"The FBI has launched an investigation into a Pennsylvania school district that has been accused of spying on students through webcams on laptops it issued to those students..." (more)
Gimme Back My Face
"The user points the camera at a person across the room. Face recognition software creates a 3-D model of the person's mug and sends it across a server where it's matched with an identity in the database. A cloud server conducts the facial recognition since and sends back the subject's name as well as links to any social networking sites the person has provided access to..." (more)
"The furore sparked by Google's new online social network, Buzz, proves people don't want their candour taken for granted. Buzz plans to overtake Twitter and Facebook, and has the inside running, because it uses the information Google already has about you from your Gmail account, Picasa photos, and maybe your search history. But it misstepped badly by creating an instant circle of followers from email address books. In other words, it used information collected for one purpose for another. Privacy advocates call that function creep..." (read more)
AT&T Invents Programming Language for Mass Surveillance
"The phone company uses Hancock-coded software to crunch through tens of millions of long distance phone records a night to draw up what AT&T calls 'communities of interest' — i.e., calling circles that show who is talking to whom.
The system was built in the late 1990s to develop marketing leads, and as a security tool to see if new customers called the same numbers as previously cut-off fraudsters — something the paper refers to as 'guilt by association'..."
"WASHINGTON--The FBI is pressing Internet service providers to record which Web sites customers visit and retain those logs for two years, a requirement that law enforcement believes could help it in investigations of child pornography and other serious crimes." (more)
"When police search a DNA database, they're usually looking for the person who left behind the blood or semen at a crime scene. But there's another technique, where they can search for people who ALMOST match the DNA sample -- namely, the suspect's family. Once they find a near match, investigators can start looking at that person's relatives as possible suspects in the crime." (more)
"You can see this kind of function creep everywhere. Internet security systems designed for informational Web sites are suddenly expected to provide security for banking Web sites. Security systems that are good enough to protect cheap commodities from being stolen are suddenly ineffective once the price of those commodities rises high enough. Application security systems, designed for locally owned networks, are expected to work even when the application is moved to a cloud computing environment. And cloud computing security, designed for the needs of corporations, is expected to be suitable for government applications as well -- maybe even military applications..." (read entire article)
Google to enlist NSA to help it ward off cyberattacks
" 'The critical question is: At what level will the American public be comfortable with Google sharing information with NSA?' said Ellen McCarthy, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, an organization of current and former intelligence and national security officials that seeks ways to foster greater sharing of information between government and industry." (read more)
Police want backdoor to Web users' private data
"Anyone with an e-mail account likely knows that police can peek inside it if they have a paper search warrant. But cybercrime investigators are frustrated by the speed of traditional methods of faxing, mailing, or e-mailing companies these documents. They're pushing for the creation of a national Web interface linking police computers with those of Internet and e-mail providers so requests can be sent and received electronically." (more)