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

"The End of Trust" - EFF/McSweeney's collaboration on privacy and surveillance - is in stores and free to download now!

The End of Trust (previously) is a special issue of McSweeney's, produced in collaboration with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, on the themes of technology, privacy and surveillance: it's in stores today, and free to download under a Creative Commons license. Read the rest

Here's the secret details of 200 cities' license-plate tracking programs

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Muckrock teamed up to use the Freedom of Information Act to extract the details of 200 US cities' Automated License Plate Recognition camera programs (ALPR), and today they've released a dataset containing all the heretofore secret data on how these programs are administered and what is done with the data they collect. Read the rest

"Privacy Not Included": Mozilla's guide to insecure, surveillant gadgets to avoid

"Privacy Not Included" is Mozilla's Christmas shopping (anti)-guide to toys and gadgets that spy on you and/or make stupid security blunders, rated by relative "creepiness," from the Nintendo Switch (a little creepy) to the Fredi Baby monitor (very creepy!). Read the rest

ICE and the DEA have secretly hidden cameras in some streetlights

Government procurement data reveals that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Agency have each spent tens of thousands of dollars on products from Houston's Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC, which specializes in fake streetlight housings designed to conceal surveillance cameras. Read the rest

The internet is made up of revolutionary technologies, but isn't revolutionary

My latest Locus Magazine column is What the Internet Is For: it describes the revolutionary principle (end-to-end communications) and technologies (general purpose computers, strong cryptography) that undergird the net, but also cautions that these are, themselves, not sufficient to revolutionize the world. 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

Is this the full list of US cities that have bought or considered Predpol's predictive policing services?

Predpol (previously) is a "predictive policing" company that sells police forces predictive analytics tools that take in police data about crimes and arrests and spits out guesses about where the police should go to find future crimes. Read the rest

Carnival Cruise came with secret camera in couple's bedroom

Chris and Dana White went on a three-day Caribbean cruise out of Mobile, Alabama, only to find a camera hidden in the bundle of wires off the TV set.

"I said, 'Is that what I think it is?' " Chris White said. "And she looked at it and she became concerned. And we were just really flabbergasted that there's a camera in the room and it's plugged up and it's working."

The couple called Carnival security and used their cellphone to film an employee who inspected and disassembled the device. "I was thinking, 'I can't believe this is actually happening to us,' " he said.

In a statement to USA TODAY, Carnival acknowledged a "video transmitter" was found during a full investigation by the shipboard team, but notes it "was not connected to an electrical source and not capable of recording."

Read the rest

Every minute for three months, GM secretly gathered data on 90,000 drivers' radio-listening habits and locations

On September 12th, GM's director of global digital transformation Saejin Park gave a presentation to the Association of National Advertisers in which he described how the company had secretly gathered data on the radio-listening habits of 90,000 GM owners in LA and Chicago for three months in 2017, tracking what stations they listened to and for how long, and where they were at the time; this data was covertly exfiltrated from the cars by means of their built-in wifi. Read the rest

"Smart home" companies refuse to say whether law enforcement is using your gadgets to spy on you

Transparency reports are standard practice across the tech industry, disclosing the nature, quantity and scope of all the law enforcement requests each company receives in a given year. Read the rest

Dystopia watch: Guide to spotting hidden cameras in your Airbnb

If you're worried that your Airbnb host has hidden a camera in the place you've rented, because that is a thing that garbage people do, you can use these handy tips to spot it. Read the rest

Parolee arrested after making and posting video on how to remove ankle monitor with butterknife

Dustin W. Burns, 33, of Springfield, Missouri, on probation after violating a restraining order, was arrested again after he allegedly made an instructional video on how to remove an ankle monitor with a butterknife and posted the clip on Facebook.

"This is how you take an ankle bracelet off," says the voice in the video, "without breaking the circuit." From Springfield News-Leader:

In August, the Facebook account posted a video of a man who looks like Burns walking through what appears to be a large marijuana farm with the caption: "Dream come true."

Court records show several probation violations were filed this summer against Burns and a warrant for his arrest was issued...

Burns was charged this week with tampering with electronic monitoring equipment, a felony, court records say.

Post by dustin.burns770. Read the rest

French spy used darknet to sell access to national mass-surveillance databases

A cop working for the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (the French national domestic surveillance agency) used the darknet marketplace Black Hand to sell access to France's prodigious national surveillance apparatus to criminals: give him a phone number and he'd track its location; give him a name and he'd tell you whether that person was under police investigation and disclose the contents of the associated files; he'd also sell you everything you needed to forge papers and other official documents (he took payment in Bitcoin). Read the rest

We've got a front-row seat for Europe's internet censorship plan

The EU's wide-ranging plan for indiscriminate internet censorship has progressed from a vote in the European Parliament and now reps from the EU will meet with reps from the 28 countries that make up the EU to hammer out the final text that will be put to the Parliament for what might be the final vote before it becomes law. Read the rest

Advisor quits Google Toronto's "smart city" project over privacy concerns

Google sister company Sidewalk Labs is building a creepy, heavily surveilled "smart city" in the midst of Toronto. Read the rest

Google releases Android encrypted DNS app that will help beat censorship

Google sister-company Jigsaw (previously) has released an Android app called Intra that encrypts DNS queries, which allows Android users to bypass one of the most common forms of internet censorship. Read the rest

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