PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

high-tech technology background with eyes on computer display

Using Cell Phones to Catch Speeders

Using Cell Phones to Catch Speeders

A glimpse into the not-too-distant future . . .

You’re driving along the highway. There is only light traffic on the road, and there’s not a cop in sight. You decide to give in to that dastardly rebel within and go 10 miles over the speed limit. You get to your destination without incident, a few minutes early. The sun is shining in the sky; there’s not a cloud in sight. It’s a happy day. Life is good.

But then a few weeks later, you discover that the day wasn’t as cheery as you had thought. That’s because you were caught for speeding that day. Your ticket arrives in the mail. But there were no police officers along the route, no speed traps, no surveillance cameras. How did you get caught?

You were ratted out, betrayed by a traitor in your car. No, not a secret agent, not a rat, not a mole. Instead, it was something you trusted the most, an inseparable companion . . . it was your cell phone.

According to the AP [link no longer avilable]:

Continue Reading

The Airline Screening Playset: Hours of Fun!

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Box 01After blogging a few weeks ago about the airline screening playset, I went ahead and ordered one.

Each day, I would check my mailbox, eager with excitement about its arrival. Today, it finally arrived. I rushed to open it and began what would be hours of exciting play. Here’s what came in the playset:

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Set 01

I was a bit disappointed in the toy’s lack of realism. There was only one passenger to be screened. Where were the long lines? The passenger’s clothing wasn’t removable for strip searching. The passenger’s shoes couldn’t be removed either. Her luggage fit easily inside the X-ray machine. There were no silly warning signs not to carry guns or bombs onto the plane. And there was no No Fly List or Selectee List included in the playset.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 01

Another oddity was that the toy came with two guns, one for the police officer and one that either belonged to the X-ray screener or the passenger. The luggage actually opened up, and the gun fit inside. I put it through the X-ray machine, and it went through undetected. Perhaps this is where the toy came closest to reality.

The biggest departure from reality was that the passenger had a cheery smile on her face.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 02

Continue Reading

Snooping Landlords and the War on Terrorism

Snooping Landlords

In this interesting AP article [link no longer available], a man won an invasion of privacy lawsuit when his property manager searched his home and reported to the FBI that there were terrorist materials in the apartment. FBI officials detained, fingerprinted, and handcuffed the man, but eventually determined that the man wasn’t a terrorist:

Continue Reading

Why Volokh Is Wrong on Public Records and the First Amendment

Public Records and Privacy

In an interesting and thoughtful post, Eugene Volokh (law, UCLA) takes issue with California’s Megan’s Law, Cal. Penal Code § 290.46(j), which places personal data about sex offenders on the Internet yet restricts the uses of this data. The law allows people to use the information “only to protect a person at risk.” It prohibits the use of the information for, among other things, purposes related to insurance, loans, credit, employment, benefits, and housing.

Continue Reading