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4th Amendment Summary by the EFF

Can you refuse search or not? It would be good to know your rights.
(Image is in the Public Domain)

You can't use rights you don't know about or don't understand. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has posted a summary of your 4th amendment rights to deny the government permission to search you or your belongings (digital or otherwise).

It's good to know what you can and can't do since you should know that even when you've done nothing wrong, you may still get yourself into a lot of trouble if you are careless with your privacy.

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TSA Nude Scanners Coming To American Malls

You're kidding, right?

So…

Wait.

What now?

A Yahoo article says that because women's cloths sizing is hard, they're going to nude scan them to figure out what they can wear. Seriously!?

Ms. Shaw, the entrepreneur, is chief executive of a company called MyBestFit that addresses the problem. It is setting up kiosks in malls to offer a free 20-second full-body scan — a lot like the airport, minus the pat-down alternative that T.S.A. agents offer.

Lauren VanBrackle, 20, a student in Philadelphia, tried MyBestFit when she was shopping last weekend.

“I can be anywhere from a 0 at Ann Taylor to a 6 at American Eagle,” she said. “It obviously makes it difficult to shop.” This time, the scanner suggested that at American Eagle, she should try a 4 in one style and a 6 in another. Ms. VanBrackle said she tried the jeans on and was impressed: “That machine, in a 30-second scan, it tells you what to do.”

That's cute. A strip search in the name of getting something to wear? So instead of wasting millions on this disrobing plan, why not standardize women's clothing and use inch measurements like men's clothes? How's that for an idea?

How long until someone hacks these poorly protected machines to record copies of all women scanned and the photos show up on the Internet? Will you put your teenage daughters in them?

This is so, so stupid, I can't believe it's actually true. I really hope this doesn't catch on because if it does, my faith in humanity will suffer yet again.

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4th Amendment Underwear and Shirts

This isn't what it would look like though...

It'd be nice if they could post an actual picture of a backscatter scan instead of a full x-ray, but this is still pretty cool. I personally wouldn't buy one since I'd rather not be scanned at all than try to make a statement after the fact.

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5 Minutes Posing as a 14-year-old On Social Site

Facebook
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

A police official in the UK signed up a new account with a girls name and used data and a photo that suggested he was a 14 year old girl.

Within 90 seconds, a middle-aged man wanted to perform a sex act in front of me. I was deluged by strangers asking stomach-churning questions about my sexual experience. I was pressured to meet men with whom I'd never before communicated.

If you plan to let your kids use sites like these, you have to know what they're getting into. Make sure you have the name and password to their account (being friends with them is not enough) so you can see what they see and talk to them about it. Also bone up on safety precautions like learning the proper way to secure your account.

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GPS Tracking Watch for Parents

Track your kids in real-time online with GPS

Here's a tool for you ultra-paranoid: a GPS watch you can make your kids wear.

Parents can see the location of their child on Google maps by clicking 'where r you' on a secure website or texting 'wru' to a special number. Safe zones can also be programmed with parents being alerted if their child strays outside this zone.

The watch, which is designed in bright colours to appeal to children, can be tightly fastened to a child's wrist and sends an alert if forcibly removed.

Two things to keep in mind before doing this:

  1. If you tag kids with monitoring devices, we will be raising a generation of people who don't see a problem with being tagged and tracked. This sets a very dangerous precedent for the future if we are to retain our personal liberties.
  2. The company that supplies the information also gets to see where your kid is which creates a new set of questions. What does the company do with all that data? Would they possibly share or sell it? Could they lose it in a data breach?
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No Right to Privacy When Having Computer Repaired

Peeping
(Image is in the Public Domain)

According to a recent case, you have no right to privacy when having your computer repaired.

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Parents Embarassed or Worse For What their Kids Post Online

Internet
(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC])

Well this is different. I knew that posting online can have severe negative effects on the poster, but I hadn't considered the effect on the parents.

"Whether we're talking about dad's work secrets or problems between mom and dad with their relationship," Sgt. MacDonald said.

We asked him to show us just how easy it is to find incriminating posts. It didn't take long.

"Not only do I have to live with my nagging mom, my dad does drugs. This person, Tara, says her parents are lazy alcoholics," reads Sgt. MacDonald.

He says it's not hard for police, or employers, to uncover the identity of teens from the details in their profiles.

While drugs and underage drinking are likely problems that should be dealt with, some other things should remain private:

even innocent-sounding news can do damage. "They may be talking about how their father is losing a job, and perhaps a neighbor who's the mortgage broker for the father isn't aware that the father's job is in jeopardy,"
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Parents Can Get Fired For What their Kids Post Online

Internet
(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC])

Well this is different. I knew that posting online can have severe negative effects on the poster, but I hadn't considered the effect on the parents.

"Whether we're talking about dad's work secrets or problems between mom and dad with their relationship," Sgt. MacDonald said.

We asked him to show us just how easy it is to find incriminating posts. It didn't take long.

"Not only do I have to live with my nagging mom, my dad does drugs. This person, Tara, says her parents are lazy alcoholics," reads Sgt. MacDonald.

He says it's not hard for police, or employers, to uncover the identity of teens from the details in their profiles

While those people might deserve to get fired (if the teen poster is telling the truth and not just venting), the article lists another example of a mortgage broker finding out that one of his customers lost his job.

Privacy is starting to become harder and harder to protect, but also more important at the same time.

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Some US Schools Fingerprint Students Like Criminals

Schools have our kids confused with criminals
(Image is in the Public Domain)

In a recent newsletter, the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes:

Despite complaints from privacy advocates and parents, schools in states across the country are considering using fingerprint scans to track students. Kids at Sandlapper Elementary in Columbia, South Carolina, have their fingerprints scanned to pay for their breakfast and check out library books, while officials at the Hope Elementary School District in Santa Barbara, California, have just announced similar plans to use finger scans to charge students for their lunches.

People need anonymity. It is up to the individual to decide whether to disclose that they were at a particular place, associate with particular people, or are involved in particular events. That's what it means to be innocent until proven guilty.

This is really simple folks: Criminals lose their rights, law abiding citizens don't. For the necessity of investigation, people who can be reasonably suspected of being involved in wrong-doing can be looked at more closely (with a warrant), but other than that, no government body should be tracking, monitoring, or data mining information about anyone. Raising kids as sub-citizens who won't expect the same rights and privileges we enjoy today is NOT ok.

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