Posts Tagged ‘privacy laws’

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More Demands on Cell Carriers

July 13, 2012

In the first public accounting of its kind, cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a startling 1.3 million demands for subscriber information last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations.

The cellphone carriers’ reports, which come in response to a Congressional inquiry, document an explosion in cellphone surveillance in the last five years, with the companies turning over records thousands of times a day in response to police emergencies, court orders, law enforcement subpoenas and other requests.

While the cell companies did not break down the types of law enforcement agencies collecting the data, they made clear that the widened cell surveillance cut across all levels of government — from run-of-the-mill street crimes handled by local police departments to financial crimes and intelligence investigations at the state and federal levels.

AT&T alone now responds to an average of more than 700 requests a day, with about 230 of them regarded as emergencies that do not require the normal court orders and subpoena. That is roughly triple the number it fielded in 2007, the company said. Law enforcement requests of all kinds have been rising among the other carriers as well, with annual increases of between 12 percent and 16 percent in the last five years. Sprint, which did not break down its figures in as much detail as other carriers, led all companies last year in reporting what amounted to at least 1,500 data requests on average a day.

With the rapid expansion of cell surveillance have come rising concerns — including among carriers — about what legal safeguards are in place to balance law enforcement agencies’ needs for quick data against the privacy rights of consumers.  Source

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Google Drive Wants a Piece of the File Sharing and Storage Pie – But It Might Not Taste So Sweet for Businesses

May 1, 2012

This week Google announced its newest offering, Google Drive. The launch of Google Drive, a cloud-based file storage and synchronization tool, places Google’s hat in the ring with other file sharing services. In response, Vice President of Sales and Client Services at FilesAnywhere, Shayne Mehringer, gave this statement:

“Google is king when it comes to Internet searching, and websites around the world count on them for outstanding targeted advertising abilities. However, this doesn’t necessarily make them right for the business and consumer file storage market. Oversaturation in the online storage and collaboration market is actually a good thing for us. Smart, professional consumers and corporations will now be forced to do their homework. Source 

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Apple holds the master decryption key when it comes to iCloud security, privacy

April 5, 2012

Apple can potentially decrypt and access all data stored on iCloud servers. This includes contacts, notes, unencrypted e-mails, application preferences, Safari bookmarks, calendars, and reminders.

This was recently confirmed by a source speaking to Ars, and security researcher and forensic data analysis expert Jonathan Zdziarski agreed. “I can tell you that the iCloud terms and conditions are pretty telling about what the capabilities are at Apple with respect to iCloud, and suggests they can view any and all content,” Zdziarski told Ars.

In particular, Zdziarski cited particular clauses of iCloud Terms and Conditions that state that Apple can “pre-screen, move, refuse, modify and/or remove Content at any time” if the content is deemed “objectionable” or otherwise in violation of the terms of service. Furthermore, Apple can “access, use, preserve and/or disclose your Account information and Content to law enforcement authorities” whenever required or permitted by law. Apple further says that it will review content reportedly in violation of copyright under DMCA statutes.

“If iCloud data was fully encrypted, they wouldn’t be able to review content, provide content to law enforcement, or attempt to identify DMCA violations,” Zdziarski told Ars.

Source

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Cyber experts show vulnerability of GSM networks

February 21, 2012

A group of cyber experts stunned a conference here when they showed the vulnerability of GSM mobile networks which can be easily exploited by hackers enabling them to impersonate a user’s identity and make calls from his account without a clue to the consumer.

The ethical group — matrix shell — gave a demonstration of the hacker’s technique on a live network of a leading mobile service provider in which they managed to make a call using the number of a audience member without actually using his phone or SIM.

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FBI says social media monitoring won’t infringe privacy rights

February 15, 2012

The FBI today said that its proposed plans to monitor social media sites as part of a broader strategy to improve real-time situation awareness will be fully vetted by the agency’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Unit.

The unit will review the legal implications of the monitoring application and ensure that it meets all privacy and civil rights obligations before it is implemented, the agency said in a statement emailed to Computerworld “Although the FBI has always adapted to meet changes in technology, the rule of law, civil liberties, and civil rights, will remain our guiding principles,” the agency said.

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USA Supreme Court returns personal privacy

February 6, 2012

American Civil Liberties Union’s website after the Supreme Court’s unanimous Jan. 23 ruling on United States v. Jones: “Supreme Court GPS Ruling: Bringing the 4th Amendment Into the 21st Century,

And this dramatic praise from Marcia Hofmann, the senior staff attorney for leading digital civil liberties protector, the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

“The Supreme Court has unanimously confirmed that the Constitution prevents unbridled police use of new technologies to monitor our movements.”

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Google announces upcoming changes that affect your privacy

January 30, 2012

The main change is for users with Google Accounts. Their new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, they may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, they’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.