South African court deems communication interception act to be unconstitutional

(Sep 17, 2019) The South Gauteng High Court ruled South Africa’s Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act is unconstitutional, The South African reports. Investigative journalism organization amaBhungane challenged the RICA after the communications of one of their journalists were intercepted as he reported on corruption allegations against former President Jacob Zuma. Judge Roland Sutherland ruled such surveillance activities are unlawful and invalid.... Read More

Police facial-recognition tech, real-time results stirring privacy concerns in UK

(Sep 17, 2019) Skepticism is growing in the U.K. regarding police surveillance that yields real-time results of facial-recognition scans, The New York Times reports. The accuracy of the scans is arguably the greatest concern raised by U.K. citizens, lawmakers and privacy advocates. Members of Parliament sought to place a temporary ban on facial recognition when police use was approved in July. According to a new report from government officials, U.K. police are also wavering on using the tech based on its pote... Read More

Congress to bar Chinese contractor over fears of 'spy trains'

(Sep 16, 2019) The New York Times reports the U.S. Congress is preparing legislation that would ban Chinese subway manufacturer CRRC Corporation from taking contracts in the U.S. following concerns about Chinese spying through technology and artificial intelligence tools. Lawmakers and CRRC critics are speculating that technology within the company's subway cars could be used to track passengers' faces, movement, conversations or phone calls. While Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said ... Read More

Calif. State Assembly approves 3-year hold on FRT-enabled bodycams

(Sep 16, 2019) Reuters reports the California State Legislature has approved a bill that prohibits state or local law enforcement from wearing bodycams with facial-recognition software. Following approval by the California State Senate a day earlier, the State Assembly voted 42-18 in favor of the bill, which needs confirmation from Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif. The technology will only be available for officers to blur faces to protect privacy when video footage is disclosed to the public. “If you install softwa... Read More

Federal investigators demand data on thousands of gun scope app users

(Sep 16, 2019) Forbes reports federal investigators have asked Google and Apple to hand over the names of at least 10,000 users of the gun scope app Obsidian 4. The U.S. Department of Justice requested the data in a court order filed Sept. 5. App users can take video, film a live stream and calibrate their gun scope on Android and Apple devices. Privacy advocates are concerned that if the order is approved and complied with, data belonging to innocent people could be released to investigators. Meanwhile, the O... Read More

British Columbia privacy commissioner looking into cameras found in digital ads

(Sep 13, 2019) The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia has started to look into small cameras found within digital advertisements at bus stops in Vancouver, CBC News reports. Outfront, the company that set up the digital ads, said the cameras are not operational and that it will begin to cover them throughout the city. British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy said citizens have the right to control what data is collected and how it is used. He add... Read More

Advocates concerned over Ontario drivers having insurance data on phones

(Sep 13, 2019) After Ontario announced citizens can carry auto insurance information on their phones, privacy advocates said drivers should be careful when handing over their devices to police officers, CBC News reports. "Handing your unlocked phone to a police officer raises a number of issues," Former Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian said. "Your phone is not just a phone these days. It contains a massive amount of personal information that you may not want to share with others." Can... Read More

China to address facial recognition, apps in schools

(Sep 12, 2019) BBC News reports Chinese Ministry of Education Director of Science and Technology Lei Chaozi has vowed to limit and regulate the use of facial-recognition software and other apps in schools. Chaozi voiced the ministry's stance after privacy concerns were raised regarding a Chinese university beginning a pilot program for tech that could monitor student attendance and behaviors. "We need to be very careful when it comes to students' personal information," Chaozi said. "Don't collect it if it's no... Read More

Airline launches facial-recognition kiosks at LAX

(Sep 9, 2019) Delta Airlines has launched facial-recognition kiosks at Los Angeles International Airport, Courthouse News Service reports. The move comes in the midst of calls for a statewide ban on the use of facial-recognition tech in police body cameras. The airline said biometric check-ins are optional, and the images will not be stored. Delta expects to install more kiosks before the end of the year. Privacy advocates are concerned a traveler’s biometric information will be used against them by law enfor... Read More

Hamburg DPA looking into potential GDPR violations by Facebook

(Sep 6, 2019) The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information has begun probing Facebook on possible violations of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, The Wall Street Journal reports. The DPA is focusing on transcribed Facebook Messenger audio chats that five German users did not consent to. The investigation follows Facebook's revelations about audio transcriptions of some EU users, which the Hamburg DPA said may require the sort of investigation it has opened. The DPA previous... Read More