Thursday, May 02, 2013

Electronic privacy roundup: Hating on the drone bill and other downers

Here are a few electronic privacy issues that caught my eye:

Cell phone triangulation now as accurate as GPS
So much for the idea that cell-phone location data is less accurate than GPS, see "Cell phone network upgrades make location tracking almost as precise as GPS." Said an expert quoted in the story, "It is no longer valid to assume that the cell sector recorded by the network will give only an approximate indication of a user's location," See Slate's coverage of the recent Congressional hearing on warrantless cell-phone tracking.

Publisher contests use of wiretapped conversation with journalist as evidence
A judge will not suppress a wiretapped conversation between a south Texas reporter and a state district judge but has not yet decided whether it may be used to prosecute corruption charges against a former Cameron County District Attorney. Sounds like a quagmire. Also sounds like wiretap tools were available when they were needed.

Hating on the drone bill
Law enforcement doesn't like Rep. Lance Gooden's drone bill HB 912, reported the Texas Tribune. They want a complete exemption for their own uses. Grits has suggested cops should have to get a warrant to use drones for surveillance targeting an individual. That said, while I think drone regulation is appropriate and important, Gooden's bill, regrettably, is the wrong approach. One cannot conduct aircraft regulation primarily through the use of misdemeanor criminal penalties,which is how HB 912 is structured. It's a classic example of overcriminalization - using criminal laws to address civil, regulatory questions. Grits sympathizes with Rep. Gooden's intentions and I even think there's a way to craft a state-level drone bill that satisfies stakeholders and protects privacy. HB 912, though, as written fails to accomplish that ambitious goal. RELATED: Aggie drones. What could go wrong?

'US gives big secret push to internet surveillance'
Read the full story here.

'The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership'
Bruce Schneier, as always, rocks. His latest essay suggests:
In a few years, the whole notion of a government-issued ID will seem quaint. Among facial recognition, the unique signature from your smart phone, the RFID chips in your clothing and other items you own, and whatever new technologies that will broadcast your identity, no one will have to ask to see ID. When you walk into a store, they'll already know who you are. When you interact with a policeman, she'll already have your personal information displayed on her Internet-enabled glasses.

Soon, governments won't have to bother collecting personal data. We're willingly giving it to a vast network of for-profit data collectors, and they're more than happy to pass it on to the government without our knowledge or consent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're hitting us with a very loud advertisement. It's so loud, I can't concentrate on what I'm trying to read.