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Security Concerns with Facebook

Pencil Erasing PrivacyWith the Rise of social networking sites such as Facebook it is no surprise that there is an increase in security and privacy concerns. There have been instances such as the behavioral data experiment that was conducted using random Facebook user’s information in this particular study.

This information was provided to the participants in this experiment without the consent of the Facebook user. Facebook states that you waive your right for Facebook to be able to use your own information for certain purposes such as experiments such as this one and that they are not in violation of anyone privacy.

Situations such as this one can make Facebook users feel that their information is not kept private or between the people that they choose to share their information with.

Another concern with Facebook’s privacy issues is also a safety concern. There has been a rise in crimes committed from criminals obtaining personal information from Facebook.

This opens a whole new door to criminals. Not only can they see pictures of your private residence and family members but many people on Facebook constantly add there location information on their homepage.

If someone goes on vacation or even just out for the evening this is updated on Facebook letting potential criminals know your every move and allows them to plot a break in.

The tagging method used on Facebook has caused many problems with people who are ending their relationship or even going through custody battles.

Despite the fact that their personal homepage and information is only disclosed to friends and family if another person has a picture of you and you are tagged this information is released to the public.

This can cause problems when opposing sides either do not want their information on Facebook or their children’s photographs on this site. In addition to these issues it also poses a threat to the individual’s character.

This is highly important when fighting a custody battle because it can give a false sense of who the individual actually is.

Healthcare disclosure information is a new security issue that has been discovered by some individuals. If a person likes a page for diabetes information or depression and a potential insurer sees this it could lead to them either thinking that the person has that particular health issue or disease.

This is still being researched to determine just how truthful it is but consumer reports state that this has been an issue with a few Facebook members.

Facebook does have many security measures within its website. It is important that if you choose to be on this social media website that you educate yourself and others on how to protect your personal information. Some people just do not know how to protect their information which then allows everyone into your personal and private life.

The results can be devastating.

Imagine how violated you would feel if someone broke into your home as a result of looking at your Facebook account. I would imagine that you would never feel safe.

Also, use common sense when posting things to Facebook. If you are involved in a custody battle or divorce do not put pictures or information on the website that you would not want anyone to see or know about. If you are currently seeking employment be smart about what is on your Facebook account as well.

Many new employers are asking for your Facebook information to get a better sense of your character. This actually means that they want to look into how you act outside of work. If you are seeking a CEO position it would not be wise to highlight the pictures of you doing keg stands or taking shots on your Facebook account.

Not only is this a bad idea for potential employers but also if you hold a management position. You are in a position to set an example so be wise about the information that is on the internet about you and your private life.

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VPN Is An Amazing Privacy Tool

Computer StationPrivacy concerns have recently become a legitimate concern with the rise of the internet.  Before the internet, there was very limited amount of information that one could gather about someone.

Someone or something (i.e. Government) could always get their hands on basic private data such as Name, Social Security Number, Address, Job Title, and similar basic data.

However, it took significant resources in order to collect all this data on one person.  If a person was under suspicion then the police or FBI would do the work to collect the data and keep it.  They mostly kept records similar to finger print data based, etc.

Times have changed as the internet ushers in the most widely available data for people, businesses and government agencies to collect.  Every time to buy goods online, post social media updates or just surf the web you are exposing your personal private data to anyone who is interested in it.

This data my seem relatively harmless to most but if you step back and think about how much of your personal life you are sharing you might think twice about posting that update.

Facebook alone has people willing to share such private data as Birthdays, Home Address, Family Members Names, What Their Favorite Band, Pizza, Vacation Spot, Pet, etc, etc, etc is.

Just posting how excited you are to be heading on your Caribbean vacation and having your home address is enough to make any burglar drool.

But what about government related collection efforts?  With the rise of the NSA you have more and more data collecting going on.  Why does the government want all this data?  I can only imagine it is to have more control over more people.  Of course they say it is harmless and it is for your protection from Terrorism.  Give me a break…

So whats a privacy concerned person to do?

Well you should get a VPN and use it every time you log connect to the world wide web.  Using a VPN will do a couple of things for you.

First it will hide your IP address and replace it with a remove one.  Your IP Address is your computers personal identification number.  If you search the web and visit sites, your IP Address is bascially your finger print and someone or somebody can see the history of everthing you did and went from that computer.

However, by using a VPN your basically hiding your IP address by replacing with another fake one.

The second benefit that a VPN provides is it encrypts your data.  So any data that you share between your computer and other sites get scrambled into illegible data.

So between these 2 privacy measure you’re much more private that without.  Think of a VPN as your own personal privacy software.

A VPN also has one additional benefit that comes into play if you live outside of the USA.  It allows you to access geographically restricted websites.

For example if you live in Canada and want to access the US Netflix Library or Hulu or Spotify then a VPN will allow you to get access to these sites if you choose a VPN located within the States.

Now this feature is less of a main point in regards to privacy concerns but it’s definitely icing on the cake for those who live outside of the USA.

 

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The Basics Of Facial Recognition Technology

6352797968_dfbdd727bf_zFacial recognition technology isn’t something we see just in Hollywood movies. The technology was pioneered in the 60′s by Woody Bledsoe, Helen Chan Wolf, and Charles Bisson. Over the past decades, the technology and software used for facial recognition has improved significantly. Today, results in identifying an individual are 10 times more accurate than with past systems.

What Is Facial Recognition Technology?

Facial recognition technology is generally referred to as computer applications used to automatically identify or verify an individual from a digital photo or video. The technology is mainly used for security purposes, such as entry verification into a building. Facial recognition technology’s biggest users are typically in the government or law enforcement sectors. Notable users of the technology include: U.S. Department of State, the German Federal Police, and the Australian Customs Service. In fact, the U.S. Department of State operates the most largest facial recognition system in the world. It is estimated that over 75 million photographs are in the Department of State’s database and are actively being used to process individuals.

How Facial Recognition Technology Works

The purpose of any facial recognition software is to compare facial features from a facial image in a database. Most facial recognition software uses algorithms to measure specific facial features, such as the size and shape of a person’s nose, eyes, jaw and cheekbones. The algorithms can also measure the position of facial body parts. A new facial recognition technology is out that uses three-dimensional face recognition to capture and analyze information about the shape of a face. The three-dimensional technique uses 3D sensors to help measure a person’s face. The main advantages of using the new three-dimensional technique is that it is not affected by changes in lighting, and it can identify a face from a range of viewing angles.

Uses For Facial Recognition Technology

Facial recognition technology is used for many different purposes. The technology is not just for verifying a subject’s entry into a building, but for crossing borders as well. The Australian Customs Service uses Smartgate at it’s borders to monitor people crossing in or out. The system uses facial recognition to compare the face of an individual crossing to their electronic passport. During Super Bowl XXXV, authorities used a video style facial recognition system to scan the crowd and look for known terrorists. The scan identified 19 Superbowl attendees with minor criminal records. Facial recognition technology is also used on personal levels, such as unlocking mobile devices or verifying a customer using a bank ATM.

Advantages Of Facial Recognition Technology

Compared to finger printing or voice recognition, facial recognition produces instant results in seconds. The biggest advantage of the technology is that a person does not need to be present for consent. It can be done totally discreetly, such as during Super Bowl XXXV. Facial recognition databases can hold more images than a finger print database, making it perfect for mass identification.

Disadvantages And Privacy Concerns

There are some disadvantages when it comes to facial recognition technology. Some systems may have a hard time reading facial features in poor lighting, people wearing sunglasses, or with objects covering the face. Another disadvantage is that facial impressions can change, and even a smile can through the system off. Issues with privacy have also been a concern to citizens since the technology was first introduced. A lot of citizens feel their privacy is compromised with the use of certain surveillance technologies, such as facial recognition. Some citizens have also expressed fear in having a government capable of knowing their exact location 24 hours a day.

Facial recognition technology is here to stay and will continue to grow in popularity with government entities around the world. With the technology starting to be widely used in the consumer world, being anonymous will be a thing of the past.

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How Technology Can Track Your Every Single Movement

EyeballOver the past several years, a large number of persons have started to live more and more online. This means that more people currently have their privacy exposed to online identity theft, cyber-attacks, and stalking. These activities are a huge danger to a person’s privacy, and so it is important to know about the various ways that a person can threaten your security online.

Stalking through social media

One of the most common ways that social media interferes with your online privacy is by having unwanted persons follow your activities. The amount of information people put on some social media sites can allow a stalker know what you do every day. In some places a stalker can even know where you are in real time, and the persons that you spend with.

Even a stranger can learn a lot about you by stalking your social media activity. It is possible to learn things like your place of work, list of friends, address, phone number, email address, family history, doctor’s office, and even things like what gym you are signed up with my simply spend a couple of minutes on one of your social media pages.

It is important to remember that you are the person putting this information on the internet, and so you should think seriously if you want strangers, stalkers, and ex’s seeing what you do. In some cases persons have been able to hunt down another person’s social media site by simply knowing their first name, and may a rough idea of where they are from. This means that anyone you meet can link your social media sites to you in real life.

Stealing you email address

One way that a hacker or identity thief can cause the largest amount of damage to you is by simply stealing your email address. This is because nearly every other site allows you to reset your password through a process where they email a link to your email account. This means that once a hacker has access to your email they can get onto all of your other accounts by simply knowing your username, and taking about thirty seconds of your time. On a lot of sites, it isn’t even required that you put in your username but instead your email address.

By having access to your email account, a hacker can do things like transfer money out of your bank account, use your money to shop online, and further invade your privacy. Access to your email can also allow a person to know about your private correspondence. This is important, because most persons tend to keep their most private conversations to their email accounts.

Tracking your browsing history

It is possible for a person to know every single thing you do online. This is generally done though viruses that can be installed on your computer by a person who has access to it, and persons can even install it on your site by simply doing an attack on you by a website that you log onto. Some items you happen to download may have this spyware on it. This kind of spyware can allow a person to know every single website you log onto, every single email you spend, and in many cases it is even possible to track every single keystroke. This can allow a person to know all of your usernames and passwords.

This kind of spyware is frequently used by identity thieves. However, stalkers may use it as a way of tracking you. It is even possible to have this kind of spyware installed on your smartphone. This can allow a person to track every single one of your movements, and every place that you go every single day.

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Privacy Concerns Related To Police Usage Of Drones

Police Drone PlaneWhile there are many, many reasons both negative as well as positive to start using drones we all under stand the risk to our privacy as well. While we are all aware and some are concerned about the usage we all know that the US is expanding the usage of drones for surveillance purposes. It seems to vary state by state. Some states already allow drone surveillance and some states even have non-lethal weapons attached to the drones.

What will routine aerial surveillance help?
This for me is the most important part of the idea. I think this should be the part of the idea that takes it the next level with all states. With the drone having the ability to fly above all areas in a fraction of the time it would take any officer or air craft there are things the drone can see and draw attention to if needed. In the event there is any type of situation the drone can be the eyes and ears of the operation to ensure the humans in the situation walk out alive as well. The drones could be very beneficial in a lot of these types of situations and the privacy would not be an issue as the drone stays out doors and only sees and hears out doors. Are there even any limits to the amount of surveillance that is allowed?
There are limits, enough limits that would make the drone almost not usable. For example law enforcement is only allowed to use the drone in the event of an emergency or if they have a warrant or if they feel evidence could be collected. This is the only way I would agree with the drone usage as this would ensure normal every day innocent people would not be affected in the least way.How and where is the data they received retained? Is it safe?
The only data that is allowed to be retained is data that is subject to a case or data that is relevant to a crime. All other images must be destroyed. With those options I would assume all information is safe. The images that are retained would have been retained with or without the drone.Is there any kind of policy?
There are policies on how and why and where the drones are used and what they are used for. The public representative’s make these rules and all law enforcement must adhere to them. The policies must be written very clear to ensure all aspects are completely understood.Are the drones equipped with any weapons?
The drones for now are not equipped with any weapons what so ever. Adding weapons may be the next step but this will go through the same steps to ensure protection for every one. This will also have policies that will be enforced by all law enforcement agencies. Is there any way to hold the drone operators accountable for abuse?
Drone usage is subject to open audits as well as proper oversight to prevent misuse.There are a lot of ways that one could think that drones will invade your privacy as well as others privacy. I am certain that it will happen, unfortunately this is the world that we live in. However, another I am certain of is the fact that without the use of drones in the US we will fall behind the technology and therefore our very own law enforcement will not have the means to protect us any more. This is not a battle that we are prepared for nor a battle that we would want to endure. For that reason and the safety reasons above I would want to cut the loss of a possibility of privacy issues to ensure our safety.
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License Plate Reading Technology…New Kid On The Block

License PlatesBig brother is watching. In many ways, privacy is a thing of the past. Social networks, cell phones, computers. Most people today are connected to something that allows family and friends to keep in contact and even track their location. GPS is standard on most cell phones. Parents use them to track their kids. Now, law enforcement agencies are tracking us, too. Law enforcement agencies across the country are using powerful cameras to scan license plates, building large databases of information. These high-tech cameras are able to take upwards of 2,000 images per minute. These photos are uploaded into national databases logging time, place, and date of each photo.

License plate recognition was invented in the United Kingdom in 1976 to fight terrorism. The United States began using this technology in 1998 at U.S. Customs boarder crossings. It is now widespread, with more that 70% of the nation’s police departments using license plate readers.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is concerned that many police department are holding the information gathered indefinitely. 45 states have no laws regarding how long the police can retain the information gathered by the license plate readers. The ACLU believe that after a certain amount of time, the information is useless and should be destroyed. Also, the ACLU reports that only a fraction of the license plates read result in “hits.” In Maryland, for example, they claim that for every million plates scanned, only 47 resulted in a potential crime. The information could also be used to track people at political gatherings and religious functions. In fact, there was an instance in which the New York City Police Department used the readers to record license plates of people as they arrived at a mosque to pray. The ACLU goes on to say that people need to know more about license plate reading technology and so they have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to see how the information gathered is being used. There are some that say the ACLU is exaggerating the invasion of privacy from the license plate readers. After all, the readers do not detect faces or names. They cannot determine who is driving a particular vehicle; they only photograph license plates. Also, by law, people are required to have a visible license plate on their vehicle so what expectation of privacy should they expect?

Furthermore, it is not only law enforcement agencies that are utilizing this technology. Private companies are also acquiring the readers and using them for security in private residential communities, to control access to places of employment, and protect infrastructure at train stations, airports, and manufacturing plants.

There is no question that license plate readers have been beneficial in solving crimes. Law enforcement agencies have reported finding missing children, locating stolen vehicles and solving other crimes using the information provided by the readers. Perhaps the most compelling example favoring the use of these devices is the Boston Marathon Bombing. Police used license plate readers to track one of the bombers to Watertown, Massachusetts where he was found hiding in a resident’s backyard.

Public safety is important, as is the right to privacy. License plate reader technology is still relatively new and certainly guidelines must be implemented to keep it in check. It will be interesting to watch as this technology evolves and how state and federal laws work to keep the balance of privacy and safety.

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