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Privacy in the digital age


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Privacy in the digital age

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  #231 (permalink)
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From the Police Chief's latest email....

ALPR is their Car License Plate reading Camera's....

Yesterday at 1430 Hours, officers responded to the area of Voss and Beinhorn after being alerted of an ALPR hit on a vehicle stolen during an armed robbery. Officers located the stolen vehicle traveling southbound on Voss at Memorial and initiated a traffic stop taking 2 suspects into custody. The vehicle was confirmed stolen out of Houston. HPD was contacted and responded to take over the investigation of the robbery suspects. Officers also recovered the gun used in the Robbery.

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  #232 (permalink)
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I wanted to share one of the best analogies I have read about privacy. It's typically used in response to those who say "well what do you have to hide?"

Imagine your home with all the windows but no blinds. Nothing obstructing the view of anyone looking into your home while walking out front or down your neighborhood sidewalk. Would that make you feel comfortable?

Now imagine your email inbox with the same analogy. Your emails are within your personal "home" but the windows are not covered. Anyone around could just look into your conversations.

To me, we have lost all aspects of privacy in this era. We've traded convenience of technology for basic privacy.

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  #233 (permalink)
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Copied from Bloomberg Technology, Fully Charged Newsletter, for Wed May 13th. I don't normally like copying the full contents of a new story because a) not sure I think that's fair to the news outlet and b) takes up to much space here. But in this case its a newsletter and there isn't a weblink to use.

Hey, it’s Ryan on the Bloomberg Tech cybersecurity team. With coronavirus dominating the news recently, a lot of other interesting developments have slipped under the radar. One of them was buried in 1,700 pages of court documents, released late last month by the U.S. Justice Department, which revealed a little-known FBI data-grabbing tactic that has alarmed civil liberties advocates.

The trove of documents was from the FBI’s investigation of Roger Stone, the veteran Republican operative and one-time adviser to President Donald Trump. During former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Stone was in the bureau’s crosshairs. Last year he was convicted on seven felony charges, including lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

In its investigation of Stone, the bureau’s special agents used many of the normal methods you would expect in a serious criminal case: They obtained search warrants to raid Stone’s home in South Florida, and they interviewed people close to him. They also obtained copies of his emails, Twitter messages and iCloud data.

But one thing the FBI did was unusual. According to an affidavit from Special Agent Andrew Mitchell, the bureau asked Google to turn over records on anyone who had searched for particular terms associated with the Russian hackers—"dcleaks," "guccifer" and ''guccifer june.” The records allowed investigators to determine that Stone, from a computer in Florida, appeared to have searched for some of these phrases prior to the publication of the leaked emails from Guccifer and DCLeaks, indicating he had prior knowledge of their disclosure.

Patrick Toomey, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, said he has never seen the FBI publicly admit to using this method before. For him, the disclosure raised some important questions: Is the FBI now routinely identifying criminal suspects on the basis of search terms they have entered into Google? And is that constitutional under the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures?

The tactic raises “serious constitutional concerns,” Toomey said, because its use amounts to “digital fishing expeditions, potentially sweeping up the private Google searches of many innocent people and subjecting them to FBI scrutiny.” Warrants to obtain private data are supposed to be narrowly drawn and based on probable cause, he said, “but it's unclear from the public record how the FBI met either of those requirements here."

The FBI declined to comment, and Google wouldn’t provide any information on the number of times it has received similar requests to turn over search records. A company spokesperson said that Google “requires federal warrants to be signed by a judge, and we push back regularly on overly broad demands.”

The controversial nature of the tactic may be one reason why the FBI hasn't trumpeted it. But the practice does not appear to be restricted to federal agencies. In 2017, police in Edina, a town outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, obtained a court order requiring Google to hand over information on people who searched for the name of a particular financial fraud victim. On that occasion, the search giant said that it fought against the request and “significantly narrowed its scope.” It’s unclear if Google managed to do the same in the Stone investigation, or in other investigations like it.

Catherine Crump, assistant clinical professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, said that obtaining records showing searches for particular words or phrases could be an ingenious way to identify people who have special, insider knowledge. When it involves a “very unique search,” judges may be inclined to sign off on warrants to give law enforcement agencies the data, she added. “In general, though, government requests for data designed to reveal people who searched for certain terms is alarming,” Crump said. “People type things into Google that they wouldn’t tell their doctors and spouses." — Ryan Gallagher

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  #234 (permalink)
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SMCJB View Post
the bureau asked Google to turn over records on anyone who had searched for particular terms associated with the Russian hackers—"dcleaks," "guccifer" and ''guccifer june.” The records allowed investigators to determine that Stone, from a computer in Florida, appeared to have searched for some of these phrases prior to the publication of the leaked emails from Guccifer and DCLeaks

I would not be surprised if there were already routine data grab algos of anyone who might Google phrases like "how do I kill the President" or "how to make a bomb", which would be then cross-checked with other intelligence data.

In such cases, personally I see this as part of the FBI/CIA/NSA core job.


The article above seems to point to a similar approach, unless I'm missing something.

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  #235 (permalink)
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https://twitter.com/EdwardLawrence/status/1270390727814586369

@Big Mike ...Please, how does the new Twitter grab/posting work? thx

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  #236 (permalink)
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Thinking that, since you browse in private windows and block cookies/trackers you are anonymous? Think again.

A third of popular websites are ‘fingerprinting’ you.


Quoting 
There’s a tactic spreading across the Web named after treatment usually reserved for criminals: fingerprinting. At least a third of the 500 sites Americans visit most often use hidden code to run an identity check on your computer or phone.

Websites from CNN and Best Buy to porn site Xvideos and WebMD are dusting your digital fingerprints by collecting details about your device you can’t easily hide. It doesn’t matter whether you turn on “private browsing” mode, clear tracker cookies or use a virtual private network. Some even use the fact you’ve flagged “do not track” in your browser as a way to fingerprint you.


Quoting 
Fingerprinting happens when sites force your browser to hand over innocent-looking but largely unchanging technical information about your computer, such as the resolution of your screen, your operating system or the fonts you have installed. Combined, those details create a picture of your device as unique as the skin on your thumb.

Full article on The Washington Post

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  #237 (permalink)
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xplorer View Post
Thinking that, since you browse in private windows and block cookies/trackers you are anonymous? Think again.

A third of popular websites are ‘fingerprinting’ you.





Full article on The Washington Post

Yes, and not just these regular browsers, even Tor, if you download anything, be it images, videos, or something else, leave behind tracks and they can eventually be traced back to you.

This was the reason why the whole culture of having Tor or other similar systems on USB and operating on a machine which is not your personal machine came about. Point is, even Tor doesn't necessarily always keep your identity private.

In fact, there is a new sentiment that law agencies want criminals on tor, since criminals think they are safe it's easier to catch them.

Nothing is truly anonymous.

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