An anonymous reader writes "Today, tens of thousands of license plate readers (LPRs) are being used by law enforcement agencies all over the country—practically every week, local media around the country report on some LPR expansion. But the system's unchecked and largely unmonitored use raises significant privacy concerns. License plates, dates, times, and locations of all cars seen are kept in law enforcement databases for months or even years at a time. In the worst case, the New York State Police keeps all of its LPR data indefinitely. No universal standard governs how long data can or should be retained."
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paulmac84 writes "According to the BBC, the UK have issued a threat to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy to arrest Julian Assange. Under the terms of the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 the UK has the right to revoke the diplomatic immunity of any embassy on UK soil. Ecuador are due to announce their decision on Assange's asylum request on Thursday morning."
coondoggie writes "Let's say that for whatever reason, you'd rather your telephone number not be published. If you are a Verizon customer, that privacy privilege will cost you $5 a month. And how does Verizon justify such a significant fee for such an insignificant service? 'The cost charged to offer unlisted phone numbers is chiefly systems and IT based,' a media relations spokesman for the company tells Network World. (Asking the same question of online customer service elicited a predictably unenlightening response.) Sixty dollars a year to keep an unpublished number unpublished? Does that seem plausible?"
New submitter Blindman writes "The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that it is okay for police to track your cellphone signal without a warrant. Using information about the cell tower that a prepaid cell phone was connected to, the police were able to track a suspected drug smuggler. Apparently, keeping your cellphone on is authorization for the police to know where you are. According to the ruling (PDF), '[The defendant] did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the data emanating from his cell phone that showed its location.' Also, 'if a tool used to transport contraband gives off a signal that can be tracked for location, certainly the police can track the signal.'"
TheBoat writes with a bit from BGR on the Apple vs Samsung case: "We're starting to see a theme develop here. Now that it's Samsung's turn to present its case in the San Jose, California patent trial that regularly has the tech media abuzz, the company is taking an interesting approach. Rather than start out by arguing that its various Android smartphones and tablets do not copy Apple's designs or infringe on its patents, Samsung is arguing that Apple's IP is invalid to begin with. On Monday, Samsung argued that Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent was stolen from Mitsubishi's old Diamond Touch and on Tuesday evening, Samsung made a similar argument regarding the design of Apple's iPad. Samsung on Tuesday presented the jury with videotaped testimony from Roger Fidler, head of the digital publishing program at the University of Missouri. In his testimony, Fidler stated that he began work on a tablet design in 1981. 'Apple personnel were exposed to my tablet ideas and prototypes,' he testified, adding that Apple staff saw his designs in the mid-1990s."
jfruh writes "Did you know that Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has a loyalty points account with the Starwood hotel chain? Did you know that both Tim Cook and Steve Ballmer have Dropbox accounts? All this information — and much more — can be found out because so many prominent executives use their corporate email address for their account logins, and most sites make it possible to see if an email address is associated with an account even if you don't have the account password. Just knowing that such an account exists can lead to technical and social engineering attempts to crack it, as happened in the case of Wired's Mat Honan."
tsu doh nimh writes "The FBI is warning that it's getting inundated with complaints from people taken in by ransomware scams that spoof the FBI and try to scare people into paying 'fines' in lieu of going to jail for having downloaded kiddie porn or pirated content. KrebsOnSecurity.com looks inside a few of the scams in the FBI alert, and it turns out it only takes 1-3 percent of victims to pay up to make it seriously worth the fraudsters' while."
colinneagle writes with news of the latest in 1930s surveillance technology turned into a robot. From the article: "It's not fashionable to call this flying spy (hybrid military airship) a 'blimp,' but a Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV). You are no doubt familiar with the Goodyear blimp that hovers over football games, but the LEMV is almost the size of a seven-story flying football field; it's meant to fly at speeds between 30 and 80 knots without ceasing for 21 straight days while providing an 'unblinking' eye of surveillance. Northrop Grumman has a $517 million contract to build three of these 21st-century robotic airships for the U.S. Army. The first of three had a successful 90-minute test flight last week from the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. This first test flight included two pilots, but the Army intends for the LEMV to be like the Predator, an unmanned flying surveillance machine. Both Northrop Grumman and the Army must like the term 'unblinking,' as it was used several times to describe the 'Revolutionary ISR Weapon System' aka the LEMV."
c0lo writes with a bit from BoingBoing: "The UN's World Intellectual Property Organization's Broadcasting Treaty is back. This is the treaty that EFF and its colleagues killed five years ago, but Big Content won't let it die. Under the treaty, broadcasters would have rights over the material they transmitted, separate from copyright, meaning that if you recorded something from TV, the Internet, cable or satellite, you'd need to get permission from the creator and the broadcaster to re-use it. And unlike copyright, the 'broadcast right' doesn't expire, so even video that is in the public domain can't be used without permission from the broadcaster."
redletterdave writes "Malaysian netizens, opposition politicians, well-known bloggers and non-governmental organizations staged an Internet blackout Tuesday to protest and raise awareness about legislation that could threaten free expression on the Web. According to Malaysia's Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), the second of two amendments to the Malaysian Evidence Act of 1950, also known as Section 114A, 'enables law enforcement officials to swiftly hold someone accountable (PDF) for publishing seditious, defamatory, or libelous content online.' In addition, those accused of posting this kind of content will be 'assumed to be guilty until proven innocent,' which completely flies in the face of the typical logic of the traditional judicial process, which is 'innocent until proven guilty.' The CIJ warns that 'if allegedly defamatory content is traced back to your username, electronic device, and/or Wi-Fi network, Section 114A presumes you are guilty of publishing illicit content on the Internet.' The CIJ organized Tuesday's blackout, where participating sites blacked out their names and services with messages that read, 'This is what the Web could look like.'"
itwbennett writes "The German Federal Court of Justice has ruled that ISPs have to turn over to rights-holders the names and addresses of illegal file sharers, but only 'if a judge rules that the file sharer indeed infringed on copyright,' said the court's spokeswoman, Dietlind Weinland. The ruling overturns two previous rulings by regional courts and is significant because the violation doesn't have to happen on a commercial scale, but applies whenever 'it is possible to know who was using an IP address at the time of the infringement,' the court said."
An anonymous reader writes "Bloggers in Vietnam are increasingly finding themselves thrown in jail. Despite freedom of speech being enshrined in the nation's Constitution, many who speak out against the government are thrown in jail — thanks to a new law that forbids such talk. In one desperate act, Dang Thi Kim Lieng lit herself on fire outside the Bac Lieu People's Committee building in southern Vietnam. She died of her injuries. She was protesting the detention of her daughter who was arrested for blogging against the government. Three other bloggers are scheduled be tried under section 88 of the criminal code, which relates to propaganda against the nation. A maximum sentence could carry with it 20 years in jail."
Grumbleduke writes "Anton Vickerman, who owned SurfTheChannel.com, has been sentenced to 4 years in prison following his conviction last month for 'conspiracy to defraud.' This is the first successful prosecution of an individual in the UK for running a website merely linking to allegedly infringing content (several earlier cases collapsed or resulted in acquittals). Vickerman was prosecuted for the controversial offense of 'conspiracy to defraud' for 'facilitating copyright infringement,' rather than for copyright infringement itself, and it is worth noting that the relevant copyright offense carries a maximum prison sentence of only two years — half of what was given. FACT, the Hollywood-backed enforcement group who were heavily involved in the prosecution noted that the conviction 'should send a very strong message to those running similar sites that they can be found, arrested and end up in prison,' but it remains to be seen whether this will have any effect on pirate sites, or encourage development of the largely hopeless legal market for online film."
Qedward writes with this excerpt about the EU approach to E-waste: "A European Union law that will require all large electronic retailers to take back old equipment came into force yesterday. The new rules are part of a shake-up of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive and will gradually be implemented across the EU over the next seven years. Waste electrical and electronic equipment, or WEEE, is one the fastest growing waste streams in the EU, but currently only one-third of electrical and electronic waste is separately collected and appropriately treated. Systematic collection and proper treatment is essential for recycling materials like gold, silver, copper and rare metals in used TVs, laptops and mobile phones."
nk497 writes "The UK data watchdog has admitted it doesn't have any staff investigating cookie consent complaints, more than a year after the law came in via an EU directive. The regulation requires websites to ask before dropping cookies and other tracking devices onto users' computers, and came into law in May 2011. The Information Commissioner's Office gave websites a year's grace period to update their websites, but failed to use that time to get its team together, meaning the 320 reports of sites not in compliance it's already received haven't been investigated at all."