehicles," which the report attributes to "concerns about security and privacy." Read the rest

Motherboard's excellent, accessible guide to internet security

The Motherboard Guide To Not Getting Hacked is an excellent adjunct to existing guides (I like EFF's Surveillance Self-Defense and The Cryptoparty Handbook) to defending yourself against criminals, stalkers, cops, and other potential intruders into your digital life. Read the rest

Teardown of a consumer voice/location cellular spying device that fits in the tip of a USB cable

Mich from ha.cking bought a $25 "S8 data line locator" device -- a cellular spying tool, disguised as a USB cable and marketed to the general public -- and did a teardown of the gadget, offering a glimpse into the world of "trickle down surveillance" where the kinds of surveillance tools used by the NSA are turned into products and sold to randos over the internet for $25. Read the rest

Step-by-step guide to locking down your Facebook account

If you're still using Facebook (I don't), your data is being used to profile you in seriously creepy ways; the best thing you can do is delete your Facebook account, but second-best is locking down your account, using the deliberately confusing, overly complexified privacy dashboard. Read the rest

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