Friday, June 15, 2012

The ethics of surveillance? What a concept to ponder!
An Eye Without an 'I': Justice and the Rise of Automated Surveillance
Over the past decade, video surveillance has exploded. In many cities, we might as well have drones hovering overhead, given how closely we're being watched, perpetually, by the thousands of cameras perched on buildings. So far, people's inability to watch the millions of hours of video had limited its uses. But video is data and computers are being set to work mining that information on behalf of governments and anyone else who can afford the software. And this kind of automated surveillance is only going to get more sophisticated as a result of new technologies like iris scanners and gait analysis.
Yet little thought has been given to the ethics of perpetually recording vast swaths of the world. What, exactly, are we getting ourselves into?
… In a new paper called The Unblinking Eye: The Ethics of Automating Surveillance, philosopher Kevin Macnish argues that the political and cultural costs of excessive surveillance could be so great that we ought to be as hesitant about using it as as we are about warfare. That is to say, we ought to limit automated surveillance to those circumstances where we know it to be extremely effective.

Not convinced the FBI has been totally incompetent so far or that this new unit will suddenly solve all their problems. So what is really going on here?
With FBI snooping on social media, how to protect privacy
To say that the FBI had its work cut out for it after 9/11 is an understatement. As part of its anti-terrorism efforts, the agency cozied up to telecom companies, like Verizon and AT&T. The relationship was so tight that some telecom employees actually had offices at the FBI.
This convenient arrangement paved the way for FBI agents to ultimately hand post-it notes with phone numbers to their telecom pals to find out if those accounts were worth investigating. It's the sort of stuff that makes privacy advocates shudder. And it's what Jennifer Lynch, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says we don't want to see repeated now that the FBI has created a new surveillance unit.
The recently established Domestic Communications Assistance Center (DCAC) will develop new ways to eavesdrop on our communications.
… Right now, Lynch and her colleagues at EFF are finding there's a scant amount of information about this new department of the FBI. Learn what action EFF plans to take in my report above

Google does the same. Connecting your Facebook account to your smartphone my allow more data gathering. Or it may be a way to introduce the new Facebook Fone...
Facebook wants users' cell numbers in bid to bolster security
The social network has begun adding a message at the top of every member's news feed that suggests they "Stay in control of your account by following these simple security tips." The message includes a link to Facebook's security page, where users are tutored on how to identify a scam and choose a unique password, and are asked to provide a cell phone number where replacement passwords can be sent.

Quotes from Field of Legal Dreams “If you build it, they will sue.”
Apple Must Face Privacy Class Action, Judge Rules
June 14, 2012 by Dissent
Chris Marshall reports:
Apple may be liable for sending unauthorized iPhone user information to the third parties behind applications, but the application developers are in the clear, a federal judge ruled.
The plaintiffs in the consolidated class action have sufficiently showed that Apple was responsible for transmitting the personal information of iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users to the application companies, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh found.
Apple and the developers faced claims of having violated consumers’ privacy rights by letting third-party applications that run on Apple devices collect and profit from users’ personal information without their knowledge. The class alleges computer fraud, invasion of privacy, conversion and many other statutory violations.
Read more on Courthouse News. MediaPost and are also among the many sites covering the lawsuit.
Related: Judge Koh’s opinion (44 pp.)

Another in the never ending string of incomprehensible political decisions.
9-Year-Old Who Changed School Lunches Silenced By Politicians
For the past two months, one of my favorite reads has been Never Seconds, a blog started by 9-year-old Martha Payne of western Scotland to document the unappealing, non-nutritious lunches she was being served in her public primary school. Payne, whose mother is a doctor and father has a small farming property, started blogging in early May and went viral in days. She had a million viewers within a few weeks and 2 million this morning; was written up in Time, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and a number of food blogs; and got support from TV cheflebrity Jamie Oliver, whose series “Jamie’s School Dinners” kicked off school-food reform in England.
Well, goodbye to all that.
This afternoon, Martha (who goes by “Veg” on the blog) posted that she will have to shut down her blog, because she has been forbidden to take a camera into school.

I make no claim for the quality of the book, but you IP lawyers might find the video amusing...
Book Excerpt: Aliens Go Crazy for Rock ‘n’ Roll in Year Zero

No comments: