Robo-Fish, Spouse Spying and More – Security News Roundup, Week of July 29

Blog_round-up-image-fishIn our security roundup this week, we scour the news to find stories from around the globe on topics ranging from cell phone monitoring laws to robotic fish and much, much more.

Stores Using Mobile Phones to Track Customers

If your smartphone’s WiFi connection is turned on, any store can roughly track your activities even if you don’t log onto their network, according to a recent New York Times article. In larger department stores, multiple routers allow them to identify customers lingering in one section to potentially target them with specific promotions via their phones. The issue is that most stores don’t disclose this activity, and the Federal Trade Commission says that as long as they don’t use facial recognition software and other more invasive surveillance methods, they are perfectly within their rights.

Read more at the New York Times

Robo-Fish and GPS Used in Major Oceanic Project

Researchers off the coast of Portugal undertook a significant research project, Rapid Environmental Picture 2013, using robotic vehicles combined with GPS tags affixed to Mola Mola fish, also known as sunfish. The researchers are using the GPS to track fish movements and learn more about the conditions that promote healthy eating, following the emergence of pods of Mola Mola schools using flying, underwater, and surface-skimming robots. They will also be attempting to test the effectiveness of new aquatic tracking techniques to collect environmental data and to test new seafloor mapping techniques to be used in search and rescue.


New Jersey Court Says Police Need Warrants for Cell Phone Tracking

GPS-enabled smartphones are a treasure trove of information for law enforcement once they identify devices that have been involved in criminal activity. The N.J. Supreme Court has ruled that police must get a warrant before they can begin tracking and obtaining this kind of mobile device data. This decision is the first ruling in the country on the issue from a state’s higher court. The involvement of the legislature to codify the ruling about getting phone data from mobile service providers, putting it in an explicit law, means it could set a major precedent about how much privacy people can expect in their cell phone data.

Read more at the Christian Science Monitor

Spying on Spouse Common in United States

Whether due to worries about the ease of access to an illicit meeting that the Internet provides, or just a general belief that people aren’t to be trusted, people in the United States spy on their spouses and partners in record numbers. In a survey by dating site, 55% of the 22,000 polled admitted to spying on their spouse. While not all spying takes place online, social networking sites provide ample opportunities to reconnect, so they tend to be the first place people start poking around when spying, although going through a partner’s email is also very common.

Read more at NewsFix

United Nations to Issue Global Warning about Mobile Security Bug

Although the institution usually concerns itself with international issues such as poverty and climate change, a UN advisory committee concerned with cybersecurity has identified significant security vulnerabilities in at least 500,000,000 phones. A German firm initially uncovered the coding bug, which opens up certain SIM cards to hackers’ ability to control and clone the card.

Controlling the data on mobile SIM cards makes financial theft, espionage, and other crimes using personal data much easier. An umbrella organization representing over 800 mobile operators has already begun advising SIM vendors on how to deal with the hole, but all types of phones may be vulnerable, including the most popular smartphones, until the problem is resolved.

Read more at the San Jose Mercury News

Surveillance Camera Catches Neighbor Robbing Police Officer’s House

A Utah police officer was experiencing repeat burglarizing and, suspecting his neighbor of targeting him, decided to set up security surveillance cameras. After leaving for vacation, he returned to find security cam footage of the neighbor breaking into his home four times and stealing thousands of dollars in cash and property. He even destroyed the one outdoor security camera he discovered. He used the surviving footage, showing the neighbor in the act, to confront him and get a recorded confession. The neighbor was arrested for several charges, but could have been arrested on one count of being dumb enough to target a police officer.

Read more at the Standard-Examiner

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BrickHouse Security is the industry's premier supplier of security and surveillance solutions. As a recognized authority in GPS tracking, hidden cameras, cell phone/PC monitoring, video surveillance and counter surveillance, we help our customers use technology to get the clarity they need. We proudly serve consumers, businesses of all sizes and the law enforcement community. When you need to know, BrickHouse has the answers.