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Surveillance state vs. freedom of travel / right to privacy


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Some of you may recall the discussions from the old board going on ten years now about GPS tracking or license plate tracking of automobiles.  Some of you might be aware that Govco has mandated event data recorders (EDRs) in all new cars/automobiles.  I suspect it won't be long before Govco gets the bright idea to expand on their "mission statement".

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Dubai is continuing its drive to become one of the most advanced cities in the world when it comes to transportation.

As well as pioneering the use of taxi drones, the metropolis is also looking at extending communications technology in standard cars.

Under new plans, digital licence plates could be fitted to cars in order to automatically inform the emergency services in case of an accident.

The plates would be connected to GPS transmitters inside the car and inform not only emergency services and the police in the event of an accident, but also other road users to warn them of traffic disruption.

Sultan Abdullah al-Marzouqi, the head of the Vehicle Licensing Department at Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said that the plates will make life easier for drivers in Dubai.

The digital number plates would be synced up to a user's account so that any outstanding parking fees, road fines or licence plate renewals would be automatically deducted.

The plates could also change to display a special alert or some other form of warning if they're stolen.

It's not clear how much the plates will cost, but according to Sultan Abdullah, they are currently being tested. The trial is set to run until November and will find out how the technology works with Dubai's desert climate.

Naturally, there are some privacy concerns as the plates could possibly be used by the authorities to track drivers.

...

https://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/digital-number-plates-connect-cars-12336325

Naturally.

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10 minutes ago, bernorange said:

Some of you may recall the discussions from the old board going on ten years now about GPS tracking or license plate tracking of automobiles.  Some of you might be aware that Govco has mandated event data recorders (EDRs) in all new cars/automobiles.  I suspect it won't be long before Govco gets the bright idea to expand on their "mission statement".

Insurance companies were driving the EDR thing.  They lobbied the hell out of Congress to push that through.  They are always going to push for anything they can use in court to get out of paying out after wrecks.  

Some of the car companies were implementing these for liability reasons as well - witness every time a Tesla wrecks and hits the national news - the Tesla company usually comes out and says "the driver was doing such-and-such, so it's not our fault."

Some of the state governments wanted tracking for tax purposes (of battery-powered vehicles) as well, but voters were not thrilled with that.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Not related to tracking travel/autos, but related to privacy:

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By joining joint law enforcement task forces run by the federal government, local cops can often ignore stringent state and local laws governing surveillance and engage in warrantless spying.
...

How Local Cops Can Ignore Local Laws

When state or local law enforcement officers join a federal joint task force, they are deputized as federal agents. As a result, they can operate under the exact same parameters as an FBI or DEA agent. That means they are no longer bound by state laws governing surveillance. In practice, this allows local cops to ignore state laws as they collect information on people in their communities.

For instance, last year, Illinois passed the most restrictive law on cell site simulators in the country. Commonly referred to as “stingrays," these devices essentially spoof cell phone towers, tricking any device within range into connecting to the stingray instead of the tower. This allows law enforcement to sweep up communications content, as well as locate and track the person in possession of a specific phone or other electronic device.

Under the Illinois law, police must get a warrant before using a stingray to track an individual's location in most situations, and they are barred from using the devices to access data on electronic devices or listen to conversations. But an Illinois police officer serving on a joint task force can ignore the warrant requirement and deploy a stingray despite the state law.

According to a report by the Century Foundation, Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) are particularly invasive due to their broad and sweeping mandate to "prevent terrorism."

The War on Terror Expands Law Enforcement's Reach

Prior to 9/11, there were about 30 JTTFs scattered around the US. Today, more than 180 such task forces operate all across the US. According to memoranda of understanding (MOUs) obtained by the ACLU, state and local law enforcement officers assigned to JTTFs follow federal rules for intelligence gathering.

According to the New Century report, these JTTFs also allow state and local cops to operate in virtual secrecy and with little or no local oversight.
...

More:  https://fee.org/articles/local-cops-can-skirt-state-limits-on-surveillance-by-joining-federal-task-forces/?utm_source=zapier&utm

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One of the few positive things in the ill-named USA FREEDOM Act, enacted in 2015 after the Snowden revelations on NSA domestic spying, is that it required the Director of National Intelligence to regularly report on its domestic surveillance activities. On Friday, the latest report was released on just how much our own government is spying on us. The news is not good at all if you value freedom over tyranny.

According to the annual report, named the Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities, the US government intercepted and stored information from more than a half-billion of our telephone calls and text messages in 2017. That is a 300 percent increase from 2016. All of these intercepts were “legal” under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is ironic because FISA was enacted to curtail the Nixon-era abuse of surveillance on American citizens.

...

More:  http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/07/the-nsa-continues-to-abuse-americans-by-intercepting-their-telephone-calls/

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Something I think needs to become an issue but won't is that metadata collection is extremely powerful and it was ok'd by our court system in the mid-2000's before we had the ability to really wring all the usefulness out of it. For example: Cambridge Analytica did all of their shittery with only metadata made available to advertisers. They weren't combing through your actual posts, just observing who you interacted with and how you interacted with them, only looking at metadata. The NSA has had the green light for nearly two decades now to collect, digest, and exploit metadata to build profiles on citizens and really anyone they care to and they're legally in the clear on it due to precedent. We as a nation have to re-evaluate these judicial decisions on extremely technical topics because they weren't made with the current level of understanding of how dangerous and powerful it is. But we won't do that because we're a nation of idiots led by the king of idiots.

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6 hours ago, Captainant said:

Something I think needs to become an issue but won't is that metadata collection is extremely powerful and it was ok'd by our court system in the mid-2000's before we had the ability to really wring all the usefulness out of it. For example: Cambridge Analytica did all of their shittery with only metadata made available to advertisers. They weren't combing through your actual posts, just observing who you interacted with and how you interacted with them, only looking at metadata. The NSA has had the green light for nearly two decades now to collect, digest, and exploit metadata to build profiles on citizens and really anyone they care to and they're legally in the clear on it due to precedent. We as a nation have to re-evaluate these judicial decisions on extremely technical topics because they weren't made with the current level of understanding of how dangerous and powerful it is. But we won't do that because we're a nation of idiots led by the king of idiots.

Not to disagree with the point of your post, but the code Kogan developed for CA and let Russia collected everything, including direct, private messages between users. They had everything from interactions to post content to sexting privately between users. 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/13/revealed-aleksandr-kogan-collected-facebook-users-direct-messages

That's not even really news here, but it should be a huge scandal. David Carroll had to sue CA in the UK, because our privacy laws are absolutely dogshit. 

Edited by Pods
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On 4/11/2018 at 7:17 AM, atomheartbevo said:

Insurance companies were driving the EDR thing.  They lobbied the hell out of Congress to push that through.  They are always going to push for anything they can use in court to get out of paying out after wrecks.  

Some of the car companies were implementing these for liability reasons as well - witness every time a Tesla wrecks and hits the national news - the Tesla company usually comes out and says "the driver was doing such-and-such, so it's not our fault."

Some of the state governments wanted tracking for tax purposes (of battery-powered vehicles) as well, but voters were not thrilled with that.

Elon Musk says they are lying when they report Teslas crashing while the "safety driver" wasn't paying attention. He's a turd that ruined Teslas good name. 

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-09/tesla-model-s-bursts-flames-after-horrific-crash-killing-two-men-trapped-inside

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Less than two months after a Tesla Model X burst into flames in Mountain View, CA after a gruesome crash attributed to an autopilot error trapped the driver in the burning car resulting in his death, Tesla tragedy has struck again after two 18-year-old men died, trapped in a fiery Model S crash near Fort Lauderdale beach Tuesday evening, the SunSentinel reported.

As WPLG reports, in the "horrific crash" of the Tesla Model S with three young people hit a wall and then caught on fire, while a third teen was ejected from the car.

These autopilot cars weren't ready for release into the public. 

 

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I don't support the required use of GPS trackers.

I'm normally dismissive of the complaints about government surveillance.  But here's my test:  If it's a small community a hundred years ago is it info that the police can and should know?  If it is then it's ok for the police to do that today using advanced technology.  If not, then they can't.  In 1900 the Possum Hollow police couldn't track everybody's every move in a vehicle or horse.  They could find out what books you checked out of the library, whether you attended the Possum Hollow Fair on Saturday, whether you were seen drinking in the Possum Hollow Saloon and even whether you asked Sadie to the dance.  They'd know if you had trouble with the law as a boy.  There are things which were easy for them to know.  And they did.  Everybody knew.  But they didn't know what the doc told you about your illness or what Father Murray heard from you at confession.  They didn't know what you and the wife did behind closed doors.

There is a difference between privacy and anonymity.  We have a right to privacy, not to anonymity.  There is a difference between the police collecting info and us being required to provide it.

We shouldn't be compelled to provide info on our movements even if we can do so without active measures.  If the police want to electronically read our license plate and have a database of our moves that's ok.  The 1900 Sheriff did that with 1900 technology.  But he couldn't track us all the time.

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21 hours ago, TahoeHorn said:

We shouldn't be compelled to provide info on our movements even if we can do so without active measures.  If the police want to electronically read our license plate and have a database of our moves that's ok.  The 1900 Sheriff did that with 1900 technology.  But he couldn't track us all the time.

Most of us in Austin have seen the Austin PD cop cars with the license plate scanners.  That info is saved in a database, and ostensibly it's about tracking stolen cars, Amber/Silver Alerts, etc. and the argument is that the police could compile that info simply by having a cop stand on a corner and write down license plates.  That data is supposed to be destroyed at some point.

If you save that information over time, especially if you equip more and more cop cars with the scanners, the cops are able to build up a helluva profile on where you travel to, and even who you associate with (scanning your plate while parked at a friend's, or at your boss's house whose wife you're banging).

The problem is that it would be too easy to go from being used in active investigations (stolen cars, robberies, Amber Alerts, etc.) to fishing expeditions where they start looking for trouble with people who have done nothing else to arouse suspicion, or they start building up profiles on said people who have done nothing else to arouse suspicion.  

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3 minutes ago, Captainant said:

Back on topic though, 4th circuit actually just had a ruling that suspicionless forensic searches of electronic devices at the border are unconstitutional, in a rare protection of 4th amendment rights

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/05/fourth-circuit-rules-suspicionless-forensic-searches-electronic-devices-border-are

Holy shit, that's amazing.  Company I worked at for several years had a policy of sending folks going overseas with a wiped laptop, or shipping the laptop ahead, to be loaded at the overseas site, because Customs/etc. could be very overzealous with checking laptops.  There was a serious concern that those chucklekfucks were imaging HDDs and going through the data at their will/pleasure.

We never travelled with any laptops or tablets that had any personal stuff on it, because we don't need some dipshits looking through our photos or documents or email.

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Relevant article for Austin.

https://www.mystatesman.com/news/crime--law/documents-austin-police-embracing-wider-use-license-plate-readers/6kZ9vnEgeVKofJehgwn4GO/

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About two years ago, Austin police began exploring the acquisition of equipment that automatically reads license plates with the intention of becoming better at finding stolen vehicles.

But as plans developed, police ideas became grander as they considered expanding the scope of the program to collect data from several hundreds of thousands of drivers each day and allow police access to a vast license plate database, according to an American-Statesman analysis of more than two years of reports, memos, contracts and emails obtained through a public information request.

The automatic license plate readers — or ALPRs — are essentially high-speed cameras that snap photos of license plates and use software to check plate numbers against a database of stolen cars. The technology has been pitched by police as a way to reduce auto thefts, increase the number of stolen vehicles recovered and save taxpayer dollars by indirectly reducing local insurance costs.

But the equipment’s ability to track local drivers’ daily movements has ruffled privacy advocates.

An analysis of the documents found that police have proposed expanding the use of ALPRs to:

  • Collect data on all drivers entering the city through major highways by documenting the time and date through a network of cameras affixed on Interstate 35, MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1), U.S. 183, U.S. 290 and Texas 71, which would essentially encircle the city.
  • Create so-called “virtual stakeouts” by using up to five trailers equipped with automatic license plate readers that can be moved throughout the city, allowing police to aim the cameras at specific locations.
  • Collect license plate data from time-sensitive crime scenes, such as robberies or homicides.

The implications for law enforcement are compelling. ALPRs are considered by police to be a “force multiplier” — a way to make policing more effective without increasing the number of officers on the street. At its best, an ALPR could help a cop catch the plate of a car wanted in an Amber Alert and lead to the rescue of a kidnapped child. At its most worrisome, privacy advocates say, it could be used to monitor drivers who frequent certain religious centers or buildings associated with political groups.

Privacy advocates also worry about possible abuse because of the manufacturers’ policy of maintaining all data collected by the cameras unless directed otherwise.

“The longer they keep the data and the more data points you have, the more you can learn about a person’s behavior — where someone goes to church, what doctors they have or where they slept at night,” said Dave Maass, an investigative researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy watchdog group. “Maybe we can predict where somebody is going to be, and we can tell you who their associates are. It can be very invasive over time.”

Data collected from Austin police plate readers would be held indefinitely for now because no policy has been formalized. However, documents show police officials have suggested data retention of one year.

Earlier this month, police started a $50,000 pilot program, which did not require Austin City Council approval, that affixed cameras to three unmarked patrol vehicles. Officers began uploading plate data to a server maintained by Vigilant Solutions, the California-based company that makes the equipment and its software.

Vigilant officials confirmed that Austin police now have access to a license plate database made possible by plate readers attached to Vigilant’s private clients, mainly tow truck drivers and repo men.

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An original proposal asked for cameras to be placed on all of Austin’s major highways, but that was amended to reduce costs. Instead, police would ask for a bank of cameras to be placed in far North Austin on I-35 to track southbound traffic as it moves into town and likewise in far South Austin for traffic headed north.

The highway cameras lend themselves to monitoring drug or human trafficking, and police consider them a valuable tool in those cases, the documents showed.

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At least one other Central Texas community, though, remains wary about the license plate readers. Last month Kyle City Council Member Daphne Tenorio called the technology “a little too Big Brother-ish” at a meeting where she moved to rescind the city’s no-cost contract with Vigilant Solutions.

Kyle’s agreement with Vigilant was akin to what was being used by some officers in Guadalupe County. The technology would flag drivers with any warrant, including those for unpaid traffic citations.

Vigilant would provide the equipment free as long as it got 25 percent of the fees paid, according to Vigilant Vice President Joe Harzewski, who made his case for the technology to the council before members voted 6-1 to cancel Kyle’s contract.

“It’s a little too invasive for me,” Tenorio said in making the motion. “And while I understand the data isn’t quite kept here and it is in Virginia and locked away, I am uncomfortable with it.”

The council had approved entering Vigilant’s program in January but began questioning the deal after it became unclear whether Vigilant could sell the data to a private company.

Harzewski said Vigilant kept its law enforcement data on a separate server from business data and said that any private company working with Vigilant will not have access to the data.

All Texas law enforcement agencies using Vigilant’s ALPRs do share data, Harzewski said. Vigilant’s software allows for interagency sharing to be turned on and off at the push of a button, he said.

Harzewski said the company’s law enforcement server has never been hacked but noted that data collected by the license plate readers has been abused in the past.

“We’ve had people hand out access where they shouldn’t have,” he said. “We give bulletproof technology to our clients, and they’re free to do with it as they see fit.”

Vigilant estimates that it has collected 3.5 billion license plate impressions, according to company documents provided to Austin police, and is collecting the impressions at the rate of 100 million a month.

ALPRs have been proposed for uses that worry privacy advocates, such as a proposal in Los Angeles to send letters to the homes of drivers whose cars have been recorded driving through areas known for a high amount of prostitution.

Reyes said Austin police would use license plate data stored from vehicles without warrants.

“If we have the data available, why wouldn’t we use it?” Reyes said. “I think what is important is that the information that we collect is for law enforcement purposes only.”

 

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10 minutes ago, Captainant said:

Back on topic though, 4th circuit actually just had a ruling that suspicionless forensic searches of electronic devices at the border are unconstitutional, in a rare protection of 4th amendment rights

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/05/fourth-circuit-rules-suspicionless-forensic-searches-electronic-devices-border-are

The Supreme Court needs to fix the good faith exception shit. Not necessarily to overturn the good faith exception (although I think they should) but at least to require courts to reach the merits of the Fourth Amendment claim before deciding whether the good faith exception applies. Otherwise, no precedent gets created to guide future courts. 

The same problem arises frequently in qualified immunity cases. Courts will dismiss a case on qualified immunity grounds based on finding that a clearly established right wasn't violated but then they'll fail to reach the question of whether the persons constitutional rights were violated, even if such a violation was not previously clearly established, so that the right is now clearly established moving forward.

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8 hours ago, Captainant said:

That has nothing to do with the topic of this thread. Fuck off troll

I could make a thread for every single thing I see on twitter if you would like?

Yeah, it's about the FBI "7th floor" that has been breaking their own rules to spy on people.  Nothing to do with surveillance state.

Edited by SmokeyBear1861
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On 5/7/2018 at 7:05 PM, Pods said:

Not to disagree with the point of your post, but the code Kogan developed for CA and let Russia collected everything, including direct, private messages between users. They had everything from interactions to post content to sexting privately between users. 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/13/revealed-aleksandr-kogan-collected-facebook-users-direct-messages

That's not even really news here, but it should be a huge scandal. David Carroll had to sue CA in the UK, because our privacy laws are absolutely dogshit. 

Following up about that case, he did win in their courts and now US citizens can get the that David Carroll was seeking.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
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California’s dramatic new license plate is hitting the streets — a digital display board that allows changeable messages controlled by the driver or remotely by fleet managers.

The new plates use the same computer technology as Kindle eBook readers, along with a wireless communication system.

They come with their own computer chips and battery.

Motorists who choose to buy the plate can register their vehicles electronically and eliminate the need to physically stick tags on their plates each year. They also may be able to display personal messages — if the DMV decides to allow that.
 

If the car is stolen, the plate's manufacturer says the plate can tell the owner and police exactly where the car is or at least where the license plate is if it has been detached.

...

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/back-seat-driver/article211828814.html

OnStar is optional.  One day, digital license plates (aka real time GPS trackers) may not be.  *sigh *

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1 hour ago, bernorange said:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/back-seat-driver/article211828814.html

OnStar is optional.  One day, digital license plates (aka real time GPS trackers) may not be.  *sigh *

Shit, if you're worried about real-time GPS tracking of your person you shouldn't be carrying a cell phone then. In most states, law enforcement aren't required to obtain a warrant before they get the info from your cell phone company because for some reason, you don't have an expectation of privacy when using a cell phone. Go figure, right?

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  • 2 months later...

Oh hai, big brother!

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Since 2016, Sacramento County officials have been accessing license plate reader data to track welfare recipients suspected of fraud, the Sacramento Bee reported over the weekend.

Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance Director Ann Edwards confirmed to the paper that welfare fraud investigators working under the DHA have used the data for two years on a “case-by-case” basis. Edwards said the DHA pays about $5,000 annually for access to the database.
...
Following an inquiry from the EFF, the DHA has instituted a privacy policy (one that didn’t exist before their initial inquiry) requiring investigators to justify each request for LPR data. The Sacramento Bee reports the DHA accessed the data over a thousand times in two years.

https://gizmodo.com/california-officials-admit-to-using-license-plate-reade-1828313821

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... the Electronic Frontier Foundation ... is particularly concerned that the Sacramento County agency violated state law by accessing the database without rules in place for its use.
...
Through agreements, law enforcement agencies across California and the U.S. upload the images they obtain to a database owned by Livermore-based corporation Vigilant Solutions, which says the data help police solve crimes, track down kidnappers and recover stolen vehicles. Users can search the database by license plate, partial license plate, date or time, year or model of car, or by address where a crime occurred, which can show police which vehicles were in the area, the company’s website says.

The EFF has a more skeptical view of the data-collection practice and said it’s “disturbing” that millions of people who are not suspected of a crime can be tracked with license plate photos.

“ALPR data can paint an intimate portrait of a driver’s life,” EFF’s website says. “ALPR technology can be used to target drivers who visit sensitive places such as health centers, immigration clinics, gun shops, union halls, protests or centers of religious worship.”
...

https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article216093470.html

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  • 3 weeks later...

Considering Snowden's revelations that Google (et al) are essentially data collectors for the NSA, this is more great news portending the future of cashless society and the surveillance state:

Quote

For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.

But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement.
...
"People don’t expect what they buy physically in a store to be linked to what they are buying online,” said Christine Bannan, counsel with the advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). "There’s just far too much burden that companies place on consumers and not enough responsibility being taken by companies to inform users what they’re doing and what rights they have.”
...
Through this test program, Google can anonymously match these existing user profiles to purchases made in physical stores. The result is powerful: Google knows that people clicked on ads and can now tell advertisers that this activity led to actual store sales.
...
Initially, Google devised its own solution, a mobile payments service first called Google Wallet. Part of the original goal was to tie clicks on ads to purchases in physical stores, according to someone who worked on the product. But adoption never took off, so Google began looking for allies. A spokeswoman said its payments service was never used for ads measurement.

Since 2014, Google has flagged for advertisers when someone who clicked an ad visits a physical store, using the Location History feature in Google Maps. Still, the advertiser didn’t know if the shopper made a purchase. So Google added more. A tool, introduced the following year, let advertisers upload email addresses of customers they’ve collected into Google’s ad-buying system, which then encrypted them. Additionally, Google layered on inputs from third-party data brokers, such as Experian Plc and Acxiom Corp., which draw in demographic and financial information for marketers.

But those tactics didn’t always translate to more ad spending. Retail outlets weren’t able to connect the emails easily to their ads. And the information they received from data brokers about sales was imprecise or too late. Marketing executives didn’t adopt these location tools en masse, said Christina Malcolm, director at the digital ad agency iProspect. "It didn’t give them what they needed to go back to their bosses and tell them, 'We’re hitting our numbers,’" she said.

Then Google brought in card data. In May 2017, the company introduced "Store Sales Measurement." It had two components. The first lets companies with personal information on consumers, like encrypted email addresses, upload those into Google’s system and synchronize ad buys with offline sales. The second injects card data.

It works like this: a person searches for "red lipstick" on Google, clicks on an ad, surfs the web but doesn’t buy anything. Later, she walks into a store and buys red lipstick with her Mastercard. The advertiser who ran the ad is fed a report from Google, listing the sale along with other transactions in a column that reads "Offline Revenue" -- only if the web surfer is logged into a Google account online and made the purchase within 30 days of clicking the ad. The advertisers are given a bulk report with the percentage of shoppers who clicked or viewed an ad then made a relevant purchase.
...
But some privacy critics derided the tool as opaque. EPIC submitted a complaint about the sales measuring tack to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last year. A report in August that Facebook Inc. was talking with banks about accessing information for consumer service products sparked similar criticism. For years, Facebook and Google have worked to link their massive troves of user behavior with consumer financial data.
...

More:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-30/google-and-mastercard-cut-a-secret-ad-deal-to-track-retail-sales

The bolded section was news to me. I'm aware of brick and mortar retailers requesting email addresses at the checkout counter, but I always assumed it was so they could send you spam (err, sales announcements). Now I see that it potentially gives the NSA (err, Google) a more integrated surveillance tool (at least, for folks who browse the internet while logged in to a Google service).

 

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5 hours ago, bernorange said:

Considering Snowden's revelations that Google (et al) are essentially data collectors for the NSA, this is more great news portending the future of cashless society and the surveillance state:

More:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-30/google-and-mastercard-cut-a-secret-ad-deal-to-track-retail-sales

The bolded section was news to me. I'm aware of brick and mortar retailers requesting email addresses at the checkout counter, but I always assumed it was so they could send you spam (err, sales announcements). Now I see that it potentially gives the NSA (err, Google) a more integrated surveillance tool (at least, for folks who browse the internet while logged in to a Google service).

 

This is an extension of something that has been happening for a couple of decades.  Retailers and CC companies track a helluva lot more than most people realize.  I was working on this kind of stuff over a decade ago.

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On 5/10/2018 at 8:26 AM, Captainant said:

Back on topic though, 4th circuit actually just had a ruling that suspicionless forensic searches of electronic devices at the border are unconstitutional, in a rare protection of 4th amendment rights

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/05/fourth-circuit-rules-suspicionless-forensic-searches-electronic-devices-border-are

That's good, at least we know someone still thinks in behalf of the citizens of America, over that of corporate greed; such as the case of Facebook reinstating a banned data firm...

 

Quote

 

Facebook reinstates data firm it suspended for alleged misuse, but ...

Fast Company-Aug 22, 2018
“We prohibit the use of our data products for surveillance purposes, or for ... with Facebook and other services are crucial to government and ...

 

 
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NWO doesn't like end to end encryption.  This is one of the most fundamental issues regarding liberty and tyranny of our age.  Should the five eyes succeed, it will give governments around the world massive potential for tyranny and abuse.

https://techcrunch.com/2018/09/03/five-eyes-governments-call-on-tech-giants-to-build-encryption-backdoors-or-else/

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  • 5 weeks later...
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The next time you drive past one of those road signs with a digital readout showing how fast you’re going, don’t simply assume it’s there to remind you not to speed. It may actually be capturing your license plate data.

According to recently released US federal contracting data, the Drug Enforcement Administration will be expanding the footprint of its nationwide surveillance network with the purchase of “multiple” trailer-mounted speed displays “to be retrofitted as mobile LPR [License Plate Reader] platforms.” The DEA is buying them from RU2 Systems Inc., a private Mesa, Arizona company. How much it’s spending on the signs has been redacted.

Two other, apparently related contracts, show that the DEA has hired a small machine shop in California, and another in Virginia, to conceal the readers within the signs. An RU2 representative said the company providing the LPR devices themselves is a Canadian firm called Genetec.

The DEA launched its National License Plate Reader Program in 2008; it was publicly revealed for the first time during a congressional hearing four years after that. The DEA’s most recent budget describes the program as “a federation of independent federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement license plate readers linked into a cooperative system, designed to enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to interdict drug traffickers, money launderers or other criminal activities on high drug and money trafficking corridors and other public roadways throughout the U.S.,” primarily along the southwest border region, and the country’s northeast and southeast corridors.

...

More:  https://qz.com/1400791/that-road-sign-telling-you-how-fast-youre-driving-may-be-part-of-a-us-government-surveillance-network/

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...

Taken in the aggregate, ALPR data can paint an intimate portrait of a driver’s life and even chill First Amendment protected activity. ALPR technology can be used to target drivers who visit sensitive places such as health centers, immigration clinics, gun shops, union halls, protests, or centers of religious worship.

...

When combined, ALPR data can reveal the direction and speed a person traveled through triangulation. In aggregate over time, the data can reveal a vehicle’s historical travel. With algorithms applied to the data, the systems can reveal regular travel patterns and predict where a driver may be in the future. The data also reveal all visitors to a particular location

...

Vigilant Solutions and ELSAG are the largest ALPR vendors.

Vigilant Solutions' subsidiary Digital Recognition Network, along with MVTrac, are the two main companies hiring contractors to collect ALPR data across the country. The companies then share the data not just with law enforcement but also with auto recovery (aka "repo") companies, banks, credit reporting agencies, and insurance companies.  Data collected by private entities does not have retention limits and is not subject to sunshine laws, or any of the other safeguards that are sometimes found in the government sector.

...

ALPR is a powerful surveillance technology that can be used to invade the privacy of individuals as well as to violate the rights of entire communities.

Law enforcement agencies have abused this technology. Police officers in New York drove down a street and electronically recorded the license plate numbers of everyone parked near a mosque. Police in Birmingham targeted a Muslim community while misleading the public about the project. ALPR data EFF obtained from the Oakland Police Department showed that police disproportionately deploy ALPR-mounted vehicles in low-income communities and communities of color.

Moreover, many individual officers have abused law enforcement databases, including license plate information and records held by motor vehicle departments. In 1998, a Washington, D.C. police officer “pleaded guilty to extortion after looking up the plates of vehicles near a gay bar and blackmailing the vehicle owners.” Police officers have also used databases to search romantic interests in Florida. A former female police officer in Minnesota discovered that her driver’s license record was accessed 425 times by 18 different agencies across the state.

In addition to deliberate misuse, ALPRs sometimes misread plates, leading to dire consequences. In 2009, San Francisco police pulled over Denise Green, an African-American city worker, handcuffed her at gunpoint, forced her to her knees, and searched both her and her vehicle—all because her car was misidentified as stolen due to a license plate reader error. Her experience led the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to rule that technology alone can’t be the basis of such a stop, but that judgment does not apply everywhere, leaving people vulnerable to similar law enforcement errors. 

...

More:  https://www.eff.org/pages/automated-license-plate-readers-alpr

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Today the US Transportation Security Administration released a detailed TSA Biometric Roadmap for Aviation Security & the Passenger Experience, making explicit the goal of requiring mug shots (to be used for automated facial recognition and image-based surveillance and control) as a condition of all domestic or international air travel.

This makes explicit the goal that has been apparent, but only implicit, in the activities and statements of both government agencies and airline and airport trade associations.

It’s a terrifyingly totalitarian vision of pervasive surveillance of air travelers at, quite literally and deliberately, every step of their journey, enabled by automated facial recognition and by the seamless collaboration of airlines and airport operators that will help the government surveil their customers ...

More:  https://papersplease.org/wp/2018/10/15/tsa-announces-biometrics-vision-for-all-commercial-aviation-travelers/#more-12947

 

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Delta says the Atlanta airport’s Terminal F has become the “first biometric terminal” in the United States where passengers can use facial recognition technology “from curb to gate.”

And Delta has already announced plans to offer the technology at another of its hubs: Detroit.
...
How will it work?

Delta says customers enter their passport information during online check-in. Or, at the airport, customers can scan their passport to check in. Next, passengers can click “look” as they check in at one of Delta’s automated kiosks. Travelers' face scans will be matched to passport or visa photos on file with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Delta says customers have the same option as they “approach the camera at the counter in the lobby, the TSA checkpoint or when boarding at the gate.”
...
“Nearly all 25,000 customers who travel through ATL Terminal F each week are choosing this optional process, with less than 2 percent opting out,” Delta said in a statement. “And, based on initial data, the facial recognition option is saving an average of two seconds for each customer at boarding, or nine minutes when boarding a wide body aircraft.”

Delta plans to make its Detroit hub the next of its terminals to get the “curb to gate” biometric option.
...

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2018/11/29/delta-usas-first-biometric-terminal-ready-go-atlanta-airport/2145655002/

We live in a nation of morons. Willingly submitting to the biometric mark of the beast for a paltry two seconds of convenience.

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8 minutes ago, bernorange said:

Nearly all 25,000 customers who travel through ATL Terminal F each week are choosing this optional process, with less than 2 percent opting out,” Delta said in a statement. “And, based on initial data, the facial recognition option is saving an average of two seconds for each customer at boarding, or nine minutes when boarding a wide body aircraft.”

Yeah, because they don't tell you you can opt out.  I flew out of there in September going to Italy and when boarding they just told everyone, "ok, step up and look into the camera.  We are using facial recognition technology today!"  It didn't sound like a choice.

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Update, 12/6: The bill has now passed after the Labor party agreed to drop its proposed amendments — you can read full details of the bill here.
~~~
Australia’s controversial anti-encryption bill is one step closer to becoming law, after the two leading but sparring party political giants struck a deal to pass the legislation.

The bill, in short, grants Australian police greater powers to issue “technical notices” — a nice way of forcing companies — even websites — operating in Australia to help the government hack, implant malware, undermine encryption or insert backdoors at the behest of the government.

If companies refuse, they could face financial penalties.
...
In all, the proposed provisions have been widely panned by experts, who argue that the bill is vague and contradictory, but powerful, and still contains “dangerous loopholes.” And, opponents warn (as they have for years) that any technical backdoors that allow the government to access end-to-end encrypted messages could be exploited by hackers.
...
But the rhetoric isn’t likely to dampen the rush by the global surveillance pact — the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, known as the so-called “Five Eyes” group of nations — to push for greater access to encrypted data. Only earlier this year, the governmental coalition said in no uncertain terms that it would force backdoors if companies weren’t willing to help their governments spy.

Of the Five Eyes, the U.K. was first with its 2016-ratified Investigatory Powers Act, a controversial law that critics dubbed the “snoopers’ charter.” The European Court of Human Rights later found that parts of the surveillance powers violated human rights laws — including obtaining communications data directly from providers.

Near-identical powers proposed by Australia’s draft bill, much in the U.K.’s shadows, however, aren’t covered under European law — and are likely to escape any international legal challenge.
...

 

https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/05/australia-rushes-its-dangerous-anti-encryption-bill-into-parliament/

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Some potentially good news:

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A California judge has ruled that American cops can’t force people to unlock a mobile phone with their face or finger. The ruling goes further to protect people’s private lives from government searches than any before and is being hailed as a potentially landmark decision.

Previously, U.S. judges had ruled that police were allowed to force unlock devices like Apple’s iPhone with biometrics, such as fingerprints, faces or irises. That was despite the fact feds weren’t permitted to force a suspect to divulge a passcode. ...

The order came from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in the denial of a search warrant for an unspecified property in Oakland. ...

... Judge Westmore declared that the government did not have the right, even with a warrant, to force suspects to incriminate themselves by unlocking their devices with their biological features. Previously, courts had decided biometric features, unlike passcodes, were not “testimonial.” That was because a suspect would have to willingly and verbally give up a passcode, which is not the case with biometrics. A password was therefore deemed testimony, but body parts were not, and so not granted Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination.

That created a paradox: How could a passcode be treated differently to a finger or face, when any of the three could be used to unlock a device and expose a user’s private life?

And that’s just what Westmore focused on in her ruling. Declaring that “technology is outpacing the law,” the judge wrote that fingerprints and face scans were not the same as “physical evidence” when considered in a context where those body features would be used to unlock a phone.

“If a person cannot be compelled to provide a passcode because it is a testimonial communication, a person cannot be compelled to provide one’s finger, thumb, iris, face, or other biometric feature to unlock that same device,” the judge wrote.

“The undersigned finds that a biometric feature is analogous to the 20 nonverbal, physiological responses elicited during a polygraph test, which are used to determine guilt or innocence, and are considered testimonial.”
...

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/01/14/feds-cant-force-you-to-unlock-your-iphone-with-finger-or-face-judge-rules/#3205933c42b7

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Here's a somewhat different tangent on the same theme...

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is building a $99-million supercomputer that will give the agency the “unprecedented ability to track the lives and transactions of tens of millions of American citizens,” tax expert Daniel Pilla reports.

The IRS is already dangerous enough, notes Pilla. “The IRS lays claim to your data without court authority more so than any other government agency. And to make matters worse, they share the data with any other federal, state or local government agency claiming an interest, including foreign governments.”
...
... the agency is investing $99 million in a contract with Palantir Technologies of Palo Alto, California, to provide hardware, software, and training to “capture, curate, store, search, share, transfer, perform deconfliction, analyze and visualize large amounts of disparate structured and unstructured data.”

Specifically, Palantir is tasked with building and training IRS employees to use a supercomputer to “search, analyze, visualize, and interact with a wide variety of disparate data sets so users will be able to leverage the platform to perform advanced analytics, such as link, pattern, statistical, behavioral, and geospatial analysis on an investigative platform that is scalable and interoperable with existing IRS equipment and systems.”
...

https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/31263-irs-becoming-big-brother-with-99-million-supercomputer

Sounds like the IRS is trying to catch up to Google and the NSA.

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9 minutes ago, bernorange said:

Here's a somewhat different tangent on the same theme...

https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/31263-irs-becoming-big-brother-with-99-million-supercomputer

Sounds like the IRS is trying to catch up to Google and the NSA.

In addition to the privacy implications what a colossal waste of money. The government already has the ability to do this in spades. Other agencies always get involved with tax evasion.  Why does the IRS need more tools that the government already has?

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35 minutes ago, bernorange said:

Here's a somewhat different tangent on the same theme...

https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/31263-irs-becoming-big-brother-with-99-million-supercomputer

Sounds like the IRS is trying to catch up to Google and the NSA.

Peter Thiel’s company.  He’s a Trump supporter.  

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I don't see the issue with GPS trackers. To me, they make more sense in a positive light than a negative. If you get into a wreck out on a country road, you can be found. If your car gets stolen, it can be found. If you teenage child is missing, there is a recourse. Tracking my driving habits also lends data to road construction/work that may need to be done due to congestion. If I am suspected of a crime that I didn't do, my whereabouts could be used as supporting data for my alibi.

People get tracked all the time through cell phones, even on an advertisement level. Not sure how this would restrict your freedom to travel or right to privacy. You give up your right to privacy when you enter into public.

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21 minutes ago, atomheartbevo said:

Peter Thiel’s company.  He’s a Trump supporter.  

I media bias checked that website and it came back shady as fuck.  Like they dabble in conspiracy and pseudo science, including pushing the anti-vax shit.

https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/new-american-news/

Edited by Hugo Stiglitz
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To be clear, Palantir Technologies is the company co-founded by Peter Thiel, not New American News.  More about Palantir here:

Quote

...
Everything about Palantir is unique. Founded in 2004 by a group of ex-Stanford students including Karp, Joe Lonsdale and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, it's the most valuable venture-backed start-up focused on selling to enterprises.

Palantir is notorious for its secrecy, and for good reason. Its software allows customers to make sense of massive amounts of sensitive data to enable fraud detection, data security, rapid health care delivery and catastrophe response.

Government agencies are big buyers of the technology. The FBI, CIA, Department of Defense and IRS have all been customers. Between 30 and 50 percent of Palantir's business is tied to the public sector, according to people familiar with its finances. In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture arm, was an early investor.

Annual revenue topped $1.5 billion in 2015, sources say, meaning Palantir is bigger than top publicly traded cloud software companies like Workday and ServiceNow. It has about 1,800 employees and is growing headcount 30 percent annually, said the sources, who asked not to be named because the numbers are private.
...

https://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/12/the-cia-backed-start-up-thats-taking-over-palo-alto.html

Edited by bernorange
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... A new initiative from Sidewalk Labs, the city-building subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has set out to change that.

The program, known as Replica, offers planning agencies the ability to model an entire city’s patterns of movement. Like “SimCity,” Replica’s “user-friendly” tool deploys statistical simulations to give a comprehensive view of how, when, and where people travel in urban areas. It’s an appealing prospect for planners making critical decisions about transportation and land use. In recent months, transportation authorities in Kansas City, Portland, and the Chicago area have signed up to glean its insights. The only catch: They’re not completely sure where the data is coming from.

Typical urban planners rely on processes like surveys and trip counters that are often time-consuming, labor-intensive, and outdated. Replica, instead, uses real-time mobile location data. As Nick Bowden of Sidewalk Labs has explained, “Replica provides a full set of baseline travel measures that are very difficult to gather and maintain today, including the total number of people on a highway or local street network, what mode they’re using (car, transit, bike, or foot), and their trip purpose (commuting to work, going shopping, heading to school).”

To make these measurements, the program gathers and de-identifies the location of cellphone users, which it obtains from unspecified third-party vendors. It then models this anonymized data in simulations — creating a synthetic population that faithfully replicates a city’s real-world patterns but that “obscures the real-world travel habits of individual people,” as Bowden told The Intercept.

The program comes at a time of growing unease with how tech companies use and share our personal data — and raises new questions about Google’s encroachment on the physical world.

Last month, the New York Times revealed how sensitive location data is harvested by third parties from our smartphones — often with weak or nonexistent consent provisions. A Motherboard investigation in early January further demonstrated how cell companies sell our locations to stalkers and bounty hunters willing to pay the price.

For some, the Google sibling’s plans to gather and commodify real-time location data from millions of cellphones adds to these concerns. “The privacy concerns are pretty extreme,” Ben Green, an urban technology expert and author of “The Smart Enough City,” wrote in an email to The Intercept. “Mobile phone location data is extremely sensitive.” These privacy concerns have been far from theoretical. An Associated Press investigation showed that Google’s apps and website track people even after they have disabled the location history on their phones. Quartz found that Google was tracking Android users by collecting the addresses of nearby cellphone towers even if all location services were turned off. The company has also been caught using its Street View vehicles to collect the Wi-Fi location data from phones and computers.
...

https://theintercept.com/2019/01/28/google-alphabet-sidewalk-labs-replica-cellphone-data/

Google is a front end data miner for the NSA, et. al. You can rest assured that while corporate customers get "de-identified" data, the NSA et.al. have access to the full database.

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On 1/15/2019 at 10:25 AM, bernorange said:

Facial recognition would seem to offer the police a way around this ruling.  As a police officer is arresting bernorange, another cop can hold up the phone to bernorange's face to unlock it.  "no your honor, the phone was unlocked when I picked it up. the defendant must have unlocked it prior to the arrest"

I could also see the police ultimately switching from normal mugshots to 3d imaging.  Then if needed, produce a 3d printed version of your face, potentially unlocking a suspect's phone.  They may not go to that trouble for a DWI suspect but perhaps a murder suspect.  

 

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From the UK:

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A man has been fined after refusing to be scanned by controversial facial recognition cameras being trialled by the Metropolitan Police.

The force had put out a statement saying “anyone who declines to be scanned will not necessarily be viewed as suspicious”. However, witnesses said several people were stopped after covering their faces or pulling up hoods.

Campaign group Big Brother Watch said one man had seen placards warning members of the public that automatic facial recognition cameras were filming them from a parked police van.

“He simply pulled up the top of his jumper over the bottom of his face, put his head down and walked past,” said director Silkie Carlo.

“There was nothing suspicious about him at all … you have the right to avoid [the cameras], you have the right to cover your face. I think he was exercising his rights.”
Read more

Ms Carlo, who was monitoring Thursday’s trial in Romford, London, told The Independent she saw a plainclothed police officer follow the man before a group of officers “pulled him over to one side”.

She said they demanded to see the man’s identification, which he gave them, and became “accusatory and aggressive”.

“The guy told them to p*** off and then they gave him the £90 public order fine for swearing,” Ms Carlo added. “He was really angry.”

A spokesperson said officers were instructed to “use their judgment” on whether to stop people who avoid cameras.
...

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/facial-recognition-cameras-technology-london-trial-met-police-face-cover-man-fined-a8756936.html

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@Mojo Hand - I have not delved deep into the rhetoric or voting history for the announced/likely D candidates yet, so I don't know but am also curious.  I honestly wouldn't be surprised if this issue simply doesn't rank high enough on any of their radars to provide confidence that they would fight the intelligence community over it.  On the R side, Rand Paul is about the only one that I think would really make a difference, but I doubt he runs again this cycle.

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43 minutes ago, bernorange said:

On the R side, Rand Paul is about the only one that I think would really make a difference, but I doubt he runs again this cycle.

Rand Paul is just about the worst person I could think to vote for president assuming trump isn't running. The dude is a fucking lapdog for putin. He's hand delivered letters to putin from trump for fucks sake. That fucker would sell us all down the river

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