Friday, December 3, 2010

ACTION ALERT: Public Comment taken on Fusion Centers

***Comments are due December 15, 2010.*** 

If you actually want to make a difference; MAKE YOUR OPINION KNOWN & YOUR VOICE HEARD!! Public input and your comments are being considered by those considering your 4th Amendment. Continue to "Plead the 4th".. by sending your solutions, opinions, remarks and comments by following the directions.

c/o EPIC :::Public Comments Sought on Federal Fusion CentersFor More Information, see EPIC: Information Fusion Centers and Privacy, EPIC: Total Information Awareness, and EPIC v. Virginia Department of State Police (Fusion Center Secrecy Bill).

SUMMARY: The Department of Homeland Security is giving concurrent notice of an updated and reissued system of records pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974 for the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General--002 Investigative Records System of Records and this proposed rulemaking. In this proposed rulemaking, the Department proposes to exempt portions of this system of records from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act because of criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement requirements.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 15, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-
2009-0095, by one of the following methods:

Federal e-Rulemaking Portal:

Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Fax: 703-483-2999.

Mail: Mary Ellen Callahan, Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy
Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this notice. All comments received will be posted and docket number for this notice. All comments received will be posted without change to, including any personalinformation provided. [ BE POLITE!!]

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to


For general questions please contact:

Doris A. Wojnarowski (202-254-4211),  
Department of Homeland Security,
Office of Inspector General, 
Mail Stop 2600, 245 Murray Drive, SW., Building 410, Washington, DC 20528; or by facsimile (202) 254-4299. 

For privacy issues please contact: Mary Ellen Callahan (703-235-0780),
Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security,
245 Murray Drive, SW., Building 410, Washington, DC 20528.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WIRED: Credit Cards targeted for warrantless tracking

c/o WIRED's Ryan Singel

Federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations without getting a court order, a new document released under a government sunshine request shows.

The document, obtained by security researcher Christopher Soghoian, explains how so-called “Hotwatch” orders allow for real-time tracking of individuals in a criminal investigation via credit card companies, rental car agencies, calling cards, and even grocery store loyalty programs. The revelation sheds a little more light on the Justice Department’s increasing power and willingness to surveil Americans with little to no judicial or Congressional oversight.



Florida: DMV brokers drivers license after adopting Real ID laws


BTC - Florida's wintery grounds become heated over DMV mishandling of driver information. The West Palm Beach Post reported the DMV had sold license records to 3rd party marketing firms, including some very private information, like Social Security Numbers.  The civil lawsuit is based on violations of a federal driver privacy law.

According to Paul Henry with Floridians Against Real ID, this is the 2nd class action State based lawsuit against the DMV's mishandling of driver records. The lawsuit is the first of it's kind since the Florida adopted State laws compliant with the Real ID Act. Privacy and data brokerage concerns have been a strong argument against moving towards centralized ID card systems for Americans.

Mr. Henry updates us on legislative reform towards driver privacy and updates on Florida's move to nullify the Real ID Act, invoking a classic 10th Amendment move.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Florida State sues DMV for data brokering license information

c/o The Palm Beach Post @CNS News

A lawsuit against the state of Florida over the sale of personal driver's license information to a private firm may proceed as a class action, a federal judge has ruled.

The suit claims the state, specifically the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, improperly sold personal information gleaned from about 31 million driver's license records to Shadowsoft Inc., an Irving, Texas-based Internet marketer. Shadowsoft then sold the information to other firms that target consumers.


DIY Government: ACTION ALERTS 12.1

BTC -  There are quite a few really good action alerts worth working on if you're active.  Here are link to a few I believe will make a difference.

*Stand with BORDC to challenge FBI abuses

*Join the Healthcare Privacy Debate 2.0 @The Economist...
Weigh in your views on privacy and healthcare handling of your records.


*Celebrate Bill of Rights Day -  Sunday, December 5th

*Go check out films featured at this years Artivist Film Festival
   Our pick : "Hempsters" 

NETWORK WORLD: Ding-Dong ..Real ID is dead..again.

"Real ID dies a deserved death and is abandoned in 2010. It appears that with Nevada backtracking on implementation and other states opting-out, Real ID is truly dead. No one has attempted to resurrect it in this Congress, so perhaps sanity has prevailed. A successful prediction."

Says A.M. Antonopoulos in What security wrought in 2010

REDUX: FTC's "Do not track", Net Neutrality & Who's tracking you?

*Infographic WHO'S TRACKING YOU? (left) c/o

BTC -- It's been a very big day for digital privacy policy and the Internet on Capitol Hill and the day isn't even over yet.

As the result of a 5 - 0 vote, the FTC released it's official framework to limit 3rd party browser surveillance from cookies and collection of broswer histories.  Media questions raised towards the FTC's cautious steps out in defense of consumer privacy were answered summarily, "that's why we are putting this up for comment."

The matters of concern were mainly directed at a new "Do Not Track list"; which was compared to a Do Not Call list for 3rd party telemarketers.  Consumers should able opt-out of browser data surveillance by adding their information to consumer protection list.  However, due to the review period, FTC enforcement measures towards the adoption of Do Not Track are still unformed, uncertain, appearing unenforceable. FTC mentioned they "were not in a place now to deal with deceptive commercial practices".  Retroactive enforcement of privacy on information collected and a Do Not Use list were considerations that seemed to take the FTC panel by surprise. Questions about the scope creep of the decision and current data collected were almost censured by moderators who demanded the identity of privacy labeled press in attendance.

The FTC Chairman's tone of concern over tracking was not as greatly angled towards consumer publics as it was advertisers, browser companies and industry who rely on corporate data surveillance for marketing information.   "I would not personally opt-out of 3rd party..., but that's why we are putting this up for comment," said FTC Chair, Liebowitz.  The trial run of new versions of privacy protection seems to be at the behest of industry vs. the consumer.  While this was made fairly plain, questions were raised about consumers accessibility to the use of new privacy controls in browser technology.  The FTC acknowledged users are largely uninformed of what their options are towards operating evolving browser versions and hidden privacy settings on current browser technologies.

As an experiment, I looked into my own browser security; which had undergone several weekly updates.  The security settings had changed.  There were a mountain of cookies and stored sites in hidden browser histories I didn't know I had.   The box for "show my location" had been automatically checked.   I had opted out completely for Google Buzz yesterday only after pop-up options were made available.  The public, indeed, still bears the burden of personal privacy vigilance over browser data surveillance; while government bodies catch up to pilot consumer protections. In the meantime, we will watch and see if Google and other 3rd party data brokers are really on their best behavior.

Here is second life for news that matters:

HuffPo: Will we get a "Do Not Track Me" list ?

The FCC's Net Neutrality Announcement: The Good, The Bad, and What It Means for You

POLITICO: Hill Based News roundup for FCC, FTC moves on the BIG DAY for Digital Privacy

WIKILEAKS DAYTIME SOAP EPIC CONTINUED... Will Asange be prosecuted or arraigned? US Cyber-attack retribution billed as "weak" @WIRED.   And its gets worse.. watch this.

THE PROPERTY OF DIGITAL FINGERPRINTS - Cookies get fingered again for new digital privacy identity treachery @normative

Sunday, November 28, 2010

SOLUTIONS: TSA should go to the dogs

"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.  Well, I got two." 
- George W. Bush

BTC -  By now we've all heard or experienced tales of personal horror at TSA's use of the Rapiscan backscatter X-Ray machines at airports.  I recently read an article where DHS Secretary Napolitano used the words "shared responsibility" when it comes to providing security in America.  Unfortunately - those words seemed more like a cry for help.  I would hate to think of what could happen if we further neglected the solutions rather than solely pitching in the complaint department. It might be worth some salt to offer the TSA solutions.

Coming from Silicon Valley, AOPTIX, makers of iris scan biometrics, seem to be the next in line to the begging trough for dwindling reserves of federal money for private security contracts.  I could battle another Big Tech biometric identity mandate or I could throw my hat in the ring with solutions which beat the elusive but eventual TSA cavity search for fliers.  None of this is any fun.

I found one of the best solutions yet - man's best friend - on BrassCheckTV.  I think fliers blood pressure would go down.  The TSA would be able to actually serve it's purpose better.  We could cut Chertoff loose or try to get him involved in a better business model for national security.   From the words of the former commander-in-chief, George W. Bush, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.  Well, I got two."