UNANIMOUS DECISION - Updates privacy laws:

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police cannot go snooping through people’s cell phones without a warrant, in a unanimous decision that amounts to a major statement in favor of privacy rights.
Police agencies had argued that searching through the data on cell phones was no different than asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cell phone is more fundamental.

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Even before the new design on Facebook, I, like many sensible people out there, always found myself wondering if people kept anything to themselves anymore. It seems to me that EVERYTHING people did was posted before the moment even ended. No longer we people living for the moment, they were living for the status update. 

Your period is late? Post it. In labor? Post it. Kid took it’s first dump on it’s own? Post it. As a matter of fact, take a picture while at it. Everyone wants to see little Jimmy all smiles on the bowl with his empty colon. It appears that the more accessible social networks are available to us, the more they are utilized for the stupidest things. 

Zuckerberg (along with all his minions at Facebook headquarters) is constantly looking for additional ways to take advantage of oversharers and push those that don’t share enough over to the dark side. He is trying so hard, he is borderline going against our inherited privacy rights as Americans. For what you ask? To make money of course. His new design is cool and all, but blood type? You want to know about my blood type Mr. Zuckerberg? I think not. To be honest, I don’t even know it. 

The Economist comes with it again. Click the pic and read up.


Do we really want to live in a country where the NSA gathers data on virtually every single phone call in the United States — including as many as 5 billion cellphone records per day? I don’t. Do we really want our government to collect our emails, see our text messages, know everyone’s Internet browsing history, monitor bank and credit card transactions, keep tabs on people’s social networks? I don’t.

Unfortunately, this sort of Orwellian surveillance, conducted under provisions of the Patriot Act, invades the privacy of millions of law-abiding Americans.

Good watching if you’re a street photographer worried about your rights, privacy laws, security, police, public and private property, and what-not. Shot in London in regards to British laws, but I think it should relate to any democratic society, hopefully. Excerpt from the video description:

On Tuesday 21 June 2011 six photographers were assigned different areas of the City to photograph. Some used tripods, some went hand held, one set up a 5 x 4.

All were instructed to keep to public land and photograph the area as they would on a normal day. The event aimed to test the policing of public and private space by private security firms and their reaction to photographers.

All six photographers were stopped on at least one occasion. Three encounters led to police action.

This is what happened.

Directed and produced by Hannah White
Edited by Stuart York

Many thanks to:

Tim Bowditch
Leona Chaliha
Ana Galanou
Michael Grieve
David Hoffman
Chris Ogilvie
Pennie Quinton
Liam Ricketts
Toby Smith
Grant Smith
Camilla Webster
Philip Wolmuth
Stuart York


As if some of us weren’t paranoid enough… Now there is a global, mass surveillance crisis? Of course, some of this doesn’t really count as “news” in my opinion. For instance, Facebook being a big source of information for government agencies. Ummmmm… duh. 

Belgian privacy watchdog threatens Facebook over user tracking

The Belgian privacy commission has told Facebook to stop tracking the internet activities of people who have not registered with the site or have logged out, after a “staggering” report showed alleged breaches of EU privacy law.

“Facebook tramples on European and Belgian privacy laws”, the data protection authority said in a statement. “Facebook has shown itself particularly miserly in giving precise answers,” it continued, adding that the results of its investigation were “disconcerting” and that it would take legal action if its recommendations were not followed.

Willem Debeuckelaere, president of the Belgian privacy commission, said that the way Facebook is treating its users’ private lives “without respect needs tackling”, and that “it’s make or break time.”

At the end of 2012, major telecom companies in India agreed to grant the government real-time interception capabilities for the country’s one million BlackBerry users. The Indian government has consistently requested that major web companies set up servers in India to allow them to monitor local communications.[32] Such surveillance capabilities potentially breach international human rights standards and have been subject to court challenges. In 1996, the Indian Supreme Court held that the citizen’s privacy has to be protected from abuse by the authorities.[33] Yet, Section 69 of the IT Act gives the state surveillance powers in the interest of national security or “friendly relations with foreign states”.[34]

In April 2013, India began implementing a $75 million Central Monitoring System (CMS) that will allow the government to access all digital communications and telecommunications in the country.[35]Content covered by the CMS will include all online activities, phone calls, text messages and even social media conversations. The scope of the programme, in development since 2009, is still to be determined, but some worry about the lack of safeguards against abuse in its implementation. Pranesh Prakash, Policy Director at the Centre for Internet and Society, argues: “In India, we have a strange mix of great amounts of transparency and very little accountability when it comes to surveillance and intelligence agencies.”[36]

In addition, new laws passed in April 2011 expanded internet surveillance in cybercafés, the primary point of access for the majority of Indians who cannot afford private computers or smartphones (see the section on access). Furthermore, Indians are required to register their real names to activate SIM cards and mobile and internet service providers (ISPs) are required to grant government authorities access to user data. Requesting user data becomes problematic when data is used for prosecuting free speech online and stifling political criticism.

India is one of the worst offenders globally both for takedown and for user requests, though on user information it is ranked after the US. The Google Transparency Report shows that India ranks second – after the United States – in the number of government requests for users data.[38] In August 2013, Facebook released a similar report. During the first six months of 2013, India ranks second in number of total requests (3,245 requests) and Facebook produced data in 50 percent of the cases.[39] It is possible that data requested by the government will be used in criminal prosecutions for defamation, hate speech, or harming “communal harmony”. This is problematic because these laws in themselves are too vague and broad and do not protect freedom of expression adequately, resulting in disproportionate arrests and prosecutions merely for the expression of views on a blog, liking a post on Facebook, or writing a political tweet. 

Thank the internet for legal blogs.

The second case from last year came in October when the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Cole, 2012 SCC 53 (CanLII), considered an employee’s privacy rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,  and observed, in orbiter:

1. Canadians may reasonably expect privacy in the information contained on their work computers, at least where personal use is permitted or reasonably expected.

2. “Informational privacy” is: “the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others” In this regard: “Mr. Cole’s direct interest and subjective expectation of privacy in the informational content of his computer can readily be inferred from his use of the laptop to browse the Internet and to store personal information on the hard drive.”

3. Mr. Cole’s personal use of his work-issued laptop generated information that is meaningful, intimate, and organically connected to his biographical core.

4. Privacy is a matter of reasonable expectations.

5. While workplace policies and practices may diminish an individual’s expectation of privacy in a work computer, these sorts of operational realities do not in themselves remove the expectation entirely: The nature of the information at stake exposes the likes, interests, thoughts, activities, ideas, and searches for information of the individual user.

If an employer plans to monitor an employee’s email or Internet use then the employer should obtain the employee’s written consent in advance via a computer-use policy. Such a policy tells the employee that the employer will be monitoring emails and Internet use and that the employee should have no expectation of privacy if he uses the company network to send or receive personal emails or use the Internet for personal purposes.

The employer can require all new employees to sign a computer use policy which obtains the employee’s written consent as a condition of employment.

NSA's "XKeyscore" Keeps The Privacy Violations Coming

“Until Wednesday morning, you’d probably never heard of something called ”XKeyscore,“ a program that the National Security Agency itself describes as its "widest reaching” means of gathering data from across the Internet. According to reports shared by NSA leaker Edward Snowden with the Guardian, is that in addition to all of the other recent revelations about the NSA’s surveillance programs, by using XKeyscore, “analysts can also search by name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the Internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.”

Essentially, this is yet another way for the government to spy on us and get our information using forms of privacy violation. It’s not ending you guys. It’s just getting worse and worse.

Read the entire article here, and make sure to spread the word about this!

I'm Honestly Not Surprised, TBQH

So, I requested a response no later than 3 p.m. Monday to my initial letter to the Community Management and our Home Owner’s Association.  I was not shocked when that deadline passed and I had not received any response.  Not even a courteous, “please allow me to investigate this” type of notification. 

In fairness, my requests and actions were not quite clear, nor were the laws that were being violated clearly stated, so I wrote the following, in the hopes that they will collectively begin to understand that I’m not going away until this is resolved.  

Under the cut due to length: 

Keep reading

How do U.S. and European privacy laws govern the Internet?

With more iPhones sold a day than there are babies born, with more than 200 million photos uploaded on Facebook every day and with more than 1 billion searches a day on Google, there is an extensive accumulation of data created in our interconnected world. (Fox, 2013; Panzarino, 2012.) This considerable amount of data also means that there are long trails of digital crumbs, search queries, credit cards, IP addresses and more, which could potentially be used against you by a government or private company. (Stein & Sinha, 2002.) Subsequently, disclosure of non-personally-identifying profiling, IP addresses, or similar data could also come to be trade-offs for Internet users, as they capitulate their personal integrity online, rather than loosing the services one has grown accustomed to online, such as Facebook or Google, whom all collect this information. (Mullins, n.d.) Below I hope to provide a variation of viewpoints on privacy online and current debates on policy by examining the question of “How U.S. and European privacy laws govern the Internet?” The text will also be looking at why privacy is important, the different views corporations may have on privacy, and how other countries, such as Japan, may be influenced by U.S. and EU regulations. 

Keep reading

Today's Worthwhile Stories I Found on Twitter, Vol. 1

1. A Huffington Post article about privacy laws in Illinois and how ridiculous they are. This is a good article with a bunch of reporting that is nevertheless tarnished by some opinion at the end. Thank you, guy, but we all came to those conclusions on our own. No need to cram them down our throat. Still, a compelling read:

2. A salesperson at confirms what many thought when AOL spent $120 million launching the hyperlocal reporting platform: it’s not sustainable.

3. I tumbled about this earlier, but this is an interesting blog post about the inventor of instagram, instagram, and the popularity thereof.

4. In this year’s NBA Finals, the focus on Dirk Nowitzki’s attempts to keep Miami’s forces of evil at bay and win the title for the good of humanity has taken some of the spotlight away from Jason Terry. Dirk has been the primary reason the Mavericks have gotten this far, have evened the series at 2-2, and have an outside chance of winning it all, true. But there are stretches – his personal 8-0 run in Game 4 to keep Dallas in the game comes to mind – when the JET has shown just as much grit, clutchness and scoring ability. Here then, is Jason Terry getting his due at GQ’s playoff basketball blog; appropriately not a profile or an essay, but 11 bullet points of Terry trivia:

5. launched yesterday and this review of LA Noire by Tom Bissell is the best thing on it so far:


SOPA 3.0


(video: ReviewTechUSA)


It is indeed vital that we have this conversation and I’m glad John Oliver is bringing it up. 

Our society is wayyyy too comfortable with the fact we have minimal privacy while conducting our business on the internet. 

The interview with Edward Snowden was very fascinating but troubling as well.