Tag Archives | Big Brother

Netflix Pushes For Privacy Law Change To Make Your Viewing History Available To Advertisers And Government

Coming soon–an algorithm to root out criminals and agitators in advance based on Netflix viewing history. Truthout writes:

You might want to think twice about streaming that “subversive” documentary about the Weather Underground on Netflix. If Republicans have their way, you just might end up on a watch list somewhere. This week, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the 1988 Video Protection Privacy Act, which forbids movie rental companies from sharing or selling their customers’ viewing history. The Senate is expected to take up the amendment soon.

If this passes, what you watch on Netflix may soon become public information that your friends, employers, and even the government will have access to. Netflix favors the law change because it will help them branch into social media…[with] enormous profit-potential in selling your viewing history to advertisers who can target specific demographics based on your preference in movies. Also unmentioned by Netflix is just who else might get this information once it’s taken out of the privacy lockbox.

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Americans Are The Most Spied On People In World History

 Washington’s Blog on life in an era of firsts:

The US surveillance regime has more data on the average American than the Stasi ever did on East Germans. The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email, text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information, employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American. Some also claim that the government is also using facial recognition software and surveillance cameras to track where everyone is going.

Moreover, cell towers track where your phone is at any moment, and the major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011. And – given that your smartphone routinely sends your location information back to Apple or Google – it would be child’s play for the government to track your location that way.

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Arkansas Town Enacts Martial Law, ID Checks Of Everyone In Public

The mayor explains that normal constitutional protections don’t apply, because, due to the high rate of property crime, anyone walking outdoors in his city is a criminal suspect. Via Russia Today:

In order to curb the rising crime rate in this town of barely 25,000, Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall endorsed a plan to send cops dressed in full-fledged SWAT gear and equipped with AR-15s into downtown Paragould starting in 2013. What’s more, Stovall says, is he intends to have the cops collecting identification from everyone and anyone.

“If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID,” the Daily Press reports him saying during last week’s meeting. “We will be asking for picture identification. We will be ascertaining where the subject lives and what they are doing in the area. We will be keeping a record of those we contact.”

“To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason,” he said.

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Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have Nothing to Hide

Via the Chronicle of Higher Education, law professor Daniel J. Solove reveals all:

The nothing-to-hide argument is everywhere. In Britain, for example, the government has installed millions of public-surveillance cameras in cities and towns, which are watched by officials via closed-circuit television. In a campaign slogan for the program, the government declares: “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”

But the problem with the nothing-to-hide argument is the underlying assumption that privacy is about hiding bad things. By accepting this assumption, we concede far too much ground and invite an unproductive discussion about information that people would very likely want to hide. As the computer-security specialist Schneier aptly notes, the nothing-to-hide argument stems from a faulty “premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong.” Surveillance, for example, can inhibit such lawful activities as free speech, free association, and other First Amendment rights essential for democracy.

One such harm, for example, which I call aggregation, emerges from the fusion of small bits of seemingly innocuous data.

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All Americans’ Emails Are Collected By The FBI, Says NSA Whistleblower

William Binney, a former award-winning mathematician and code-breaker at the National Security Agency, talks to Russia Today regarding the virtual surveillance of the entire public:

The FBI has access to the data collected, which is basically the emails of virtually everybody in the country. All the congressional members are on the surveillance too, no one is excluded. If they become a target for whatever reason – the government can go in, the FBI, or other agencies, pull all that data collected on them over the years, and we analyze it all. So, we have to actively analyze everything they’ve done for the last 10 years at least.

That’s why they’re building Bluffdale [database facility], because they have to have more storage, because they can’t figure out what’s important, so they are just storing everything there. So, emails are going to be stored there in the future, but right now stored in different places around the country.

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Brazil Announces National System Of Mandatory Radio-Frequency ID Chips For Vehicles

Brazil’s new roadway surveillance system, the administration of which apparently involves private contractors, is dubbed SINIAV, and involves installing antennae at strategic points across the country to detect details of all passing cars via windshield-mounted RFID chips. On Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow explains:

In Brazil, a new regulation requires drivers to add radio ID tags to their car windshields, which broadcast “vehicle year or fabrication, make, model, combustible, engine power and license plate number.” This will be read by checkpoints throughout the country, and centrally processed and retained, in a system called Siniav.

The administration claims that this system will be “confidential and secure” because its contractors will sign confidentiality agreements.

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Nestle Embeds GPS Trackers In Candy Bars To Hunt Down Eaters

Via popsci.com:

Customers buying Kit-Kat bars in the United Kingdom could be unwrapping a 21st-century version of Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket–a GPS unit the candy-maker will use to find them, apprehend them and give them a prize. Nestlé claims to be the first to market its chocolatey wares with a GPS-based promotion. The somewhat sinister-sounding “We Will Find You” campaign will place a GPS-enabled bar inside four versions of Kit-Kats. Inside the wrapper, it would look exactly like a regular Kit-Kat, according to the York Press newspaper, in the town where Nestlé is based. When the would-be snacker pulls a tab to open the wrapper, the GPS device will turn on, which will notify the company. Then a “prize team” will locate this person within 24 hours and hand him or her a check for £10,000 (about $16,000).

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On Deploying Cameras To Watch Other Cameras

In what seems as if it could become a neverending paradox, Business Insider on a locality in Maryland in which it has become necessary to outfit the city with a network of surveillance cameras to observe the previous layer of cameras:

Police in Palmer Park, Md., plan to deploy cameras to surveil the other other cameras in their district. Ari Ash of WTOP talked to police in the area, who said that local people had started targeting the speed cameras police put up in intersections, as well as surveillance cameras.

Prince George’s County Police Maj. Robert V. Liberati, who’s the commander of the Automated Enforcement Section, says each camera can cost up to $30,000. They needed to do something to deter the camera saboteurs. Liberati thought cameras to watch the cameras was a good solution. One is in place already, and the department hopes to have a dozen more by the end of the year.

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Money Will Movitate The Digital Tracking Of Schoolchildren

There’s money to be made in the cattle-style tracking of kids with RFID-chip IDs, and so the practice may become widespread, Wired writes:

Two schools at the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio began issuing the RFID-chip-laden student-body cards when classes began last Monday. Like most state-financed schools, their budgets are tied to average daily attendance. If a student is not in his seat during morning roll call, the district doesn’t receive daily funding for that pupil. But with the RFID tracking, students not at their desk but tracked on campus are counted as being in school that day, and the district receives its daily allotment for that student.

There appears to be dozens of companies who…offer their RFID wares to monitor students in what is still a tiny but growing market. Among the biggest companies in the market: AT&T.

About two dozen health and privacy advocates who signed an August position paper blasting the use of RFID chips in schools.

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