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FBI operating fleet of surveillance aircraft flying over US cities | US news. The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the US carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology – all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, the Associated Press has learned. The planes’ surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge’s approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. In a recent 30-day period, the agency flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, an AP review found. Aerial surveillance represents a changing frontier for law enforcement, providing what the government maintains is an important tool in criminal, terrorism or intelligence investigations.

But the program raises questions about whether there should be updated policies protecting civil liberties as new technologies pose intrusive opportunities for government spying. “The FBI’s aviation program is not secret,” spokesman Christopher Allen said in a statement. Sony Qriocity Music Unlimited App Sneaks into the Android Market. Without any fanfare whatsoever, Sony’s Music Unlimited app powered by their Qriocity media service has slipped into the Android Market, bringing along with it over 7 million tunes for your streaming pleasure. The new application offers “personalized channels that adapt to your music tastes and mood” for those with a Basic subscription, while Premium users get that plus access to Music Unlimited’s entire catalog of music and streaming channels. There seems to be a slight bit of confusion about what Android devices the app is compatible with, however.

One might assume Music Unlimited is reserved for Sony Ericsson handsets, though it definitely is running on some non-SE devices, but not all. Within the Android Market description, the line “For a lis of supported Android devices, visit” gets cut off with no destination given. Strange. Android Market Link: Music Unlimited [via Pocket-lint] Think Tank Says DHS Should Stop Laptop Border Searches. We've definitely been concerned about Homeland Security and the US government's belief that it's okay to search laptops at the border without probable cause. We've discussed over and over again why the argument that it's the same as searching luggage simply doesn't make any sense. There are some key and important differences: You mostly store everything on your laptop. So, unlike a suitcase that you're bringing with you, it's the opposite.

You might specifically choose what to exclude, but you don't really choose what to include.The reason you bring the contents on your laptop over the border is because you're bringing your laptop over the border. If you wanted the content of your laptop to go over the border you'd just send it using the internet. Historically, the scope of what was covered by the border search exception was fairly limited, since the exception is confined to the items a traveler carries across the border. DOJ Uses Congressional Hearings About Protecting Mobile Privacy To Suggest Mobile Users Deserve Less Privacy. Google/Facebook: Do-Not-Track Threatens CA Economy. Boy Genius Report » Your smartphone is tracking you, and you said it was okay.

Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature. Opinion April 16, 2011 07:09 AM ET Computerworld - Cellphone users say they want more privacy, and app makers are listening. No, they're not listening to user requests. They're literally listening to the sounds in your office, kitchen, living room and bedroom. A new class of smartphone app has emerged that uses the microphone built into your phone as a covert listening device -- a "bug," in common parlance.

But according to app makers, it's not a bug. It's a feature! The apps use ambient sounds to figure out what you're paying attention to. Your phone is listening The issue was brought to the world's attention recently on a podcast called This Week in Tech. The apps are Color, Shopkick and IntoNow, all of which activate the microphones in users' iPhone or Android devices in order to gather contextual information that provides some benefit to the user. Color uses your iPhone's or Android phone's microphone to detect when people are in the same room. Who else is listening? Cellphones Track Your Every Mo. Homeland Security Was Interested In Doing 'Covert' Pedestrian 'Scans' From 30 Feet Away. Last year, we wrote a few times about how there was a company selling scanner vans -- based on the same technology used in those airport naked scanners -- that could be used to surreptitiously look into vehicles. Mostly they were being sold to law enforcement, however some of them were being sold to private buyers.

Given all this, it should come as little surprise that Homeland Security has been interested in expanded use of such scanning technologies, with a newly released report suggesting it explored greater surveillance with naked scanners -- such as mobile units for special events or for public transportation hubs, as well as "covert" systems that could scan large groups of people without them knowing it. There was even discussion of one system that could scan people from 30 feet away. "TSA has not tested the advanced imaging technology that is currently used at airports in mass transit environments and does not have plans to do so. " The is a pretty narrowly defined answer. The Real Internet Censors: Unaccountable ISPs? | Epicenter  Obama assertion: FBI can get phone records without oversight.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration's Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy. That assertion was revealed — perhaps inadvertently — by the department in its response to a McClatchy request for a copy of a secret Justice Department memo. Critics say the legal position is flawed and creates a potential loophole that could lead to a repeat of FBI abuses that were supposed to have been stopped in 2006. The controversy over the telephone records is a legacy of the Bush administration's war on terror. Critics say the Obama administration appears to be continuing many of the most controversial tactics of that strategy, including the assertion of sweeping executive powers. That interpretation could be stretched to apply to e-mails as well, he said. The FBI and Justice Department have refused to comment on the matter.

Sens. Feds Tell Supreme Court They Should Be Able To Stick A GPS Device On Your Car Without A Warrant. In the federal government's apparent ongoing quest to stamp out any remnants of the 4th Amendment, the administration has now officially petitioned the Supreme Court to let it stick GPS devices on cars with no warrant. This seems like the sort of case that the Supreme Court will actually be interested in hearing.

That's because a variety of federal courts have ruled that it's legal to put a tracking device on your car without a warrant... However, last summer, the DC Circuit appeals court said that such GPS tracking, if done for a long time, crosses the line and becomes illegal. The standard the court used was pretty vague, but now there's something of a circuit split, and that's what generally interests the Supreme Court. Either way, the government's position is clear: it shouldn't need a warrant to track you. Other than the DC court, however, most courts haven't recognized that difference between snippets of daily movements and the aggregation of daily movements.

Play By Play Of How HBGary Federal Tried To Expose Anonymous... And Got Hacked Instead. Nate Anderson has put together an excellent play-by-play of the whole HBGary Federal fiasco, mainly by going through the emails that Anonymous leaked. It's well worth reading the whole thing, so I won't repeat the key points here, but what's really fascinating is the back-and-forth between HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr and others at HBGary Federal, including his main technical guy, who clearly thinks Barr's methodology is worthless. It becomes clear that the technical guy sympathizes with Anonymous and Wikileaks and Barr even calls him on this point (admitting that he too sort of feels that way, but he recognizes this as a PR opportunity).

The coder at one point mocks the whole plan as: Step 1 : Gather all the data Step 2 : ??? Step 3 : Profit. Bill to Restrict Online Tracking Introduced in Congress | Epicenter  Can A Contract Remove Fair Use Rights? Last year, we wrote about a ridiculous situation in which the Association for Information Media and Equipment (AIME) threatened UCLA, after discovering that the school had set up an online video service, that let UCLA professors put up legally licensed video clips so that students could watch them from their computers.

AIME claimed that UCLA's license did not allow for such uses. UCLA claimed this was fair use. After initially taking down the videos, UCLA decided this was worth fighting over and put the videos back up last March. At the time, we thought a lawsuit from AIME would come quickly, but apparently it took until December. UCLA recently filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, setting up a few reasons why -- including the claim that, as a state university, it has sovereign immunity from copyright lawsuits and, also, that AIME is not the copyright holder in question, and thus has no standing. WikiLeaks.