Facial Recognition Database used by the FBI is Out of Control

Yes, Big Brother is closely watching you, me, and everyone else, as if we didn’t know that already.

The House oversight committee claims the FBI’s facial recognition database is out of control, noting that “no federal law controls this technology” and “no court decision limits it.” At last week’s House oversight committee hearing, politicians and privacy campaigners presented several “damning facts” about the databases. “About 80% of photos in the FBI’s network are non-criminal entries, including pictures from driver’s licenses and passports,” reports The Guardian. “The algorithms used to identify matches are inaccurate about 15% of the time, and are most likely to misidentify black people than white people.”

Details are available on The Guardian at: http://bit.ly/2mN5iDi.

Macintosh Users: Encrypt and Hide Your Private Files with Hider 2

If you have something you would like to keep secret, whether it is your income tax return, your bet list you give to your bookie, or your wife’s or girlfriend’s (or both!) sizes needed for Christmas gifts, Hider 2 is the application you need. It keeps your data locked up and protected with password protection. Nobody gets into the app or your data without your password. It also optionally hides your file(s) and folder(s) so that they are invisible to Macintosh Finder, Spotlight, and other Mac applications. Family members who share your computer or online spies who access it remotely will not find or decode files that have been encrypted and hidden with Hider 2.

In short, as mentioned on the application’s web site, “Hider 2 is the Fort Knox of digital storage. Anything and everything you hide with Hider 2 is tightly locked up and hidden, making it ultra-secure.”

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Digital Privacy at the U.S Border: A New How-To Guide from EFF

The U.S. government reported a five-fold increase in the number of electronic media searches at the border in a single year, from 4,764 in 2015 to 23,877 in 2016. Every one of those searches was a potential privacy violation.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced a new (free) document for those of us who want to protect the private data on our computers, phones, and other digital devices. Quoting from the EFF website:

“Increasingly frequent and invasive searches at the U.S. border have raised questions for those of us who want to protect the private data on our computers, phones, and other digital devices. A new guide released today by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) gives travelers the facts they need in order to prepare for border crossings while protecting their digital information.

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How to Keep Your Smart TV from Spying on You

We used to think it was only the evil Russians and Chinese who were behind malware and spyware. The recent release by Wikileaks of 8,761 CIA documents detailing the agency’s hacking of smart phones, routers, computers, and even televisions proves that the Russians and the Chinese aren’t the only “bad guys.” Even the people we thought were the “good guys” instead are really evil.

The files reveal that the CIA can and has hacked devices that were supposedly secure– iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. The CIA is even deliberately infecting personal computers with spyware, including Windows, Macintosh OS/X, Solaris, Linux, and other operating systems. Perhaps even worse, the CIA is also infecting your television set and mine, including Samsung smart TVs, through a program called “Weeping Angel”. Even if you think the TV is off, it’s not. Your smart TV may well be listening in to your conversations and even watching you from its built-in video camera.

If caught, the CIA apparently says, “We’ll just blame the Russians.”

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Anthem Insurance Company Offers a Credit Freeze to Minors Who Were Impacted by the 2015 Cyber Attack

If you or anyone you know were victims of the 2015 Anthem insurance company hack, let them know about this offer from Anthem:

“Anthem is offering a special minor credit freeze program to parents and legal guardians of minors whose information was involved in the 2015 cyber attack against the company…. Working closely with the three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, Anthem is offering a program to allow a credit freeze for children across all three bureaus. Anthem will cover the cost of the credit freeze for this program as well as the cost of removing the credit freeze at a later date. As part of this program, Anthem will also offer to reimburse parents or legal guardians who paid for a credit freeze for their child after the announcement of Anthem’s cyber attack. In addition, for those children who became adults after January 27, 2015, Anthem will provide reimbursements for setting an adult credit freeze now.”

Keep in mind this offer is ONLY for those who were under the age of 18 on January 27, 2015. Adults apparently are left to fend for themselves.

Details are available in the Anthem press release at https://goo.gl/hb5kCG.

How Giving Up Privacy Can Save You Money

If you live in the United Kingdom, you might want to read an article by Emma Woollacott in the AOL.co.uk web site. She writes:

“Big Brother is watching you…

“The UK is one of the most surveilled nations in the world. Our emails are held for government monitoring, our cars are tracked through automatic numberplate recognition and there are cameras everywhere.

“According to the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), there are between four and 5.9 million CCTV surveillance cameras around the country – one and a half times as many as China.

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Privacy is an Inside Job

Doc Searls is an American journalist, columnist, and a widely read blogger, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and author of The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge, a fellow at the Center for Information Technology & Society (CITS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an alumnus fellow (2006–2010) of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He has written an interesting article about privacy that I would suggest should be required reading for everyone, especially for the politicians and government bureaucrats who are working to reduce the privacy of all citizens.

Here are several quotes from the article:

“It helps to remember that nature in the physical world doesn’t come with privacy. We have to make our own. Same goes for the networked world.”

“… privacy on the Internet is very controversial. Evidence: searching for “privacy” brings up 4,670,000,000 results. Most of the top results are for groups active in the privacy cause, and for well-linked writings on the topic. But most of the billions of results below that are privacy policies uttered in print by lawyers for companies and published because that’s pro forma.

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