Articles about surveillance


ACL-Sue: Rights group takes on TSA over device searches

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing to force the TSA to produce documents detailing searches of electronic devices. The rights group said its FOIA complaint [PDF] seeks documents that detail how agents have searched electronic devices owned by passengers on domestic flights. While the government has long been …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Mar 2018

Fear the wrath of robots, for their judgement is final and irrevocable

A colleague recently excused himself from a meeting because he had to go and judge a robotics contest. It quickly struck me this was a very modern inversion, because we're constantly judged by robots. We're observed and recorded everywhere we go online thanks to cookies, certificates and loyalty codes. All of that goes into …
Mark Pesce, 12 Mar 2018
Image by Ensuper

Brit spy wrangler details sign-off process for snooping warrants

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office, the body tasked with watching UK spooks, has revealed how it will decide whether to approve snooping warrants authorised by government. The advisory notice (PDF) published yesterday will act as a guide for IPCO's 15 judicial commissioners – working and retired judges appointed to …
Rebecca Hill, 9 Mar 2018

Revealed:'s ‘third direction’ to keep tabs on spies’ potentially criminal activities

The government has finally made public a secretive direction that requires snoop oversight bodies to monitor spies’ potential participation in criminality. The oversight instruction was put on a statutory basis as a Prime Ministerial direction in 2014. However its existence was only revealed in 2016 as a result of legal …
Rebecca Hill, 1 Mar 2018
spy_eye_648 mass data slurping ruled illegal – AGAIN

The UK’s Court of Appeals has ruled that the government’s unfettered slurping of citizens’ data broke the law. In a judgment handed down this morning, judges backed a challenge brought by deputy Labour leader Tom Watson in a long-running battle against state surveillance rules. These laws allow for ISPs and telcos to retain …
Rebecca Hill, 30 Jan 2018
CCTV camera trained on a garden. Photo by Shutterstock

CCTV commish: Bring all surveillance systems under code of practice

The UK's surveillance camera commissioner has told the British government to adopt a "common sense position" and bring all bodies using surveillance camera systems under its code of practice. Tony Porter, whose term as commissioner was in 2017 extended for another three years, used his annual report, published yesterday, to …
Rebecca Hill, 8 Jan 2018
Mobile phones on Iran flag

Iranians resist internet censorship amid deadly street protests

Iranian authorities have blocked Instagram and other social media platforms in response to a wave of street protests across the country this week. The clampdown has resulted in Tor users climbing from around 6k at the beginning of December to over 10,000 at the last count as citizens seek to circumvent the controls, according …
John Leyden, 2 Jan 2018

Surveillance law slip-up in sight for staff stalking citizens on socials

Authorities need to have rules in place to ensure that lawful social media snooping doesn’t slip into covert ops, the UK’s chief surveillance commissioner has said. In his 2016-17 annual report (PDF), published today, the commissioner Lord Igor Judge set out the state of surveillance in the country. It showed that, during the …
Rebecca Hill, 21 Dec 2017

Looking through walls, now easier than ever

Seeing through walls, a capability available to law enforcement and military authorities for several years, could become a bit more predictable in the future thanks to a technique developed by researchers at Duke University. In a paper published on Thursday in the journal Optica, Duke professors Daniel Marks and David R. Smith …
woman on camera as she enters her home

Investigatory Powers Act: You're not being paranoid. really is watching you

Comment From the day the UK government unveiled its Investigatory Powers Act two years ago, Liberty warned it that the authoritarian surveillance powers the proposed legislation contained were unlawful. This Snoopers’ Charter passed through Parliament anyway, giving police, spies and a whole host of public bodies the power to access …
CCTV camera trained on a garden. Photo by Shutterstock

Soon enough, Toshiba drives will stash vid footage of all of us

Toshiba has taken its MG06 10TB enterprise capacity disk-drive technology and used it to update its surveillance line. The 6, 8 and 10TB versions of the MD06ACA-V SV surveillance drives succeed the 4 and 5TB MD04ABA-V drives. Like them, they have a 6 GBit/s SATA interface, a million-hour mean time between failures and spin at …
Chris Mellor, 28 Nov 2017
A 'connected' TV watches over its owner. Pic via shutterstock

Surveillance Capitalism thinks it won, but there's still time to unplug it

On a walk across the show floor at January's Consumer Electronics Show, a friend working in technology for nearly thirty years expressed unease at where it all seemed to be headed. As I pulled my head away from a consumer door lock containing an embedded retinal scanner, I replied. “I don’t know what you’re talking about." …
Mark Pesce, 28 Nov 2017
kids in classroom with raised hands

Germany slaps ban on kids' smartwatches for being 'secret spyware'

The German telecoms regulator has banned the sale of children's smartwatches that allow users to secretly listen in on nearby conversations. The move is the latest in a string of actions taken by the Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur, against devices that allow people to snoop on each other. The agency said the …
Rebecca Hill, 20 Nov 2017

Hey, cop! You need a warrant to stalk a phone with a Stingray – judge

Analysis A New York judge has this month told cops that they need to get a warrant before they can use a controversial Stingray phone-tracking gadget to hunt down suspects. Justice Martin Murphy of the Kings County Supreme Court said the New York Police Department (NYPD) could not use crucial evidence it gathered while trying to locate …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Nov 2017
Arrested, image via Shutterstock Use police body cams to grill suspects at scene of crime

The Home Office wants cops to use body-worn cameras to carry out suspect interviews away from the police station, according to revised rules on the tech. If accepted, the draft proposals – which are part of a broader update to the codes of practice in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act – will grant police the power to use …
Rebecca Hill, 26 Oct 2017

There's a battle on over two US spying laws: One allows snooping on citizens – one bans it

Analysis A battle has broken out in US Congress over a controversial spying program. Two competing pieces of draft legislation have been pushed into the lawmaking process: one that would officially endorse domestic spying, and a second that would explicitly ban it. The Senate Intelligence Committee is behind the first, which would …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Oct 2017
Light bulb photo via Shutterstock

Brit spooks 'kept oversight bodies in the dark' over data sharing

Concerns have been raised that neither of the bodies tasked with overseeing the UK's spy agencies were aware that data they collected was shared with the private sector. According to documents released as part of an ongoing court case between the UK government and Privacy International, GCHQ and MI5 didn't tell watchdogs they …
Rebecca Hill, 18 Oct 2017

Australia approves national database of everyone's mugshots

Updated Australia is to build a national database of as many citizens' images as it can, with state premiers rubber-stamping prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's plan to add drivers' licenses to a national facial recognition database. The plan, called overreach by rights activists like Digital Rights Watch's chair Tim Singleton Norton, …

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