Archive for the ‘Liberty News’ Category

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online id card Despite concern among some groups of witnesses, a shift in approach in the UK Government’s position seems on the horizon. The Minister for Digital and the Creative industries, for example, implied support for a universal digital ID in a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2019:

think there are advantages of a universally acclaimed digital ID system which nowhere in the world has yet. There is a great prize to be won once the technology and the public’s confidence are reconciled.

On 11 June 2019, DCMS and the Cabinet Office announced their intentions to launch a consultation on digital identify verification in the coming weeks. The following actions were set out:

  • A consultation to be issued in the coming weeks on how to deliver the effective organisation of the digital identity market.

  • The creation of a new Digital Identity Unit, which is a collaboration between DCMS and Cabinet Office. The Unit will help bring the public and private sector together, ensure the adoption of interoperable standards, specification and schemes, and deliver on the outcome of the consultation.

  • The start of engagement on the commercial framework for using digital identities from the private sector for the period from April 2020 to ensure the continued delivery of public services.

Single unique identifiers for citizens can transform the efficiency and transparency of Government services. We welcome the Government’s announcement in June 2019 that it will consult shortly on digital identity. While we recognise that in the UK there are concerns about some of the features of a single unique identifier, as demonstrated by the public reaction to the 2006 Identity Card Act, we believe that the Government should recognise the value of consistent identity verification. The Government should facilitate a national debate on single unique identifiers for citizens to use for accessing public services along with the right of the citizen to know exactly what the Government is doing with their data.

Offline Comment: Privacy International explains some of the reasons why this is a bad idea

14th July 2019. See article from privacyinternational.org

privacy international logo The debate shouldn’t be about having insight into how your identifier is used. It should be about making sure that identifiers are never usable.

After all, any unique identifier will not be limited to government use. Whether through design or commercial necessity, any such number will also find it’s way into the private sector. This was another fear highlighted in the mid-2000s, but it has played out elsewhere. For example, the Indian Supreme Court, in their ruling on the Aadhaar system that provided a unique number to more than a billion people, that there were dangers of its use in the private sector: Allowing private entities to use Aadhaar numbers will lead to commercial exploitation of an individual’s personal data without his/her consent and could lead to individual profiling.

Given everything that’s happened since, the 13 years since the 2006 ID Card Act (that was repealed in 2010) can seem like a lifetime. But it’s clear that the concerns expressed then remain prescient now. Now that we know so much more about the risks that the exploitation of people’s data plays – and the targeting, profiling and manipulating of individuals and groups – we should be even more fearful today of such a system than we were a decade ago. Furthermore, it’s been shown that we do not need such a unique identifier for people to securely access government services online, and it’s on such concepts we must build going forward.

See the full article from privacyinternational.org

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home affairs committee Digital ID was discussed by the Commons Science and Technology Committee on 13th November 2018.

Carol Monaghan Committee Member:  At the moment, platforms such as Facebook require age verification, but that simply means entering a date of birth, and children can change that. If you are planning to extend that, or look at how it might apply to other social media, how confident are you that the age verification processes would be robust enough to cope?

Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries: At the moment, I do not think that we would be, but age verification tools and techniques are developing at pace, and we keep abreast of developments. At the moment , we think we have a robust means by which to verify people’s age at 18; the challenge is to develop tools that can verify people’s age at a younger age, such as 13. Those techniques are not robust enough yet, but a lot of technological research is going on, and I am reasonably confident that, over the next few years, there will be robust means by which to identify age at younger than 18.

Stephen Metcalfe Committee Member: My question is on the same point about how we can create a verification system that you cannot just get around by putting in a fake date of birth. I assume that the verification for 18 – plus is based around some sort of credit card, or some sort of bank card. The issue there is that, potentially, someone could borrow another person’s card, because it does not require secret information–it requires just the entering of the 16-digit number, or something. But on the younger ages, given that we are talking about digital life and digital literacy, do you think that the time has come to talk about having a digital verified ID that young people get and which you cannot fiddle with–a bit like an online ID card, or digital passport? I know that that idea has been around a little while.

Margot James: It has. I do think that the time has come when that is required, but there are considerable hoops to go through before we can arrive at a system of digital identity, including someone’s age, that is acknowledged, respected and entered into by the vast majority of people. As you probably know, the Government have committed in prior years to the Verify system, which we think has got as far as it can go, which is not far enough. We have a team of excellent policy officials in the DCMS looking afresh at other techniques of digital identity. It is a live issue and there have been many attempts at it; there is frustration, and not everybody would agree with what I have said. But you asked my view, and that is it–and the Department is focusing a lot of energy on that area of research.

Chair: Can you imagine that your legislation, when it comes, could include the concept, to which Stephen referred, of a digital identity for children?

Margot James: That is a long way off–or it is not next year, and probably not the year after, given how much consultation it would require. The new work has only just started, so it is not a short-term solution, and I do not expect to see it as part of our White Paper that we publish this winter. That does not mean to say that we do not think that it is important; we are working towards getting a system that we think could have public support.

To go slightly beyond the terms of your inquiry, with regard to the potential for delivering a proper digital relationship between citizen and G overnment through delivery of public services, a digital identity system will be important. We feel that public service delivery has a huge amount to gain from the digital solution.

Bill Grant Committee Member:: I am pleased to note that the Government are addressing issues that have been with us for nearly a decade–the dark side of social media and the risk to children, not least the risk that we all experience as parliamentarians. Can you offer any reason why it has taken so long for Government to begin that process? Would you be minded to accelerate the process to address the belated start?

Margot James: One reason is that progress has been made by working with technology companies. The Home Office has had considerable success in working with technology companies to eradicate terrorist content online. To a lesser but still significant extent, progress has also been made on a voluntary basis with the reduction in child abuse images and child sexual exploitation. I said “significant , ” but this is a Home Office area–I am working closely with the Home Office, because the White Paper is being developed in concert with it–and it is clear that it does not feel that anything like enough is being done through voluntary measures.

Chair: Do you feel that?

Margot James: Yes, I do. A lot of the highly dangerous material has gone under the radar in the dark web, but too much material is still available, apparently, on various platforms, and it takes them too long to remove it.

Chair: Ultimately, the voluntary approach is not working adequately.

Margot James: Exactly–that is our view now. I was trying to address the hon. Member’s question about why it had taken a long time. Partly it is that technology changes very fast , but, partly, it is because voluntary engagement was delivering, but it has impressed itself on us in the last 12 months that it is not delivering fast enough or adequately. We have not even talked about the vast range of other harms, some of which are illegal and some legal but harmful, and some in the grey area in between, where decidedly inadequate progress has been made as a result of the many instances of voluntary engagement, not just between the Government and the technology sector but between charitable organisations and non-governmental organisations, including the police.

Bill Grant: It was envisaged earlier that there would be some sort of regulator or ombudsman, but , over and above that , Martha Lane Fox’s think – tank proposed the establishment of an office for responsible technology, which would be overarching, in whatever form the regulation comes. Would you be minded to take that on board?

Margot James: That is one proposal that we will certainly look at, yes. Martha Lane Fox does a lot of very good work in this area, has many years’ experience of it, and runs a very good organisation in the “tech for good” environment, so her proposals are well worth consideration. That is one reason why I was unable to give a specific answer earlier, because there are good ideas, and they all need proper evaluation. When the White Paper is published, we will engage with you and any other interested party , and invite other organisations to contribute to our thinking, prior to the final legislation being put before Parliament and firming up the non-legislative measures, which are crucial. We all know that legislation does not solve every ill, and it is crucial that we continue the very good work being done by many internet companies to improve the overall environment.

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european commission logoProposals to make fingerprinting of all identity card holders in the EU obligatory were published by the European Commission in April as part of proposal on strengthening the security of identity cards and residence documents.The proposal published by the Commission says that all EU Member States will be obliged to introduce a uniform format for their identity cards (if they issue them) and that they must include a facial image and two fingerprints – the latter being included, in the words of the Commission, to further increase effectiveness in terms of security.

This measure flies in the face of the conclusions reached in the Commission’s own impact assessment, which said that a proposal excluding mandatory fingerprinting would be more efficient and proportional.

The Commission has made no attempt to justify the necessity and proportionality of what is a serious intrusion on the rights to privacy and data protection – biometric data qualifies as a special category of personal data under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and requires suitable and specific safeguards.

The proposals were sent to the Council for the consideration of the Member States, whose representatives in the Working Party on Frontiers first examined the proposals on 4 May. They have been discussed on three further occasions since then.

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princeton logoA study by Princeton researchers came to light earlier this month, revealing that over 400 of the world’s most popular websites use the equivalent of hacking tools to spy on you without your knowledge or consent.

Using session replay scripts from third-party companies, websites are recording your every act, from mouse moves to clicks, to keylogging what you type, and extracting your personal info off the page. If you accidentally paste something into a text field from your clipboard, like an address or password you didn’t want to type out, the scripts can record, transmit, and store that, too.

What these sites are doing with this information, and how much they anonymize or secure it, is a crapshoot.

Among top retail offenders recording your every move and mistake are Costco, Gap.com, Crate and Barrel, Old Navy, Toys R Us, Fandango, Adidas, Boots, Neiman Marcus, Nintendo, Nest, the Disney Store, and Petco.

Tech and security websites spying on users include HP.com, Norton, Lenovo, Intel Autodesk, Windows, Kaspersky, Redhat.com, ESET.com, WP Engine, Logitech, Crunchbase, HPE.com (Hewlett Packard Enterprise), Akamai, Symantec, Comodo.com, and MongoDB.

Other sites you might recognize that are also using active session recording are RT.com, Xfinity, T-Mobile, Comcast, Sputnik News, iStockphoto, IHG (InterContinental Hotels), British Airways, NatWest, Western Union, FlyFrontier.com, Spreadshirt, Deseret News, Bose, and Chevrolet.com

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amazon echo The Echo is a voice-activated 9-inch-high cylinder that connects to your Wi-Fi and will answer spoken questions, play music, and generally hang out in your home listening to everything you say. And processing it in the cloud. All day.Amazon’s promotional page describes the device’s array of microphones:

Far-field voice recognition

Tucked under Echo’s light ring is an array of seven microphones. These sensors use beam-forming technology to hear you from any direction. With enhanced noise cancellation, Echo can hear you ask a question even while it’s playing music.

What could possibly go wrong?

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See article from telegraph.co.uk

barcode scannerTesco is installing hundreds of hi-tech screens that scan the faces of shoppers as they queue at the till supposedly to detect their age and sex for advertisers.

The store giant has signed a ground-breaking deal with Lord Alan Sugar’s Amscreen in a move which last night sparked fresh concerns from privacy campaigners about the growing use of invasive techology in the nation’s shops.

The OptimEyes system will be rolled out into 450 Tesco petrol forecourts, which serve millions of customers a week.

It works by using inbuilt cameras in a TV-style screen above the till that identify whether a customer is male or female, estimate their age and judge how long they look at the ad.

The real time data is fed back to advertisers supposedly to give them a better idea of the effectiveness of their campaigns.

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 See  article from  guardian.co.uk by Naomi Wolfe

facial recognitionA software engineer in my Facebook community wrote recently about his outrage that when he visited Disneyland, and went on a ride, the theme park offered him the photo of himself and his girlfriend to buy — with his credit card information already linked to it. He noted that he had never entered his name or information into anything at the theme park, or indicated that he wanted a photo, or alerted the humans at the ride to who he and his girlfriend were — so, he said, based on his professional experience, the system had to be using facial recognition technology. He had never signed an agreement allowing them to do so, and he declared that this use was illegal. He also claimed that Disney had recently shared data from facial-recognition technology with the United States military.

…Read the full article