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2011: July-Sept

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14th August

 Offsite: Can RIM Decrypt Blackberry Messages?...

Link Here
Full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users
The Daily Mail tries to find out

See article from


14th August

 Offsite: Bunions and All...

Link Here
Daily Mail hunts down the complete record of one woman's day

See article from


10th August   

Technology Watching...

US police have camera able to recognise people against a database of biometric data
Link Here

Police officers in the USA now have technology which can register a person in seconds. BI2, a Massachusetts based company, has just released MORIS (Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System), enabling a police officer to take an iris scan in seconds and, when attached to an iPhone, take a biometric facial scan with it.

MORIS can then run the image through US criminal records.

Alongside the obvious problems in allowing a private company to manage government records, there is a worry that US police forces may be using the devices to randomly scan the population with the objective of identifying illegal immigrants and sex offenders.

Sean Mullin, BI2's CEO, says that it is difficult to capture an image of someone without their consent because the MORIS should be used at close-distance: It requires a level of cooperation that makes it very overt -- a person knows that you're taking a picture for this purpose .

It won't be long before it reaches the UK.


9th August   

Scoring on Credit...

So is buying porn with a credit card a risky proposition?
Link Here

So how has your credit score been looking? Think you've been doing all the right things but you're not seeing your credit score shape up the way you want it to? Believe it or not, even some of your most innocent decisions and actions can hurt your credit score.


4. Making Risky and Risque Purchases

Some lenders look closely at what you spend money on in order to determine if you are a financial risk or not. This means that if you are using a credit card for adult entertainment (i.e., strip clubs, adult website memberships) on a consistent basis, you will be considered riskier than others.

Risky purchases don't stop at porn. If you are using your credit card to buy lottery tickets every week or for sporadic shopping sprees, credit card issuers and lenders see this as a sign of desperation and financial irresponsibility.

If you regularly rack up impressive bar tabs or liquor store receipts, credit card issuers are likely to think you are drowning financial sorrows away with alcohol. While it's perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to have a regular happy hour session, if you make it a habit of frequenting bars and charging a bunch of drinks, you can raise a red flag.


7th August   

Dangerous Technology...

US researchers link facial recognition technology with Facebook profiles to identify people in the offline world
Link Here

US technology researchers have demonstrated that they can link up facial recognition camera technology with a database of people with their pictures tagged by Facebook.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University combined off-the-shelf image scanning, cloud computing and public profiles from social network sites to identify individuals in the offline world.

In another experiment, researchers were able to extract the social security number of a student starting only with their photo.

When we share tagged photos of ourselves online, it becomes possible for others to link our face to our names in situations where we would normally expect anonymity, said team leader Professor Alessandro Acquisti.

The researchers have also developed an augmented reality mobile app that can display personal data over a person's image captured on a smartphone screen.

The results of the research will be presented at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas this week.


1st August   

Internet Snooping...

US communication logs to be retained for all Americans
Link Here

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has approved a measure that would force ISPs to save users' IP address information for one year.

The bill, HR 1981 The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 ,was approved on a 19-10 vote and considered a victory for conservative Republicans despite opposition from digital rights groups and civil liberties advocates.

An 11th hour rewrite of the controversial data retention mandate reportedly expands the information that commercial ISPs are required to store to include customers' names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses.

The panel rejected an amendment that would have clarified that only IP addresses must be stored.

Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the panel said the bill is mislabeled: This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It's creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes.

The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) penned a letter to the U.S. Congress protesting its erroneous use of the phrase Internet Pornographers in the new legislation. ASACP executive director Tim Henning told XBIZ that lumping in adult businesses in the bill's labeling is flat out wrong. 'Protecting Children From Internet Pedophiles' or 'Protecting Children From Internet Sex Crimes' would both be more appropriate and accurate titles for this Act, the ASACP letter stated.


15th July   

Internet Bill of Rights...

MPs call for better privacy protection for personal data accessed via the internet
Link Here

Early day motion 2004
Primary sponsor: Robert Halfon

That this House is deeply concerned that privacy is gradually being eroded by private companies using the internet to obtain personal data and selling it for commercial gain; notes that the latest problem is with WPP Group plc, the advertising firm, which claims to have built up individual profiles for half a billion internet users across the world, including allegedly almost 100 per cent. of British people; further notes that secret monitoring of internet users is already a huge issue, with data scraping and cookies monitoring people without their consent; believes an internet bill of rights is needed to guard against the growing infringement of civil liberties that are not covered by existing legislation; and further believes that the Information Commissioner lacks the powers necessary to protect personal data and has done precious little to protect our privacy in recent tests such as the Google Street View project.

Signed by

  • Campbell, Gregory Democratic Unionist
  • Campbell, Ronnie Labour
  • Corbyn, Jeremy Labour
  • Davidson, Ian Labour
  • Dodds, Nigel Democratic Unionist
  • Edwards, Jonathan Plaid Cymru
  • Halfon, Robert Conservative
  • Hancock, Mike Liberal Democrats
  • Leech, John Liberal Democrats
  • Lewis, Julian Conservative
  • Llwyd, Elfyn Plaid Cymru
  • McCrea, Dr William Democratic Unionist
  • McDonnell, John Labour
  • Meale, Alan Labour
  • Simpson, David Democratic Unionist
  • Stringer, Graham Labour
  • Williams, Roger Liberal Democrats


15th July

 Offsite: FAST Track to Big Brother...

Link Here
Lie detector technology being adapted for US airport security

See article from


13th July   

Reading The Way We Live Now...

New York to consider privacy protection for eBook readers
Link Here

How would you like it if bookstores recorded how often you read the book, how long you view each page and even any notes you might write in the book's margins?

Well, all those things are happening now with digital books. Many bookstores already collect information about readers and their purchases. But digital book services can collect even more detailed information that often is bundled in a database and sold to marketers or acquired by governments.

Maybe you should avoid using eBooks that reveal anything you would rather be private, eg reading about health conditions, porn or dodgy religions.

A bill in the New York state Assembly is set to offer some privacy protection at least. The Reader Privacy Act, similar to legislation in California, would prevent digital book service providers from disclosing to any government entity personal information of a person who buys digital books. Providers would not be compelled to disclose such information to anyone except under court order.

A digital book provider that knowingly violates these restrictions would face a $500 fine for each instance.


12th July   

Cloud Warning...

Microsoft reveals that cloud data will be available to law enforcement agencies [and assorted hackers]
Link Here

Microsoft has revealed that EU users of its upcoming cloud services may have their personal information intercepted by US law enforcers.

In a statement, Microsoft explained: Microsoft may need to disclose data without your prior consent, including as needed to satisfy legal requirements, or to protect the rights or property of Microsoft or others (including the enforcement of agreements or policies governing the use of the service).

Cloud services give consumers access to their files anywhere they can access the internet. This can be hugely useful, but the risk of data loss and hacking is always a possibility and it seems inevitable that security will be breached by hackers as well as US law enforcement


3rd July

 Offsite: Beware of Unintended Consequences...

Link Here
Technical consideration of the usefulness of encrypted wi-fi data as collected by Google Street View cars

See report [pdf] from

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