British spies have received government permission to intensively study software programs for ways to infiltrate and take control of computers. The GCHQ spy agency was vulnerable to legal action for the hacking efforts, known as “reverse engineering,” since such activity could have violated copyright law. But GCHQ sought and obtained a legally questionable warrant from the Foreign Secretary in an attempt to immunize itself from legal liability.
GCHQ’s reverse engineering targeted a wide range of popular software products for compromise, including online bulletin board systems, commercial encryption software and anti-virus programs. Reverse engineering “is essential in order to be able to exploit such software and prevent detection of our activities,” the electronic spy agency said in a warrant renewal application.
Four days before a Federal judge was scheduled to hear arguments in a lawsuit brought by four Muslim US citizens who were placed on the US government’s “no-fly” list to try to pressure them into becoming informants for the FBI, the government has notified the plaintiffs in the case that all of them have been removed from the no-fly list.
The plaintiffs in Tanvir v. Lynch are continuing to press their claims, as are other US citizens challenging their placement on the no-fly list in retaliation for declining to inform on their friends, families, communities, and fellow worshippers. But we expect that, as has been its pattern, the government defendants will now try to get the case dismissed as “moot“.
Soon every churchgoer will be identified by facial recognition software! You read that right, churches will soon be using facial recognition software to identify you and your family.
The company website brags: “First of its kind, Churchix provides you with accurate data on members attendance in your events and services. The software also allows you to sort and manage your videos and photos.”
“Churchix was originally developed by us for a chain of international churches, which wanted to follow up with membership attendance at its events. Today it’s being used at a number of other churches in the US and in Indonesia” Moshe Greenshpan, the company’s CEO said.
Citing a federal law that has been on the books for 21 years, the Arkansas State Police began earlier this month withholding nearly all personal information from vehicle crash reports available to the public.
The agency contends the 1994 Drivers Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits personal information from motor vehicle reports from being made public, also covers police crash reports.