Archive for the ‘privacy’ Category
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
Lawyers for the Obama administration will argue next week that US authorities are not required to obtain a search warrant before attaching a GPS device to an individual’s car in order to keep tabs on them.
The case, set to be heard on Tuesday by the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, comes over a year after a US Supreme Court decision failed to convince the Department of Justice that warrantless GPS tracking is an infringement on Americans’ Constitutional rights.
“This case is the government’s primary hope that it does not need a judge’s approval to attach a GPS device to a car,” Catherine Crump, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told Wired magazine.
In January 2012 the Supreme Court overruled an Obama administration assertion that police should be permitted to affix a GPS device to a personal vehicle without a search warrant. Questions were left, however, when the Court declined to answer whether that type of search was unreasonable and when justices could not reach a consensus on how police would need to monitor a suspect before requesting a warrant.
“We hold that the government’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movement, constitutes a ‘search,’” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the five-justice majority last January. (more…)
Friday, March 1st, 2013
Please remember this is very illegal and to never use the camera for anything sordid like this.
BALTIMORE (AP) — A Johns Hopkins Hospital gynecologist accused of secretly videotaping patients wore a pen around his neck that may have been used to conceal a camera, according to the employee who reported the doctor.
The employee told hospital officials of her suspicions Feb. 4, according to a letter from the hospital’s CEO, Dr. Paul B. Rothman. The letter was dated Tuesday and sent to the law firm of Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White, which is working with the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center. The law firm gave a copy of the letter to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The employee’s report to officials ultimately led to the discovery that Dr. Nikita Levy had been recording patients during exams at a Hopkins clinic. Police have said Levy, 54, killed himself in his home on Feb. 18.
Rothman’s letter said the Hopkins employee had noticed what she believed to be a device, like a writing pen, that Levy had worn around his neck while examining patients. She said she believed the device was a camera.
Rothman writes that Hopkins security personnel questioned Levy at his office on Feb. 5, and devices similar to the one described by the employee were seen in the office and on Levy.
Levy was barred from patient contact that day and escorted off hospital grounds. Hopkins notified Baltimore police the day after, and investigators have said they found large amounts of multimedia evidence.
Police have said more than 2,000 patients and former patients of Levy have called a hotline set up by the hospital. Class-action lawsuits have been filed against Hopkins.
Meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine if anyone else was involved in making the records, and whether any have been posted on the Internet or sold.
Read Story Here: yahoonews.com
Friday, February 15th, 2013
A Bellaire nursing home employee has been charged with theft from the elderly after a hidden camera installed in a resident’s room allegedly detected the employee stealing.
Dorcas Gbenda, 34, was arrested about noon Jan. 29 at The Gardens of Bellaire, 4620 Bellaire Blvd. and was taken from the property in handcuffs.
Bellaire Police Department Assistant Chief Michael Leal said the camera was installed by the elderly resident’s relatives because they noticed that items were missing from his room.
“The family members had suspected something was going on,” Leal said. “They chose to place a camera in there. They involved us when they had a little bit of evidence. I think the camera did capture an employee going through the resident’s belongings.”
According to the arrest affidavit filed by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, video footage from the camera showed Gbenda taking $60 from the resident’s wallet inside his room Jan. 25.
The family first reported their suspicions to the police in early January, Leal said.
Gbenda, a Houston resident, was free Friday on $2,000 bail, pending a court appearance Feb. 5 in County Court No. 11.
Administrators at the facility, previously known as Brighton Gardens of Bellaire, did not immediately return a call for comment
Original Story: www.chron.com
Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
In the latest in a string of high-profile hacking disclosures, the Federal Reserve confirmed on Wednesday that one of its websites was broken into by cyber hackers in a breach that reportedly leaked the contact information of thousands of bankers.
While the central bank said the incident didn’t “affect critical operations” of the Federal Reserve System, the disclosure is sure to fuel concerns about the cyber security of government websites and critical financial infrastructure.
The Fed hack appears to be tied to an Anonymous group that published on Twitter the credentials of more than 4,000 commercial bankers early Monday morning. The group, Operation Last Resort, said it received the documents “via the FED.”
“The Federal Reserve System is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product. The exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue,” a Fed spokesman told FOX Business. (more…)
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
By Jeff Rossen and Josh Davis, NBC News
Some insiders are calling it a security crisis at hotels nationwide: A breach, leaving you more vulnerable.
When you lock your hotel door, you assume you’re safe and your stuff is safe. Don’t be so sure: Thieves have invented a small, simple device that can unlock hotel doors at some of the most popular chains. Some hotels have known about this security problem for months — so why hasn’t it been fixed?
Jim Stickley is a security expert who worked with us on this report. Using a homemade gadget to pop electronic doors, he was able to break into a hotel room in seconds — no kicking the door, no fancy tools.
We booked hotel rooms in New Jersey where he did it again and again — at a Hyatt, a Ramada, a Doubletree Hilton. This security flaw is so alarming, even hotel managers are stunned. “That’s absolutely insane,” one said when we showed him.
The device is so small, thieves can hide it in a magic marker. And criminals are learning how to make it watching videos posted online.
“Do you have to be a computer whiz to build one of these?” we asked Stickley.
“No, you could be a village idiot,” he said. “Just go online and you can find step-by-step instructions and be done in a half hour.”
All thieves have to do is plug it in, and it acts like a master key, even bypassing the deadbolt, giving criminals access while you sleep.
These locks are some of the most common in hotels worldwide. Millions of rooms may be affected.
Lakesha Barrow was ripped off at a Hyatt House in Houston. Her laptop, her jewelry, all stolen. “The moment I opened the door, I felt violated,” she said. “My heart just dropped: Someone has been in my space, someone went through my stuff.”
Police say it was Matthew Cook, who used the same kind of gadget at several hotels. Now charged with felony theft, he’s pled not guilty. (more…)
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Tribune staff9:34 a.m. CST, November 26, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked enforcement of an Illinois law that prohibited people from recording
police officers on the job.
The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that found that the state’s anti-eavesdropping law violates free speech rights when used against people who tape law enforcement officers.
The law set out a maximum prison term of 15 years.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2010 against Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to block prosecution of ACLU staff for recording police officers performing their duties in public places, one of the group’s long-standing monitoring missions.
Opponents of the law say the right to record police is vital to guard against abuses.
Last May, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled that the law “likely violates” the First Amendment and ordered that authorities be banned from enforcing it.
The appeals court agreed with the ACLU that the “Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests.”
The appeals court ruling came weeks before the NATO summit when thousands of people armed with smart phones and video cameras demonstrated in the city. Officials had already announced that they would not enforce the law against summit protesters.
Public debate over the law had been simmering since last summer.
In August of 2011, a Cook County jury acquitted a woman who had been charged with recording Chicago police internal affairs investigators she believed were trying to dissuade her from filing a sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer.
Judges in Cook and Crawford counties later declared the law unconstitutional, and the McLean County state’s attorney cited flaws in the law when he dropped charges this past February against a man accused of recording an officer during a traffic stop.
The Associated Press contributed
Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
A 2011 survey found that over half of US employers are monitoring their employees’ computer usage. How can you find out if you are one of them? And if you are, what should you do about it?
There are two main ways employers track computer usage — with monitoring software on your desktop, and by watching the traffic on the corporate network. Also, many companies have written guidelines about Internet usage and may indicate if they are monitoring you. HR departments should have these policies available for employee review.
Monitoring Software on Your Computer
Monitoring software tracks all your activity and sends logs to the boss or IT department. Without your knowledge, they may be receiving reports listing the websites you visit, time spent in specific software programs, or even how much you play solitaire. The programs that do this are myriad, but there are often signs that they’re running.
On a Windows machine:
- First, look in the system tray and start up folder. Do you see programs with names like VNC or LogMeIn, GoToMyPC, Shadow, SpyAgent, Web Sleuth and Silent Watch. An IT person can choose to hide these programs from the user so they are not in the Start Menu, but many assume the user won’t look for them or know what these programs are.
- The Windows taskbar often lists all the actively running programs. Check all the icons in the taskbar in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and make sure you know what each program is.
- The Windows Firewall must give monitoring programs permission to send and receive information. Search ‘firewall’, open it, click ‘exceptions’ or ‘add program’. Then look to see if any of the above-mentioned programs or any programs that are unknown to you have permission to pass through the ports.
On a Mac:
- Open Finder and look under applications , click ‘utilities’ and launch ‘activity monitor’. Search for unknown processes or any with VNC in the name.
If you see something in any of these places that you’re unfamiliar with, search it online to see if it’s a monitoring program.
(Sidenote- many of these monitoring programs can be purchased off the shelf and used to monitor home computers. These are also tools an ID thief could use on a public computer to collect data.)
If You Find Monitoring Software
If you do find any monitoring software on your work computer, do NOT try to remove it. Two reasons: first, doing so may make it look like you have something to hide, raising suspicions; second, your employer has a right to have this software installed on the computer. After all it’s their machine.
Monitoring Through The Network
The second way employers can monitor what you do on your computer is a lot harder to detect, because there’s no trace on your personal machine; it’s all done through the network. Employers can track the files you access on the corporate drives, the email you send through the company system, and the websites you visit via your work machine. And unless you have an “in” with the IT department, there’s virtually no way to know if your company is monitoring traffic this way.
So What If You Want A Little Privacy?
Since so many employers have the power to monitor their employees, it’s safest to assume that you are being watched. But what if you really need to do something privately?
EMAIL: If you are hunting for a new job or your employer is strict about use of corporate accounts for personal email, use web-based email. Most of the major providers encrypt webmail so it can’t be intercepted on the network.
SMARTPHONE: As long as you are connected over your cellular data connection (and not the company Wi-Fi), you can surf the web and send private email (on your non-corporate account) without detection.
ANONYMIZERS: There are services (usually for a fee — for example, anonymizer.com for $70) that will create a VPN or secure tunnel that hides all your traffic from the corporate network. These are handy tools to have if you need secure access to the Internet in unsecured locations like Wi-Fi cafes or public computers; they create a cloak around all IP addresses and data sent on the network. But an anonymizer may not hide your activity from a desktop monitoring program that grabs screen-shots, and many corporate IT departments forbid them and seek them out for removal from corporate machines.
Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
Gov. Pat Quinn signed a new law Wednesday that makes it illegal for employers to ask job applicants or employees for passwords to their Facebook accounts or other online profiles.
Illinois is only the second state to do so. There are no exceptions to the law, not even for jobs requiring background checks.
The law takes effect Jan. 1.
“Privacy is a fundamental right. I believe that, and I think we need to fight for that,” said Quinn, who signed the measure at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where some students complained that online snooping has caused them to lose out on a job or led them to temporarily deactive an online profile.“
But the law does not stop bosses from viewing information that isn’t restricted by privacy settings on a website. Employers are also free to set workplace policies on the use of the Internet, social networking sites and email.
Penalties in any successful civil suit would start at between $100 and $300 and could end up costing employers more, said bill sponsor Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago).
Read Original Story Here: Suntimes.com
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
Home Network security seems to be a simple thing these days. It is not difficult to set your router with the proper security measures to stop others from hopping on your WiFi signal and getting that internet service you are likely over paying for.
A NEW wallpaper that can filter out Wifi and certain other frequencies has been developed by French researchers: and they say it could be priced the same as classic wallpaper.
Of course this magical block that keeps out WiFi pirates really comes down to a password. It’s a tiny bit more complicated than that, but for the most part this is all it takes to make your home network private instead of branding it a hotspot and sharing it like the town bicycle.
But of course there are ways around these security measures, and if you want to keep signal thieves out of your network, here’s a product that will likely stop them dead in their tracks.
With all the logic of a giant wall of stones, this solution has a coating of silver ink that can be embedded into wallpaper to block out certain electromagnetic frequencies while only allowing certain “important” signals to pass through.
Pierre Lemaitre-Auger of the Grenoble Institut Polytechnique said the wallpaper – called Métapapier or Metapaper – would give people and businesses reassurance about electromagnetic radiation from Wifi and mobile phone signals. (more…)