Privacy & Security
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The World Wide Web, developed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 as a system for publishing and viewing information, is slowly being transformed into a system of remote computing.
A Wyoming couple has filed a federal lawsuit claiming a computer they purchased came with secret spying hardware that allowed the seller to monitor their every move. According to the complaint, Brian and Crystal Byrd first learned of the snoop device when they received a visit at home from a manager of the local Aaron's rent-to-own store falsely claiming they hadn't made required payments on their Dell Inspiron laptop. During the conversation, manager Christopher Mendoza said he had a photo of Mr. Byrd using the computer and as proof showed a picture that had been taken remotely using an off-the-shelf device called PC Rental Agent . “When Brian Byrd demanded that Mendoza explain how Mendoza had obtained an unauthorized photograph, Mendoza responded that he was not supposed to disclose that Aaron's had the photograph,” the complaint, filed on Tuesday in US District Court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, alleged.
Twitter and Facebook can be powerful tools for reporting on important events, including the uprisings in Egypt’s Tahrir Square and the raid that killed Osama bin Laden — but they can also become a powerful tool for surveillance as well, as the police and government authorities in Egypt and other countries have shown. What happens when we turn these tools of public surveillance on one another? We got a glimpse of that in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Wednesday, after the final game in the NHL playoffs, when citizens started posting photos of themselves rioting in the streets — and it’s a glimpse of a future some would rather not see. As the riots were occurring, with hundreds of people reportedly injured and cars and buildings burned and looted, photos of those involved in the incidents started showing up on Twitter and on other social networks such as Facebook and Tumblr.
June 17, 2011 — Website CAPTCHA technology used to protect sites from hackers, bots and spammers is making those same sites inaccessible to many potential users, according to a survey of 150 typical online forums and other sites. Details of the findings are reported this month in the International Journal of Web Based Communities. CAPTCHA stands for "completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart." These are computer-generated checks that attempt to determine whether a visitor is a legitimate user or a potentially malicious computer script favoured by hackers and spammers.
An effort to ensure consumers know how their mobile location data is being used and shared is underway on Capitol Hill, with a bipartisan bill now making its way through Congress. Called the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Ac t, the bill was written by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). The bill was simultaneously introduced in both the House and Senate today. It aims to codify how companies may use and share data, as well as giving consumers more power in consenting to such tracking.
It's official now. The signs had been there for a while now. While the west bangs on about the importance of freedom and democracy, they don't actually want anyone to have too much of it.
Military Police officials from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which will both host key games in the World Cup, have been given demonstrations of how the device works. Major Leandro Pavani Agostini, of Sao Paulo's Military Police, said: "It's something discreet because you do not question the person or ask for documents. The computer does it.
The old joke about being online is that “no one knows you’re a dog.” But the idea of online anonymity has been taking a beating recently, in part because of celebrated cases of fraud such as the Gay Girl in Damascus blog — which turned out to be written by a 40-year-old Scottish man . And the former ombudsman for National Public Radio has also come out swinging against the anonymity of commenters, which she calls “an exercise in faux democracy. ” But allowing people to be anonymous isn’t the problem — plus, it has real value for society that shouldn’t be dismissed so quickly.
The question of privacy lies at, or just beneath, the surface of a huge range of contemporary policy disputes.
Google has created a facial recognition app that can provide all kinds of personal information on the people around you, but says it's not releasing the technology due to privacy concerns. CNN reported that facial recognition would be a part of Google Goggles , an existing feature of Google's Search app that uses smartphone cameras to recognize objects, scan barcodes, translate text and even solve Sudoku puzzles . The facial recognition feature can associate people with social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, and provide other publicly-available information.
Privacy & Security Incidents
Tom Guthrie wants to selectively remove the usernames, passwords, and other bits of text from his browser's AutoFill--or AutoComplete--feature. I love the way that modern browsers automatically fill in these fields, although some fields I'd rather they left unfilled.