Tag: Surveillance of Citizens by Government

Anyone Can Hire a Team of Spies

The plan was simple: give the government of Uzbekistan the ability to monitor everyone’s communications. I first heard the story about five years ago from an American defense consultant. I had spoken to him over the years about arms sales, particularly those involving the former Soviet Union. He had been involved in overseeing foreign military […]

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What We’ve Learned From Our Privacy Project (So Far)

ImageA Huawei surveillance camera is pictured at Interpol World in Singapore.CreditEdgar Su/Reuters The Privacy Project has been underway for four months, and in that time we’ve learned quite a bit about what we do — and don’t — know about privacy. Privacy is a complex, nebulous and constantly evolving issue, but amid the chaos and […]

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As Cameras Track Detroit’s Residents, a Debate Ensues Over Racial Bias

[For more coverage of race, sign up here to have our Race/Related newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.] DETROIT — Twenty-four hours a day, video from thousands of cameras stationed around Detroit, at gas stations, restaurants, mini-marts, apartment buildings, churches and schools, streams into the Police Department’s downtown headquarters. The surveillance program, which began in […]

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China Snares Tourists’ Phones in Surveillance Dragnet by Adding Secret App

BEIJING — China has turned its western region of Xinjiang into a police state with few modern parallels, employing a combination of high-tech surveillance and enormous manpower to monitor and subdue the area’s predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities. Now, the digital dragnet is expanding beyond Xinjiang’s residents, ensnaring tourists, traders and other visitors — and digging […]

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Smile, Your City Is Watching You

Walking through the streets of New York City, you can feel the thrill of being lost in the crowd. As throngs of people filter past, each going about their days, it seems possible to blend in without being noticed. But as municipalities and companies pursue the dream of “smart cities,” creating hyper-connected urban spaces designed […]

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A Major Police Body Cam Company Just Banned Facial Recognition

Axon, the company that supplies 47 out of the 69 largest police agencies in the United States with body cameras and software, announced Thursday that it will ban the use of facial recognition systems on its devices. “Face recognition technology is not currently reliable enough to ethically justify its use,” the company’s independent ethics board […]

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Citizens on Patrol: What if Your Neighbor Could Give You a Parking Ticket?

Few jobs are more thankless, or invite more cursing and murderous glares on any given workday, than that of a parking enforcement officer. But Washington, D.C., wants to find 80 residents to do the job for nothing. Such is the level of frustration over the traffic and road-safety problems in the nation’s capital that a […]

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How Surveillance Cameras Could Be Weaponized With A.I.

Businesses and the government have spent years installing millions of surveillance cameras across the United States. Now, that technology is on the verge of getting a major upgrade, the American Civil Liberties Union warns in a new report. Advancements in artificial intelligence could supercharge surveillance, allowing camera owners to identify “unusual” behavior, recognize actions like […]

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He Won a Landmark Case for Privacy Rights. He’s Going to Prison Anyway.

Timothy Carpenter won’t be remembered for the circumstances that landed him in prison, but for the Supreme Court case that bears his name. Carpenter v. United States, which set a new benchmark for privacy in the digital age, requires the police to obtain a warrant before obtaining cellphone location history from a phone company. Privacy […]

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Prosecutors Are Shaping Privacy Law, and Your Privacy Isn’t Their Priority

On most weekdays in the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, prosecutors will ask the magistrate judge on duty to issue lots of sealed orders authorizing them to use all sorts of investigative technologies or requiring technology companies to keep tech-based searches secret. But that typically won’t happen when I’m the judge on duty. When it’s my […]

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You Care More About Your Privacy Than You Think

This article is part of a limited-run newsletter. You can sign up here. I hear this all the time: “This all sounds pretty troubling, but how much do we really, truly care about our privacy? After all, we don’t seem willing to stop using our phones or Facebook or Google.” This idea is popular enough […]

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F.B.I., Pushing to Stop Domestic Terrorists, Grapples With Limits on Its Power

EVERETT, Wash. — Dakota Reed’s mind brimmed with thoughts of mass murder. In November, he wrote on Facebook, “I am shooting for 30 Jews.” The next month, he uploaded a video of himself in his bedroom of his mother’s Seattle-area home proudly displaying new gun sights he had mounted on his AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle. White […]

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