New York to install surveillance cameras

in every subway car

source: nbcnews.com  |  image by Luca Nardone for Pexels.com
Some privacy advocates are worried the move will increase surveillance without necessarily increasing safety.

New York, home of the largest rapid transit system in the country, will install surveillance cameras in every New York City subway car by 2025, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday.

The move is aimed at increasing riders’ confidence in subway safety, Hochul said, as ridership numbers are still lagging behind pre-pandemic levels. It also follows several highly publicized crimes that have occurred in the transit system, including the rape of a touriston a subway platform this month; a mass shooting on a subway car in Brooklyn in April that left 10 passengers wounded; and the fatal shooting of a Goldman Sachs employee on a train in May.

Star American Professor Masterminded a Surveillance Machine for Chinese Big Tech

source: yahoo.com  |  image: pexels.com

 

A star University of Maryland (UMD) professor built a machine-learning software “useful for surveillance” as part of a six-figure research grant from Chinese tech giant Alibaba, raising concerns that an American public university directly contributed to China’s surveillance state.

Alibaba provided $125,000 in funding to a research team led by Dinesh Manocha, a professor of computer science at UMD College Park, to develop an urban surveillance software that can “classify the personality of each pedestrian and identify other biometric features,” according to research grant documents obtained via public records request.

“These capabilities will be used to predict the behavior of each pedestrian and are useful for surveillance,” the document read.

Alibaba’s surveillance products gained notoriety in 2020, when researchersfound that one of its products, Cloud Shield, could recognize and classify the faces of Uyghur people. Human rights group believe these high-tech surveillance tools play a major role in the ongoing Uyghur genocide in Xinjiang.

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TikTok Engaging in Excessive Data Collection

source: infosecurity-magazine.com  |  image: pexels.com

 

TikTok has been engaging in excessive data collection and connecting to mainland China-based infrastructure, Internet 2.0 has claimed in a new white paper.

The latest report, overseen by Internet 2.0’s head security engineer Thomas Perkins, is an analysis of “the source code of TikTok mobile applications Android 25.1.3 as well as IOS 25.1.1”, with Internet 2.0 carrying out static and dynamic testing between 1 July to 12 July 2022 that focused on device and user data collection.

The report identified multiple instances of unwarranted data harvesting, including:

  • Device mapping
  • Hourly monitoring of device location
  • Persistent calendar access
  • Continuous requests for access to contacts
  • Device information

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Security tool guarantees privacy in surveillance footage

 

source: news.mit.edu  |  image: pixabay.com

 
“Privid” could help officials gather secure public health data or enable transportation departments to monitor the density and flow of pedestrians, without learning personal information about people.

Surveillance cameras have an identity problem, fueled by an inherent tension between utility and privacy. As these powerful little devices have cropped up seemingly everywhere, the use of machine learning tools has automated video content analysis at a massive scale — but with increasing mass surveillance, there are currently no legally enforceable rules to limit privacy invasions

Security cameras can do a lot — they’ve become smarter and supremely more competent than their ghosts of grainy pictures past, the ofttimes “hero tool” in crime media. (“See that little blurry blue blob in the right hand corner of that densely populated corner — we got him!”) Now, video surveillance can help health officials measure the fraction of people wearing masks, enable transportation departments to monitor the density and flow of vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians, and provide businesses with a better understanding of shopping behaviors. But why has privacy remained a weak afterthought? 

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The Birth of Spy Tech: From the ‘Detectifone’ to a Bugged Martini

source: wired.com  |  image: pixabay.com

The urge to snoop is as old as time—and by the 1950s, the electronic listening invasion had begun.

 

This is excerpted from The Listeners: A History of Wiretapping in the United States by Brian Hochman published by Harvard University Press.

EAVESDROPPING TECHNOLOGIES OF various sorts have been around for centuries. Prior to the invention of recorded sound, the vast majority of listening devices were extensions of the built environment. Perhaps nodding to the origins of the practice (listening under the eaves of someone else’s home, where rain drops from the roof to the ground), early modern architects designed buildings with structural features that amplified private speech. The Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher devised cone-shaped ventilation ducts for palaces and courts that allowed the curious to overhear conversations. Catherine de’ Medici is said to have installed similar structures in the Louvre to keep tabs on individuals who might have plotted against her. Architectural listening systems weren’t always a product of intentional design. Domes in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and the US Capitol building are inadvertent “whispering galleries” that enable people to hear conversations held on the other side of the room. Archaeologists have discovered acoustical arrangements like these dating back to 3000 BC. Many were used for eavesdropping.

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‘Really alarming’: the rise of smart cameras used to catch maskless students in US schools

source: theguardian.com  |  image: pexels.com

 

Schools brought in surveillance cameras to monitor mask compliance and other Covid risks – and while masks are on their way out, the cameras aren’t

 

When students in suburban Atlanta returned to school for in-person classes amid the pandemic, they were required to mask up, like in many places across the US. Yet in this 95,000-student district, officials took mask compliance a step further than most.

Through a network of security cameras, officials harnessed artificial intelligence to identify students whose masks drooped below their noses.

“If they say a picture is worth a thousand words, if I send you a piece of video – it’s probably worth a million,” said Paul Hildreth, the district’s emergency operations coordinator. “You really can’t deny, ‘Oh yeah, that’s me, I took my mask off.’”

The school district in Fulton county had installed the surveillance network, by Motorola-owned Avigilon, years before the pandemic shuttered schools nationwide in 2020. Out of fear of mass school shootings, districts in recent years have increasingly deployed controversial surveillance networks like cameras with facial recognition and gun detection.

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WHY TECHNICAL SURVEILLANCE COUNTERMEASURES MATTER

 

source: nvestigations.com  |  Image: pexels.com

When most people think of security, they picture physically protected people and properties. However, in the modern world, this frequently isn’t enough. Digital and electronic security are equally important. That is why technical surveillance countermeasures, also known as bug sweeps, are a must-do form of security for most businesses.

What Are TSCM?

TSCM is a category of countersurveillance. They are tools and techniques that help security professionals defend against covert surveillance using “bugs” and other electronic equipment. These are some example of the types of surveillance devices that you may need to be concerned about:

  • Microphones
  • Cameras
  • Voice recorders
  • Intercom system bugs
  • Phone bugs
  • Consumer electronics (many bugs are repurposed toys and gadgets)
  • Baby monitors/nanny cams

Bug sweeps help to detect these devices so they can be removed or neutralized. Electronic surveillance devices often emit electromagnetic radiation, often in the form of radio waves.

Examples of electronic countermeasures include multimeters, radio frequency field detectors, near field detectors, and feedback detectors. These can be used to sweep for any bugs emitting radiation.

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Apple AirTags can be used to track you. How to protect yourself.

 

source: cnet.com  |  image by apple.com

 

AirTags can be used to stalk someone’s location. Here are some tips to safeguard against the risk.

Apple’s AirTag tracking devices promise to help you locate lost keys, bags or other items — but there’s also a risk that someone  could use one of the small discs to try to track you.

Apple has built-in certain protections to discourage unwanted tracking, but it’s still possible for someone to slip an AirTag into your bag or car without your consent and track your location. And unfortunately, there are few ways to detect if someone is using an AirTag (or any similar device, like a Tile or Samsung SmartTag tracker) to follow you. 

“Location tracking is a serious concern for survivors and a common tactic of abuse,” said Erica Olsen, director of the Safety Net Project at the nonprofit National Network to End Domestic Violence. “Apple is getting a lot of attention because of the size of their network, which can make these devices more precise than other similar tracking devices. We are concerned about all possible tracking options because of the safety risks.” 

So what can you do to try to protect yourself from being tracked by an AirTag? 

New tech, old privacy concerns 

AirTags use a combination of sensors, wireless signals and Apple’s extensive Find My network to help people locate lost items. Apple built in several safeguards to prevent the devices from being used to track people — an industry first. However, many have noted that those protections may not be enough to protect victims

At launch, these included a notification that says “AirTag Found Moving With You” — but only if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later. In June, Apple said it was working on an Android app to notify those users of unwanted AirTags traveling with them as well, to be released later this year. 

Apple also initially had AirTags make a noise if separated from their owner after three days. With the update, that alarm will sound at a random time inside a window lasting between 8 and 24 hours. 

The privacy concerns around AirTags are part of a larger issue, Olsen said. 

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Apple AirTags – ‘A perfect tool for stalking’

 

source:  bbc.com  |  image: pixabay.com

 

Amber Norsworthy lives in Mississippi with her four children.

It had just turned 3pm when she got home on 27 December. She received a notification on her phone.

“My phone made a ding that I’d never heard before”, she says.

The notification told her that an unknown device had been following her movements.

Ms Norsworthy, who’s 32, went on to the ‘Find My’ app on her iPhone.

“It showed me my whole route. It said ‘the last time the owner saw your location was 15:02’ and I was like, ‘that’s now, I’m at home’.”

She rang the police, who told her they didn’t know what to do. She has yet to find the device, which she believes is somewhere in her car. She says Apple Support was able to confirm it was an AirTag. “I watch my surroundings very closely now,” she says.

Meta alerts 50,000 users to targeting by

‘surveillance-for-hire’ companies

 

source: theverge.com  |  image from meta.com. | contributed by FAN, Stephen Page

The users, including journalists and human rights activists, were based in more than 100 countries around the world

Facebook’s parent company Meta has alerted 50,000 users of Facebook and Instagram that their accounts were spied on by commercial “surveillance-for-hire” schemes around the globe.

The users were targeted by seven entities and located in more than 100 countries, according to an update posted on Meta’s news page today.

Targets included journalists, dissidents, critics of authoritarian regimes, families of opposition, and human rights activists, the post said. The surveillance was uncovered in a monthslong investigation in which Meta identified spying groups and removed them from the platform.

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