Tag: Privacy

Citing Privacy Concerns, Israel Ends Cellphone Location Tracking For Enforcement of Quarantine

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

The government of Israel suspended a program enacted last month at the behest of the prime minister’s government granting the police the authority to track roaming and location data of those under quarantine order. A parliamentary oversight committee held that the loss of privacy was a greater cost to society than the proffered benefit of tracking those suspected of carrying or transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

The underlying technology used to track civilian COVID patients stems from that developed for Shin Bet (The Israeli General Security Service) for counter-terrorist tracking of cell phones carried by security risks to the state.  In this case the technology was co-opted for use against medical patients health officials suspected might violate quarantine orders.

While the reversal of policy is welcomed, it does provide a proof that any technology or power crafted under the promise of addressing a great and manifest danger to the people or the state usually finds a way to be used against ordinary citizens when politicians or government become tempted to broaden its application under “emergency” conditions.

Continue reading “Citing Privacy Concerns, Israel Ends Cellphone Location Tracking For Enforcement of Quarantine”

Home Depot’s Home Invasion

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

150px-thehomedepotsvgIt only took a few minutes for Home Depot to tell the world I visited its website. Now, my home computer reminds me of the mistake I made in providing Home Depot the chance to earn my business. I went to look at one of their products and got spammed as a result. It is truly a sign of disrespect Home Depot shows its customers for walking into its digital doors. Well, I can now add Home Depot to my list of “Fired Corporations Replaced By Small Businesses.”

It seems that window shopping is best left to actual windows instead of Microsoft Windows.

Continue reading “Home Depot’s Home Invasion”

A Concerning Look At Privacy In Cloud Computing

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

300px-Rolling-thunder-cloudThere is an interesting video on Slashdot of an interview with Tom Henderson, principle researcher at Extreme Labs, Inc. He provides a primer into his well founded concerns on privacy in the world of cloud computing. His research has led him to the position of distrust of companies hired to store data on behalf of users as opposed to the advantages of these users self-storing and archiving. It is reminiscent of the convenience placed above privacy that is coming to a greater magnification today and likely to be more so into the future.

Continue reading “A Concerning Look At Privacy In Cloud Computing”

European Commission Considering Data Retention Law Targeting Telecoms And Internet Service Providers

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

european-commission-logoUnder the pre-text of combatting terrorism, the European Commission is mulling a proposed regulation that would require telecommunications companies and internet service providers to retain records of European Citizens’ communications. Courts struck down on constitutional privacy grounds a previous law.

The measure comes just after the deadly terrorist attacks stemming from the Charlie Hebdo rampage in Paris in early January. The situation does appear to a lesser degree reminiscent of the changes in government approaches to privacy in the wake of terrorist outrages in other nations such as those in the United States in 2001 and the railway attacks in Spain and the United Kingdom.

Continue reading “European Commission Considering Data Retention Law Targeting Telecoms And Internet Service Providers”

US Magistrate Judge Rules Search Warrant May Include Email Account Hosted Overseas

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Microsoft LogoThere is an interesting ruling from U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis in New York. The case stems from a search warrant sought by the government for the contents of an individual’s e-Mail account that was hosted by Microsoft but stored on a server located in Dublin, Ireland.

Magistrate Francis stated that internet service providers such as Microsoft or Google cannot refuse to turn over customer information and emails stored in other countries when issued a valid search warrant from U.S. law enforcement agencies.

In a statement, Microsoft said it challenged the warrant because the U.S. government should not be able to search the content of email held overseas.

“A U.S. prosecutor cannot obtain a U.S. warrant to search someone’s home located in another country, just as another country’s prosecutor cannot obtain a court order in her home country to conduct a search in the United States,” the company said. “We think the same rules should apply in the online world, but the government disagrees.”
Continue reading “US Magistrate Judge Rules Search Warrant May Include Email Account Hosted Overseas”

Florida Trooper Who Stopped Speeding MPD Officer Files Lawsuit After Alleged Harassment By Other Officers

Submitted By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

FHP Stops MHP officerMany are aware of the incident in October of 2011 when the Florida Highway Patrol stopped a speeding Miami Police Department vehicle operating without emergency equipment, weaving through traffic and reaching speeds up to 120 MPH. The MPD officer driving claimed to be late for an off-duty assignment at an area school. The police officer was eventually fired by Miami PD. Dash-cam video was uploaded to Youtube and witnessed by many. The incident also made national headlines. The Miami PD officer involved had no emergent or law enforcement justification for driving at this speed and doing so without emergency lighting is considered hazardous. Dash-cam video quotes the trooper as saying one of the reasons for her concern was that a day prior a police vehicle was stolen and was involved in a tragic incident.

Now the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper, Donna Jane Watts, has filed a civil suit against several officers and police agencies alleging her driver license information had been unlawfully accessed and that she had been subjected to harassment by other law enforcement officers due the incident involving the Miami Police Department officer.
Continue reading “Florida Trooper Who Stopped Speeding MPD Officer Files Lawsuit After Alleged Harassment By Other Officers”

The Future of Privacy, or is the Genie Out of the Bottle for All Time?

Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe), guest blogger

FAA logoThis story started out in one place and ended somewhere else.  I had been thinking about privacy issues for some time. A friend of mine, a forensic psychologist, like so many professionals, has gone to a (mostly) paperless office. Instead of taking a thick bulky file to court when called on to testify, he takes one dedicated laptop. As all our attorneys and anyone else who has had to testify as an expert knows, if you take your files to court, opposing attorneys are allowed to examine anything brought to the witness stand, such as the contents of a briefcase.  My friend was concerned that he did not want anyone to rummage through his private files and other client files if he brought his regular laptop. So he bought an inexpensive laptop. When he goes to court, he simply downloads the files for that one case, as well as any emails associated with the case. That way he has everything at his fingertips, and counsel opposite can look at everything in that little laptop without compromising privacy or violating HIPAA rules.

A few days ago, he and I were discussing smart phones.  Because of a recent article in the news, the question came up of who owns your cell phone if you use it for business purposes.  Almost everyone I know uses their personal cell phone in relation to their employment. Texting, emails and file storage of all kinds. Suppose the employer is sued, and either the plaintiff or the defense attorney demands all cell phones used in the business be rounded up for evidence in discovery? What does one do in a case where your employer tells you to turn in your personal cell phone, and you may not delete anything, lest you be accused of spoliation of evidence.? Your employer and all the parties are now privy to your personal emails, photos and possibly even all your passwords. Furthermore, you may or may not get your $300+ smart phone back, and if you do, it may take weeks or months.  You may find your memory card gone or erased if you ever do get it back.

That led me to thinking about the broader issue of privacy and new technology, especially regarding drones. Drones have been a hot item in the news recently. There has been as much misinformation as information, and I wanted to set some of the record straight. This story is probably going to scare some people. I must admit, I am a bit nervous about this new technology and the future of privacy myself the more I learn about research projects in the works.

Continue reading “The Future of Privacy, or is the Genie Out of the Bottle for All Time?”