5 Unbelievably Creepy Surveillance Tactics

Source: AlterNet

By Tana Ganeva

Survoptiv9.png

Since the erosion of Americans’ civil liberties depends on high levels of public apathy, some of the most dangerous privacy breaches take place incrementally and under the radar; if it invites comparisons to Blade Runner or Orwell, then someone in the PR department didn’t do their job. Meanwhile, some of the biggest threats to privacy, like insecure online data or iPhone GPS tracking, are physically unobtrusive and therefore easily ignored. And it’ll beat least a year or two until the sky is overrun by spy drones.

So when a method of surveillance literally resembles a prop or plot point in a sci-fi movie, it helps to reveal just how widespread and sophisticated commercial and government monitoring has become.  Here are five recent developments that seem almost unreal in their dystopian creepiness.

  1. Buses and street cars that can hear what you say.

You can’t really go anywhere in America without being tracked by surveillance cameras. But seeing what people do is not enough; according to a report by the Daily, cities all over the country are literally bugging public transportation.

In San Francisco, city officials have plans to install surveillance cameras that record sound on 357 buses and trolley cars, the Daily reported. Eugene, Oregon and Columbus, Hartford and Athens, Georgia, also have audio recording plans in the works. The systems have the capacity to filter background noise and hone in on passengers’ conversations.

Officials have said that the system is merely intended to help resolve disputes between bus riders. San Francisco officials did not comment, but the Daily found a similar justification in procurement documents for the technology. “The purpose of this project is to replace the existing video surveillance systems in SFMTA’s fleet of revenue vehicles with a reliable and technologically advanced system to increase passenger safety and improve reliability and maintainability of the system.”

It’s nice that the Department of Homeland Security, which covered the entire cost of San Francisco’s system, is so committed to ensuring pleasant bus rides for passengers.

  1. Mannequins that can see you.

A handful of retailers in the US and Europe are installing mannequins in their stores that can determine customers’ age, gender and race, Bloomberg reported last month. Don’t worry, the face recognition-equipped camera is hidden, so there is no way to tell whether the giant plastic dolls in the store are watching you as you shop. The company that developed the mannequins (named EyeSee) sells their attributes thusly:

This special camera installed inside the mannequin’s head analyzes the facial features of people passing through the front and provides statistical and contextual information useful to the development of targeted marketing strategies. The embedded software can also provide other data such as the number of people passing in front of a window at certain times of the day.

They are also developing audio technology that can pick up key words from customer conversations to help them tailor their marketing plans. A screen that displays advertising geared specifically to each customers’ demographic is also in EyeSee’s future.

Really, wouldn’t the ideal marketing scenario be if human customers were replaced by mannequins programmed to buy everything the other mannequins were selling?

  1. Biometric time clocks.

For too long, employers lacked the ability to extract every second of labor from their workers with scientific precision. Thanks to the wonders of face recognition technology, many employees in low-wage workplaces are now required to log in to work on face recognition readers instead of using key cards or codes. Biometric time clocks like FaceIn, most commonly used at construction sites, create an avatar of the workers’ face that the machine keeps forever and that ages alongside the employee. Allegedly, it can tell twins apart.

Meanwhile, many fast food restaurants and retailers have started using biometric time clocks that record digital fingerprints, like the creepily named U.are.U digital fingerprint reader, to prevent employees from coming in late or giving out discounts.

  1. Tagging children.

It’s probably best to train people in robotic discipline early, and many US schools, aided by surveillance technology vendors, are on it. Last month, a Texas sophomore sued her school district for making students carry RFID chips that tracked their movements, but that’s just the start. School administrators all over the country use CCTV cameras, RFID chips, and GPS tracking to moniter where students go and what they do, as David Rosen reported for AlterNet. One pilot program for middle schoolers used GPS to make sure kids aren’t late: 

Each school day, the delinquent students get an automated “wake-up” phone call reminding them that they need to get to school on time. In addition, five times a day they are required to enter a code that tracks their locations: as they leave for school, when they arrive at school, at lunchtime, when they leave school and at 8pm. These students are also assigned an adult “coach” who calls them at least three times a week to see how they are doing and help them find effective ways to make sure they get to school.

  1. Biometric databases.

Federal agencies ranging from the DoD to the FBI to the DHS are revamping their databases to include iris scans, voice patterning, measures of gait, face recognition, and records of scars and tattoos. They also have a mandate to indiscriminately share this information between agencies and with unnamed foreign entities.

Advertisements

Snowden Live Q&A On Trump: “Don’t Fear Trump. Fear The Risk Of Spying”

Source:  fossBytes

After Donald Trump becoming the president many people have been talking about how he would affect different things.

Privacy is one of those things because the security agencies based in the US are known for their surveillance hobbies. The new elected president would definitely have some sort of impact on privacy and how the spying activities would continue in the future.

Edward Snowden, the man who made the world serious about their personal information available on the internet, will host a live stream event on StartPage–a Dutch search engine–on November 10 (4:30pm Eastern Time). Obviously, Snowden is the right person to talk about privacy considered his past experience.

In this event, he will talk about Donald Trump and privacy issues. Notably, Edward Snowden is expecting a presidential pardon.

[Update]

In the interview, Snowden talked about various topics ranging from the new president-elect to his condition and what needs to be done in future. He said that technology, instead of running after legislation, should be used to achieve privacy. When we think the law is not efficient enough to protect our rights, we should start supporting the corporations, groups, and individuals–the ones who are trying to enforce your rights through science, math, and technology so that the governments start respecting your rights. “No amount of violence, no amount of military force will ever solve a math problem,” he said.

When asked about Trump

Snowden did not follow the event to talk specifically about the new president. He kept a safe distance from the name Donald Trump. But, he was prepared for such questions. When the PGP protocol creator Phil Zimmermann asked him about Trump, Snowden said he would be getting a powerful surveillance infrastructure. But, we should not set our focus on a single leader or government.

“We should be cautious about putting too much faith or fear in elected officials,” said Snowden.

“We’re never farther than an election away from a change in leader, from a change in policy, a change in the way the powers we have constructed into a system are used. So what we need to think about now is not how do we defend against a president Donald Trump, but how do we protect the rights of everyone, everywhere, without regard to jurisdictions, without regard to borders?”

Snowden did not directly talk about the impact of Trump’s presidency but he expressed his belief in one of the answers:

“Despite the challenges we have in the United States, despite the changes in government, despite some of the very concerning statements made by our new President-elect, this is a nation that will strive to get better.”

“This is a dark moment in our nation’s history – but it is not the end of history. and if we work together, we can build something better.”

That Girly Touch: Why Many Attempts To Attract Women To Cybersecurity Might Actually Achieve The Opposite — Security Solutions Magazine

The problem is familiar. Cybersecurity is still a male-dominated field. Women make up only 10 percent of the global cybersecurity workforce. The field is missing out on a lot of capable people and women are missing out on an interesting, well-paid career path. There have been numerous initiatives trying to change the situation, but fighting…

via That Girly Touch: Why Many Attempts To Attract Women To Cybersecurity Might Actually Achieve The Opposite — Security Solutions Magazine

How to know if your windows pc got hacked — Use “Hacked?”

Source: Fossbytes

With the number of data breaches and hacking attacks on the rise, the internet has become a scary place.

Today, we can’t call any device completely secure as every other day there’s a new malware appearing in the wild.

As an alternative to the long list of antivirus solutions and anti-malware, there’s a new way to safeguard your data and add an extra security layer to your personal computers.

Called “Hacked?”, this Universal Windows 10 app scans the latest hacks and data breaches and looks for your accounts.

Developed by Windows developer Lance McCarthy, this app just wants your email address and does the rest process on its own. Being a Universal Windows 10 app, this works on Windows 10 PCs, smartphones, and HoloLens too.

The Hacked? app keeps on running in the background and at every 12 hours, it checks if your accounts have been involved in some hack or data breach.

Some of you might compare it with the website Haveibeenpwned where you need to go to the website and enter your email to find out the result. Hacked? makes this job easier by sending automatic notifications if it notices some problem.

The developing team of the app makes sure to tell that your account information is not shared with anybody.

Data Sheet—Saturday, September 24, 2016 — Fortune

You knew this was coming. After a steady series of hacking debacles, regulators are stepping in and ordering companies to tighten up. Soon companies in the financial sector — banks, brokerages, and insurance firms — will have to comply with cybersecurity rules that include encrypting sensitive information and appointing a security chief. The rules come…

via Data Sheet—Saturday, September 24, 2016 — Fortune

Yahoo Is Sued for Gross Negligence Over Huge Hacking — Fortune

Yahoo was sued on Friday by a user who accused it of gross negligence over a massive 2014 hacking in which information was stolen from at least 500 million accounts. The lawsuit was filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, one day after Yahoo disclosed the hacking, unprecedented in size, by what it…

via Yahoo Is Sued for Gross Negligence Over Huge Hacking — Fortune

Some Furious Yahoo Users Close Accounts After Data Breach — Fortune

(Reuters) – Many Yahoo users rushed on Friday to close accounts, some of which they had not used in years, after the internet company announced it suffered one of the world’s largest cyber breaches. After Yahoo disclosed on Thursday that hackers had accessed the encrypted passwords and personal details of more than 500 million accounts…

via Some Furious Yahoo Users Close Accounts After Data Breach — Fortune