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Crime

FAA Grants Arlington Texas Police Department Permission To Fly UAVs 158

cylonlover writes with news that another police department has received authorization to start using drones for tasks like "...photographing crime scenes and searching for missing people." From the article: "The police department in Arlington can now use new tools in support of public safety over the Texas urban community — two small helicopter Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The FAA has granted permission for the Arlington police to fly these unmanned aircraft under certain circumstances: they must fly under 400 feet, only in the daytime, be in sight of the operator and a safety observer, and be in contact with the control tower at the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth airport — one of the busiest in the country." They're using a Leptron Avenger, which "has been designed with military grade features" but don't worry, "police are quick to emphasize that the 4- to 5-foot-long aircraft aren’t the same as military drones."
Privacy

Texas High School Student Loses Lawsuit Challenging RFID Tracking Requirement 412

Chris453 writes "Earlier today, a Texas High School student named Andrea Hernandez and her family lost the first round of the lawsuit filed to prevent her school district from forcing its students to wear RFID badges for tracking purposes. The judge in the case declared that the district's compromise for the student (a badge without the battery) was sufficient and dismissed any First Amendment issues. The badges are RFIDs powered by built-in batteries and one of the concerns was that the badges would be used to track students off-campus. Interestingly enough, the school district claims in court documents that 'The badges do not work off campus (PDF).' However, on their website, the school district confirms that it is conceivable that an off-campus RFID reader could access badge serial numbers, but tries to downplay the significance: 'Therefore, an intruder or "hacker" can only learn that the tag serial number is, for example, #69872331, but that does not provide any useful information. Has the district committed perjury by claiming that the active RFIDs magically deactivate themselves when off school property?"
Security

More Drones Set To Use US Air Space 223

Dupple writes with a quote from the BBC about more testing of Predator drones in U.S. air space: "Tests have been carried out to see whether military drones can mix safely in the air with passenger planes. The tests involved a Predator B drone fitted with radio location systems found on domestic aircraft that help them spot and avoid other planes. The tests will help to pave the way for greater use of drones in America's domestic airspace."
Privacy

Grumman Building Football Field-Sized Robotic Surveillance Blimp 150

colinneagle writes with news of the latest in 1930s surveillance technology turned into a robot. From the article: "It's not fashionable to call this flying spy (hybrid military airship) a 'blimp,' but a Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV). You are no doubt familiar with the Goodyear blimp that hovers over football games, but the LEMV is almost the size of a seven-story flying football field; it's meant to fly at speeds between 30 and 80 knots without ceasing for 21 straight days while providing an 'unblinking' eye of surveillance. Northrop Grumman has a $517 million contract to build three of these 21st-century robotic airships for the U.S. Army. The first of three had a successful 90-minute test flight last week from the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. This first test flight included two pilots, but the Army intends for the LEMV to be like the Predator, an unmanned flying surveillance machine. Both Northrop Grumman and the Army must like the term 'unblinking,' as it was used several times to describe the 'Revolutionary ISR Weapon System' aka the LEMV."
Privacy

Twitter Can't Keep Protestor's Data From Cops 105

Sparrowvsrevolution writes "On Monday, Twitter published its first-ever Transparency Report, detailing how many times governments around the world demanded its users' information and asked it to remove content. The results show that the U.S. government asked for more Twitterers' private data than all other governments combined: 679 requests in the first half of 2012, of which 75% were at least partially granted. That's more than all of last year, with half of 2012 still to go. Within hours, the issue of governments helping themselves to Twitter users' private data was illustrated in the case of Malcolm Harris, an Occupy Wall Street protester who had his Twitter data subpoenaed in a criminal case for 'disorderly conduct.' Twitter had fought the request, which will help prosecutors identify Harris as the tweets' source. But a Manhattan judge ruled that users have no expectation of privacy for their Twitter data."
Privacy

Have Your Fingerprints Read From 6 Meters Away 122

First time accepted submitter Burdell writes "A new startup has technology to read fingerprints from up to 6 meters away. IDair currently sells to the military, but they are beta testing it with a chain of 24-hour fitness centers that want to restrict sharing of access cards. IDair also wants to sell this to retail stores and credit card companies as a replacement for physical cards. Lee Tien from the EFF notes that the security of such fingerprint databases is a privacy concern." Since the last time this technology was mentioned more than a year ago, it seems that the claimed range for reading has tripled, and the fingerprint reader business has been spun off from the company at which development started.
Government

VA Governor Wants Military Drones For Police 183

New submitter Screen404-O writes "During a radio interview, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell suggested that using unmanned drones to assist police would be 'great' and 'the right thing to do.' 'Increased safety and reduced manpower are among the reasons the U.S. military and intelligence community use drones on the battlefield, which is why it should be considered in Virginia, he says. ... McDonnell added Tuesday it will prove important to ensure the state maintains Americans' civil liberties, such as privacy, if it adds drones to its law enforcement arsenal.' Is this the next step toward militarizing our law enforcement agencies? How exactly can they ensure our privacy, when even the Air Force can't?"
IBM

Will IBM Watson Be Your Next Mayor? 148

MrSeb writes "When we think of computer networks, we think of routers and servers and fiber optic cables and laptops and smartphones — we think of the internet. In actuality, though, the visible internet is just the tip of the iceberg. There are secret military networks, and ad hoc wireless networks, and utility companies have sprawling, cellular networks that track everything from the health of oil pipelines and uranium enrichment machines through to the remaining capacity of septic tanks — and much, much more. What if we connected all of these networks to the internet, to form an internet of things? What if we then put a massive computer at the middle of this internet of things and used this wealth of data to power smart cars, smart homes, smart supermarkets, and smart cities? Unsurprisingly, IBM and Cisco are already working on such smart cities. For nearly two years, Rio de Janeiro's utilities, traffic systems, and emergency services has been managed by a single 'Ops Center,' a huge hub of technologies provided by both IBM and Cisco. With 300 LCD screens spread across 100 rooms, connected via 30,000 meters of fiber optic cable, Ops Center staff monitor live video from 450 cameras and three helicopters, and track the location of 10,000 buses and ambulances via GPS. Other screens output the current weather, and simulations of tomorrow's weather up to 150 miles from the city — and yet more screens display heatmaps of disease outbreaks, and the probability of natural disasters like landslides. There's even a Crisis Room, which links the Ops Center to Rio's mayor and Civil Defense departments via a Cisco telepresence suite. This sounds awesome — but is it really a good idea to give a computer company (IBM is not an urban planner!) so much control over one of the world's biggest cities?"
IBM

IBM Patent: Smart Floors Detect Heart Attacks, Intruders 80

An anonymous reader writes "An IBM patent issued in March describes multitouch floors that detect who is in the home and what they're doing – perfect for detecting intruders and falls, notes MSNBC. CEPro.com suggests the technology also could be used to replace cameras and sensor arrays typically required for gesture control, and could detect staggering teens and 'unregistered' boyfriends. The floors could have 'tremendous implications for home health technology.'"
Privacy

Indian Government To Track Locations of All Cell Phone Users 151

asto21 writes with this excerpt from The Indian Express: "As per amendments made to operators' licences, beginning May 31, operators would have to provide the Department of Telecommunications real-time details of users' locations in latitudes and longitudes. Documents obtained by The Indian Express show that details shall initially be provided for mobile numbers specified by the government. Within three years, service providers will have to provide information on locations of all users. The information will have some margin of error at first. But by 2013, at least 60 per cent of the calls in urban areas would have to be accurately tracked when made 100 metres away from the nearest cell tower. By 2014, the government will seek to increase the proportion to 75 per cent in cities and 50 per cent in suburban and rural areas."
Microsoft

Microsoft Readying Massive Real Time Threat Intelligence Feed 89

chicksdaddy wrote in with a link to a story about a Microsoft project that will share security information in real time with customers and law enforcement. The article reads "Microsoft has proven that it can take down huge, global botnets like Kelihos, Rustock and Waldec. Now the company is ready to start making the data it acquires in those busts available to governments, law enforcement and customers as a real time threat intelligence feed. Representatives from the Redmond, Washington software maker told an audience at the International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) here that it was testing a new service to distribute threat data from captured botnets and other sources to partners, including foreign governments, Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) and private corporations."
Data Storage

Coming Soon: Ubiquitous Long-Term Surveillance From Big Brother 191

alphadogg writes "As the price of digital storage drops and the technology to tap electronic communication improves, authoritarian governments will soon be able to perform retroactive surveillance on anyone within their borders, according to a Brookings Institute report. These regimes will store every phone call, instant message, email, social media interaction, text message, movements of people and vehicles and public surveillance video and mine it at their leisure, according to 'Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Government,' written by John Villaseno, a senior fellow at Brookings and a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA."
Android

FBI Rejects Freedom of Information Act Request About Carrier IQ 156

bonch writes with news that website Muckrock recently sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI asking for "manuals, documents or other written guidance used to access or analyze data gathered by programs developed or deployed by Carrier IQ." The Bureau has now responded with a rejection of the request, claiming an exemption applies because such documents "could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings." While many have been quick to assume the worst, the Muckrock article says it's unclear "whether the FBI used Carrier IQ's software to in its own investigations, whether it is currently investigating Carrier IQ, or whether it is some combination of both - not unlikely given the recent uproar over the practice coupled with the U.S. intelligence communities reliance on third-party vendors."
Government

New US Government Project To Monitor Electronic Communication 164

An anonymous reader writes "PRODIGAL (Proactive Discovery of Insider Threats Using Graph Analysis and Learning) is a recently uncovered U.S. government program created in partnership with the Georgia Tech School of Computational Science and Engineering, ostensibly to monitor IMs, texts, and emails on government networks, is feared to be turned on the U.S. population at large. From the article: 'Cherie Anderson runs a travel company in southern California, and she's convinced the federal government is reading her emails. But she's all right with that. "I assume it's part of the Patriot Act and I really don't mind," she says. "I figure I'm probably boring them to death."'"
Privacy

Device Detects Drug Use Via Fingerprints 224

cylonlover writes "Fingerprints have been used to confirm or determine peoples' identities for over one hundred years now, but new technology is allowing them to be put to another use — drug testing. Intelligent Fingerprinting (a spin-off company affiliated with the UK's University of East Anglia) has just unveiled a prototype portable device that can detect the presence of illicit drugs or other substances in a person's system by analyzing the sweat in their fingerprints."

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