Tag Archives: privacy

‘Wholesale disregard for customers’ privacy’: Bose Corp sued over spying headphone app

‘Wholesale disregard for customers’ privacy’: Bose Corp sued over spying headphone app

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Massachusetts-based headphones and speakers producer, Bose Corp, is facing a lawsuit after being accused of covertly collecting data about its customers through a headphones app and then selling those private details to some data mining companies.

The lawsuit accuses the company of violating a number of privacy protection laws by “secretly collecting, transmitting and disclosing its customers’ private music and audio selections to third parties.” The complaint against the Framingham, Massachusetts-based company was filed by an Illinois resident, Kyle Zak, in federal court in Chicago on Tuesday.

Zak said he downloaded the free Bose Connect app available on Apple Inc or Google Play stores to his smartphone to “get the most out of your headphones.” He also said that he provided the company with his name, email address and headphone serial number to download the app.

However, he was surprised when he found out that Bose sent “all available media information” from his smartphone to some third-party companies. The complainant particularly said that the app sent the customers’ data to the Segment.io data mining company that said on its website it collects personal data and could send it “anywhere.”

The complaint filed to the court says that audio choices, including both music and audio podcasts could offer “an incredible amount of insight” into customers’ personalities, including their religious views, sexual orientation and even their state of health.

“For example, a person that listens to Muslim prayer services through his headphones or speakers is very likely a Muslim, a person that listens to the Ashamed, Confused, And In the Closet Podcast is very likely a homosexual in need of a support system, and a person that listens to The Body’s HIV/AIDS Podcast is very likely an individual that has been diagnosed and is living with HIV or AIDS. None of the defendant’s customers could have ever anticipated that these types of music and audio selections would be recorded and sent to, of all people, a third party data miner for analysis,” the complaint says, as cited by the International Business Times.

“People should be uncomfortable with it,” Christopher Dore, an attorney representing Zak, told Reuters, adding that “people put headphones on their head because they think it’s private, but they can be giving out information they don’t want to share.”

He also stressed that the app’s user service and privacy agreements do not mention anything about data collection. Zak now wants to stop the data collection by Bose Corp, which he says violates the US federal Wiretap Act and Illinois laws against eavesdropping and consumer fraud.

“Defendants’ conduct demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights,” the complaint said, as cited by Reuters.

Zak is reportedly seeking millions of dollars in damages not only for himself but also for other buyers of headphones and speakers of various Bose models, including QuietComfort 35, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, SoundLink Color II, SoundSport Wireless and SoundSport Pulse Wireless.

The company, which earlier said its annual sales exceed $3.5 billion, has not commented on the issue so far.

READ MORE: California bill seeks to crack down on ‘smart’ toys & potential spy gadgets

The lawsuit against Bose Corp is just the latest in a series of complaints against the companies seeking to boost profit by secretly collecting their customers’ data to press more goods on them or just to sell it to some third parties.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

 

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New police radars can ‘see’ inside homes

Image:  Frank Pompa, USA Today

At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person’s house without first obtaining a search warrant.

The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.

More from USA Today

Posted by Libergirl

 

FBI director wants access to encrypt Apple, Google users’ data, demands law ‘fix’

 

Reuters / Brendan McDermid
Image: Reuters / Brendan McDermid

The FBI director has slammed Apple and Google for offering their customers encryption technology that protects users’ privacy. “Deeply concerned” James Comey wants to push on Congress to “fix” laws to ensure police can still access private data.

“It’s the equivalent of a closet that can’t be opened. A safe that can’t be cracked,” Comey, speaking at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC, referred to the encryption technology calling the new service “a marketing pitch.”

“But it will have very serious consequences for law enforcement and national security agencies at all levels,” he warned.

Apple has recently presented its latest Mac OS X operating system for desktop and laptop computers, encouraging its customers to use FileVault disk encryption technology to keep their data secure. The tool would also prevent NSA or FBI from having access to phones and computers.

 More from Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Lawbreaking at the NSA: Bring On a New Church Committee

nsa ball full.jpg
Image: Reuters

The time is ripe for a new Church Committee, the surveillance oversight effort named for Senator Frank Church, who oversaw a mid-1970s investigation into decades of jaw-dropping abuses by U.S. intelligence agencies. If recent stories about the NSA don’t alarm you, odds are that you’ve never read the Church Committee findings, which ought to be made part of the high school curriculum. Their lesson is clear: under cover of secrecy, government agents will commit abuses with impunity for years on end, and only intrusive Congressional snooping can stop them.

Why is another Church Committee needed now?

It is needed because, for over a decade, the NSA has repeatedly engaged in activity that violated the law and the Constitutional rights of many thousands or perhaps millions of Americans.

Let’s review the NSA’s recent history of serial illegality. President George W. Bush presided over the first wave. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, he signed a secret order that triggered a massive program of warrantless wiretapping. NSA analysts believed they possessed the authority to spy on the phone calls and emails of American citizens without a judge’s permission. Circa October 2001, 90 NSA employees knew about the illegal program, but the public didn’t. Later that month, 4 members of Congress, including Nancy Pelosi, were told of its existence, and subsequently discredited White House lawyer John Yoo wrote the first analysis of its legality. 500 people knew about it by 2002, at which point telecom providers were participating….

Soon after, the Obama Administration took power.

On April 15, 2009, The New York Times reported on abuses in the NSA’s surveillance activities:

The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews. Several intelligence officials… said the N.S.A. had been engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional… The Justice Department, in response to inquiries from The New York Times, acknowledged Wednesday night that there had been problems with the N.S.A. surveillance operation, but said they had been resolved.

More from the Atlantic

Posted by Libergirl

Microsoft helped the NSA bypass encryption, new Snowden leak reveals

Microsoft worked hand-in-hand with the United States government in order to allow federal investigators to bypass encryption mechanisms meant to protect the privacy of millions of users, Edward Snowden told The Guardian.

According to an article published on Thursday by the British newspaper, internal National Security Agency memos show that Microsoft actually helped the federal government find a way to decrypt messages sent over select platforms, including Outlook.com Web chat, Hotmail email service, and Skype.

The Guardian wrote that Snowden, the 30-year-old former systems administrator for NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, provided the paper with files detailing a sophisticated relationship between America’s intelligence sector and Silicon Valley.

The documents, which are reportedly marked top-secret, come in the wake of other high-profile disclosures attributed to Snowden since he first started collaborating with the paper for articles published beginning June 6. The United States government has since indicted Snowden under the Espionage Act, and he has requested asylum from no fewer than 20 foreign nations.

Thursday’s article is authored by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, two journalists who interviewed Snowden at length before he publicly revealed himself to be the source of the NSA leaks. They are joined by co-authors Ewen MacAskill, Spencer Ackerman and Dominic Rushe, who wrote that the classified documents not only reveal the degree in which Microsoft worked with the feds, but also detail the PRISM internet surveillance program. The US government’s relationships with tech companies are also included in the documents, according to the journalists.

“The latest NSA revelations further expose the tensions between Silicon Valley and the Obama administration,” the journalists wrote. “All the major tech firms are lobbying the government to allow them to disclose more fully the extent and nature of their cooperation with the NSA to meet their customers’ privacy concerns. Privately, tech executives are at pains to distance themselves from claims of collaboration and teamwork given by the NSA documents, and insist the process is driven by legal compulsion.”

More from Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Glenn Greenwald: Top Officials Are Lying to Our Faces About Government Spying

The NSA revelations continue to expose far more than just the ongoing operations of that sprawling and unaccountable spying agency. Let’s examine what we have learned this week about the US political and media class and then certain EU leaders.

The first NSA story to be reported was  our June 6 article which exposed the bulk, indiscriminate collection by the US Government of the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans. Ever since then, it has been undeniably clear that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence,  outright lied to the US Senate – specifically to the Intelligence Committee, the body charged with oversight over surveillance programs – when he said “no, sir” in response to this question from Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

That Clapper fundamentally misled Congress is beyond dispute. The DNI himself has  now been forced by our stories to admit that his statement was, in his words, “clearly erroneous” and to apologize. But he did this only once our front-page revelations forced him to do so: in other words, what he’s sorry about is that he got caught lying to the Senate. And as Salon’s David Sirota  adeptly documented on Friday, Clapper is still spouting falsehoods as he apologizes and attempts to explain why he did it.

More from Alternet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

NSA Confidential: We Love Big Brother If He’s Got the Right Party Affiliation

Image: Reason Magazine

In the first flush of stories about how the National Security Agency is surveilling American citizens, one stomach-turning revelation hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves: we get the surveillance state we deserve because rank political partisanship trumps bedrock principle every goddamn time on just about every goddamn issue.
The journalist Glenn Greenwald, who jump-started this overdue conversation on civil liberties and the war on terrorism, has promised that the revelations are just getting started. But nothing that comes out can be more dispiriting than the simple truth that Democrats and Republicans are both happy to love Big Brother as long as he’s got the right party affiliation.

More from Nick Gillespie @ Reason Magazine

Posted by The NON-Conformist