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Category Archives: Privacy: Technology

District Court Suppresses Pole Camera Surveillance Footage

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Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Twitter brings news of this interesting little order in United States v. Vargas.  The court’s opinion was authored by Judge Edward F. Shea and opens: The first duty of government is the safety of its people—by Constitutional means and methods. Technology, including the means for covert surveillance of individuals through the use of a hidden video camera . . .
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The 2014 Cato Institute Surveillance Conference

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Last Friday, the Cato Institute held an all-day conference to explore the questions raised by the growth of government surveillance, the revelations of NSA activities by Edward Snowden, and how these newly disclosed technologies should be regulated by the Fourth Amendment and federal law. Ben took part in the conversation on the second panel, which included Charlie . . .
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Our Collective Privacy Panic

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Monday, December 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM

We are told there is a privacy crisis.  The Snowden revelation and other such things have given the sense that we are in a crisis.  I think what we have is a privacy panic.  What I would call the Snowden left, joined by the Tea Party right, are churning this up way past any reasonable . . .
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White House Proposes Funds for Police Body Cameras

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Monday, December 1, 2014 at 3:22 PM

The privacy- and oversight-relevant news comes to us via this Associated Press story. It begins as follows: WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama wants to see more police wearing cameras to help build trust between the public and police by recording events like the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, but is not seeking to pull back federal . . .
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Pew Study Says Exactly What You’d Expect on Privacy

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Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 9:09 AM

The Pew Research Internet Project has released a new public opinion study that shows exactly what you would expect the public believes about privacy, surveillance, and related matters. The study seems to have involved a major effort, and I read it yesterday expecting to find some new insight into public opinion about privacy. Nope. Nothing. . . .
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PCLOB Hearing on “Defining Privacy”

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 9:50 AM

It’s ongoing now.  Details are available here. and live streaming video is available over at C-SPAN.

More on Pass Phrases and Fingerprints …. Gestures

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Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Yesterday I posted a short blog on an interesting VA decision regarding the application the Fifth Amendment privilege to the question of unlocking cell phones and other devices.  The short summary is that the court held that compelling disclosure of a pass phrase or code was protected and could not be compelled, but that the . . .
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Pass Phrases Protected; Fingerprints Not — Curiouser and Curiouser

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Friday, November 7, 2014 at 8:58 AM

One of the most engaging contemporary debates is about the efficacy and utility of encryption as a means of protecting privacy. I’ve written, in the past, about how encryption works and about the growing body of Fifth Amendment law protecting users against compelled disclosure of their passphrases. The developing doctrine and technology is sufficiently alarming . . .
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On Ryan Goodman’s “Interrogation” of the “Parity Principle”

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Monday, November 3, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Over at Just Security, Ryan Goodman analyzes UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson’s claim that states owe the same privacy protections to non-nationals abroad as to their own citizens at home in conducting broad surveillance programs. Emmerson had written, “The Special Rapporteur thus considers that States are legally obliged to afford the same privacy protection for nationals and . . .
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U.N. Special Rapporteur Report on Mass Digital Surveillance and Article 17 of the ICCPR

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Here it is, via First Look. The latest from the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, concludes as follows (note the language in paragraph 59): 58. States’ obligations under article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights include the . . .
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Securing Phones – and Securing US

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Monday, September 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Apple has encrypted its iPhone6 for real, that is, removing the backdoor for government warrants. The FBI is erupting, claiming that that this will create problems for law enforcement, raising the specter of not being able to investigate terrorist activities, solve murder cases, and arrest child pornographers. In fact, Apple’s decision to remove the backdoor on . . .
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The Encryption Wars Continue

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Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 12:31 PM

For quite a while it has been the case that properly implemented encryption will defeat efforts to crack it (at least using current technology). Yet it has been the case for an equally long time that very few people actually use encryption to protect their vital secrets – not journalists, not criminals, and most assuredly . . .
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Cyborgs! Law and Policy Implications

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Friday, September 5, 2014 at 10:27 AM

And now for something completely different: Cyborgs. No, this is not a joke. For years, certain technology enthusiasts have floated variations on the question of whether we are becoming cyborgs—or already are cyborgs. In our newly released paper, titled “Our Cyborg Future: Law and Policy Implications,” we take a different, more legal angle. The law remains embryonic on . . .
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What The Court Didn’t Say in Riley May be the Most Important Thing of All

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Monday, June 30, 2014 at 9:43 AM

The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Riley v. California that searching a cell phone requires a warrant is groundbreaking—and is, as everyone says, a great step forward for privacy. The decision is notable for what it does say, including: The United States asserts that a search of all data stored on a cell phone is “materially indistinguishable” . . .
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SCOTUS: Without a Warrant, Police Generally Cannot Search Digital Information on Arrestees’ Cell Phones

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:20 AM

You’ve likely heard the news, made earlier this morning by the opinion in Riley v. California.  

FTC’s Data Broker Report

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 12:11 PM

The 110-page document was released today, and entitled “Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability.”   If you care about Big Data, then you will want to read the report.

The President’s Big Data Report — Some Hat; Some Cattle

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Friday, May 2, 2014 at 9:07 AM

The Administration has released its long-awaited, review of Big Data — a report from the Executive Office of the President on the phenomenon of large-scale data collection and analysis.  The review was accompanied by a blog post (apparently, this is now the official form of Executive communication, instead of a formal press release) from Counselor . . .
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Heartbleed as Metaphor

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Monday, April 21, 2014 at 1:30 PM

I begin with a paragraph from Wikipedia: Self-organized criticality is one of a number of important discoveries made in statistical physics and related fields over the latter half of the 20th century, discoveries which relate particularly to the study of complexity in nature.  For example, the study of cellular automata, from the early discoveries of . . .
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Cyber Paradox: Every Offensive Weapon is a (Potential) Chink in Our Defense — and Vice Versa

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Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 7:37 AM

As Ben notes, the USG denied a Bloomberg News report that the “U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence.”  The NYT story on this denial says: James A. Lewis, . . .
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A Reply to Ryan Goodman on the Application of the ICCPR to NSA Surveillance

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 3:05 PM

In a post at Just Security on Thursday, my friend Ryan Goodman takes issue with my testimony before the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, in which I said that even if the U.S. Government agreed that the ICCPR applies outside the territory of the United States, the ICCPR would still not apply to NSA surveillance . . .
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