• Oct 17, 2017
  • David Meyer
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

British spies are collecting and sharing datasets of people’s social media activities

The British intelligence services have for years quietly claimed the right to collect so-called bulk personal datasets (BPDs) about people, most of whom may be innocent of any crime. The practice was only officially acknowledged in 2015, and last year’s Investigatory Powers Act was – for all its draconian elements – supposed to at least … Continue reading “British spies are collecting and sharing datasets of people’s social media activities”

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  • Sep 27, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy, Security,

Stunning: Taser wants to turn the public and their smartphones into its big data posse of police informants

Last month we wrote about the increasing application of big data analysis by police forces, often using software from the shadowy outfit Palantir. But it’s by no means the only company that sees this as a huge growth market: another is Axon. If that name is unfamiliar, that’s because it’s the new, rather anonymous branding … Continue reading “Stunning: Taser wants to turn the public and their smartphones into its big data posse of police informants”

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  • Sep 19, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Bitcoin, Governments, News, Privacy,

Me, my data and I: Decode and the future of the personal data economy

It’s no secret that personal data has become the key commodity of the online business world. The Internet giants – Facebook, Google, etc. – all provide their services “free”, but make money from the detailed profiles they create of our activity as we use social networks and move around the Web. Since we don’t have … Continue reading “Me, my data and I: Decode and the future of the personal data economy”

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  • Sep 15, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy, Security,

The Chinese IT giant Huawei has big plans for the cloud in Western markets, with important implications for privacy

Some Chinese high-tech companies may be bigger than you think. The e-commerce giant Alibaba has a market capitalization of over $400 billion. The social media and gaming company Tencent is not far behind, and nearly a billion people use its WeChat messaging service. Baidu is the world’s second largest search engine, and is increasingly strong … Continue reading “The Chinese IT giant Huawei has big plans for the cloud in Western markets, with important implications for privacy”

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  • Aug 25, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Copyright, Governments, Privacy, Security,

Welcome to the Internet of listening, eavesdropping, spying things

There’s a new frontier for digital privacy: home devices that understand spoken commands. That’s impressive and convenient, but it comes with definite risks, as Rick Falkvinge pointed out earlier this week. The product sites of the main players in the so-called “smart speaker” sector – Amazon, Apple, and Google – offer plenty of upbeat advertising … Continue reading “Welcome to the Internet of listening, eavesdropping, spying things”

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  • Jun 21, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy, Security,

Police use of trojans to hack into mobile phones will become routine under new German law

A new law allowing the German police to hack into mobile phones for even minor crimes, is expected to be passed by the German parliament this week [update: the law has now been passed]. Currently, the use of a “Staatstrojaner” – government trojan – is only permitted in order to prevent future terrorist attacks. Under … Continue reading “Police use of trojans to hack into mobile phones will become routine under new German law”

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Untangling the other dark web – of pervasive, inescapable, corporate surveillance

Visitors to this site are well aware of how our every move is tracked as we move around the Internet. We know that companies are building minutely-detailed profiles of us, stored on huge databases, and that the information held there not only changes the ads we see, and the prices that companies offer us when … Continue reading “Untangling the other dark web – of pervasive, inescapable, corporate surveillance”

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  • Jun 1, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Bitcoin, Governments, News, Privacy,

Why the Chinese love clunky QR codes, despite privacy and security shortcomings

As you may have noticed, there’s a lot of interest in bitcoin at the moment. According to one analysis, a key factor driving the digital currency to record highs is rising demand from China. That may be true for serious investors there, but for most of China’s billion-plus citizens, when it comes to digital payments, … Continue reading “Why the Chinese love clunky QR codes, despite privacy and security shortcomings”

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  • May 25, 2017
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Aadhaar: India’s billion-person biometric database is the world’s biggest privacy experiment

The use of social security numbers and biometric databases is not unusual these days, but there’s nothing else on the scale of what India is doing in this field. Its Aadhaar system – the name means ‘foundation’ in Hindi – aims to provide everyone in India with a randomly-generated, unique 12-digit number associated with their … Continue reading “Aadhaar: India’s billion-person biometric database is the world’s biggest privacy experiment”

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As horrible as Internet surveillance is, the alternative could have been far worse

While the Internet has turned into a global surveillance machine, with only tech-aware and privacy-aware people opting out of the surveillance, it’s important to remember that we could have had something far worse. In the 1990s, the telcos were aggressively pushing for their own version of a packet switched network – and had they won … Continue reading “As horrible as Internet surveillance is, the alternative could have been far worse”

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