Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Offline Privacy & Security

Should Genealogy Websites be BANNED because they ‘Threaten the Anonymity of Sperm Donors?’

The world today is struggling with learning to use advancing technology and also with all sorts of issues dealing with personal privacy. Sometimes those new ideas are diametrically opposed. For instance, which is more important: the right to learn about your ancestry, especially when inherited medical issues are involved, or the right to personal privacy? <img class=”alignright size-full” src=”https://eogn.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/dna-behind-bars.png&#8221; width=”320″ height=”203″ />A bioethics expert at Ghent University in Belgium claims […]

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Probably the Best Laptop Security for use while Crossing Borders

Computer security expert Bruce Schneier has written about a supposedly fool-proof method of encrypting the entire hard drive of a laptop computer. That means that you can travel internationally without ever revealing the contents of your laptop to Customs or other officials anywhere you travel. Even you will be unable to access the information until some time after you arrive at your destination. Best of all, you can do this […]

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Google Location History Explained

Location History is a feature that Google introduced in 2009. It “saves where you go with your devices, even when you aren’t using a specific Google service.” That essentially means that tracking and recording of where you are occurs in the background, even when users don’t actively have a location app (like Google Maps) open on their phone. Each location is shown by a red dot. For instance, here is […]

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Fairfax County, Virginia Police can No Longer Maintain a Database of Photos of Vehicle License Plates because of Privacy Laws

A Fairfax County judge on Monday ordered the Fairfax County police to stop maintaining a database of photos of vehicle license plates, with the time and location where they were snapped, ruling that “passive use” of data from automated license plate readers on the back of patrol cars violates Virginia privacy law. Details may be found in an article by Tom Jackman in the Washington Post at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/crime-law/2019/04/02/judge-orders-fairfax-police-stop-collecting-data-license-plate-readers.

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Vigilant, Its Customers, Police, and the State of California Are Lying About ICE’s Access To License Plate Records

Can you believe that companies, police, and even state governments are lying to the public? What a concept. (Irony intended.) Everyone’s hooking up ICE with automatic license plate reader (ALPR) data. And everyone’s misleading the public about it, starting with ALPR manufacturer, Vigilant. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been investigating California law enforcement’s data sharing claims with relation to its Vigilant ALPRs and finding their public statements are directly contradicted […]

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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 […]

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