(HRW) – China’s police are collecting DNA from individuals for a nationally searchable database without oversight, transparency, or privacy protections, Human Rights Watch said today. Evidence suggests that the regional government in Xinjiang, an ethnic minority region with a history…
The Electronic Frontier Foundation released a report days ago investigating questionable surveillance during Standing Rock protests. EFF’s inquiry involved numerous law enforcement agencies, from the feds to Morton County. What was gleaned only highlights the disturbingly redacted capabilities of the police surveillance state.
“Following several reports of potentially unlawful surveillance”, an EFF blog reads, “EFF sent technologists and lawyers to North Dakota.” Investigators compiled “anecdotal” reports of “suspicious cell phone behavior”, unusual battery drainage, and applications or phones crashing entirely.
“Some water protectors”, EFF noted, also observed login attempts to Google accounts. After the intrusions the IP addresses were usually linked to “North Dakota’s Information & Technology Department”, EFF reports. “On social media”, the blog continues, “many reported Facebook posts and messenger threads disappearing.” Live uploads, and uploads in general, normally failed to complete or disappeared once processed.
After having spent eight years collecting sensitive biometric data on over 100 million Americans and assembling a huge database to contain it, the FBI has now announced that, in just 21 days, they will exempt this enormous bulk of information from the privacy protections guaranteed by US law.
A coalition of activists and privacy groups have submitted a joint letter to the agency seeking additional time to respond, requesting another month for public debate to decide if the Next Generation Identification (NGI) database is actually “designed to protect.”The NGI contains biometric data, including fingerprints, face profiles, iris scans, palm prints and biographical information. Contrary to the common belief that the information is solely related to arrest records, roughly half of the database is from ordinary citizens, official documents reveal.
For instance, to get a job with the federal government, a prospective employee must provide fingerprints. But some states require the same kind of background checks for those who seek to become dentists, accountants, or teachers. The fingerprints of representatives from many different careers then end up in the NGI system.
With fast-paced technological developments, cities around the globe are progressing to what are popularly known as “smart cities,” which make use of technology to provide better services to their residents. Singapore is a smart city known for its autonomous systems on security and maintenance, its forthcoming driverless taxis, and soon enough, it’s going to get even more complex.
Through the development of the country’s Smart Nation program, an unstated number ofsensors and cameras will be spread across the city, allowing the government to monitor possibly everything—an Orwellian nightmare in the making if ever there was one.