Privacy app store
Tue 9 Dec 2014, 11:00

The privacy smartphone company Blackphone is launching its own app store for users concerned about privacy and security. The Blackphone app store will be available in January 2015 and will monitor apps to make sure they do not snoop on users. The app store will validate that the apps will do what they intend to do. For example if you have an app to manage your social media accounts and it wants access to your microphone and your camera Blackphone might ask why and get on a first screening.

US proposal for police body cameras
Tue 9 Dec 2014, 03:00

EFF discusses the pros and cons of President Obama’s announcement about federal assistance to local law enforcement. Body cameras are the most concrete piece of President Obama's proposal.

One of the problems is that, unless used very carefully, body cameras incidentally capture footage of anyone in the line of a police officer’s sight. An ACLU policy paper notes that body cameras can be a good thing— when accompanied by strong policies to address the privacy concerns. The paper points out several issues that must be considered in developing such policies.
EPIC's brief on aerial surveillance
Mon 8 Dec 2014, 23:40

EPIC argued that warrantless surveillance around a person's home violates both property interests and an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy. EPIC also warned the New Mexico high court that "Drones will enable broader use of aerial surveillance by law enforcement" agencies. EPIC explained that "it will be necessary to establish privacy rights to protect against constant monitoring."

US Department of Justice thinks companies need to trust gov't on cybersecurity
Tue 9 Dec 2014, 22:20

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said that the fight against cybercrime would be more effective if private companies put more trust in the country's law enforcement agencies and if they engage more.

But DOJ calls for legislation to require mobile phone operating systems to include back doors in newly announced encryption tools may be a major stumbling block to additional cooperation. FBI Director James Comey raised concerns about law enforcement access to criminal evidence on smartphones after Apple and Google both announced encryption tools for their mobile operating systems.

Dean Garfield, CEO of tech trade group the Information Technology Industry Council, said the tech industry will oppose efforts to pass a law requiring a back door in encryption tools. Such regulations would be "incredibly disruptive in a negative way," he said.

US: Secure Data Act starts to address the problem of backdoors
Tue 9 Dec 2014, 23:00

EFF says the Secure Data Act starts to address the problem of backdoors by prohibiting any agency from “mandate[ing] that a manufacturer, developer, or seller of covered products design or alter the security functions in its product or service to allow the surveillance of any user of such product or service, or to allow the physical search of such product, by any agency.” The legislation only prohibits agencies from requiring a company to build a backdoor. The NSA can still do its best to convince companies to do so voluntarily.

The legislation also doesn’t change the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA.) CALEA, passed in 1994, is a law that forced telephone companies to redesign their network architectures to make it easier for law enforcement to wiretap telephone calls. In 2006, the D.C. Circuit upheld the FCC's reinterpretation of CALEA to also include facilities-based broadband Internet access and VoIP service, although it doesn't apply to cell phone manufacturers.

Our own online behaviour is the cause for state surveillance
Sat 13 Dec 2014, 22:20

Journalist John Naughton wonders whether the reason there has been so little public fuss about the Snowden revelations (with some notable exceptions, mainly Germany) is because everybody feels compromised, to a greater or lesser extent, by their online behaviour. In principle, people think it’s creepy that Google reads our mail, that Facebook monitors our relationships and that the spooks have a log of everything we’ve ever read on the web, but the services are free and the security services are unlikely to be interested in little old us.