Israeli spyware firm NSO Group 're-acquired' by founders

The NSO Group is an Israeli firm that has long marketed itself as a "cyber warfare" company, selling mobile surveillance technology to governments that include notoriously corrupt human rights abusers. One of these is Mexico, where NSO spyware played a key role in targeting teachers and journalists, and missing students.

On Thursday, NSO Group announced it has been “re-acquired” by its founders. Read the rest

Ios and Android app stores both host Saudi government app that lets men track their spouses' movements

Senator Ron Wyden has publicly denounced both Apple and Google for hosting mobile apps that connect to Absher, a Saudi government service designed to allow Saudi men to track their spouses and employees' whereabouts at all times. Read the rest

New York City's new rideshare regs put Big Brother in backseat, give GPS tracking a whole new meaning

Whether you love them or hate them, rideshares like Uber and Lyft have become a daily part of life for millions of New Yorkers. These app-based services make it easy to pay for your ride, but while the privacy cost isn’t always as clear, it’s about to get a lot larger. These apps have tracked our movements since they launched, but as of this month, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) started tracking us too. Read the rest

Washington State sheriff used courtroom camera to zoom in on defense attorney and juror's private notes

A San Juan county assault case has been thrown out after it was revealed that Sheriff Ron Krebs had used the courtroom's cameras to zoom in on the notes of the defense attorney and a juror. Read the rest

Bob Mould's catchy new music video about surveillance and paranoia

Punk legend and Boing Boing pal Bob Mould's new album Sunshine Rock is out this Friday, February 8. To tide you over, enjoy Bob's funny-'cause-it's-true music video for the track "Lost Faith."

"There's a hint of migration, a dash of border security and a whisper of government surveillance, climaxing across the multicolored canvas of an abandoned NSA listening station perched atop the highest hill in Berlin," Bob told NPR. "But at the end of the day, it's a high-end music video for a catchy, inspirational, uplifting pop song."

Directed and filmed by Philipp Virus; Filmed and edited by Mario Bergmann; Treatment by Bob Mould. Read the rest

American prisoners coerced or tricked into providing voice-prints for use in eternal, secret, unchecked surveillance

American prisoners are being forced -- on pain of losing access to the prison phone system -- to provide training data for a voice-print recognition algorithm that private contractors are building for biometric surveillance system that listens in on prisoners' calls. Read the rest

#JussieSmollett: Chicago Police seek surveillance cams to ID attackers, 'MAGA' claims were true

Chicago Police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi tweeted a case update tonight on the attack reported against 'EMPIRE' actor Jussie Smollett. Read the rest

The Safe Face Pledge: an ethical code of conduct for facial recognition scientists and developers

The Safe Face Pledge launched last month as a "pledge to mitigate abuse of facial analysis technology," with four themes: "Show Value for Human Life, Dignity, and Rights;" "Address Harmful Bias"; "Facilitate Transparency"; and "Embed Commitments into Business Practices" (SAFE). Read the rest

Google Fi to carriers: don't sell our customers' location data to third parties

In the wake of this week's Motherboard scoop that the major US carriers sell customers' location data to marketing companies that sell it on to bounty hunters and other unsavory characters, Google has disclosed that they have told the carriers that supply service for its Google Fi mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that they expect that Fi customers' data will not be sold this way. Read the rest

Vizio exec: we'd have to charge a premium on "dumb" TVs to make up for the money we'll lose by not spying on you

At CES, the Verge's Nilay Patel interviewed Vizio CTO Bill Baxter, who told her that when it comes to the surveillance features of his company's "smart" TVs, "it’s not just about data collection. It’s about post-purchase monetization of the TV...[When it comes to 'dumb' TVs,] we’d collect a little bit more margin at retail to offset it." Read the rest

Whistleblower: Amazon Ring stores your doorbell and home video feeds unencrypted and grants broad "unfettered" access to them

Sources "familiar with Ring's practices" have told The Intercept that the company -- a division of Amazon that makes streaming cameras designed to be mounted inside and outside your home -- stores the video feeds from its customers' homes in unencrypted format and allows staff around the world to have essentially unfettered access to these videos. Read the rest

The ACLU made the Border Patrol reveal its terrifying legal theories

After four years of Freedom of Information Act litigation, the ACLU has prevailed and forced the Customs and Border Patrol to release 1,000 pages' worth of training documents in which new agents learn when they can stop people and what they can do after they stop them. Read the rest

Credit card activity as a predictor of mass shootings

The New York Times has published an investigation into infamous American mass shootings and found that a significant proportion of mass shooters go on credit-card fueled spending sprees prior to their acts of terror, and that these shooters worry (needlessly, as it turns out) that their unusual credit-card spending will be flagged by financial institutions, resulting in their cards being frozen. Read the rest

London cops are subjecting people in the centre of town to facial recognition today and tomorrow

People in Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square are being told by the London Metropolitan Police to submit to a trial of the force's notoriously inaccurate, racially biased facial recognition system, which clocks in an impressive error-rate of 98% (the system has been decried by Professor Paul Wiles, the British biometrics commissioner, as an unregulated mess). Read the rest

Taylor Swift used facial recognition tech at concerts to spy on stalkers

Taylor Swift used facial recognition technology at her live performances so that technicians running the system could then check those face scans against a private database of her stalkers. Read the rest

Surveillance libraries in common smartphone apps have amassed dossiers on the minute-to-minute movements of 200 million+ Americans

An investigation by the New York Times into the shadowy world of location-data brokerages found a whole menagerie of companies from IBM, Foursquare and the Weather Channel to obscure players like Groundtruth, Fysical and Safegraph, who pay app vendors to include their tracking code in common apps. Read the rest

Assessing Snowden's legacy, five years on

Five and a half years ago, Edward Snowden put his life on the line, gave up his country, and went into exile, just to reveal that he had been part of a widespread, illegal mass-surveillance program within the US government -- an illegal enterprise that the most senior spies in the nation had routinely lied about (including lying to Congress), and that had distorted the internet, suborning the titans of surveillance capitalism and pressing them into service as part of a program of national surveillance unlike any the world has ever seen. Read the rest

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