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UK To Turn Anti-Terror Technology Against Citizens

We'll be watching you...

For whatever reason, the future proposed in the movie V for Vendetta seems to be approaching every day in the UK.

From the Guardian:

Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the ­"routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, ­protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.

The UK is constantly in the news for gathering data on its citizens into databases so this comes as no surprise, but it's like watching your beloved sibling descending into drug addiction and homelessness. We can offer the people of the UK a safer place to live (for now anyway), but as far as the government's over-reaching dictatorship tendencies, all we can do is advise and hope for the best.

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V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta
(See online!)

Summary

In the near future, the UK has come under oppressive rule by its own government that put the people of the country under their boot. Undesirables like dissidents, homosexuals, or anyone that would speak openly of dissatisfaction is taken away in the night and never seen again. Meanwhile, a strange masked hero takes on the entire regime by blowing up a public building and threatening to destroy the house of parliament in one year's time.

Lessons

  • A society that gives up its privacy and rights can become dark and broken and may never regain them.
  • With enough technology and complete media control, a very small number of people can subvert and control an entire nation.
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UK Police Can Hack Citizens Computer Without Warrant

Government overreach in the UK

This comes from a long string of stories about how bad privacy is getting in the UK. As bad as it's become in the US, apparently our friends out there have it much worse.

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UK Loses Data on Over Half its Entire Population

What's a 50% data loss for a whole country?
(Image is in the Public Domain)

They had it, they shouldn't have, now they lost it. Same story all over.

The funniest part of this is that they're trying to convince their public that it's a good idea to have a national ID card containing even more data and that they'll be responsible with that data.

Said someone from an anti-ID card group:

"It's inevitably good news for our campaign because it proves to people that this government, and indeed any government, cannot be trusted with this amount of information. For 25 million people this is a catastrophe but it is just a small herald of the national ID scheme which would mean a potential catastrophe for 60 million of us."

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Graffiti Artist Embarasses CCTV

(Image is in the Public Domain)

It was just yesterday that I was explaining why closed circuit tv systems (the the ones they have prominently installed all over London) don't work. Here's an article about a London Graffiti artist who carefully painted a giant message to the authorities that spans three full stories on a building right next to a security camera.

The secretive graffiti artist managed to erect three storeys of scaffolding behind a security fence despite being watched by a CCTV camera. Then, during darkness and hidden behind a sheet of polythene, he painted this comment on 'Big Brother' society.
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Backscatter Alternative Tested

(Image is in the Public Domain)

A British company has developed a camera that can see through clothes, but unlike Backscatter, it doesn't provide pornographic photos of the target.

Depending on the material, the signature of the wave is different, so that explosives can be distinguished from a block of clay and cocaine is different from a bag of flour.

It shoots some rays at the target and reads the response. It's more like a sonar device than a camera and it if works, this will be not only more effective at detecting threats, but also much better for personal privacy.

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Unexpected Intelligence from the UK

(Image is used under the Pixabay license)

No offense to the UK, but they've not got the best history when it comes to personal privacy. That's why when I heard that the recent call to create a national DNA registry has been rejected, I was pleasantly surprised!

Of course, they still have their problems. The existing DNA registry is filled with data from criminals, but also people who were only suspects. Obviously criminals should have a reduced set of privacy rights, but people who have never been convicted is another story entirely. Still, props to the UK for having the brains to reject such a flagrant rights violation.

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UK Police Can Demand that You Decrypt Information or Jail You

(Image is in the Public Domain)

In the UK, ever the pinnacle of freedom and privacy, you can now be forced to decrypt any data that they believe has bearing on a criminal or terror investigation. Here's the really fun part (emphasis mine):

Individuals who are believed to have the cryptographic keys necessary for such decryption will face up to 5 years in prison for failing to comply with police or military orders to hand over either the cryptographic keys, or the data in a decrypted form.
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UK Police Authorized to Tap Traffic Cameras at Will

In the UK, they're allowing the police to use the toll camera network to track vehicles. The cameras are used to enforce a toll and have software that analyzes license plates to match them with the car's owner.
But they will only be able to use the data for national security purposes and not to fight ordinary crime, the Home Office stressed.
Yeah right. Just like the FBI and national security letters. JTAG ERROR: No slashdot_ht index defined Tags: ,

EU Tells Google, 2 Years is 2 Long

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])
Google recently announced that any data they stored that was more than 2 years old would become anonymized.

While many applauded this (because at least they were going to anonymize it), many others say it doesn't go far enough.

When asked why they need personally identifiable information in the first place, their answer is for service optimization. I, as others, question what identifying someone has to do with search engine optimization at all.

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