Tag: privacy

Google’s sinister glasses will turn the whole world into search giant’s spies

By Tom Leonard

..They look like something you’d see at a Star Trek convention, perhaps worn with a pair of fake pointy ears.
And that’s entirely fitting, given that these high-tech specs are about to propel us into a sci-fi future few could have envisaged a decade ago.
Google Glass has had the tech world giddy with excitement since it was unveiled nearly a year ago.
Last week, at the South By Southwest technology convention in Austin, Texas, a Google designer gave the first demonstration to a rapt audience.
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Look into the future: But are Google’s glasses a sinister invsion of privacy?
This remarkable new innovation represents the advance guard of what Silicon Valley is banking on being the next great step in our addiction to the internet: ‘wearable computing’.
Apple and Samsung are working on smart watches, Google is developing talking shoes, but nothing compares to these head-mounted ‘glasses’ that can shoot video footage, search the internet or send an email, all at the command of their wearer’s voice.
To look at, they are nothing special, certainly rather nerdy, but put them on and you are immersed in what the experts like to call ‘augmented reality’.

Sen. Paul introduces Bill to protect Americans against unwarranted drone surveillance

by Jillian Lane

Today, Sen. Rand Paul introduced legislation into the Senate that protects individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles commonly known as drones. The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 will protect Americans’ personal privacy.

“Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued. Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics,” Sen. Paul said.

The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 also:

1. Prohibits the use of drones by the government except when a warrant is issued for its use in accordance with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

Is it only a matter of time before drone technology is used in civil society?

Their killing power is immense and the surveillance possibilities are endless. Perhaps it’s no wonder that the awesome potential of unmanned aerial vehicles is now being so energetically explored – from the battlefields of Afghanistan to the London Olympics.

Peter Popham

The world’s first glimpse of a killer drone in action was over the English Channel: a Royal Navy patrol boat reported “a bright horizontal flame” in the sky. The device emitting the flame had stubby wings and was shaped like a rocket, and was travelling from the French coast at more than 200mph. Too small and too fast to be intercepted, it arrived in England’s Home Counties without warning; as it plunged earthwards the low drone of the motor cut out and there were three seconds of silence before the massive explosion. Where it exploded, the human beings at the epicentre simply disappeared, vaporised.

Of course, for all the similarities, this was not a Reaper or a Predator, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) used in action by British and US militaries today. The most glaring difference is that modern drones don’t self-destruct, except by mistake. This was the Vergeltungswaffe, the V-1, known affectionately to its German makers as the Maybug and to its terrorised British targets as the “doodlebug”. The Nazis had experimented with making it radio-controlled, but in the end its navigation system was crude. Yet this PAC (pilotless aircraft) – Hitler’s last, desperate throw of the dice as the Allies swarmed towards Berlin – marked the start of a new era in warfare as decisively as did “Fat Man” and “Little Boy”, which plummeted towards Hiroshima and Nagasaki a few months later.

Web freedom faces greatest threat ever, warns Google’s

Sergey Brin Threats range from governments trying to control citizens to the rise of Facebook and Apple-style ‘walled gardens’

Sergey Brin says he and Google co-founder Larry Page would not have been able to create their search giant if the internet was dominated by Facebook. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images The principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the internet three decades ago are under greater threat than ever, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

In an interview with the Guardian, Brin warned there were “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world”. “I am more worried than I have been in the past,” he said. “It’s scary.”

The threat to the freedom of the internet comes, he claims, from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry’s attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of “restrictive” walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms.

The U.N. threat to internet freedom

By ROBERT M. MCDOWELL On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year’s end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish “international control over the Internet” through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices.

If successful, these new regulatory proposals would upend the Internet’s flourishing regime, which has been in place since 1988. That year, delegates from 114 countries gathered in Australia to agree to a treaty that set the stage for dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications. This insulated the Internet from economic and technical regulation and quickly became the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.

Since the Net’s inception, engineers, academics, user groups and others have convened in bottom-up nongovernmental organizations to keep it operating and thriving through what is known as a “multi-stakeholder” governance model. This consensus-driven private-sector approach has been the key to the Net’s phenomenal success.

Drones over U.S. get OK by Congress

By Shaun Waterman

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s … a drone, and it’s watching you. That’s what privacy advocates fear from a bill Congress passed this week to make it easier for the government to fly unmanned spy planes in U.S. airspace.

The FAA Reauthorization Act, which President Obama is expected to sign, also orders the Federal Aviation Administration to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015.

Privacy advocates say the measure will lead to widespread use of drones for electronic surveillance by police agencies across the country and eventually by private companies as well.

“There are serious policy questions on the horizon about privacy and surveillance, by both government agencies and commercial entities,” said Steven Aftergood, who heads the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

Army foresees expanded use of drones in U.S. airspace

The Army issued a new directive last week to govern the growing use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or “drones” within the United States for training missions and for “domestic operations.”

“The Army’s unmanned aircraft systems represent emerging technology that requires access to the National Airspace System,” wrote Army Secretary John M. McHugh in a January 13 memorandum.

Towards that end, the Army produced a revised policy on UAS operations to support “expanded UAS access to the National Airspace System.” A copy of the new policy was obtained by Secrecy News. See Army Directive 2012-02, January 13, 2012.

Everything spying on you?

Depending upon who you listen to, GPS tracking shouldn’t be your only concern when you are out and about on the streets. By Darlene Storm

Depending upon who you listen to, GPS tracking shouldn’t be your only concern when you are out and about on the streets. The ACLU hammered license plate scanners as ‘logging our every move,’ a different investigative report concluded your car is spying on you, and some even claim the street lights are out to get you. The ACLU reported on the “widespread tracking of citizen’s movements” via the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs). “It has now become clear that this technology, if we do not limit its use, will represent a significant step toward the creation of a surveillance society in the United States.” The ACLU does, of course, regard GPS tracking without a warrant as intrusive on privacy, but license plate reader “technology is rapidly approaching the point where it could be used to reconstruct the entire movements of any individual vehicle.” Some might call that paranoid, but the ACLU said of such accusations, that it is always “amazed by the speed and consistency with which our worst fears for these kinds of technologies turn into reality.”