Weekly Privacy Roundup #10
"I do agree that when it comes to cyber warfare, we have more to lose than any other nation on earth." - Edward Snowden
IBM will no longer offer, develop, or research facial recognition technology
IBM will no longer offer general purpose facial recognition or analysis software, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said in a letter to Congress today. The company will also no longer develop or research the technology, IBM tells The Verge. Krishna addressed the letter to Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
“IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any [facial recognition] technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency,” Krishna said in the letter. “We believe now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.”
Slovak police found wiretapping devices connected to the Govnet government network
Slovak police seized wiretapping devices connected to Govnet government network and arrested four individuals, including the head of a government agency.
Slovak National Criminal Agency (NAKA) seized wiretapping devices connected to the Govnet network and arrested four individuals, including the head of a government agency, who was responsible for managing the government network.
Jenkins team avoids security disaster after partial user database loss
The developers of the Jenkins open source automation server said they've successfully recovered their backend infrastructure after a partial user database loss.
The incident took place last week, on June 2, and resulted in an outage to the Jenkins Artifactory portal -- used by Jenkins plugin developers to upload and manage plugin artifacts.
The Jenkins team said an error to a Kubernetes system forced them to rebuild parts of the Artifactory portal from scratch.
Want To Protect Privacy? Get Off Social Media, Indiana Federal Court Says
When the government wants to get data about you from someone other than you (a third party), does it need a search warrant issued by a judge or can it just use a simple subpoena, without probable cause and often without any judicial intervention?
That question has been vexing lawyers, judges, prosecutors, defense counsel and all manner of third parties since the U.S. Supreme Court in Carpenter v. United States ruled that to obtain someone’s cellphone location tracking data, a mere subpoena is not enough; a judge’s warrant was required. According to the ruling, people had a reasonable expectation of privacy in their location records, even if they were available from the phone company.
Amazon Won’t Let Police Use Its Facial-Recognition Tech for One Year
Amazon announced on Wednesday it was implementing a “one-year moratorium” on police use of Rekognition, its facial-recognition technology. Lawmakers and civil liberties groups have expressed growing alarm over the tool’s potential for misuse by law enforcement for years, particularly against communities of color. Now, weeks into worldwide protests against police brutality and racism sparked by the killing of George Floyd, Amazon appears to acknowledge these concerns.
In a short blog post about the decision, the tech giant said it hopes the pause “might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules” for the use of facial-recognition technology, which is largely unregulated in the US. Critics have said that the tech could easily be abused by the government, and they cite studies showing tools like Rekognition misidentify people of color at higher rates than white people. Last year, Axon, the maker of Tasers and police body cams, said it wouldn’t deploy facial-recognition systems in its products after a company ethics board recommended against it.
Google’s Geofence Warrants Face a Major Legal Challenge
Around 5 p.m. on May 20, 2019, a teller at the Call Federal Credit Union in Chesterfield, Virginia, got ready to help her next customer. He gave her a handwritten note: “I’ve been watching you for sometime now. I got your family as hostage and I know where you live,” it said, according to a court brief. “If you or your coworker alert the cops or anyone your family and you are going to be hurt… I need at least 1OOk.”
The teller told him she didn’t have access to that kind of money, at which point he pulled out a silver and black handgun. Waving it around, he herded the bank’s customers and employees behind the counter and into the back room. There he ordered everyone to their knees and forced the manager to open the safe. He fled with $195,000.
No one recognized the thief, although a witness at a church near the burglary reported having seen a man who looked suspicious in a blue Buick sedan, the court brief said. The police had little else to go on, except surveillance tape showing him entering the bank with a cell phone to his ear and passing by that church. Three and a half weeks later, still empty-handed, they asked a magistrate for a geofence warrant.