theguardian -- Surveillance

Finding your museum doppelganger is fun – but the science behind it is scary | Arwa Mahdawi
Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:11:56 GMT

Facial recognition technology allows Google to find the artwork you most resemble – but it also supports the rise of the surveillance state

Worried you’re no oil painting? Well, there’s an app for that! The internet is obsessed with a new feature in the Google Arts & Culture app that finds your museum doppelganger. You take a selfie, then Google trawls a database of art to find the museum portrait you most resemble. It is an irresistible proposition for everyone’s inner narcissist; I downloaded the app immediately. Unfortunately, my inner narcissist was in for a nasty shock. Apparently, my face closely resembles an engraving of Leopold I, a man with a massive moustache, and a portrait of Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, a man with a rather genteel goatee. OK, Google, I take the hint. I’ve made an appointment to get threaded!

Now, if you’re rushing to download the app to see which hirsute Habsburg you look like, please note that this feature is currently only available in the US. But perhaps its limited reach is no bad thing. The app may be good fun, but it is also fundamentally frightening: Google’s latest experiment, you see, says less about art than it does the burgeoning science of facial recognition technology.

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‘Is whistleblowing worth prison or a life in exile?’: Edward Snowden talks to Daniel Ellsberg
Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:34:16 GMT

The two most famous whistleblowers in modern history discuss Steven Spielberg’s new film, The Post, about Ellsberg’s leaking of the Pentagon Papers, the personal cost of what they did – and if they’d advise anybody to follow in their footsteps. Introduced by Ewen MacAskill

Daniel Ellsberg, the US whistleblower celebrated in Steven Spielberg’s new film, The Post, was called “the most dangerous man in America” by the Nixon administration in the 70s. More than 40 years later, the man he helped inspire, Edward Snowden, was called “the terrible traitor” by Donald Trump, as he called for Snowden’s execution.

The Guardian has brought the two together – the most famous whistleblower of the 20th century and the most famous of the 21st so far – to discuss leaks, press freedom and other issues raised in Spielberg’s film.

Related: The Post review – Streep and Hanks scoop the honours in Spielberg's big-hearted story

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‘Tis the season for unfettered government access to your data
Fri, 22 Dec 2017 10:00:50 GMT

Giving a voice-activated device to someone for Christmas? Think again

It’s your holiday party. You’re playing music throughout your house with your voice-activated speakers. The speakers, while playing the music, are listening to you and your guests, waiting for a “wake” word. A few days later, there is a knock on your door. It’s the police. They have questions about a conversation you had with one of your guests, who has gone missing, and would like access to your speakers’ data. Will you let them?

Most would answer “no”, but the police do not have to stop there. Under the supreme court’s third-party doctrine, police are not required to obtain a warrant before requesting access to your voice-activated speaker’s data stored on company servers – that means even if you refuse the police’s request, the company that made your voice-activated speakers may nonetheless turn over any of the recordings it has of your conversations – and it may not even tell you about it, raising serious privacy and constitutional concerns.

Related: How big tech finally awakened to the horror of its own inventions

Always-on devices may have access to all of this data – and the ability to record everything – inside your home

The country deserves comprehensive reform that reaffirms Americans’ right to privacy in the information age

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Surveillance firms spied on campaign groups for big companies, leak shows
Tue, 12 Dec 2017 11:01:37 GMT

Targets included grieving family of Rachel Corrie, environmental activists and local campaigners protesting about phone masts

  • Inside the secret world of the corporate spies who infiltrate protests

British Airways, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Porsche are among five large companies that have been identified as having paid corporate intelligence firms to monitor political groups that challenged their businesses, leaked documents reveal.

The surveillance included the use of infiltrators to spy on campaigners.

Related: Inside the secret world of the corporate spies who infiltrate protests

Related: Rachel Corrie death: struggle for justice culminates in Israeli court

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UK police to lose phone and web data search authorisation powers
Thu, 30 Nov 2017 17:07:24 GMT

Change is one of several to snooper’s charter law proposed by ministers in attempt to comply with European court ruling

Senior police officers are to lose the power to self-authorise access to personal phone and web browsing records under a series of late changes to the snooper’s charter law proposed by ministers in an attempt to comply with a European court ruling on Britain’s mass surveillance powers.

Related: UK intelligence agencies face surveillance claims in European court

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The future of American privacy rights will be defined this year | Trevor Timm
Thu, 30 Nov 2017 11:00:11 GMT

On Wednesday, the US supreme court heard a landmark cellphone privacy case. The ruling will have implications for virtually every single American

If you care about privacy, whether it’s online or on your smartphone, the coming weeks will define the scope of privacy rights for Americans for the next decade or more. Two issues – whether the police can track on our cellphone location 24/7 without a warrant, and the potential to curtail some of the NSA’s most controversial powers to spying on Americans – will be decided by Congress and the US supreme court, and it’s hard to overstate their significance.

On Wednesday, the US supreme court heard a landmark cellphone privacy case called United States v Carpenter. The case, brought by the ACLU, ostensibly involves only one defendant: someone accused of participating in a series of robberies, where the police collected location data from cellphone towers to determine where he was over a series of months.

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Who will protect press freedom now? | Thomas Hughes
Thu, 30 Nov 2017 07:00:01 GMT

Surveillance, censorship, fake news, increased physical danger. Journalism has a fight on its hands to continue speaking truth to power

• Thomas Hughes is executive director of Article 19, which launches a report today on press freedom

We could reasonably have expected the digital revolution to have ushered in the heyday of media freedom. The miniaturisation of technology and spread of mobile connectivity have massively increased our ability to share, interact with, and access information.

However, this has been matched by censorship in the name of national security and countering extremism, demands for protection against offensive speech and misinformation, as well as unprecedented surveillance and collection of our data. A new report by Article 19 maps this trend, showing that media freedom is at its lowest level since 2006, with a particular increase in the government censorship of those who expose corruption and abuse.

The control that a few internet companies now exert over how we search and find information is concerning

Related: A mission for journalism in a time of crisis

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Supreme court considers limits on police tracking via mobile phone data
Wed, 29 Nov 2017 21:45:38 GMT

Justices raised concerns over the absence of a court-issued warrant to obtain information from mobile phone companies, warning of ‘Big Brother’ practices

Justices on the US supreme court warned of “Big Brother” government on Wednesday as they considered limits on the police’s ability to track Americans’ movements through mobile phone data.

In a defining test of privacy rights in the digital age, justices across the ideological spectrum raised concerns over the absence of a court-issued warrant to obtain information from mobile phone companies. The nation’s highest court could potentially rule that such a practice amounts to an unreasonable search and seizure under the constitution’s fourth amendment.

Related: US government bans agencies from using Kaspersky software over spying fears

Related: US government demands details on all visitors to anti-Trump protest website

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How a Met police spy's fake identity was rumbled | Rob Evans
Tue, 28 Nov 2017 10:27:10 GMT

A police spy using the fake identity of a dead boy was confronted by suspicious leftwing activists and then disappeared

An undercover officer can be unmasked at any point in their deployment. It is one of their biggest fears. Even the possibility of being exposed can spell the end of their covert operation.

Police have admitted this is what happened to one of their spies who had been sent to infiltrate leftwing groups.

Related: Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police Paul Lewis and Rob Evans – review

Related: Police spy: 'I thought, how would they feel about their son's name being used'

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AFP did not destroy copies of journalist's phone records it unlawfully accessed
Tue, 28 Nov 2017 08:53:42 GMT

Commonwealth ombudsman says it found additional records of metadata obtained to identify journalist’s source

The Australian federal police did not destroy all copies of phone records it obtained unlawfully, without a warrant, for the purpose of identifying a journalist’s source, according to a new audit by the commonwealth ombudsman.

In April 2017, the AFP commissioner, Andrew Colvin, confirmed such a breach had occurred within the professional standards unit and apologised, saying the accessed metadata had been destroyed.

Related: Federal police admit to accessing journalist's metadata without a warrant

Related: Greens ask Senate president to cancel Milo Yiannopoulos event at parliament – politics live

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