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Transportation

Feds Target "Mongols" Biker Club's Intellectual Property 393

couchslug writes in with a Reuters account of a Federal raid on a California-based motorcycle club, the Mongols, on charges "ranging from murder and robbery to extortion, money laundering, gun trafficking and drug dealing." The interesting twist is that the authorities are asking the courts to seize the IP of the biker club — specifically, their trademarked name "Mongols." "Federal agents and police in seven states arrested more than 60 members of the Mongols motorcycle gang on Tuesday in a sweep that also targeted for the first time an outlaw group's 'intellectual property,' prosecutors said. The arrests cap a three-year undercover investigation in which US agents posed as gang members and their girlfriends to infiltrate the group, even submitting to polygraph tests administered by the bikers ... [T]he name 'Mongols,' which appears on the gang's arm patch insignia, was trademarked by the group. The indictment seeks a court order outlawing further use of the name, which would allow any police officer 'who sees a Mongol wearing this patch ... to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back' ..."
Privacy

Interpol Pushing World Facial Recognition Database 171

The Register is reporting that according to some reports, Interpol will soon be pushing for a world-wide facial recognition database at the borders of all member nations. "The UK already has airport gates equipped with such technology, intended to remove the need for a human border guard to check that a passenger's face matches the one recorded in his or her passport. According to the Guardian, Interpol database chief Mark Branchflower believes that his organization should set up a database of facial-recognition records to operate alongside its existing photo, fingerprint and DNA files."
Censorship

Nation-Wide Internet Censorship Proposed For Australia 424

sparky1240 writes "While Americans are currently fighting the net-neutrality wars, spare a thought for the poor Australians — The Australian government wants to implement a nation-wide 'filtering' scheme to keep everyone safe from the nasties on the internet, with no way of opting out: 'Under the government's $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material. ... According to preliminary trials, the best Internet content filters would incorrectly block about 10,000 Web pages from one million."
Privacy

Tool To Allow ISPs To Scan Every File You Transmit 370

timdogg writes "Brilliant Digital Entertainment, an Australian software company, has grabbed the attention of the NY attorney general's office with a tool they have designed that can scan every file that passes between an ISP and its customers. The tool can 'check every file passing through an Internet provider's network — every image, every movie, every document attached to an e-mail or found in a Web search — to see if it matches a list of illegal images.' As with the removal of the alt.binary newgroups, this is being promoted under the guise of preventing child porn. The privacy implications of this tool are staggering."
Security

UK Court Rejects Encryption Key Disclosure Defense 708

truthsearch writes "Defendants can't deny police an encryption key because of fears the data it unlocks will incriminate them, a British appeals court has ruled. The case marked an interesting challenge to the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which in part compels someone served under the act to divulge an encryption key used to scramble data on a PC's hard drive. The appeals court heard a case in which two suspects refused to give up encryption keys, arguing that disclosure was incompatible with the privilege against self incrimination. In its ruling, the appeals court said an encryption key is no different than a physical key and exists separately from a person's will."
Privacy

Every Email In UK To Be Monitored 785

ericcantona writes "The Communications Data Bill (2008) will lead to the creation of a single, centralized database containing records of all e-mails sent, websites visited and mobile phones used by UK citizens. In a carnivore-on-steroids programme, as all vestiges of communication privacy are stripped away, The BBC reports that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says this is a 'necessity.'"
Privacy

UK Government Says More Spying Needed 297

An anonymous reader writes "Our wonderful government here in the UK has decided we're not being surveilled enough, and agreed to spend £12 billion on a programme to monitor every Briton's phone calls, e-mails, and internet usage. According to various sources, upwards of £1 billion has already been spent on the uber-database. Rationale? Terrorism, of course (no prizes for guessing). Needless to say, not everyone is as happy as Larry over this: Michael Parker pointed out how us Brits are being 'stalked.' I'm just looking forward to when the data gets lost."
The Courts

Gov't Database Errors Leading To Unconstitutional Searches? 272

Wired is running a story about a case the Supreme Court will be hearing on Tuesday that relates to searches based on erroneous information in government databases. In the case of Herring vs. US 07-513, the defendant was followed and pulled over based on a records indicating he had a warrant out for his arrest. Upon further review, the local county clerk found the records were in error, and the warrant notification should have been removed months prior. Unfortunately for Herring, he had already been arrested and his car searched. Police found a small amount of drugs and a firearm, for which Herring was subsequently prosecuted. Several friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed to argue this case, some calling for "an accuracy obligation on law enforcement agents [PDF] who rely on criminal justice information systems," and others defending such searches as good-faith exceptions [PDF].
Privacy

Australia Mulling a Nationwide Vehicle-Tracking System 176

An anonymous reader writes "It seems that as political support for Australia's version of the national ID card is waning, the powers that be have found a far more effective way to catalog the populace. CrimTrac, an Australian government agency responsible for designing technical solutions to aid policing, is due to hand in a $2.2 million scoping study for the introduction of a nationwide automatic number plate recognition system (ANPR). It seems that as well as ANPR, the system will also collect images of drivers and passengers with high enough resolution for identification purposes. All ANPR data collected would be made available to participating agencies in real time, and retained for five years for future investigations."
Government

In MN, Massive Police Raids On Suspected Protestors 961

X0563511 alerts us to events in Minneapolis and St. Paul in advance of the Republican convention (which has been put on hold because of Hurricane Gustav). Local police backed by the FBI raided a number of homes and public buildings and confiscated computers and other material. From Salon.com: "Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than 'fire code violations,' and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying. Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning — one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided." Here is local reporting from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Aided by informants planted in protest groups, authorities raided at least six buildings across St. Paul and Minneapolis to stop an 'anarchist' plan to disrupt this week's Republican National Convention. From Friday night through Saturday afternoon, officers surrounded houses, broke down doors, handcuffed scores of people and confiscated suspected tools of civil disobedience ... A St. Paul City Council member described it as excessive, while activists, many of whom were detained and then released without charges, called it intimidation designed to quash free speech."
Security

Siemens Develops Multi-Purpose Surveillance System 65

ekesis tips a story up at NewScientist about the development of a new surveillance system by German engineering conglomerate Siemens. The system is notable for its integration of many different types of automated data-gathering. It can scan "telephone calls, email and internet activity, bank transactions and insurance records." It uses advanced pattern-recognition software to pick out unusual activities and important pieces of data. So far, the system has been sold to 60 countries. "According to a document obtained by New Scientist, the system integrates tasks typically done by separate surveillance teams or machines... This software is trained on a large number of sample documents to pick out items such as names, phone numbers and places from generic text. This means it can spot names or numbers that crop up alongside anyone already of interest to the authorities, and then catalogue any documents that contain such associates."
Privacy

DHS Allowed To Take Laptops Indefinitely 1123

andy1307 writes with a Washington Post story giving details of Department of Homeland Security policies for border searches of laptops and other electronic devices (as well as papers). (We have been discussing border searches for a while now.) DHS says such procedures have long been in place but were "disclosed last month because of public interest in the matter," according to the article. Here is a link to the policy (PDF, 5 pages). "Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed. Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption, or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, US Customs and Border Protection and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement... DHS officials said that the newly disclosed policies — which apply to anyone entering the country, including US citizens — are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism... The policies cover 'any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form,' including hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover 'all papers and other written documentation,' including books, pamphlets and 'written materials commonly referred to as "pocket trash..."'"
The Courts

Craigslist Forced To Reveal a Seller's Identity 314

mi writes "The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts has won a judgment compelling Craigslist to reveal the identity of 'Daniel,' who tried to sell two tickets to the Oscar ceremony recently. The plaintiff's argument against such sales is scary and can be taken very far very quickly: 'If you don't know who's inside the theater, it's very difficult to provide security.' Craigslist's handling of the case may be even scarier, however — instead of fighting tooth-and-nail for the user's privacy, as we expect Google, Yahoo, and AOL, and even credit-card issuers to do, Craigslist simply did not show up in court and lost by default."
The Courts

E-gold Owners Plead Guilty To Money Laundering 469

Ian Lamont writes "The three owners of Internet currency service e-gold have pled guilty to money laundering in the U.S. District Court for D.C.. The service is based in the West Indies, but the directors apparently live in Florida. They haven't been sentenced yet, but potentially face decades in prison and millions in fines. In addition, the principal director posted a blog entry yesterday saying that 'criminal activity will not be tolerated,' and pledging to eliminate the loopholes that allowed money laundering to thrive on the service. He also claims that e-gold has more transaction volume in a single quarter than all of the first-generation Web currency services like Cybercash, Beenz, and Flooz completed over their lifetimes. Ironically, one of the reasons that contributed to Flooz's demise in 2001 was rampant money laundering."

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