Cyberbullying bill raises alarm for privacy commissioner

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien warned senators today that the increased police powers proposed in the government’s cyberbullying and internet surveillance bill need to be matched with ways of tracking their use.

Therrien also warned against the lower standard of proof provided for in the bill, C-13, and said he disagrees with the government’s assertion that the information intended to be sought isn’t sensitive.

The bill would make it illegal for anyone to post or transmit an “intimate image” of another individual without that person’s consent. But other measures included in the bill would give police easier access to the metadata that internet service providers and phone companies keep on every call and email from their customers. Those measures had been in a previous online surveillance bill, C-30, that created such a backlash the government killed it.

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After a long period of frenetic growth, we’re suddenly older. Old, even. And old people worry less about getting more; they care more about hanging on to what they have, or losing it as slowly as possible. That’s why old people are supposed to keep their money in bonds, not stocks. Growth doesn’t matter. Security and stability count more than dynamism.
—  Bill McKibben, Eaarth

How Genetically Engineered Gardens Could Replace Airport Security Checkpoints

Fascinating article by Jason Koebler on motherboard about genetically engineered plants that could replace security checkpoints. Dr. June Medford, a pioneering synthetic biologist, already engineered a plant that changes color when it detects TNT or certain pollutants. Her vision:

"The way we screen airports to get on a plane is, everyone goes through detector systems and it’s slow. What would make much more sense, my vision is that you would walk through a garden-like setting, with a webcam looking down on plants, seeing if they detected anything."

The plants could also be hooked up to internet-connected systems. Medford is certain, that a mass production is feasible within 5 years.

[read more] [picture by kvd via wikimedia]


12 photos of absurd things people tried to bring on planes

The Transportation Security Administration wants you to have a safe and smooth ride home this holiday travel season. To help meet that goal, on Tuesday the agency displayed thousands of bizarre and dangerous items agents have confiscated at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as a reminder of what not to bring in carry-on bags on commercial flights in the coming months. Or ever.

What is and isn’t allowed on board 

KENYA, Mombasa : A cart puller is stopped by General Service Unit (GSU) officers near the Masjid Musa mosque in the Majengo area of the port city of Mombasa, after police had secured the area in a major security operation on November 17, 2014. Kenyan security forces raided the Masjid Musa and Sakina mosques in Mombasa, searching for weapons and radical supporters of Somalia’s Al-Qaeda affiliated Shebab militants, police said. Western nations have warned their nationals to avoid all but essential travel to Mombasa. The city has been hit by bombings and shootings since Kenya invaded Somalia in 2011. AFP PHOTO/IVAN LIEMA


Service robots: Rise of the robo-security daleks

Knightscope is preparing to roll out four human-size dalek patrols this year. The K5 uses cameras, sensors, navigation equipment (GPS and lasers) and electric motors to detect unnormal behavior for 24 hours (then the battery runs out).

[Knighstscope] [via futurezone] [read more on techreview]