• Nov 30, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Google’s “smart city” in Toronto: what it wanted, what it will now get – and why it’s still problematic for privacy

Earlier this year, Privacy News Online wrote about the latest news concerning plans to create a model “smart city” on Toronto’s waterfront. The company involved, Sidewalk Labs, is part of the Alphabet stable, along with Google. In an attempt to quell fears about privacy and other aspects of the plan, Sidewalk Labs released 1500 pages … Continue reading “Google’s “smart city” in Toronto: what it wanted, what it will now get – and why it’s still problematic for privacy”

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  • Nov 1, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy, Programming,

Beyond Aadhaar: India wants to create a giant centralized facial recognition database

Two years ago, Privacy News Online wrote about Aadhaar, India’s billion-person biometric database, used to check identity, and its potential to become the world’s biggest privacy disaster. Barely six months after that post, it emerged that access to the Aadhaar database could be bought very cheaply, as reported here by the Indian newspaper The Tribune: … Continue reading “Beyond Aadhaar: India wants to create a giant centralized facial recognition database”

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  • Aug 20, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

The future of privacy is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed

William Gibson is best known for his book “Neuromancer“, which popularized the word and concept of cyberspace. He also came up with the phrase “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed“. That was a general statement about technology, but it also applies to the technology that threatens our privacy. Around … Continue reading “The future of privacy is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed”

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  • Jul 31, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Eyes in the sky will soon see everything – even what happened in the past; is it too late to worry about privacy?

Earlier this year, Privacy News Online wrote about a new generation of nanosatellites that are starting to fill the sky. The same continuing advances in technology that have made these small but powerful systems possible are also operating at the other of the satellite spectrum. It means that traditional satellites now pack even more power … Continue reading “Eyes in the sky will soon see everything – even what happened in the past; is it too late to worry about privacy?”

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  • Jul 29, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy, Security,

What can we learn from Palantir’s secret user manual for police users of its big data software?

Two years ago, Privacy News Online wrote about the mysterious Palantir Technologies. It describes itself as a company that makes “products for human-driven analysis of real-world data“. It is a data analytics supplier at heart, but one that is working on some of society’s most sensitive data, notably the kind used by law enforcement to … Continue reading “What can we learn from Palantir’s secret user manual for police users of its big data software?”

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  • Jul 20, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, Privacy, Security,

Amazon’s collaborations with local police turn its Ring doorbell cameras into unofficial community surveillance systems

Amazon was founded almost exactly 25 years ago. Initially it sold books, and people saw it as an interesting early example of e-commerce, but probably assumed that it would remain a fairly small player in a relatively unexciting market. Nothing could be further from the truth. Amazon soon started selling goods in other sectors, and … Continue reading “Amazon’s collaborations with local police turn its Ring doorbell cameras into unofficial community surveillance systems”

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  • Jul 12, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Open Source, Privacy,

Here’s why Google thinks you should trust it with unprecedented quantities of your city’s “urban data”

Last October, Privacy News Online wrote about an ambitious project from Google’s sister company, Sidewalk Labs. It aims to take the idea of a “smart city” to the next level, measuring everything that happens in the public sphere so that it can be optimized – and monetized. As that post reported, many people were understandably … Continue reading “Here’s why Google thinks you should trust it with unprecedented quantities of your city’s “urban data””

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A million tiny eyes in the sky: how a new generation of nanosatellites pose a threat to privacy

Everyone knows that surveillance is ubiquitous – on the Internet, in the street, at work, at school, in our homes. What made that constant spying possible was the amazing advance of digital technology. Thanks to powerful computers and massive storage facilities, it is now possible to “collect it all“, as the NSA wanted, and to … Continue reading “A million tiny eyes in the sky: how a new generation of nanosatellites pose a threat to privacy”

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  • Nov 10, 2018
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

AI-based lie detection system will screen travellers to EU for ‘biomarkers of deceit’

As the borders between nations have become increasingly sensitive from a political point of view, so the threats to privacy there have grown. Privacy News Online has already reported on the use of AI-based facial recognition systems as a way of tightening border controls. As software improves, and hardware becomes faster and cheaper, it’s likely … Continue reading “AI-based lie detection system will screen travellers to EU for ‘biomarkers of deceit’”

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We Need Decoy Operating Systems on Smartphones

Whether it violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or not, it’s an unfortunate fact that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents routinely force travelers entering the country to unlock their phone for inspection under the threat of confiscation or prolonged detainment. Thousands of travelers per year are forced to hand over their cell … Continue reading “We Need Decoy Operating Systems on Smartphones”

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