This Government Facial Recognition System May Be Using Your Photo Without Your Consent or Knowledge

The U.S. government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology has been using images of abused children, U.S. visa applicants, dead arrestees, and even travelers boarding aircraft in the U.S. to help train its Facial Recognition Verification Testing program.

What’s more, the agency’s been doing it all without the knowledge of the people in those photographs. Your photo may be one of the ones being used. If so, you probably never gave permission for that use, did you?

The government’s use of these nonconsensual images is not exactly a secret but is never mentioned or publicized by the government.

You can read more about this questionable practice in an article by Anthony Nguyen in the Slate web site at: http://bit.ly/2YeLtDO.

Leaked Documents Show the U.S. Government Tracking Journalists and Immigration Advocates Through a Secret Database

There’s no surprise here. It is well known that the U.S. government secretly tracks citizens and non-citizens alike. Some attorneys claim this is illegal and even unconstitutional. (I’ll leave it to the attorneys to argue those points.) Now a secret tracking database has been exposed.

The newly-exposed documents detail an intelligence-gathering effort by the United States and Mexican authorities, targeting more than 50 people including journalists, an attorney, and immigration advocates.

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For Personal Privacy, Use a Virtual Mailbox Address

Perhaps you don’t want your street address visible to everyone. Mail forwarding services typically provide a new street address for your postal mail and then will forward the received envelopes and packages to any address the customer specifies.

Mail forwarding services have been available for years but now such services have moved into the digital age. You can have your physical mail sent to such a service and then have it scanned and delivered electronically to you wherever you are.

Scanning of the contents is not mandatory. Instead, you can have the received envelopes and packages forwarded to you (without being opened) in the same manner as old-fashioned mail forwarding services. You can choose the delivery option on a case-by-case (or envelope-by-envelope) basis.

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Some Methods to Defeat “Porch Pirates”

NOTE: This article isn’t really about privacy. However, it is about a related topic: reducing losses by theft, thereby increasing your personal security

Online merchants, such as Amazon, have become valuable resources for consumers worldwide. Thanks to online merchants, consumers now have a wider variety of products to choose than ever before. In most cases, all of us can also save money, time, and gasoline by online comparisons of various products offered by different merchants. Never again will I waste a Saturday morning driving from store to store looking for a particular replacement part for a broken dishwasher or looking for a special birthday gift for someone.

I use online shopping for almost everything I buy, other than fresh or frozen food items, and even that is changing as merchants create new ways to deliver our orders within hours instead of days.

However, nothing is ever perfect. The idea of leaving packages on a doorstep has created a new type of criminal, appropriately called “porch pirates.” These low-life individuals typically drive around a neighborhood looking for packages left on doorsteps by UPS, FedEx, Amazon, the mailman, or other delivery personnel. If the thieves spot packages, they quickly steal them, usually without knowing the contents.

While the FBI doesn’t keep nationwide statistics on the problem, 30 percent of Americans say they’ve experienced such theft, according to a survey by Xfinity Home, Comcast’s home security service.

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Millions of Bank Loan and Mortgage Documents Have Leaked Online

Millions of documents were found leaking after an exposed Elasticsearch server was found without a password. The documents contained highly sensitive financial data on tens of thousands of individuals who took out loans or mortgages over the past decade with U.S. financial institutions.

You can read the sad news in an article by Zack Whittaker in the TechCrunch web site at: https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/23/financial-files/.