See the Surveillance State at Work in Your Own Community

“The Atlas is searchable, mappable, and allows you to select or deselect specific types of surveillance such as license-plate readers, doorbell-camera networks, and facial recognition. That’s handy for determining the pervasiveness of the surveillance state where you live, and for planning journeys—although good luck picking entirely anonymous routes.”

China’s protests are testing the surveillance state

“People in China have been living under extreme anti-Covid lockdowns as part of the country’s “zero-Covid” policy for the past three years. But after a wave of protests, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appears ready to loosen some of those restrictions.

In late November, protests broke out in Urumqi, a city in the Xinjiang province, after an apartment fire there killed 10 people. Residents believe that fire trucks were obstructed by fences, tents, and other barriers normally used for Covid-19 precautions, leading to a multi-hour delay in extinguishing the blazes. The region had been under strict lockdown for more than 100 days at that point, and the fire proved to be a breaking point for many people who live there — and alongside other Covid-related incidents, helped galvanize protests in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, and elsewhere across China.”

“hile the protests were overwhelmingly about ending the lockdowns, we also heard some calls for an end to President Xi Jinping’s surveillance state. One of the most striking images of the protests has been one of demonstrators holding up blank pieces of paper, a symbol of Chinese censorship.

But it’s not likely to spell the end of surveillance in China. The government is already leveraging the vast amounts of information it’s collected on its citizens — including cell phone location data — to crack down on those who participated in the protests.”

Government Databases Invite Privacy Abuse in China and the U.S.

“In July 2020, the feds indicted more Chinese government hackers for their part in “a hacking campaign lasting more than 10 years to the present, targeting companies in countries with high technology industries, including the United States, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.” In September of the same year, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency announced that hackers with China’s Ministry of State Security used “commercially available information sources and open-source exploitation tools to target U.S. Government agency networks.”

In March of this year, Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm, revealed that hackers sponsored by the Chinese state were able to “successfully compromise at least six U.S. state government networks.”

Many reports about state-sponsored hacking note that this isn’t a one-sided affair. U.S. officials don’t advertise it, but there’s evidence they’re doing their part to steal sensitive data from Chinese companies and government agencies.”

The future of 911 is a little bit creepy

“Over the coming weeks, AT&T is rolling out cellphone location tracking that’s designed to route emergency calls to 911 more quickly. The company says the new feature will be nationwide by the end of June and should make it easier for, say, an ambulance to reach someone experiencing a medical emergency. At first glance, it seems like a no-brainer. But it’s also a reminder that as phone companies promise to save lives, they’re also using a lot more data about you in the process.”

Study: Europe’s Aggressive Privacy Regulations Are Killing App Innovation

“Compliance costs are high and fines for failing to do so are significant”

“The working paper’s four writers drilled down into the data and determined that GDPR helped push the exit of a third of available apps and also suppressed the introduction of new apps into the market. New app introductions in the quarters following the launch of GDPR enforcement dropped by half.

“Whatever the privacy benefits of GDPR, they come at substantial costs in foregone innovation,” the authors note.”

“a sharp decline in both successful and unsuccessful apps entering the market. It wasn’t just bad or predatory apps being affected by GDPR.”

” They also calculate that GDPR raises costs to produce apps by more than 30 percent.”

“The report’s authors conclude that when the quality of a product is unpredictable (like an unknown or not-yet-existent app), the ease of entry into a marketplace is important to help determine its value to consumers. When regulatory barriers like GDPR drive up entry costs, then there can be “substantial [consumer] welfare losses” in the form of stillborn products and services we might want or need but never see.”

The Government’s Secret ‘Google Search’ Warrant Trap

“It’s called a “keyword warrant,” and it’s basically an open request for information on anyone who searches for particular terms online. Instead of the government saying, “I want all of arson suspect John Doe’s Google searches,” it’s, “I want information on all the people who searched Google for ‘arson.'”

The problem is evident. In the first scenario, investigators have already determined a suspect based on some evidence that they present to a judge, the typical standard for requesting a search warrant. In the second scenario, the government is asking search engines to provide data that they can use for whatever reason. It’s an open invitation for a fishing expedition. And many innocent people could get caught in the net.”