Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Evil Wednesday Roundup

  • Adam Ruins Everything.  This one’s about airport security theatre.  I’m going to have to watch every single one of them now, aren’t I?
  • The BBC (and Ed Snowden) reports that CGHQ has malware that lets them turn on your phone’s mic and track your location even when it’s turned off.
  • Nothing new about this, sadly.  If you spy on your kids, I think they’re more likely to indulge in risky behaviour.  For example, if I were a kid and I knew my parents were tracking my phone, I’d leave it behind whenever I went somewhere they didn’t want me to be.  I’d be in a lot more danger without my phone.  Belgium’s Traffic Safety Institute endorses it, though.
  • Automatic face/body recognition worries me much and often.  Schneier’s point about police officers with computer-enabled glasses augmenting their reality with people’s criminal records is something I’ve spoken about several times.  It’s hardly as though the police need more excuses to fit people up for crimes.  One license plate scanning company claims to do 70 million scans a month.  Needless to say, these companies share this data with police. As Bruce’s article hints at, this is the dark side of police wearing bodycams.  Do the pictures of people they talk to go into a database? “And while we can easily imagine how this might be misused in a totalitarian country, there are dangers in free societies as well. Without meaningful regulation, we're moving into a world where governments and corporations will be able to identify people both in real time and backwards in time, remotely and in secret, without consent or recourse.”. Exactly so.
  • Spoofing fitness trackers.  I’ve recently had reason to think about this kind of thing for work.  I came up with some similar ideas.  But of course the most straightforward approach is to pay or persuade someone else to wear the band.  It’s a variety of gold farming. I picture people walking about wearing a dozen fitness bands, like a spiv.

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