Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Civil Liberties

New kind of tracking tool, canvas fingerprinting, is being used to follow visitors to thousands of top websites

ProPublica and Mashable – “A new, extremely persistent type of online tracking is shadowing visitors to thousands of top websites, from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn.com. First documented in a forthcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor’s Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user’s device a number that uniquely identifies it. Like other tracking tools, canvas fingerprints are used to build profiles of users based on the websites they visit — profiles that shape which ads, news articles, or other types of content are displayed to them. But fingerprints are unusually hard to block: They can’t be prevented by using standard Web browser privacy settings or using anti-tracking tools such as AdBlock Plus. The researchers found canvas fingerprinting computer code, primarily written by a company called AddThis, on 5 percent of the top 100,000 websites. Most of the code was on websites that use AddThis’ social media sharing tools. Other fingerprinters include the German digital marketer Ligatus and the Canadian dating site Plentyoffish. (A list of all the websites on which researchers found the code is here).”

Loopholes for Circumventing the Constitution: Warrantless Bulk Surveillance on Americans by Collecting Network Traffic Abroad

Arnbak, Axel and Goldberg, Sharon, Loopholes for Circumventing the Constitution: Warrantless Bulk Surveillance on Americans by Collecting Network Traffic Abroad (June 27, 2014). HOTPETS, 2014. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2460462 “In this multi-disciplinary paper, we reveal interdependent legal and technical loopholes that intelligence agencies of the U.S. government could use to circumvent constitutional and statutoryContinue Reading

Former State Dept Exec Calls Executive Order 12333 a “Legal Loophole” for Spying on Americans

EFF – “What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?” That’s the question John Napier Tye, a former StateDepartment section chief for Internet freedom, calls on the government to answer in his powerful op-ed published today by the Washington Post. In it, Tye calls the NSA’s surveillance operations abroad, conducted under ExecutiveContinue Reading

EPIC Files Lawsuit For Details of Government Profiling System

“EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit about a controversial government data mining program, operated by the Department of Homeland Security. The “Analytical Framework for Intelligence“ contains a vast amount of sensitive personal information obtained from government agencies and the private sector. The system is used by the DHS for link analysis, anomaly detection, pattern analysis, andContinue Reading

Global Opposition to U.S. Surveillance and Drones, but Limited Harm to America’s Image

“Revelations about the scope of American electronic surveillance efforts have generated headlines around the world over the past year. And a new Pew Research Center survey finds widespread global opposition to U.S. eavesdropping and a decline in the view that the U.S. respects the personal freedoms of its people. But in most countries there isContinue Reading

Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings Released by Advocacy Group

“In 2013, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America came together to tackle our shared goals. We’ve combined the best minds in policy-making with a grassroots movement of more than 2 million motivated members…Using FBI data and media reports, Everytown for Gun Safety developed an analysis of mass shootingsContinue Reading

Afghanistan Midyear Report 2014: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

“Ground combat among parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan surpassed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as the leading cause of conflict-related death and injury to Afghan civilians in the first six months of 2014, according to a major report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), launched today in the Afghan capital ofContinue Reading

UN – The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

“Advances in information communication technology are dramatically improving real-time communication and information-sharing. By improving access to information and facilitating global debate, they foster democratic participation. By amplifying the voices of human rights defenders and helping to expose abuses, these powerful technologies offer the promise of improved enjoyment of human rights. But at the same time itContinue Reading

Global Survey: Widespread Opposition to US Communications Surveillance, Drones

“A new survey from Pew Research finds overwhelming opposition to the US monitoring of emails and phone calls. There appears to be little variation by region or culture, with high levels of opposition found in countries in Europe, South America, Asia, and the Middle East. According to the survey “Global Opinions of U.S. Surveillance,” the four countriesContinue Reading

The Good Society newest issues now open access : Democratic Theory and Mass Incarceration

Joshua A. Miller - “The new issue (vol. 23, no. 1) is devoted to a single symposium on the intersection of mass incarceration and democracy. It’s available on Project MUSE for institutional subscribers, and on JSTOR, where all the articles will be open access for the next two months Albert Dzur introduces the issue in “Penal Democracy.” Many of theContinue Reading

GCHQ leak lists UK cyber-spies’ hacking tools – BBC

Leo Kelion, BBC News Technology – “A document that appears to list a wide variety of GCHQ’s cyber-spy tools and techniques has been leaked online. It indicates the agency worked on ways to alter the outcome of online polls, find private Facebook photos, and send spoof emails that appeared to be from Blackberry users, among other things. TheContinue Reading

New platform compiles, curates, and presents data on Internet access and controls

“Internet Monitor is a research project to evaluate, describe, and summarize the means, mechanisms, and extent of Internet content controls and Internet activity around the world. The project compiles and curates data from multiple sources, including primary data collected by the Berkman Center and our partners, as well as relevant secondary data. The Internet MonitorContinue Reading