Commenting upon the fairly unregulated growth of global surveillance industries , Amnesty international noted: “The Pegasus Project offered a wake-up call that action was urgently needed to regulate an industry that is out of control. Shamefully, governments worldwide are yet to step up and fully deal with this digital surveillance crisis,”
Currently, there are open investigations against NSO Group in France, India, Mexico, Poland and Spain. Nonetheless, most states have failed to mount a robust response to unlawful surveillance, Amnesty International noted.
“One year after the Pegasus spyware revelations shocked the world, it is alarming that surveillance companies are still profiting from human rights violations on a global scale… We continue to call for a global moratorium on the sale, transfer and use of spyware until human rights regulatory safeguards that govern its use are in place,” –
Under international law, states are not only obliged to uphold human rights, but also to protect them from abuse by third parties, including private companies. unlawful surveillance infringes on the right to privacy as well as the rights to freedom of expression, belief, association, and peaceful assembly.
About 18% of Americans now own a video doorbell. That means a significant and growing slice of American neighborhoods are under a form of intermittent surveillance. If the surveillance video and associated data were the exclusive property of individual homeowners, it might not be of much concern.
However, that’s not the case. For example, Ring, the company behind the top-selling brand, maintains a vast database on its users and their cameras. Ring is an Amazon subsidiary, thanks to the tech giant’s 2018 purchase of the company for over $1 billion.
Ring keeps plenty of info that you’d expect them to have. According to Wired magazine:
“Ring gets your name, phone number, email and postal address, and any other information you provide to it—such as payment information or your social media handles if you link your Ring account to Facebook, for instance. The company also gets information about your Wi-Fi network and its signal strength, and it knows what you ‘ve named your camera “
Maybe you’ve opted against buying a Ring doorbell out of privacy concerns. That’s fine, but don’t forget that your neighbor’s Ring camera may be watching you — or even listening to you. Tests have found Ring cameras can record audio from 20 feet away.
If you’re strolling by a Ring-equipped house and talking to someone, you and your conversation could be in Ring’s database. The same is true if you’re on your own property and you’re close enough to a neighbor’s camera and microphone.
This isn’t just a question of whether you trust Amazon and Ring not to misuse your video, audio and associated data. There’s always the chance that your info could be hacked by common criminals — or the ones who work for the government.
Mass surveillance and State sponsored/directed spying and tracking of citizens scored another victory recently in the summer of 2021. The Australian government passed a massive Surveillance bill (in less than 24 hours) that not only grants them the power to monitor it’s citizens online activity, but to also actively intervene,interrupt (Hack) and modify (Frame?) online accounts and data. It comes as no surprise to those who’ve been paying attention to Australia’s slide toward technocratic Authoritarianism. Australia (much like it’s Five eye’s intelligence partners)has had for many years a developing Mass surveillance infrastructure.
In the lead up to this,in 2018 Australia passed the TOLA act,which allowed Law enforcement and Intelligence agencies the ability to(Read:Coerce) “compel communications providers to provide assistance in accessing content as well as extensions to warrant-based collection powers.” The act also gave the power to the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO),to grant immunity from prosecution any provider/entity that would provide assistance.
Data disruption warrant: gives the police the ability to “disrupt data” by modifying, copying, adding, or deleting it. While it’s called a warrant, there is an emergency authorization process for cases when it is “not practicable” to get a warrant. So a data disruption “warrant” can be issued under something referred to as an emergency authorization,which means that Australia now has a warrant less surveillance regime on the books.
A Network activity warrant: Which allows the police to collect intelligence from devices or networks that are used, or likely to be used, by those subject to the warrant. This “warrant” power allows access to networks where there is suspicion of serious online offenses,although what qualifies as “serious” has a variety of definitions in the legislation. The definitions are purposely vague so as to allow broad interpretation,which would enable widespread surveillance across social media and messaging platforms.
An Account takeover warrant: allows the police to take control of an online account (e.g. social media) for the purposes of gathering information for an investigation. This power also allows for the ability to lock the account holder out. This can be done covertly and without consent, so the individual wouldn’t necessarily know what is going on until or if they are ever charged.The warrant is applicable for a maximum of 90 days (though extensions are possible) — so that is the length of time a law enforcement officer can impersonate you or use your accounts to monitor your activity and gather information.
Even with all the broad spying powers introduced by this bill, There was at least one “recommendation” for public advocacy & introducing a public interest advocate into this process. A public interest candidate is someone who would argue on behalf of the affected individual in the room where as now only a police officer and a judge get to play judge and jury. But As it stands, the Australian government remains uninterested in allowing individuals to defend their rights: there is no one to argue on your behalf, and there is never any notification to the individual (even after the fact) so you will never know if you were subject to any of these powers.
Being that the bill was passed with little opposition,and rushed through the legislature with all parties in lockstep with the surveillance agenda. Australia’s government has shown it’s contempt for it’s citizens privacy in order to accrue more powers for “fighting online crime”. Continuing the global trend (Since 2001) of developed nations curtailing citizens civil liberties,in the name of “national security”.
Surveilling Citizen’s protests – Equal opportunity across the board
Motorola’s forthcoming phones could use electronic tattoos or pills to identify users, it has been announced.The technology, which aims to remove the need to enter passwords and replace them simply with a phone being close to a user’s body, was one of the suggestions Dennis Woodside, Motorola’s chief executive made yesterday. The tattoos have been developed by Massachusetts-based engineering firm MC10, and contain flexible electronic circuits that are attached to the wearer’s skin using a rubber stamp.
Would you wear an electronic tattoo if you couldn’t log on to the Internet without one?
That may sound crazy to many of you, but the technology for such a system already exists. RFID tattoos have existed for quite some time, and they are already being used on animals. But now an entirely new generation of electronic tattoos are being developed that can monitor your vital signs, interact with your mobile phone and even communicate directly with your mind. These new electronic tattoos are thinner than a human hair, and they are going to fundamentally transform the way that we think about human identification.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to determine if someone is actually who they say that they are. And as even more of our commerce gets conducted through the Internet, identity security is going to be absolutely critical.
But there is also a very dark side to this kind of technology. What if someday a tyrannical government decides to make a permanent electronic tattoo for identification purposes mandatory for all citizens? What if you are not able to buy, sell, get a job, have a bank account or log on to the Internet without “proper identification”? What if the price for receiving your tattoo is to swear absolute allegiance to that tyrannical government? The truth is that technology is always a double-edged sword. It always brings with it the promise of progress, but it also always has a dark side that could potentially be abused.