Week 9 News Digest

Hampton entrepreneur seeks to launch privacy-friendly search engine

March 4, 2015


While Google openly collects data on every search performed, this information may be used by governments or other entities to monitor individuals or groups of people. A new search engine alternative released under the name “Jumbawumba” uses Google’s technology to obtain search results, but doesn’t allow the search engine to see who made the original inquiry. Instead, Jumbawumba masks the request by sending it through their own servers first, breaking the direct link between the searcher and the search engine. The website, whch started on Kickstarter.com, will charge a fee for large-scale, automated searching, but is free for regular users who want to obtain information discreetly.

Blackphone 2, Sikur, CryptTalk: Privacy And Call Encryption Evolves

March 4, 2015


Silent Circle, the company who created the first smart phone built from the ground up for security and privacy recently released the second model of this phone, the Blackphone 2. This phone features an octa-core processor, 3 GB ram, and a proprietary operating system called Private OS 1.1. For users who don’t want the hefty price tag attached to the phone ($500+), a Swedish company called Arenim has created an app called CryptTalk, which provides call encryption. Another company, Sikur, offers a new smartphone called GranitePhone. This phone is designed to protect the exchange of sensitive and confidential data and is expected to ship by Q3 of this year.


Colorado lawmakers seek penalties on using drones to invade privacy

March 3, 2015


Lawmakers in Denver, CO are struggling with legislation restricting drone usage. Legislators are working to resolve exceptions for everyday photography, but have met with challenges. The House Judiciary Committee is considering a bill which would make it a crime of first-degree trespassing to take images of someone when they have an expectation of privacy. In addition to trespassing charges, drone users could also be charged with harassment. Some representatives are against the bill, warning that it may lead to a sweeping reform which criminalizes photography.  Lawmakers are working to future-proof laws to protect their work against the ever-changing landscape of new technology.

FBI email warns whistleblower of retaliation if surveillance program concerns reported

March 3, 2015


An FBI communication recently told a potential whistleblower that he could face retaliation if he comes forward with concerns about political interference with a secret terrorism and counterintelligence program. The e-mail came from a bureau attorney and has raised questions in congress about the FBI’s ability to properly handle accusations of wrongdoing and protection of whistleblowers. The Senate Judiciary Committee met on Wednesday to take testimony regarding the FBI’s whistleblower protections. The e-mail also confirms long held beliefs in Congress that the FBI’s protections in place for whistleblowers are currently being pushed aside in favor of bureaucratic tradition. In February, a Government Accountability Office report found that nearly 90% of FBI whistleblower claims were dismissed. This means that many of these concerns around surveillance programs within the FBI are being ignored and pushed to the side.

EFF to UN: You Need a Privacy Watchdog
March 4, 2015


The EFN recently joined sixty civil liberties unions and public interest groups to call on the UN to create a Unite Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy. The special rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council to ensure that privacy is defined and understood by members of the global organization. The creation of this role would serve to further common understanding among United Nations members and help foster discussion among world powers and the public. The U.N. Human Rights council is holding its 28th session in Geneva and it will conclude on March 27th.

Week 8 News Digest

NSA chief seeks compromise on encrypted phone snooping

February 23, 2015
In Washington, Monday February 23, the National Security Agency chief proposed that a compromise can be made when it comes to access encrypted devices. National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers, stated that he does not believe Americans should be divided on the issue of encryption. Rogers said that in the fight against terrorism, the concerns are the same as in law enforcement, and endorsed the view expressed by FBI director James Comey on gaining access to encrypted mobile devices. Rogers’ stated that “We fully comply with the law…we do that foreign intelligence mission operating within (a legal) framework.” The point of the conference was to bring awareness to the NSA’s belief that there should be a common ground with the tech sector on the issue, instead of a nothing or everything.

Alleged Hacker belonging to the hacking crew Lizard Squad run a DNS hajacking attack against the Google Vietnam domain.

February 24,2015
Users who accessed the Google Vietnam website were presented with a picture of a man taking a selfie, along with a message that claimed the site was hacked by Lizard Squad. The hackers also took the opportunity to advertise their Lizard Stresser DDoS service. Although Google Vietnam wasn’t actually hacked, the attackers directed the visitors to a defacement page through DNS hacking. The attackers managed to redirect users by changing the Google name-servers to CloudFlare. Experts believe this was either done to confuse network analysts and legacy tools, or the attackers simply didn’t care what type of IP address they were using as long as they achieved their goals. The name-server records were restored roughly two hours after the attackers had changed them.

Gemalto presents the findings of its investigations into the alleged hacking of SIM card encryption keys by Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters  and the U.S. National Security Agency

February 25,2015
On February 25,2015 the European SIM maker of Gemalto said they have investigated the past records of attempts of attacks. The website made the allegations on the theft of the keys — which encrypt and decrypt data — based on a document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. But the company denied that these attacks resulted in a large-scale theft of encryption keys. The company said the aim of the operation was to intercept the encryption keys as they were exchanged between mobile operators and suppliers.

Most popular apps vulnerable to hacking: McAfee

February 24,2015

Intel Security’s McAfee Labs is reporting that the vast majority of the most popular mobile apps found to be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks in research performed last year remain exposed to attacks. According to McAfee Labs, nearly three-quarters of the 25 most downloaded apps on CERT’s list are still unpatched. Although the researchers did not find evidence that these apps had been exploited, the number of downloads for the apps ranges into the hundreds of millions. The latest findings were included in the McAfee Labs Threat Report of February 2015, which also revealed that mobile malware samples jumped 14 percent during the final quarter of 2014. At least eight percent of all McAfee-monitored mobile systems reported an infection in the fourth quarter of last year.

Old Vulnerabilities Still Popular Targets for Hackers: HP

February 23,2015

Vulnerabilities in older code is continuously becoming a big risk for hacking, according to the HP report. Hackers have used older methods and codes from years ago, even decades ago. The most targeted 2014 CVE was CVE-2014-0322, a vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer, leaving corporations exposed.

Week 7 News Digest

What we know about the bank hacking ring—and who’s behind it

February 16, 2015


Hackers managed to steal up to one billion dollars from banks in Russia, Germany, China, and the Ukraine. They were able to hack ATMs in a way that allowed them to control them from a distance. Hackers were able to get deep enough into banks’ computer systems that they were able to get client’s email address. They sent emails pretending to be the bank, that when opened, installed malware on the computers. They were then able to transfer money from client accounts to their own private accounts. The hackers are said to be from Russia, China, and some parts of Eastern Europe.


Breach index: Mega breaches, rise in identity theft mark 2014

February 13, 2015


2014 was the year for data breaches with reports showing that more than one million records were compromised. 54% of those breaches were identity theft breaches. The amount of identity theft breaches have increased by 20% since 2013. Tsion Gonen, vice president of strategy for identity and data protection at Gelmato’s Breach Level Index, believes that the reason identity theft has increased and credit card has decreased is because attackers are looking for the most valuable information that they can piece together to use later on. Gonen also says that financial organizations have helped to decrease the amount of credit card theft because they have cut down opportunity by watching closer for fraud alert.


UK admits unlawfully monitoring legally privileged communications

February 18, 2015


On Wednesday, February 18, 2015, it was uncovered that UK intelligence agencies have been monitoring emails and other communications between lawyers and their clients. Communications between lawyers and their clients had a special protected status under UK law, but was clearly violated by agencies such as MI6. This revelation is evidence that the policies that were in place as of January 2010 have not been met. Intelligence agencies involved have admitted to acting unlawfully and are now to work with the interception of communications commissioner in order to make sure that the policies protect human rights and are observed.


The Greatest SIM Heist: How spies stole the keys to the encryption castle

February 19, 2015


Members of the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) hacked into Gemalto, the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world. They stole encryption keys that would allow them to monitor communication without the approval of the companies or foreign governments. The GCHQ also says that they are able to manipulate the billing services of cellular companies. This ability would allow them to suppress charges, allowing them to keep their actions secret. The GCHQ is also able to decrypt data and voice communications between cell companies and their clients. There is an outcry from many, claiming that this is not something that secret services should be doing.


AT&T is putting a price on privacy. That is outrageous

February 20, 2015


AT&T has plans to track and sell users’ Internet activity. This would include the websites that customers are visiting, the duration of their visit, search history, and ads that you see and follow. They would sell this activity to businesses to aid them in providing targeted advertising. This cannot be avoided through using the privacy setting. If a customer wished to opt-out of this system, they would have to pay a $29 fee each month. This extra charge is controversial because it is pushing privacy to something that is selective. Putting a cost on privacy takes a way the rights of people that cannot afford it but that should be allowed it.


Week 5 News Digest

AT&T texts can be faked to hack you


In case of an emergency or any case that requires it, AT&T sends out mass text to all of their subscribers. This can range anywhere from an Amber Alert, or a Data Usage Alert. The problem here is that the way that AT&T send messages is that they do it very simply and very easy to mimic. On the link above there is a picture that depicts an authentic AT&T message from AT&T, and a fake one that someone made up. They almost look identical. The reason that this can be dangerous is that people can hack into your phone and get various different information that they can use against you. This in the end can be very destructive to many people.


The 3 places where Facebook censors you the most


Facebook is notoriously known as the social media site where everybody visits. Almost every country who has access to the internet have Facebook accounts. One of Facebooks big policies is they are supporters of freedom of speech, which is why they have a problem in countries such as India, Pakistan, and Turkey. All of these countries require Facebook to monitor its country’s people’s post, and take down anti-government post, or anything offensive towards government officials. The problem here is that people generally don’t want to be monitored and these countries take away their freedom of speech by requiring Facebook to monitor every single post that is posted.


Insurance giant Anthem hit by massive data breach


With the recent hack of Target, Home Depot, an Ebay, another company can be added to the list of people who have been hacked and people’s personal information stolen. Anthem Insurance, the second largest medical insurance company in the world, was recently hacked and the result of the hack was the compromising of 80 million of people’s information. Among this information: birthdays, social security numbers, income information, and email and street addresses of many of Anthem’s customers. With the specific information stolen, it is very dangerous for the people who had information about them stolen because the harm that can come out of the information stolen is great.


Why should we trust the Sony PlayStation Network ever again?


Sony in recent years just are unlucky in the department of hacking. There have been many instances where people, or agencies have hacked into the network and shut it down for a period of time. The worst one was back in 2011 when the network was shut down for a month and millions of subscriber’s information and credit card information was stolen. Then there was the Sony Pictures hack by North Korea over the movie “The Interview” a couple months ago. The most recent hack was Super Bowl Sunday, February 1st, the network was hacked and was shut down for about six hours. Many loyal customers of the Play Station have considered, if not already, leaving the network and going to Microsoft because their network is more secure and not nearly as often as Sony’s.

The cost of doing business in China: Spying


Relations between the US and China have been stained for a very long time, especially since Snowden released the information that the US were spying on Chinese government officials. Recent events have led China to make regulations on any foreign company’s technology that is used inside the country. They require now that companies make their technology less secure and easier to hack into, I find this very funny because why can they get better hackers?  Some US companies tried to get the Chinese government to reconsider the restrictions but nothing has come of it yet. So ultimately, China just wants it easier to spy on American technology and have power and control over what they do in their own country.

Week 16 News Digest

Failing Security System at Biden’s House


January 18th, 2015




Gunshots were fired at Biden’s residence and failed to be captured by the security cameras. They said that the shots came from the main road but the cameras are facing adjacent of the house. The house is said to have history of problems with the security system. The security system was so unreliable that it would have false alarms and it would give incorrect data so the secret service turned the system off. In November it was said that system was getting fixed because the media found out about the problems with the system. With the shooting taking place the secret service now wants to put more cameras on the property.


Google Glass Bringing Up Privacy Issues


January 16th, 2015




The product glass by google is now having to go back to the drawing board because of the privacy concerns. The main concern is the camera on the glass and how it can be used in a public setting. A number of places have started to ban google glass and the Motion Pictures Association of America are warning theaters about them because of the record feature they have. John Simpson told Associated press that glass “is a perfect stalker’s tool, and it’s difficult to see how they solve that.” Google says that they are still going to sell glass and they are hoping to make better versions down the line because they are “building for the future.”


Terrorist Breaches in France


January 12th, 2015



Terrorist attacks in France show that there have been serious breaches in their intelligence, surveillance and security systems. These attacks on their systems have led to the horrible events that are going on in Paris and France. This is bringing serious concerns to the people about the future for France. In the three attacks that have happened there have been 17 people who have been murdered. The main concern that they are working on is to either increase the surveillance and security or to revamp the whole system. Police in the last week have been told that sleeper cells have been activated and will need to keep their weapons on them at all times.

Week 15 News Digest

Facebook Launches Simplified Terms and Conditions

December 4th, 2014


There have been a lot of issues with users agreeing to terms and conditions on social media websites without fully understanding, or reading, what they are agreeing to. To try and fix this, and bring down the level of complaints, Facebook has decided to “simplify” it’s terms and conditions for its users. The website now breaks down terms of use for all users and shows them how to change their privacy settings right off the bat. This has been needed for a long time, the long terms of use filled with information that a lot of people just don’t understand has caused a lot of problems on all social media websites, not just Facebook. Facebook taking this step forward will hopefully set an example to other social media websites in transparency, telling its users exactly what they are signing up for. The new agreement has been shortened, informing users of advertisements and what they refer to as “Privacy Basics”.


Baltimore Police Use of Invasive Surveillance Technology

November 29th, 2014


In a pending case in Baltimore, police had been found to be obtaining information illegally.  It has been recorded that they had used a “stringray” which is a type of phone tracker, to track down the perp’s phone and later their home without a warrant allowing them to do so. They did have a court order, however the order did not allow them to obtain the information the way they did. The American Civil Liberties Union has called out this police department, saying they are using invasive surveillance technology that violates our forth amendment. Citizens within Baltimore have expressed that they don’t have a problem with what they are using this information to do, but it is how they get this information that is concerning, especially since some went far enough to say that there were bad cops in this department that they wouldn’t feel comfortable with having them use their information.


Surveillance Systems Are Getting Smarter 

November 30th, 2014


A lot of people are not okay with the use of surveillance in today’s society along with the loss of privacy that has come with it, but some would say that we should accept it in stride and use this for the greater good. Jenq-Neng Hwang and his team of electrical engineers have made a new study, making security cameras a lot more effective and useful than they are now. They have created surveillance systems that can pick out individuals and follow them in the public, switching from camera to camera to track that person’s path. This is obviously beneficial to our society. Now, instead of people having to stare at screens, trying to find that certain individual on multiple screens to navigate the path of the criminal, the cameras do it for us. Not only does that save our police department’s time but man power, too.


Obama Requests Funding for Body Cameras on Police Officers

December 1st, 2014


In light of the events of Ferguson that has been happening within the past months, Obama has taken a step towards solving the “He Said/She Said” ways of cases against officers, asking for $250 million dollars in funding towards body cameras for police officers along with training. This can be seen as a step in the right direction according to some people. This program that Obama is asking for would pay for more than 50,000 devices for police officers across the nation. But, the question is will this actually solve the problem?


Sony Gets Hacked, Films Released Along With Other Private Information

December 4th, 2014


On Wednesday, Sony was hit by hackers that had leaked several finished films along with confidential documents and private information from thousands of their employees from multiple places throughout the nation. The company is trying to figure out who exactly the hackers are and where they are, but have only received the information given by the hackers themselves. When employees had tried to log into their computers, they received a picture of a skeleton along with the message “Hacked by #GOP”. The hackers call themselves the Guardians of Peace. They only other lead they have found is that the language found in the malware the hackers had used had been Korean, but that data could be fake.

Do Not Track: Do We Need It?

Privacy advocates state that there should be a “Do Not Track” system, that forbids the collection of certain information and allows a user to option out of any methods of  tracking. There are two sides to every argument with legitimate concerns that people with different world views prioritize to differing degrees. At first glance, one may approve for the need of FTC mandating internet. For some, it feels like a violation to be treated as a mere object of commerce others worry that data about their interests will be used to discriminate wrongly against them or to exclude them from information and opportunities they should enjoy. Those who argue we do not need the DNT system believe excess customization of the Web experience may structure society. There is a nice thought  that as a nation our, privacy rights would be restored, however we cannot forget how many loopholes, contracts, network service providers benefits will come about a DNT law. The ultimate question is  what is  privacy?” Everyone has their own take on “privacy,” all we can do is be smart about how and who we provide our information to, take responsibility and control, that’s the closest to freedom  and privacy we can get, without the need of a DNT system.

DNT is not needed in terms of businesses and advertising, Internet tracking has many advantages, including allowing businesses and advertisers to convey more convenient and relevant advertising, services and cost savings to Internet users, however if ad networks sold personal and contact info, it would undercut its advertising business and its own profitability, however they can still trade the information. Most websites such as Facebook, Yahoo, MSN and thousands of blogs, news sites, and comment boards use advertising to support what they do, using cookies to track one’s Internet usage. Google for example, spends millions and millions of dollars on free services like its search engine, Gmail, mapping tools, Google Groups and more where the ultimate result is  personalized advertising.

Marketers will pay more to reach you if you are likely to use their products  in  the business of online advertising the model code is to sell space to advertisers—giving them access to people based on their demographics and interests.

A working group of industry representatives, advertisers, online businesses and privacy advocates  known as The W3C Tracking Protection Working Group, have been working for two years to expand an agreed upon policy and procedure for the need of a DNT system, but have been unable to reach any conclusion. 2012  Eric Wheeler  “Do Not Track”  is Poised to Kill Online Growth, argues the rumors ran that the DNT would be in action starting in the year 2013 there were no specifics as to who and what this DNT system would represent and “poison.” Wheeler argues that it would be so effective,

That it should strike fear into the hearts of every company that does business online — particularly startups, but also the Googles and Facebooks of the world.

According to the article,

The FTC was likely to go beyond the boundaries of privacy and easily opt out of receiving any such market ads including ones from companies and ad networks. Any allied company would cease to collect anonymous user data or coerce browsers to prevent tracking by default, this statement may sound beneficial.

Wheeler says,

The practical implications of such regulations would be devastating — not just for advertisers and the online publishers who depend on their money, but for the technology industry and economy as a whole.

Wheeler implies that consumers themselves would end up suffering to a need for the DNT System. The gain of  “privacy”  would be at the cost of online subscription fees, less interesting and innovative online experiences, and less relevant advertising. The results to DNT would lead  to a confusing, overboard, opt-in mechanisms on every Website visited. As Wheeler states,

We are headed for what feels like an anti-Internet, not a privacy movement.

The article by Jim Harper,  ‘It’s a Modern Trade: Web Users Get as Much as They Get as Much as They Give’ starts with

Many people are concerned and dismayed—even shocked—when they learn that “their” data are fuel for the World Wide Web.

Harper  is not so much taken aback by the FTC wanting to mandate the need for DNT, but rather says that society should stop being such cry babies and learn to better control our information. Harper does not agree with tracking one’s information, but he doesn’t agree with FTC wanting to mandate the need for DNT either.

Rather than indulging the natural reaction to say “stop,” people should get smart and learn how to control personal information. Every visit to a website sends information out before it pulls information in. And the information Web surfers send out can be revealing.

All this brings back information from one of the readings done in class titled, “NSA Prism program taps into the user data of Apple, Google and others.” The NSA obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other U.S. internet giants, this access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism. Prism allows officials to collect material such as search history, content of emails, file transfers and live chats.

PRISM is an easier method of  extensive, in-depth surveillance of live communications and stored information.

Prism according to the law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, Americans whose communications include people outside the US and also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US to be  collected without warrants. The new tracking method  PRISM emphasizes a need for DNT, creating more fears into people of their information being tracked to the point where apparently it can be collected without the use of a warrant.

In the end, one is responsible for their privacy and the actions they take upon it. Whether one agrees or disagrees  with  the need of the FTC mandating a  DNT system is an individual decision. Excess customization of the Web experience may structure  society. For those who seek a need for DNT, there are services and behaviors that can be avoided to not be tracked within one’s own terms. Once can make the effort in taking responsibility and control of the information they choose to share and post. Such methods include paying for security devices for network and online services, using a PO box and other such behaviors that can limit  information from being gathered.  Resisting the need for the DNT System, allows for one to be independent, in control of their information, allowing individuals to retain their personal liberties. 




Week 14 – News Digest

Russian website streams thousands of private webcams

November 20, 2014: 10:04 AM ET



In Russia, a team of hackers formed a website that streams live video footage from thousands of private webcams around the world. In some of the live footage, the hackers have streamed babies in cribs sleeping and patients at hospitals. The hackers have been able to get into the private cameras so easily because the cameras passwords were the default passwords set by their manufacturers. After the hackers gained the passwords, they would post the log-in information to their website to anyone who wanted to access the unsecured webcams. The owners of the cameras have installed them to try to increase their security, but the Russian hackers have provided public access to them which reveals some of the owners intimate moments. The website so far, has revealed 4,600 live streams in the United States, 2,000 in France, 1,500 in the Netherlands. Each link to a camera provided you the GPS location, postcode, time zone, and a map showing where its exact location is. Apparently, the websites motive is to bring more awareness to the problem and that it should be addressed.


Cellphone tracking: Find an address? Easy. But new devices can calculate your altitude.

November 19 at 9:00 PM


For the longest time cellphones have acted as tracking devices that reveal your location to police, paramedics, and other people. But there is one form of tracking that has been a challenge for cellphone engineers to provide until now, which is altitude. Soon it will be possible to not only see what building you are in but also the exact floor you’re currently on. This new technology has positive effects, like helping a fire rescue team find the exact location a person is in a building engulfed in flames. But many privacy advocates believe intelligence agencies like the FBI, CIA, etc and hackers could use this to track you. Many lobbyists have gotten into a political fight between some public safety groups supporting the FCC’s strict rules and wireless carriers that want to slow down the process of cellphone technology.


Amnesty releases anti-spying program for activists

19 November 2014


A international company called Amnesty has released a program that allows the detection of spying software that governments use to keep tabs on activists and political opponents. Amnesty said that many governments have been using a sophisticated spying tools that could grab images from webcams or listen to microphones to monitor people. They used tools that are marketed on how it’s able to get around your standard anti-virus. The makers of the spying software did strenuous testing to ensure that the way they sneaked around on a computer didn’t trigger security alerts. But now since Amnesty has created the anti-spying software called Detekt, the government will have to think twice about what activists they are trying to peruse. As of right now, Detekt is free and the first version has been written to run on Window computers because the people being monitored mostly use that software. The trade in spyware that’s used by governments around the world is now a market worth about $5 billion a year and Amnesty believed it was time for the trade to be better regulated.


NSA Director confirms that China and other countries can hack and shut down critical systems

Published November 20, 2014


The NSA director, Admiral Michael Rogers has stated that China and one or two other countries in the world could possibly start a cyber attack that can terminate the electric grid in different places of the United States.  The theory of such cyber attacks by these foreign hackers has been known for a long period of time, but has never been confirmed to the nation by our NSA director until now. The adversaries are constructing electronic “reconnaissance”  on a daily basis so when the perfect time comes to attack, they can shut down industrial control systems that run everything from chemical facilities to water treatment plants. But it seems if this would happen, there would be a mutual deterrence, because the U.S. has enough Cyber Command officials to do the same thing to China.


Democrats on House oversight panel ask when data breach was discovered, how it was fixed

Published November 17, 2014


Democrats have demanded answers this past week about a potential cyber-attack that shut down the State’s Department’s unclassified email system. The letter was sent to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting details and when it was first discovered. Apparently, the email system was still down a day after the department disabled it over a breach several weeks ago which was led to believe it was to target the White House. Now the State Department has said two breaches now appear to be in scandal. Investigations are still being made to find who or what launched the attack.

News Digest

Domestic Drones: Report Exposes Expansion of Surveillance Flights

November 14, 2014


The American government has expanded the use of drones along the border of Mexico without informing the public about it very much. Drones stretch across the almost 2,000 mile border, and are monitoring everything. Many people have been concerned about drones and how they are used. Some think that it puts the nation at risk for becoming surveyed too much, and constantly being watched. This secret border patrol program has sent at least 10,000 drones on missions since March of 2013. The ACLU is against this use of drones. They say that if we continue then it will “profoundly change the character of public life in America.” We are slowly moving towards a society where every move we make is surveyed. The executive director of national air security says that we shouldn’t worry right now because the drones can’t recognize many details. They can’t register faces or license plates.

LAPD Technology That Tracks Ex-Cons Stirs Concerns

November 14, 2014


The LAPD relies on a lot of technology to catch criminals. So far, they say that it has decreased the amount of crime in the city. The federal government just gave them $400,000 to improve their program even more. They have named the program and technology LASER. The CIA developed the technology. Officials from around the country have been briefed on this program, and are looking into using it. The program has proved that it definitely lowers crime in places that it is being used compared to places that aren’t using it, but privacy advocates aren’t sure that’s enough. The problem is that it risks targeting minorities, and also puts some bias on those who have already committed crimes. Some think that information on an individual she be gotten rid of is they haven’t committed a crime in over 6 months, but there isn’t any rule for that.

Americans Fear Eroding Policy Online

November 12, 2014


This article is about a study that was released on Wednesday. It showed that Americans are very concerned about there privacy online and digitally. Most Americans associated privacy with security. If they didn’t feel like something was secure, then they didn’t think that they had any privacy. They don’t control what companies collect, and what they do with it. The study asked people about their confidence in landline phones, mobile phones, text messages, email, instant messaging, and social media. All of them scored very low.   The highest one was landline phones, but only 16% of people had confidence in it. Most people are concerned about their social security number, and things like that, but not many were concerned with things like their political views or their personal shopping habits. The study didn’t see if Americans were changing their behavior, but it showed that many are concerned about their privacy.

Watch What Happens When a Photographer Secretly Taps into Public Surveillance Cameras

November 13, 2014


A photographer hacked into a networked CCTV camera to spy on people that didn’t know. He wanted to give people an idea about how modern surveillance doesn’t give you a lot of privacy on an artistic way. He realized that many cameras didn’t have passwords and started hacking into things like parking lot cameras. He eventually found the camera that he liked the best. The camera could pan, zoom in, and adjust the exposure. He says that he didn’t hack into anything because it was accessible to the public. He noticed people patterns, and the pictures he took weren’t clear enough to see their face so it left some anonymity. He wanted to expose what the security cameras see all the time, and show us what they saw.

Fed Up With Dragnet Government Surveillance

November 13, 2014

‘Fed up with dragnet government surveillance’

This article is about a new way to send email without it being read by Yahoo, Google, Apple, the government, or hackers. A new, private, email service, called StartMail.com, encrypts your emails. There has been a lot of interest in this already. This website is supposed to make it easy to encrypt everything for you. It makes encryption available to those who don’t really know how to do it.   There is no advertising revenue for in the company so they make their profit from subscriptions. As soon as this takes off, millions of people’s emails will suddenly become private and secure.

Week 11 News Digest

Police in RVA scanning license plates; some raising privacy concerns




This article is in response to the increased use of License Plate Readers, or LPRs, by police all over the country. They are mounted on to most police cruisers and are used to help solve crimes. Although, many people would argue that these are an invasion of privacy. Chesterfield police state that none of the information collected by the LPRs is uploaded anywhere and that it is deleted after 30 days. According to state law in Virginia, the information collected by this technology is not allowed to be stored over the long term for any purpose. After this ruling state police purged its database of millions of license plate records. There are several police agencies I Northern Virginia that feel like they do not have to abide by this ruling. The article discusses how there should be a common set of rules about the storage of this data for all police agencies using the LPR technology.



Harvard secretly photographed students to study attendance




Harvard University recently revealed that they completed a study in which they photographed over 2,000 students on their way to several lecture halls in order to study attendance. Many students and faculty are upset about the study because they believe it was an invasion of privacy. The students and faculty were neither informed before the study nor during the study. It is discussed that the use of cameras around the university are accepted when the reason for them is safety. However, being monitored by a camera that takes an image every minute without consent is an invasion of privacy in the eyes of most students at Harvard.


Tricked by Verizon into giving up cellphone privacy




This article discusses how company, Verizon Wireless, tricks their customers into a program called Verizon Selects that is used for marketing. Verizon Selects collects information on online browsing, physical location and apps. Their rewards program called Verizon Smart Rewards is how they lure you into applying for Verizon selects. By signing up for the rewards program you also have to sign up for Verizon Select. Many consumers are unaware what they are signing up for and don’t realize what kinds of information they are giving up by not fully understanding the fine print. The article brings the idea to attention that companies should be more straightforward about the information they are collecting about you and what it is used for.



Home Depot hackers used vendor log-on to steal data, e-mails




Home Depot announced in September that a breach to their system had compromised over 56 million customer’s credit and debit card information. After further investigation of the attack it was revealed that over 53 million emails were also compromised. The company is notifying affected customers and offering credit monitoring. The hackers used a vendor’s log in credentials to access the information. Today’s security systems in place to prevent attacks like this have been very ineffective. Cyber criminals are advancing much faster than the security technology is which poses a threat to all of our personal information that we trust companies, like Home Depot, to keep safe.



Companies Are Spending More on Customer Privacy but It’s Uneven: Survey




This article questions the fact that many companies state that they are doing everything possible to protect customer information. A study of Fortune 1000 companies showed that there is a rise in how much companies are spending on consumer privacy but it is very uneven among the companies. The idea of investing money in privacy is fairly new to companies but it has become very important because of the recent hacks on large companies such as Target and Home Depot. Forty percent of the companies surveyed stated that they plan to increase their spending on privacy protection significantly in the next year.