China will collect the DNA of every adult in Xinjiang province, where Uyghur people are systematically oppressed

Xinjiang province is the site of intense surveillance and oppression, even by Chinese standards; it's home to the largely Muslim Uyghur minority, and a combination of racism and Islamaphobia drive a uniquely intrusive grade of policing and surveillance. (more…)

Investigators claim that Oxbridge and other top UK universities are operating a massive, illegal surveillance dragnet aimed at students/alumni and…

An investigation by the (generally terrible) Daily Mail claims that the Russell Group, which includes top UK universities like Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, the LSE, and 20 other universities, hired "wealth screening firms" that illegally spied on students, grads and their families and friends to determine who to ask for money, and how much to ask for. (more…)

Kids’ smart watches are a security/privacy dumpster-fire

The Norwegian Consumer Council hired a security firm called Mnemonic to audit the security of four popular brands of kids' smart watches and found a ghastly array of security defects: the watches allow remote parties to seize control over them in order to monitor children's movements and see where they've gone, covertly listen in on them, and steal their personal information. The data the watches gather and transmit to offshore servers is copious and sent in the clear. The watches incorporate cameras and the photos children take are also easily plundered by hackers. (more…)

Telcos "selling realtime ability to associate web browsing with name & address"

Telcos provide API access to your phone's location, along with your name and address, writes Philip Neutstrom. With two links, to danalinc.com and payfone.com, he shows that these sites can access this data when your phone connects. The pages are demos for the API and serve some of the data provided back to the visitor.

In 2003, news came to light that AT&T was providing the DEA and other law enforcement agencies with no-court-warrant-required access to real time cell phone metadata. This was a pretty big deal at the time.>

But what these services show us is even more alarming: US telcos appear to be selling direct, non-anonymized, real-time access to consumer telephone data to third party services — not just federal law enforcement officials — who are then selling access to that data.>

Given the trivial “consent” step required by these services and unlikely audit controls, it appears that these services could be used to track or de-anonymize nearly anyone with a cell phone in the United States with potentially no oversight.

It knew my name and address and more besides, and located to me to a few hundred feet's accuracy. I certainly never knowingly opted-in to it.

Tinder stores a scary amount of information about what you do, including your Facebook history

Judith Duportail got privacy activist Paul-Olivier Dehaye and human rights lawyer Ravi Naik to help her force Tinder to turn over 800 pages of records the company had saved during the four years she'd used the app, and discovered that the company was indefinitely retaining "information such as my Facebook “likes”, my photos from Instagram (even after I deleted the associated account), my education, the age-rank of men I was interested in, how many times I connected, when and where every online conversation with every single one of my matches happened." (more…)

A petition to demand accountability from the NSA

Fritz Moser, director of the documentary A Good American, about NSA whistleblower Bill Binney who blames the 9/11 attacks on the NSA's capture by corporate contractors who sold it an expensive, useless, self-perpetuating mass-surveillance system, writes, "Since 6 Sept A GOOD AMERICAN is on Netflix and since then I am getting between 10 and 20 emails per day of people telling me how shocked they were by the film and how angry they are, asking what they could do to help. So we came up with this petition. The petition is hosted by a member of Sascha Meinrath's cross-party Civil Liberties Coalition we are working with in Washington DC, backing the cross-party anti-surveillance Caucus in Congress on a grassroots level."