Tag: Surveillance of Citizens by Government

Russia Is Teaching the World to Spy

Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications company and the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, has helped African governments spy on political opponents. Beijing has also sold mass video surveillance to Ecuador and is advising a growing number of autocratic regimes on “information management.” There’s good reason to be worried about the exportation of Chinese technology. […]

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27 Years Later, Senators Want Inquiry Into Barr’s Blessing of Call Logs Collection

WASHINGTON — Two Democratic senators asked the Justice Department’s internal ethics watchdog on Thursday to investigate Attorney General William P. Barr for blessing a secret program at the Drug Enforcement Administration more than a quarter-century ago that went on to collect billions of records of Americans’ phone calls. The senators — Ron Wyden of Oregon […]

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China’s Genetic Research on Ethnic Minorities Sets Off Science Backlash

BEIJING — China’s efforts to study the DNA of the country’s ethnic minorities have incited a growing backlash from the global scientific community, as a number of scientists warn that Beijing could use its growing knowledge to spy on and oppress its people. Two publishers of prestigious scientific journals, Springer Nature and Wiley, said this […]

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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree’s Humble Origins, 60 Years Ago

Weather: Mostly cloudy, with a high of about 40. Wind chill will make it seem a good bit colder. Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sunday (Immaculate Conception). ImageCredit…Johannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images In the center of the city that is at the center of the world, there’s an Art Deco pedestal surrounded by skyscrapers. […]

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The Hoodie Enters the Museum

There are few items of clothing as politically, socially and racially charged as the hoodie. Long a linchpin of streetwear and, more recently, the advertising campaigns and catwalks of high fashion, the hoodie is a contemporary wardrobe staple, a declaration of fealty to a school or team, a comfortable garment for a plane ride and […]

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What Is End-to-End Encryption, Back as a Bull’s-Eye on Big Tech?

SAN FRANCISCO — A Justice Department official hinted on Monday that a yearslong fight over encrypted communications could become part of a sweeping investigation of big tech companies. While a department spokesman declined to discuss specifics, a speech Monday by the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, pointed toward heightened interest in technology called end-to-end […]

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We Hate Data Collection. That Doesn’t Mean We Can Stop It.

We’re being watched. We know we’re being watched, and we don’t think the watchers have our best interests at heart. They try to mollify us, arguing that we’re being watched for our own good and that in fact we’re the ones in charge of the scale and scope of all the watching, but deep down […]

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How to Be a Whistle-Blower

This article is part of a limited-run newsletter. You can sign up here. Last week, at a conference in Portugal, I met John Napier Tye. He is a former State Department employee, a whistle-blower and a co-founder of Whistleblower Aid, a nonprofit law firm that represents individuals trying to expose wrongdoing. As you may have […]

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Spyware Maker NSO Promises Reform but Keeps Snooping

MUMBAI, India — Bela Bhatia, a human rights lawyer in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, is accustomed to surveillance. She works in a region prone to both guerrilla violence and government reprisals, and the authorities do not like many of her clients. Still, Ms. Bhatia said she was shocked to learn her phone had been […]

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Ukraine Affair Thrusts White House Lawyer Into Center of Crisis

WASHINGTON — The complaints came to the National Security Council’s top lawyer within hours of each other in early July. Two senior aides said they feared that one of President Trump’s top political appointees was improperly pressuring Ukrainian officials to help the president’s political fortunes. The lawyer, John A. Eisenberg, remained impassive, taking notes as […]

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When ‘Big Brother’ Isn’t Scary Enough

Seven decades after the publication of George Orwell’s “1984,” “Big Brother” remains the go-to metaphor for surveillance, big and small. “Fried onion meets 1984,” read the header of a Wired article on Outback Steakhouse’s surveillance cameras. “China’s Cryptocurrency Plan Has a Powerful Partner: Big Brother,” a New York Times headline announced last month. As surveillance […]

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Here’s a Way Forward on Facial Recognition

A furious debate is underway over the use of facial recognition technology for law enforcement purposes. San Francisco and a few other communities have banned their police departments from using it. Detroit is among other cities wrestling with the question. At the same time, law enforcement agencies say that software that analyzes human faces to […]

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Pierre Delecto, QAnon and the Paradox of Anonymity

This article is part of a limited-run newsletter. You can sign up here. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Pierre Delecto. Pierre isn’t a real person — he’s the fake persona made up by Senator Mitt Romney for his secret Twitter account, which was recently uncovered after some expert forensic work by Slate’s Ashley Feinberg. […]

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China Sharpens Hacking to Hound Its Minorities, Far and Wide

SAN FRANCISCO — China’s state-sponsored hackers have drastically changed how they operate over the last three years, substituting selectivity for what had been a scattershot approach to their targets and showing a new determination by Beijing to push its surveillance state beyond its borders. The government has poured considerable resources into the change, which is […]

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Why Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul Fight for Trump’s Favor

President Trump’s on-the-fly decision to pull United States troops out of Syria is the latest flash point in the Republican battle to shape and define a “conservative” foreign policy. Increasingly, that term means very different things to very different people, all bearing the Republican mantle. One of the best ways to view this battle of […]

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You’re in a Police Lineup, Right Now

Face recognition technology is being used to unlock phones, clear customs, identify immigrants and solve crimes. In the Video Op-Ed above, Clare Garvie demands the United States government hit pause on face recognition. She argues that while this convenient technology may seem benign to those who feel they have nothing to hide, face recognition is […]

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Dealing With China Isn’t Worth the Moral Cost

The People’s Republic of China is the largest, most powerful and arguably most brutal totalitarian state in the world. It denies basic human rights to all of its nearly 1.4 billion citizens. There is no freedom of speech, thought, assembly, religion, movement or any semblance of political liberty in China. Under Xi Jinping, “president for […]

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Why You Shouldn’t Believe Tech Companies

This article is part of a limited-run newsletter. You can sign up here. A few years ago, during an interview with Twitter’s C.E.O., Jack Dorsey, something broke in my brain. I was in San Francisco to grill him on a number of thorny issues about online harassment and content moderation. His answers, while aspirational, clarified […]

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As U.S. Takes Aim at Chinese Tech Firms, Trump Signals a Strategy Shift

SHANGHAI — The world has largely sat by for nearly two years as China detained more than one million people, mostly Muslims and members of minority ethnic groups, in re-education camps to force them to embrace the Communist Party. Now, the Trump administration has taken the first public step by a major world government toward […]

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Hong Kong Takes Symbolic Stand Against China’s High-Tech Controls

HONG KONG — There’s no sign to mark it. But when travelers from Hong Kong cross into Shenzhen in mainland China, they reach a digital cutoff point. On the Hong Kong side, the internet is open and unfettered. On the China side, connections wither behind filters and censors that block foreign websites and scrub social […]

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Facebook Encryption Eyed in Fight Against Online Child Sex Abuse

An explosion in reports of child sexual abuse imagery on the internet is prompting the authorities to step up pressure on technology companies over their use of encryption — and Facebook, which flags by far the largest amount of the material, is drawing outsize attention. The tension is part of a growing debate over privacy […]

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