When entering the United States, have agents taken away your computer or other devices, or have they demanded social media passwords? The Electronic Frontier Foundation is gathering stories from people who have had to surrender their devices or their social media account information at the border when it’s not clear what the feds are doing with this information. [More]
If it’s 4 a.m., you’ve been out all night and are in need of a burrito, Google is thinking of you. The search dynamo has added some heft to its smartphone search functionality, letting you sort businesses by whether they’re currently open, as well as distance distance and user rating levels.
An Indiana University grad student has made public an audio recording of a Sprint employee who describes how the company has given away customer GPS location data to cops over 8 million times in less than a year. Ars technica reports that “law enforcement [officers] could log into a special Sprint Web portal and, without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge, gain access to geolocation logs detailing where they’ve been and where they are.” Update: Sprint says the 8 million figure refers to individual pings of GPS data, and that the number of individuals involved is in the thousands.
Verizon, which has no problem helping the government spy on its customers, suddenly turned stupid in June when a police department asked them for help finding the body of a woman who had been abducted on camera. Despite pleas from the woman’s parents, the police, and the FBI, it was four days before a technician was sent out to the appropriate cell tower. When that technician gave the police the location info, they found Kelsey Smith’s body within 45 minutes. Verizon won’t respond to requests for an explanation of why they couldn’t help sooner.
According to consumer reporter Asa Aarons, unless you’ve signed a membership agreement contractually obligating you, bag searches and receipt checks are voluntary. As in, you can refuse.
Reader Carlton writes in with a query:
The EFF was none too happy about the AOL Search Records Data Leak. This is exactly the sort of thing that gets them to pull their lower lip over their heads in paranoid frustration.
Why should we get all the fun of looking at AOL user search profiles? With these database programs people quickly scrapped together, now you can play too!
NYT matched user 4417749 to Thelma Arnold, 62, of Lilburn, Ga.