Tag Archives: privacy

Smile! You are being watched by your cable TV

cable box

Cheryl K. Chumley reports for The Washington Times, June 17, 2013, the cable TV companies have acquired a new technology that enables them to peer directly into television watchers’ homes and monitor viewing habits and reactions to product advertisements.

The technology would come via infrared cameras and microphones embedded in digital video recorders (DVRs) or cable boxes, which will enable the cable companies to watch and analyze viewers’ reaction (what they do and say) to televised ads. The cable companies then use the data collected to target specific advertisements to the particular household.

Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) have introduced a bill, the We Are Watching You Act, to prohibit the technology on boxes and collection of information without consumer permission. The bill would also require companies that do use the data to show “we are watching you” messages on the screen and to explain just what kinds of information is being captured and for what reasons.

The two Congressmen explain in a press release that “A patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office by Verizon notes the technology could detect a range of viewer activities. According to the patent application, the set-top device will be able to distinguish ‘ambient action … of eating, exercising, laughing, reading, sleeping, talking, humming, cleaning’ and more.”

Congressman Capuano stated: “This may sound preposterous but it is neither a joke nor an exaggeration. These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy. Given what we have recently learned about the access that the government has to the phone numbers we call, the emails we send and the websites we visit, it is important for consumers to decide for themselves whether they want this technology. Think about what you do in the privacy of your own home and then think about how you would feel sharing that information with your cable company, their advertisers and your government.”

For his part, Congressman Jones stated: “Allowing this type of technology to be installed in the homes of individuals without their consent would be an egregious invasion of privacy. When the government has an unfortunate history of secretly collecting private citizens’ information from technology providers, we must ensure that safeguards are in place to protect Americans’ rights.”

Current law is silent on these devices. The We Are Watching You Act will require both an opt-in for consumers and an on-screen warning whenever the device is recording information about consumers.

~Eowyn

New York Police Confiscating Firearms from People Taking Anti-anxiety Medication

Yep folks inch by inch they are coming. Is anyone else besides me tired of playing by the rules? You know we’re the good guys and we don’t cheat.

Frankly I am so sick and friggen tired of it. They just trample EVERYTHING that is decent and right that is in this world. They lie, cheat , beat , and yes even kill for their agenda. How bout we start drawing a line in the sand and say you better not cross this or I’m gonna bop you UPSIDE the head. I’m sorry but

the marquis de queensbury rules simply don’t apply anymore.

I forget who said it But it went something like this.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”  

This story grabs me by my gut and makes me want to hurl. HIPPA, Dr. Patient ——privacy, civil rights. Where is the outrage.?—————–

Government increases “onerous activity” to confiscate legal firearms.

Infowars.com
April 9, 2013

handgun

The New York State Police are suspending the handgun permits of people in the state who are prescribed anti-anxiety medication, according to Jim Tresmond of the Tresmond Law Firm in Hamburg, New York. Tresmond Law specializes in firearm litigation.

“We are representing a client right now who is impacted by this onerous activity of the government,” Tresmond told WBEN, a news talk radio station in Buffalo, New York.

“We were flummoxed by this whole matter,” the attorney said. “The HIPPA act is supposed to prevent this kind of thing from happening. It’s a gross invasion of our privacy rights.”

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Tresmond said the New York State Police are responsible for taking action against legal firearms owners. “Based on information the county received from the New York State Police, they’ve suspended the permits. The State Police instigates the proceedings.”

Section 9.46 of the NY SAFE Act of 2013 authorizes therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers to report patients they determine may engage in conduct that may result in harm to self or others. If a determination is made that the person in question poses a threat, the provision permits the government to confiscate firearms. The provision is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment and the legal standard of probable cause.

Experts said many mental health providers will likely ignore the provision.

NY SAFE was passed by the New York State Legislature on January 15, 2013, and was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo the same day.

This article was posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 4:52 pm

~Steve~                   H/T  INFOWARS

 

The magical mind reader

Scary, uh?

H/t my ol’ friend Sol

~Eowyn

Beware of hospitals asking for your palm print

Some hospitals are now asking their patients to scan their palms, ostensibly to compile a biometric data base to prevent identity theft.

Don’t do it! Nor is the palm scan mandatory; it’s purely optional. But they won’t volunteer that information unless you ask.

palm print scan

Natasha Singer reports for the New York Times, Nov. 10, 2012, that she was told they needed to scan her palm “for her file” when she recently visited a doctor’s office at New York University Langone Medical Center.

Singer balked. As she explains: “As a reporter who has been covering the growing business of data collection, I know the potential drawbacks — like customer profiling — of giving out my personal details. But the idea of submitting to an infrared scan at a medical center that would take a copy of the unique vein patterns in my palm seemed fraught.”

Despite her reservations, Singer still complied. Next, they wanted to take her photo. Only then did an office manager appeared and explained that the scans and pictures were optional. But by then, Singer’s palm print was already in their system.

Consumer advocates are sounding the warning that more and more institutions are employing biometric data “to improve convenience,” but we are paying for that convenience with the loss of our privacy.

Fingerprints, facial dimensions and vein patterns are unique, and should be treated as carefully as genetic samples. So collecting such information for expediency could actually increase the risks of serious identity theft. Yet companies and institutions that compile such data often fail to adequately explain the risks to consumers.

Pam Dixon, the executive director of the San Diego-based advocacy group World Privacy Forum explains: “Let’s say someone makes a fake ID and goes in and has their photo and their palm print taken as you. What are you going to do when you go in? Hospitals that are doing this are leaping over profound security issues that they are actually introducing into their systems.”

N.Y.U.’s system, called PatientSecure and marketed by HT Systems of Tampa, has already scanned more than 250,000 patients. In the United States, over five million patients have had the scans, said Charles Yanak, a spokesman for Fujitsu Frontech North America, a division of Fujitsu, the Japanese company that developed the vein palm identification technology.

Yet, unless patients at N.Y.U. seem uncomfortable with the process, medical registration staff members don’t inform them that they can opt out of photos and scans. Neither does N.Y.U. have formal consent, which raises red flags for privacy advocates. “If they are not informing patients it is optional,” said Joel Reidenberg, a professor at Fordham University Law School with an expertise in data privacy, “then effectively it is coerced consent.”

He noted that N.Y.U. medical center has had recent incidents in which computers or USB drives containing unencrypted patient data have been lost or stolen, suggesting that the center’s collection of biometric data might increase patients’ risk of identity theft.

At her request, N.Y.U. medical center did delete Singer’s palm print.

Here’s what to do if a hospital, doctor’s office, or some other institution wants to scan your palm, take your photo, or obtain some other biometric information from you:

  • Calmly ask if what they’re asking is mandatory (required) or optional.
  • If it’s optional, say “No.”
  • If mandatory, ask to see a written statement of that policy and where in law does it say the institution has the right to your information.

~Eowyn

Stellar Wind – The Program That Tracks You

It’s Paranoia Time!

This doesn’t come from the  rightwing Alex Jones conspiracy-minded website.   This video with additional text was posted on the New York Times blog two days ago.  It lays out the NSA program called Stellar Wind to track and map out your entire life through your phone, bank accounts, social media use and store it at a big government facility in Utah.  It’s scary as hell!   

NOTE: Rosa Koire of  http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/ provided the following info via email:

The 1.5 million square foot information storage site is located at Camp Williams Army Base in Utah.  Orrin Hatch lobbied to have it relocated from Maryland to his state.  It was moved west because the existing center in Maryland was drawing all of Baltimore’s available energy and could not access more (as of 2006).  The Utah facility will draw 65 megawatts and is fully secured.  Camp Williams is an intelligence gathering center.   The plan is to collect every communication both domestic and incoming/outgoing from the country.  

Storage of information is not considered to be a breach of  our constitutional protections because no one has actually looked at it.  The idea is that the computers themselves will sort the information and develop patterns for ‘threats.’  When a ‘threat’ is identified the information will be analyzed.  Another concept is that although much sensitive information is sent via encrypted streams that are not currently readable, storage of this encrypted information will allow future investigators who have broken encryption methods to go back and read stored documents.  Total information.  Inventory and control.

Rosa

H/T  Charlotte Iserbyt

Change your LinkedIn password, now!

LinkedIn is a professional social networking website.

Do you have a LinkedIn account? If you do, change your account password ASAP!

Some POS Russian hacker group hacked into LinkedIn and obtained–and may have already decrypted–at least 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords.

Matthew J. Schwartz reports for InformationWeek, June 6, 2012, that nearly 6.5 million LinkedIn password hashes–encrypted using SHA1, but not salted–had been posted to a Russian hacking forum on Monday, together with a request to help decrypt them.

Hackers have already reported breaking 163,267 of the passwords, reported Norwegian news outlet Dagen IT.

LinkedIn confirmed that it’s investigating the potential password breach. “Our team is currently looking into reports of stolen passwords. Stay tuned for more,” read a Wednesday tweet from LinkedIn News.

What should LinkedIn users do? Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, has the following advice:

1. Change your LinkedIn password — now!

2. Then prepare for scam emails about Linkedin password changes, linking to phishing sites.

Read the rest of this Information Week article here.

~Eowyn

2013: The end of privacy in America

Say “Hello” to the United Big Brother States of Amerika.

September 2013 — next year — will be the end of privacy in America.

By then, the U.S. government will have your every email, cell phone call, Google search, parking receipt, credit card purchases, and more. They will all be intercepted, analyzed, and stored in a heavily fortified $2 billion Data Center that the National Security Agency (NSA) is constructing in Utah.

Tyler Durden reports for ZeroHedge, March 17, 2012:

In its April cover story, Wired has an exclusive report on the NSA’s Utah Data Center, which is a must read for anyone who believes any privacy is still a possibility in the United States: “A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks…. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”… The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013.” In other words, in just over 1 year, virtually anything one communicates through any traceable medium, or any record of one’s existence in the electronic medium, which these days is everything, will unofficially be property of the US government to deal with as it sees fit.

The codename of the project: Stellar Wind.

As Wired says, “there is no doubt that it has transformed itself into the largest , most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created.

And as former NSA operative William Binney who was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician, and is the basis for the Wired article (which we guess makes him merely the latest whistleblower to step up: is America suddenly experiencing an ethical revulsion?), and quit his job only after he realized that the NSA is now openly trampling the constitution, says as he holds his thumb and forefinger close together. “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.

Read the rest of the article here.

~Eowyn

Google Maps is watching you

Fraser Cain writes for Universe Today, Oct. 26, 2009, that thanks to commercial Earth observation satellites, and internet tools that make these photos accessible, we now can see our house from space.

The best tool on the market is the service from Google Maps. All you need is a web browser and a connection to the internet. When you first start up, Google Maps displays a satellite view of North America. You can then zoom in, or pan the camera around to see any location on Earth. You can also type in the address of the location that you want to see. Once you do that, you’ll get a free satellite view of your house.

If you don’t like Google, there are similar services from Yahoo and Microsoft. Microsoft’s mapping service is Bing Maps; the Yahoo service is called Yahoo Maps. There’s even an application that lets you see and compare Google’s and Yahoo’s views of your house, side-by-side.

But Google has gone beyond birds-eye satellite images of houses. Google now sends camera cars to take pics of the street view of your house. The camera’s eye is now everywhere — even when you think no one is looking!

That’s what a woman in Liberty City, Florida, discovered. The Miami New Times was kind enough to black out (no racial pun intended) her intimate parts.

Carlos Miller writes for Pixiq.com, Sept. 9, 2011, that “for the most part, everybody and everything is fair game to be photographed in the United States.” In Europe and other parts of the world, however, it is not so clear-cut. Some countries have laws that forbid the photographing of people in public for public display without their consent. “Google insists it respects people’s privacy regardless of country and has been blurring people’s faces since 2008.”

As for the naked woman, Google first removed her picture, then reposted the picture, but blurred her out.

Moral of this story:

Be careful what you do outside your house, even if you think no neighbor is around to see what you’re doing!

~Eowyn

Gubbermint Stoopidity of the Worst Kind

This is unbelievable.

Then again, maybe not.

Via naplesnews.com (highlights are mine):

Jeff Lytle: It’s an emergency — but you can’t tell anyone?

Staff Reports

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This is a column that could write itself.

Yet there are so many different ways it could start.

I could say “If you are looking for a law that fights rather then furthers the public interest, this is it.”

Or “Suppose you’re having lunch at a restaurant and you have a heart attack.”

Or “Thank goodness public servants in medicine and politics are trying to right a wrong.”

Here’s the deal.

Former NCH Healthcare System CEO Ed Morton brought up something that I could not comprehend at an emergency health care forum the other day. He said Florida privacy laws are so convoluted that they can block a cardiac patient’s access to a potentially lifesaving automatic external defibrillator (AED) nearby.

Surely I misunderstood his comment about 911 dispatchers not being allowed to alert third parties such as an office or dining room with AEDs to an emergency in their midst.

Morton pointed me toward Florida Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, who confirmed what he said and walked me through a legal thicket that has vexed lawmakers for five or six years.

It goes like this: 911 operators can tell callers — usually not heart patients themselves — whether they can find an AED nearby, but the 911 operators are not allowed to call people and places with AEDs for fear of disclosing your medical information to a stranger.


Now, chances are you would want that information out there.

And, chances are the person making the 911 call about you would prefer to stay by your side rather than race off to grab the AED with the electrified chest paddles.

So, heart patients are left to wait for the ambulance to arrive. It’s OK for those people to know about your health because they, like law enforcement agencies, are official first-responders.

Passidomo says she learned of the problem from Kate Kerwin, fitness director at Quail Creek Country Club, who said “This is very disturbing.”

“We purchased six AED units over 10 years ago to respond to an emergency. If the emergency occurs in one of our buildings we are able to respond quickly because the staff has initiated the call to 911. If, however, the emergency happens on one of our golf courses, the member of the golf foursome has probably called into 911. The staff may not even be aware that an emergency exists. The response time of EMS is quick, but getting them out onto the golf course takes time and that is where the staff can get there faster — taking the AED to the victim with a golf cart.

“We are talking safety issues which don’t only relate to Collier County but to the entire state.

“What can you do help make this right?”

Mr. Emergency Medicine in the county, Dr. Robert Tober, says it’s all too true.

“As a result, for example, an emergency medical department cannot call the front guard office at a condominium and notify them of a cardiac arrest on the fifth floor,” he says, even if the condo has voluntarily registered with a statewide AED informational network. 

You will find the rest of the article here.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is, if you have a heart condition, you might just want to stay off golf courses in Florida.

Like I said – unbelievable.

-Dave

(h/t: boortz.com)

Big Brother on Facebook – Facial Recognition on all those photos of yourself

~LTG

Note:

This YouTube video has been removed. In its place, here are excerpts from “Why Facebook’s Facial Recognition is Creepy,” by Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, PCWorld, Jun 8, 2011:

Facebook is officially getting super-creepy. Facebook announced Tuesday that it will be implementing facial recognition technology for all users in the next few weeks, semi-automating the photo-tagging process.

Sure, you can “opt-out” of the service, but it’s a pretty weak consolation. After all, opting out won’t keep Facebook from gathering data and recognizing your face–it’ll just keep people from tagging you automatically.

The new facial recognition technology [...] is basically Facebook’s way of creating a huge, photo-searchable database of its users. And yes, it’s terrifying.

[...] Facial recognition technology will ultimately culminate in the ability to search for people using just a picture. And that will be the end of privacy as we know it–imagine, a world in which someone can simply take a photo of you on the street, in a crowd, or with a telephoto lens, and discover everything about you on the internet.

~Eowyn