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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

FBI Says Biometric Database has Reached “Full Operational Capability”

“The FBI announced that the Next Generation Identification system, one of the largest biometric databases in the world, has reached “full operational capability.” In 2013, EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit about the NGI program. EPIC obtained documents that revealed an acceptance of a 20% error rate in facial recognition searches. Earlier this year, EPIC joined a coalition of civil liberties groups to urge the Attorney General Eric Holder to release an updated Privacy Impact Assessment for the NGI. The NGI is tied to “Rap Back,” the FBI’s ongoing investigation of civilians in trusted positions. EPIC also obtained FOIA documents revealing FBI agreements with state DMVs to run facial recognition searches, linked to NGI, on DMV databases. EPIC’s recent Spotlight on Surveillance concluded that NGI has “far-reaching implications for personal privacy and the risks of mass surveillance.” For more information, see EPIC: EPIC v. FBI – Next Generation identification.”

A day in the life of a data mined kid – report

Adrienne Hill: “Education, like pretty much everything else in our lives these days, is driven by data. Our childrens’ data. A whole lot of it. Nearly everything they do at school can be — and often is — recorded and tracked, and parents don’t always know what information is being collected, where it’s going, or how it’sContinue Reading

Treasure Map: The NSA Breach of Telekom and Other German Firms

Spiegel Online - Andy Müller-Maguhn, Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Michael Sontheimer:  [Treaure Map] “is the mandate for a massive raid on the digital world. It aims to map the Internet, and not just the large traffic channels, such as telecommunications cables. It also seeks to identify the devices across which our data flows, so-called routers. Furthermore, every single endContinue Reading

Radical Librarianship: how ninja librarians are ensuring patrons’ electronic privacy

Via Boing Boing, by Alison Macrina and April Glaser: “Librarians in Massachusetts are working to give their patrons a chance to opt-out of pervasive surveillance. Partnering with the ACLU of Massachusetts, area librarians have been teaching and taking workshops on how freedom of speech and the right to privacy are compromised by the surveillance of onlineContinue Reading

ISIS’s Cruelty Toward Women Gets Scant Attention

ISIS’s Cruelty Toward Women Gets Scant Attention, Sep 02, 2014 - Haleh Esfandiari “Tucked away in a recent New York Times story on military operations against ISIS by Iraqi special forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga was a brief description of what these troops discovered when they entered a village in Iraq that had been occupied by ISISContinue Reading

On Modeling the Costs of Censorship

Michael Carl Tschantz, Sadia Afroz, Vern Paxson, J. D. Tygar (Submitted on 10 Sep 2014) “We argue that the evaluation of censorship evasion tools should depend upon economic models of censorship. We illustrate our position with a simple model of the costs of censorship. We show how this model makes suggestions for how to evade censorship. In particular, fromContinue Reading

Police at more than 100 institutions acquired gear from DoD at little or no cost

Follow up to Defense Department military equipment distributed free to states around the country, via Dan Bauman, Chronicle of Higher Education: “At least 117 colleges have acquired equipment from the department through a federal program, known as the 1033 program, that transfers military surplus to law-enforcement agencies across the country, according to records The Chronicle received after filing Freedom of InformationContinue Reading

CRS – Defense Surplus Equipment Disposal

Defense Surplus Equipment Disposal, Including the Law Enforcement 1033 Program. Valerie Bailey Grasso, Specialist in Defense Acquisition. September 5, 2014. “On September 12, 1972, the Defense Property Disposal Service (the forerunner to DLA Disposition Services) was established under the Defense Supply Agency (now DLA). Defense property disposal offices were established worldwide on or near major military installations. DLAContinue Reading

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response

CRS - Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response. Christopher M. Blanchard, Coordinator - Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs; Carla E. Humud, Analyst in Middle Eastern and African Affairs; Mary Beth D. Nikitin, Specialist in Nonproliferation. June 27, 2014. “Fighting continues across Syria, pitting government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom also are fightingContinue Reading

EPIC, Legal Scholars, Technical Experts Urge Federal Appeals Court to Safeguard Telephone “Metadata”

“EPIC has filed an amicus curiae brief, joined by 33 technical experts and legal scholars, in support of a challenge to the NSA telephone record collection program. The case, Smith v. Obama will be heard by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit this fall. Earlier this year, a lower court ruled that the Fourth Amendment does not protectContinue Reading

Violence Policy Center – When Men Murder Women

When Men Murder Women, An Analysis of 2012 Homicide Data. September 2014. “Intimate partner violence against women is all too common and takes many forms. The most serious is homicide by an intimate partner. Guns can easily turn domestic violence into domestic homicide. One federal study on homicide among intimate partners found that female intimate partners areContinue Reading

The Crypto-democracy and the Trustworthy

Sebastien Gambs, Samuel Ranellucci, and Alain Tapp (Submitted on 8 Sep 2014).  Cite as: arXiv:1409.2432 “In the current architecture of the Internet, there is a strong asymmetry in terms of power between the entities that gather and process personal data (e.g., major Internet companies, telecom operators, cloud providers, …) and the individuals from which this personal data is issued. InContinue Reading