It's the Cops!

LAPD Adds a Couple of Drones To Its Arsenal, Tells Public Not To Be Alarmed

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When drug runners started using drones to scout out marijuana growing fields that were ripe for the raiding, it was only a matter of time before the police nabbed a couple for themselves.

The Los Angeles Police Department recently added two small camera-equipped, remote control helicopters to their arsenal, the Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend. The drones were a gift from the Seattle Police Department, who quickly changed their minds about the drones as soon as everyone in Seattle freaked out about having little police helicopters flying around. Read More

privacy wars

Harvard and MIT Students Launch ‘NSA-Proof’ Email Service

ProtonMail was created in Switzerland, where privacy laws are totally chill. (Facebook)

Troubled by Edward Snowden’s revelations about the U.S. government’s snooping habits, a group of Harvard and MIT students created an email service they insist is completely NSA-proof.

The new email platform is called ProtonMailBostInno reports. The service’s five brainy founders met while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. They bonded over a shared desire to build an email service even more secure than Lavabit, Mr. Snowden’s now-defunct email service of choice.

Following a few weeks in private beta, ProtonMail is launching its open beta phase starting today. Read More

Surveillance

Terrifying Eavesdropping Lamp Live-Tweets Your Private Conversations

Sounds great. (Screengrab: Vimeo)

Welcome to 2014, where it’s possible that a seemingly harmless piece of furniture could be broadcasting your private conversations across the Internet.

Two artists have just unveiled a creepy product called the Conversnitch, Wired reports, and sadly, it has nothing to do with Quidditch. Rather, it’s a device that looks exactly like a lamp, except it records nearby conversations, transcribes the audio files, and then posts snippets of the conversations to Conversnitch’s Twitter account.

The creators, Brian House and Kyle McDonald, believe the Conversnitch is reflective of the current NSA-related privacy threats Americans are currently facing. Read More

Rise of the Drones

New Drones Can Steal Information Straight From Your Smartphone

Put these AWAY. (Photo: File)

Drones are incredibly versatile, able to do everything from delivering beer to, er, killing innocent people :(. And now, hackers have developed a new skill for the flying robots — and it’s definitely on the disconcerting end of the drone use spectrum.

Hackers have developed a drone that can steal information from smartphones, CNNMoney reports. It’s being tested in London, and research on the drones’ functionality will be presented at the Black Hat Asia cybersecurity conference in Singapore next week. Read More

It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

Facebook’s First Transparency Report Reveals It Turned ‘Some Data’ Over in 79% of U.S. Requests

Look, it was either this or take up Brit Kits. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Guess Facebook knows we’re all feeling a little paranoid these days. Today the company released its first “Global Government Requests Report,” which aims to shed a little more light on exactly what the social network is handing over to the authorities.

Google, of course, has been doing this for years, and last year Twitter hopped on the bandwagon, as well. Read More

The New New Internet

Theorizing The Web: Data Serfs vs. Data Lords and Free Speech vs. Banning Reddit

TtW13-45

National Day of Unplugging lasted from sunset on Friday, March 1 to sunset on Saturday, March 2. But judging from the smartphones, Macbooks, and tablets at the third annual Theorizing the Web conference, no attendees took them up on the challenge.

This past weekend was the first time the conference has been held in New York City, at the CUNY Graduate Center near Herald Square.

Gatherings of this sort are typically insular, academic affairs, but organizers Nathan Jurgenson and PJ Rey, both sociology grad students at the University of Maryland-College Park, have attempted to broaden the tent to include bloggers, writers, and journalists of all stripes. “We wanted to create the sort of conference we would want to attend,” said Mr. Rey. Read More

Privacy is Dead

The FBI’s Billion-Dollar Facial Recognition Project Announced Just in Time For Worldwide Privacy Protests

Do you always feel like somebody's watching you? (Image via AnonNCarolina2, Twitter)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun implementing a $1 billion face recognition program that will probably scare everyone outside of law enforcement.  NewScientist reports that the Next Generation Identification (NGI) program will lump iris scans, biometrics, DNA and even voice prints into one formidable profiling tool and some states are already using the program in a limited fashion. The whole thing will be in effect across the country in about 2 years. NewScientist addresses the privacy problem: Read More

Privacy is Dead

Have Yourself a Merry Little CryptoParty

cryptoparty

“CryptoParty” sounds like an event involving strangers in balaclavas and Guy Fawkes masks sipping cocktails and staring unblinkingly at each other.  That might be fun, but a CryptoParty is really, according to this wiki, a gathering of “Interested parties with computers and the desire to learn to use the most basic crypto programs.” CryptoParties are practical efforts to assist private citizens in learning how to combat what many activists contend is a creeping Orwellian surveillance state in developed countries worldwide.

In a post published a few days ago, the  Australian edition of SC Magazine elaborated: Read More