(updated) Police investigate security breach of patient records in N.L.
Police are investigating whether computer hackers viewed sensitive patient information, including test results on HIV and hepatitis, that was on a Newfoundland government computer.
[...]A news release said the material involved included "names, health numbers, age, sex, physician and test results for infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis."
[...]No patients have been informed of the security breach and the Health Department doesn't expect to have information on the incident until a private consultant has examined the computer involved over the next few days.
Source - CBC
Automated legal review? Very interesting!
PIPWatch: Privacy technology for Canadian Internet users
For many of us, reading the privacy policies of our favourite websites isn’t exactly a thrilling prospect. It’s a bit like getting in the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables. Sure, it’s one of the keys to strong muscles, mental sharpness and avoiding scurvy, but it’s not always enjoyable.
Enter the Personal Information Protection Toolbar or PIPWATCH. A pilot project run by the University of Toronto’s Information Policy Research Program, PIPWATCH is a web browser toolbar designed to help Canadian Internet users find out if their favourite websites comply with Canadian privacy legislation, in particular the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).
Good for a laugh? Unfortunately, no...
Review Article: European versus American Liberty: A Comparative Privacy Analysis of Antiterrorism Data Mining
Abstract of article by Francesca Bignami:
It is common knowledge that privacy in the market and the media is protected less in the United States than in Europe. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it has become obvious that the right to privacy in the government sphere too is protected less in the United States than in Europe. This Article brings alive the legal difference by considering the case-real in the United States, hypothetical in Europe-of a spy agency’s database of call records, created for the purpose of identifying potential terrorists. Under U.S. law such an antiterrorism database might very well be legal. But under European law the very same database would clearly be illegal. Numerous barriers to transatlantic cooperation on fighting terrorism and cross-border crime have been created by this legal difference. The Article considers the reasons for the transatlantic difference-surprising in view of the common wisdom that Americans are more suspicious of government interferences with individual liberty than are Europeans. Based on the transatlantic comparison, this Article concludes with a number of recommendations for the reform of U.S. information privacy law, chief among them being the creation of an independent privacy agency.
Source - Full-text Article, Boston College Law Review [pdf]
Article: Towards a Right to Privacy in Transnational Intelligence Networks
Abstract of article by Francesca Bignami:
Antiterrorism intelligence sharing across national borders has been trumpeted as one of the most promising forms of networked global governance. By exchanging information across the world, government agencies can catch terrorists and other dangerous criminals. Yet this new form of global governance is also one of the most dangerous. Even at the domestic level, secrecy and national security imperatives have placed intelligence agencies largely beyond legal and democratic oversight. But at the global level, accountability is missing entirely. Global cooperation among national intelligence agencies is extraordinarily opaque. The nature of the international system compounds the problem: these actors do not operate within a robust institutional framework of liberal democracy and human rights. Safeguarding rights in the transnational realm when governments conspire to spy, detain, interrogate, and arrest is no easy matter. Privacy is one of the most critical liberal rights to come under pressure from transnational intelligence gathering. This Article explores the many ways in which transnational intelligence networks intrude upon privacy and considers some of the possible forms of legal redress. Part II lays bare the different types of transnational intelligence networks that exist today. Part III begins the analysis of the privacy problem by examining the national level, where, over the past forty years, a legal framework has been developed to promote the right to privacy in domestic intelligence gathering. Part IV turns to the privacy problem transnationally, when government agencies exchange intelligence across national borders. Part V invokes the cause celebre of Maher Arar, a Canadian national, to illustrate the disastrous consequences of privacy breaches in this networked world of intelligence gathering. Acting upon inaccurate and misleading intelligence provided by the Canadian government, the United States wrongfully deported Arar to Syria, where he was tortured and held captive by the Syrian Military Intelligence Service for nearly one year. Part VI begins the constructive project of redesigning transnational networks to defend the right to privacy, with the safeguards of European intelligence and police networks serving as inspiration for transnational networks more broadly. These European systems feature two types of privacy safeguards: multilateral standards, to which all network parties must adhere, and unilateral standards, applicable under the law of one network party and enforced against the others through the refusal to share intelligence with sub-standard parties. Moving to the global realm, this Article concludes that the multilateral avenue is more promising than the unilateral one. Multilateral standards require consensus on common privacy norms, and consensus will be difficult to achieve. Notwithstanding this hurdle, multilateral privacy standards are crucial, for they will both enable the cooperation necessary to fight serious transnational crime and provide for vigorous protection of basic liberal rights.
Source - Full-text article, Michigan Journal of International Law [pdf]
No doubt there are open source, automatic voip-tapping tools available – here's the other end of the spectrum. (Comments suggest this would even protect communications if you were forced to turn over the key...)
Protecting IM From Big Brother
Posted by Zonk on Friday November 23, @06:29PM from the another-mark-in-my-file dept. Security Communications The Internet
holden writes "Ian Goldberg, leading security researcher, professor at the University of Waterloo, and co-creator of the Off-the-Record Messaging (OTR) protocol recently gave a talk on protecting your IM conversations. He discusses OTR and its importance in today's world of warrant-less wire tapping. OTR users benefit from being able to have truly private conversations over IM by using encryption to obtain authentication, deniability, and perfect forward secrecy, while working within their existing IM infrastructure. With the recent NSA wiretapping activities and increasing Big Brother presence, security and OTR are increasingly important. An avi of the talk is available by http as well as by bittorrent and a bunch of other formats."
Playing war takes on a whole new meaning...
Technology Leveling The Playing Field In Modern War
Posted by Zonk on Saturday November 24, @06:12AM from the to-the-detriment-of-the-armed-forces dept.
The IEEE spectrum site has up an article written by the author Robert N. Charette describing the 'empowerment of the individual to conduct war' through technology. In the piece, entitled Open-Source Warfare, Charette describes the cheap, inexpensive, but clever ways that militants are adapting to modern warfare.
"As events are making painfully clear, [counterterrorism expert John Robb] says, warfare is being transformed from a closed, state-sponsored affair to one where the means and the know-how to do battle are readily found on the Internet and at your local RadioShack. This open global access to increasingly powerful technological tools, he says, is in effect allowing 'small groups to...declare war on nations.' Need a missile-guidance system? Buy yourself a Sony PlayStation 2. Need more capability? Just upgrade to a PS3."
Another list with some new (to me) stuff!
November 23, 2007
101 Best Web Freebies - BusinessWeek
101 Best Web Freebies - BusinessWeek.com scoured the Internet for the most useful free products and services available online that you probably don't know about, by Douglas MacMillan. This 45 screen slideshow includes graphics and links to recommended products by category - tech tools, personal finance, career, entertainment, print media, research, health, online learning, PC security.
Dilbert explains why companies hire stupid people...