, 'opacity': false, 'speedIn': , 'speedOut': , 'changeSpeed': , 'overlayShow': false, 'overlayOpacity': "", 'overlayColor': "", 'titleShow': false, 'titlePosition': '', 'enableEscapeButton': false, 'showCloseButton': false, 'showNavArrows': false, 'hideOnOverlayClick': false, 'hideOnContentClick': false, 'width': , 'height': , 'transitionIn': "", 'transitionOut': "", 'centerOnScroll': false }); }) HazDat
7Sep/13

California first to get electronic license plates? Easier to track?

The California State Senate approves a bill that would allow for a pilot program to test digital license plates. Will it involve tracking?

by Chris Matyszczyk

California is the home of everything that's new, exciting, and, well, accidentally nefarious.

It's a delight, therefore, to hear that we here in the Golden State might be the first to get electronic license plates.

Yes, the young and the restless of tech will be able to have their new "TE$LA1" plate beamed directly to their car.

What could be more moving? I am beaming at Ars Technica for discovering that a bill has passed the California State Senate, allowing for a pilot program to launch the scheme.

... CONTINUE READING »

Share
12Jun/12

UK reopens probe into Google’s Street View data capture

The ICO re-opened its investigation after a US probe uncovered more detail about the data captured Google is back under investigation after gathering personal data while cameras on its cars took pictures for its UK Street View service.

The Information Commissioner’s Office previously dropped a probe into the affair after being told limited data had been “mistakenly collected”.

However, it said it had since become aware of reports that a Google engineer had deliberately written software to obtain a wider range of material.

The ICO has asked for more information.

... CONTINUE READING »

Share
19Mar/12

There’s an app for that: How researchers pwned your mind

Researchers turn smartphone users into unwitting minions with a simple app

With mobile users becoming more reliant on their devices and accompanying applications, researchers from Northwestern University have discovered the ease with which user’s mobility can be “soft” controlled.

As smartphone apps become further and further integrate into our daily lives, you have to wonder if we’re in control of our desires or if mobile applications are starting to controlling us.

To discover the ease with which app users can be manipulated, researchers from the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University underwent a study to determine whether they could change the habits of a smartphone user’s mobility through gaming and social-networking applications. The goal was to compel them to visit areas less frequented.

How can an application affect on our decisions on a daily basis?

Like with advertising, we can be compelled by Foursquare to achieve or maintain our “Mayor” standing at a particular restaurant or venue. We might be manipulated, for instance, to travel not to the local pizza shop, but instead to the Chinese food store that we’ve been visiting repeatedly for the last month.

The research was conducted by John Rula and Fabián E.

Bustamant and titled, “Crowd (Soft) Control Moving Beyond the Opportunistic.” They used four foundational elements that work together offer individuals incentives:

  • Location: The location desired stated in terms of latitude and longitude, and optionally altitude and heading.
  • Action: The type of action to be triggered at the particular location and time.
  • Expiration Time: The time when the request is no longer valid; this is used to control the timing and relevancy of actions.
  • Ranking: The relative importance of the location. This can be used by the game to differentiate incentives by priority Rula and Bustamant created an Android-based augmented reality game titled, “Ghost Hunter,” which required users to chase monsters and ghosts throughout the neighborhood. The objective of the game was to “zap” the ghosts and monsters by capturing the augmented image on their mobile phone’s camera. But what users were not aware of was the researcher’s underlying intent.

The researchers had positioned the ghosts in exact locations, around a predetermined building. The resulting photographs of the “ghosts” enabled the researchers to create a 3D picture of the building from the collected images. While the photographic modeling of the building was successfully crowdsourced by the unsuspecting “Ghost Hunter” gamers, what the researchers had also discovered was the ability to compel users to capture images of the building from angles and locations typically not frequented, as the image below indicates.

While mobile users are concerned about their privacy, the ease with which they can be “soft” controlled raises a whole new issue altogether. Games and social networks not only offer a means of learning more about the people who use them, they can potentially offer a way to control their actions. Manipulating users into conducting illegal acts or luring them to dangerous locations is very much a reality.

Only days ago, three Japanese tourists were mislead by their GPS into the Moreton Bay in Australia during a low tide and became trapped in the thick mud. With the tide rising, they were forced to abandon their waterlogged rental car.

Ultimately, users will have to decide for themselves where they draw the line. As the research reiterates, “As augmented reality gamers can be trusted to exercise their best judgment during play, users of extended location based applications should be trusted to judge the suggestions made through CSC (Crowd Soft Control).”

Via http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/researchers-turn-smartphone-users-into-unwitting-minions-with-a-simple-app/

 

 

Share
9Mar/12

Deportation: There’s an app for that.

PHOENIX -- A group of pro-immigrant rights activists in Arizona aim to develop a smartphone application that would help immigrants notify friends, family and their attorney if they are detained and arrested during a traffic stop.

Arizona was the first state to pass a law to make it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant (SB 1070), leading to an increased crackdown and climate of fear among immigrants. A recent Department of Justice investigation on racial profiling of Latinos by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office found that Latinos were four to nine times more likely to be pulled over in a traffic stop than non-Latinos

“When someone gets pulled over the first thing to worry about is the family,” said Lydia Guzman, the president of the nonprofit Respect/Respeto.
For years, the nonprofit’s emergency hotline has monitored cases of possible civil rights violations against Latinos by local law enforcement, provided information about rights, and tracked down missing family members in immigration custody after undocumented drivers are detained.

“It’s difficult. We try to get all of this information from them to reach their family, while at the same time we’re trying to advise them about their rights,” she said.

It was Guzman’s experience with Respect/Respeto and the increased crackdown on undocumented immigrants by local police using state laws that inspired her friend Todd Landfried, a spokesperson for Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform, to come up with an idea for a smartphone app that could do what the group does and more.

The app will allow users to notify family, friends, attorneys and even their consulate when they get pulled over by law enforcement or when they are facing an emergency situation that puts their safety or civil rights at risk.

With the touch of a button, Landfried says, the “Emergency Alert and Personal Protection” app will send a pre-set list of people information about the person’s location using GPS technology and date and time of the incident. The app will also have an option to record audio and video, which is a common function on most mobile phones, but it will take it a step further by sending the audio and video to a “web interface” where the data can be stored and accessed by lawyers, for example.

It will also inform them, in English and Spanish, of their civil rights if they are arrested during a traffic stop; for example, reminding them that they have the right to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning.

Guzman says the app could help people make split-second decisions at a crucial moment about who to call and how to get help. She says it would also provide immigrant advocates a starting point to search for undocumented immigrants once they are in the detention system – a search that can sometimes take days.

In order to take the app from idea to reality, Landfried and Guzman recently launched a 30-day crowdfunding campaign to support the development of the app. If they reach their goal of raising $225,000, they will work with a software developer to have the app ready by July. Donors would get the app, which will cost about $2, for free.

The app is similar to the “I’m Getting Arrested” app that launched in response to the arrests of protestors involved in the Occupy movement. Landfried and Guzman say their app would be designed to specifically address the situation of undocumented immigrants pulled over in traffic stops. They say it would consolidate functions on the phone to allow users to document, store and send photos, audio and video to web interface that can be used to document racial profiling or violations of civil liberties.

Landfried says he believes Latinos are well-positioned to make use of such an app based on recent trends of Latinos' usage of smartphones.
According to a 2010 Nielsen Company report, 45 percent of Hispanic mobile users have a smartphone compared to just over a quarter of white mobile users.

Landfried and Guzman say they hope the app can be a tool for tracking statistics of potential instances of racial profiling.

“Keeping in mind you have to protect the attorney-client privilege,” Landfried said. “If data was made anonymous, we can track how many times people hit the button for traffic stops and they can fill in later what the outcome was.”

“This is about protecting people. Everybody has rights, whether you like it or not,” he said.

Via http://newamericamedia.org/2012/03/im-getting-arrested-app-aims-to-help-those-detained-in-traffic-stops.php

 

Share
13Jan/11

Privacy Law’s Gone Ex Parte Like it’s 1986…or 1984

A byproduct of life in the 21st Century is that many of the perks of a post-centennial lifestyle require the abdication of a fair bit of privacy to cyberspace. That means that the paper records that once required a search warrant to read (and maybe the forceful extraction from your cold-dead-hands), are now in the possession of companies who don't. Of course there's Facebook and Twitter. Those didn't exist in the 20th. Century. But, what about your phone records and email? While your phone company has long been subject to a warrant or subpoena, in the 21st. Century new "self-service" tools have been developed to help telcos manage the onslaught of requests made particularly attractive by the fact that most of us carry what amounts to a homing-beacon in our pockets. Similarly, while email has always been an attractive source of discovery, until recently most of it resided on each correspondent's physical, and virtual, desktop waiting to get written-over by something more current. Today, it's more likely been put out to pasture in a seemingly-endless "server farm", waiting to be picked by a custodian of records.

Even our personal computers, which have always required a search warrant, and often require a cascading series of search warrants covering various regions of storage space and categories of searches, are rapidly being replaced by windows to the web -- sleek sheets of glass and sculpted-aluminum that act as a portal to your virtual existence. Like a supermodel, these tablets are thin and beautiful, but two-dimensional, with very little substance inside. What makes these devices a reality today is a combination of near-ubiquitous Internet connectivity and access to your personal online data once it's established. Even the notion of "backing up" is becoming a thing of the past, because the data you see, isn't really here. It's somewhere else, presumably safe from destruction, but not necessarily from dissemination. Like many things in life, it's a trade-off.

But, not when it comes to fighting crime. The shift of discovery from physical space to cyberspace is a decided advantage for law enforcement. In fact, Google reports that it responded to more than 4200 discovery requests in the first-half of 2010 alone. One of the reasons these requests have become so popular is that online data is easier seize than a laptop, and often much more useful. Much of what can be had requires no search warrant at all, and thanks to online tools, can be had without even so much as contacting the service provider. Why? Because, unlike the data on your hard drive, you don't necessarily own your data when it's stored in cyberspace.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act was enacted by Congress in 1986 -- long before most people had access to the Internet, email, or a cellphone. When Mark Zuckerberg's only friends were his stuffed animals. Mind you, it was revolutionary for it's time -- enacted to extend government restrictions on wire taps from telephone calls to also include transmissions of electronic data by computer. But, it doesn't address current evolution. Today, far more can be gleaned from a historical records search than any telephone wiretap. Perhaps that's why last year the Department of Justice argued in favor of warantless email searches. Or why in the same year the DOJ argued that cellphone users had abdicated any expectation of privacy by using a service that stores location data.

Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/technology/10privacy.html?_r=2&pagewanted=2&ref=technology

Share
12Nov/09

Infidelity — There’s a map for that.

How Google might know what you did last summer -- even if you forgot.

google-latitude-781430Google Latitude is a service that allows users to see and share their location on a Google map live and in real-time. The service runs on most smart-phones, regardless of service provider, including Apple's iPhone, Windows Mobile, the Palm Pre, and, of course, Google's Android. Latitude relies on a combination of GPS, cellular tower triangulation, and wi-fi triangulation. Having brushed-up on the service for a recent National Public Radio (NPR) Interview, I have since considered Latitude one-part creepy, and two-parts cool. However, the creepy / cool ratio may be shifting.

This week Google introduced a new and improved Google Latitude -- with enhanced features like "Location History".  With Location History Latitude users can go back in time retrace their footsteps, and even see where they stayed-put, and for how long. Kind of cool...yet, very creepy. But practical?

Imagine, for example, you're the owner of a Palm Pre on Sprint's 3G Now Network , having trouble remembering where your were when you told your spouse you were somewhere else? Now, there's a map for that!

But wait -- there's more! How about "Location Alerts"? Certainly, a application that would alert you when a particular individual, say a family member, has left work or school, would be very practical. After a while of being alerted every time someone is, or has arrived, exactly where you would expect them to be, however, could get old. So, Google's geniuses stepped it up a notch. According to Google, Latitude will learn user's patterns and behavior so that alerts can be issued when a person has strayed from their routine -- left at a different time, or arrived at a different place.

For example, if you decide to staycation with your mistress, you can receive a handy alert when your spouse leaves the office earlier than usual. Or, if traffic is particularly light, Latitude will let you know when it's time for a quick window-exit.

Best of all, when the jig is up, no one has to know, because -- for now -- Google is making all these free services available to you, and no one else... at least, without subpoena powers.

This is deception... on the Now Network.

Share
28Oct/09

Location, Location, Location.

Recently, I had a wonderful opportunity to play a game of hi-tech "phone tag" on the streets of San Francisco with Reporter Martin Kaste from NPR's "All Things Considered". Late last Summer I was  asked if I would be willing to sit down for an interview for a story he was researching about location privacy. But, instead of agreeing to meet Kaste, I told him he had to find me.

With the aid of his GPS-equipped smart-phone, some software, a little patience, and a good pair of walking shoes, he was able to "tag" me sipping a latte outside a coffee shop on Market St. Of course, with my own GPS, and software-equipped smart-phone, I was able to see him coming. What follows are the fruits of that encounter:

Digital Bread Crumbs: Following Your Cell Phone Trail

Jeff Fischbach is a little bit like those guys in The Matrix — when he puts on his shades and looks at the world, he sees data.

Walking down the street in San Francisco, he points out all the devices that record people's comings and goings: digital parking meters, apartment intercom systems, digital security cameras...

Listen to NPR's Digital Bread Crumbs: Following Your Cell Phone Trail

Audio and transcript: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114241860&ft=1&f=1019

Share
23Sep/09

You Tweet, therefore: YOU ARE HERE.

TwitterVisionHow Twitter says they'll hide your location from twits with subpoenas.

Recently, Twitter announced that they would be adding geolocation features to their service, allowing users to embed their physical location in their Twitter feed. As not to alarm: Twitter has always maintained that this would be an opt-in feature. But, frankly, any web site you visit is privy to some information about your physical location by virtue of the IP address assigned to your computer by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) from a group of IP addresses reserved for your neighborhood. The logs kept by a web server, combined with a subpoena to the appropriate ISP, usually yield a street address for the subscriber assigned that IP address.

SmarterWare's Gina Trapani (formerly of Lifehacker.com) is attending the Twitter Conference in LA. She's posted updates explaining how Twitter plans to deploy this service and how they intend to protect its Twitter geolocation users from subpoenas. According to Gina, "Twitter will scrub geo-data stored in tweets more than 14 days old to avoid getting subpoena’d about a user’s location in the past. They will outright delete the location information from their database, not just anonymize." ... CONTINUE READING »

Share
24Aug/09

Protected: HazDat Geocaching Private Page

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Share
18Jul/09

Nowhere to Hide

At just 2.8 x 2.9-mm (smaller than the head of a matchstick, and thinner than a stick of gum), Epson's Infineon XPOSYS Assisted-GPS chip could literally bug the heck out of you. Smaller and more powerful than any A-GPS before, it can even track indoors. On the plus-side, you may never loose another left-sock again.

See it @ Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2009/02/12/epsons-tiny-gps-receiver-will-make-everything-location-aware/

Share

Log In


Join the conversation...

Join the conversation on Twitter

Join the conversation on Facebook

disquslogo_180 Subscribe to RSS feed

Join the Google conversaton…

Geo Visitors Map