Hollywood movies often depict high-tech biometric systems that can scan your face, eyes, or fingerprints from a surveillance camera and instantly pull up all of your information. Most people take this type of technology to be science fiction, doubting that the technology that we have today is cable of such feats. However, the truth is that it is not only capable, but this technology already exists.

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Californians may have started celebrating their cellphone privacy too soon. After talk of passing a law to make warrantless searches of cellphones during arrests illegal, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the law, giving officers the power to snoop through your cell phone as they wish for whatever reason they deem reasonable.

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Whatever ever happened to the good ol’ days where getting pulled over just meant you would get a speeding

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ticket, or if you’re lucky, just a warning? Well, if it’s up to the Michigan State Police, those days are not only long gone, but a speeding ticket is now reason enough to harvest all the information possible on you, including all of your e-mail, social networking, texting, personal photos, and virtually anything else you might have on your cell phone, or in many cases, your smartphone.

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Typically when we write about Facebook it’s riddled with invective about its liberal use of your personal information and even its ability to ruin marriages. Today, however, we appluad the social networking site’s efforts in removing approximately 20,000 underage users every day.

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hide Google offers users a free, superior online experience and services such as email, search, maps, etc. in exchange for your web browsing privacy. Now thanks to an independent security researcher who goes by the name Moxie Marlinspike, you can get all of Google’s freebies without having to sacrifice your privacy. He just launched a Firefox plug-in called Googlesharing, which gives users access to Google’s online services while cloaking their identity from the company’s data collection tools. The way that it works is it sends your Internet requests through another computer that hides your identity and mixes it up with those of other users.

“Each identity looks like a normal user, but everything is mixed up between identities so Google can’t track any individual” says Marlinspike.

Googlesharing hides your online privacy from everyone but one person: Marlinspike himself, and in case you don’t even trust him, he offers the source code to you for free to create your own proxy.

“If you don’t trust us, you can find someone who you do trust,” he says.

But is all this really necessary? Or are these the people that use proxy services like this one just paranoid? Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt tells us that the fears of governments using our web history to try to convict us of crimes might just be true:

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in hidebagthe first place… The reality is that search engines–including Google–do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities”

Googlesharing is not the only proxy you can use to keep your online identity safe, there are others like Tor, which provides increased security, but slows you down a bit since it redirects all your Internet requests through 3 different servers. Other sites like Ixquick.com or Scroogle.com only offer to keep your searches private, but not any other of Google’s services.  For the most ease of use, and without sacrificing speed, try out Googlesharing.

(Via Forbes)

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twitter-arrestIn Denton, Texas, an art student started a twitter feed that posts every arrest as it happens. The idea here was to explore the possibilities of social platforms like Twitter to share public information. The question in this case is if it’s morally right to embarrass these people for just an arrest? An arrest meaning that the person has not been tried in court and convicted of the crime. That person was merely accused of the crime.

There are two issues with this question. First is that the district attorneys shouldn’t pursue a shaming policy until they have a conviction, and second, the idea behind this project is that arrest records are public, and the creator of this project, Brian Baugh, a student at the University of North Texas, is only trying to make public information truly public.

One idea that can be used here to make this work is to include strong disclaimers that accounts posted are accusations and that nobody has been convicted, however, exactly what should be done about this is still not sure. If you have any ideas or suggestions, leave us a comment telling us what you think should be done.

(Via CriminalJustice.Change)

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