The great surveillance debate is about to heat up again, as President Obama has proposed reforms to the FISA court process in an attempt to address the criticisms of the NSA surveillance program. It will be fascinating to see how this debate evolves. Many of the reforms seem to make sense and suggest a willingness to reach a consensus on this issue. Still, many critics were not impressed. We’ll see how this goes.
Things are getting interesting in California. Tech companies are fighting privacy advocates over a California bill that would require companies like Facebook, Google and other social networks to disclose to users the personal data the services have collected and with whom they have shared it. It doesn’t restrict what they can do, but the disclosure requirements are still very controversial and could be very expensive.
We can gripe all we want about privacy, but the plain fact is that we can now be recorded for video and sound just about anywhere.
Of course this is useful for fun for people interested in tracking others, and that’ where surveillance gadgets come into play. With super-small HD video recorders, we’re seeing all sorts of surveillance and video recording equipment getting pushed in the consumer market. Now anyone can channel their inner 007 and spy on others.
Above we have a photo of the new Sony Digital Binoculars priced at $1,999.
Along the same lines we have the Pivothead HD Recording Sunglasses which can be used to record everything around you with POV video. You can record your adventures, but also record other people of course.
Just keep in mind your local privacy laws when using these devices. It’s one thing to record video out in public, but it’s quite another to record people when they have an expectation of privacy.
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OK, so maybe that a bit of an exaggeration, but this portable radio/flashlight that can be powered by a crank shaft, a solar strip or conventional methods can really come in handy during and after a storm, or while you’re out in the middle of nowhere like on a camping vacation. The Etón FRX3 Radio can also charge up your cell phone, and that’s a really important feature.
The glasses above don’t look like a cool gadget, but don’t be fooled. This is just one of the many new “spy glasses” out on the market that have a build in, tiny video recorder in the glasses. Yes, privacy is totally going by the wayside, but fans of surveillance gadgets will love these things, while others will be totally creeped out.
Expect to find stuff like this along with tons of other cool phones, tablets and more at your local Best Buy or on the web. The selections are endless. Of course many of the manufacturers of these new gadgets use the web and social media as their main marketing tools, but just go to an electronics conference and you’ll be shocked how many of them are also printing glossy brochures. This is more true of the bigger companies, but even the startups can get good deals by printing brochures online and making themselves look like a bigger company.
Expect these glasses to get in the news, whether it involves a press sting operation or something like spying on a celebrity. Pretty soon everyone is going to be paranoid that they’re being recorded.
Here’s a fascinating story of how car insurance companies can monitor your driving.
Of course this is voluntary monitoring, and safe drivers can save money on their car insurance, but it raises all sorts of privacy issues. What’s next? Will health insurers want constant monitoring of our heart rates to see if we are exercising?
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Security issues are continually shoved to the forefront of headlines as crime rates rise, populations increase and the economy struggles. Everyone wants to be safe – and to keep their possessions and loved ones safe, as well – but financial considerations make it impossible for many working class Americans to get the surveillance cameras, security systems and other tools needed to do the job.
But many people fail to realize all the ways that a cell phone can help families stay safe. With built-in cameras, recording devices, GPS systems and tons of apps, with proper training most anyone can use the phone as a security device. Make sure teens with phones know this valuable information, and remind coworkers and spouses of these tips to keep them safe, too.
Apps are available that alert friends and family members in case of an emergency. Simply engage the app and it notifies several people via numbers preprogrammed into the phone, so that someone nearby can offer help. The numbers you desire are called or sent text messages, so that if someone is in trouble it isn’t necessary to stop and call everyone who may or may not be in a position to assist. These apps can be true lifesavers. Both landline phones and cellular numbers can be programmed to call.
Other apps will periodically send the GPS location of the phone to a designated person so they can help make sure you’re safe at all times. This is the perfect app for parents who worry about teens out with friends, but is also a great thing for moms toting small children around town and for traveling business people who are frequently in high-risk locations and situations. Anyone who is frequently out and about can benefit from this safety app.
Another security app available has a panic button which can be activated whenever the phone user feels threatened or is in danger. The button begins a countdown, and if the user doesn’t disable it within the set period of time, the phone automatically sends a message to a previously chosen person. The app then continues to track the location of the phone user, so if there is foul play, they’re easily located. This app can be activated as the user leaves work after dark, and if that person never arrives safely to the car, the phone signals the alert.
Some apps can also be preprogrammed to call emergency numbers, such as the police and fire department, in addition to or instead of friends and family members. These apps work much like alerts used by disabled and elderly people who live alone. This app is an excellent choice for single people and people living or working in locations far from home – such as college students.
For people serious about the security of their family members, these apps offer peace of mind, and are potential life savers. This is an excellent way to put the GPS capabilities of the phone to good use. Need a new security system? You may already have one on hand.
A recent case highlighted new challenges for privacy in the modern world. Cops placed a GPS tracker on the car of a criminal suspect without getting a warrant. Fortunately, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a lower court decision that ruled that this was a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution which prevents unreasonable searches without a warrant.
The court, however, declined to go further. Issues on other types of electronic surveillance will be left to another day.
Tags: cops, Fourth Amendment, Fourth Amendment protections, Fourth Amendment searches, Fourth Amendment violations, GPS, GPS trackers, GPS tracking, GPS warrants, police, police officer, right to privacy, unconstitutional search, unreasonable search
The holidays are here so everyone is going crazy getting gifts. One area that is perhaps overlooked at times for gifts is home security, though now with all sorts of surveillance gadgets tied to the Internet, you have some really cool options in this area that can make for great gifts.
Here’s one that is highlighted in the Bullz-Eye.com Holiday Gift Guide for the home:
It’s amazing how flexible these tools are these days, and here you have an easy dual use device that can be a baby monitor but also so much more. It’s a great way to keep an eye on your home, kids, pets etc. Check it out.
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Florida’s Tea Party governor, Rick Scott, has pretty much been a disaster. One of his worst initiatives was to institute drug testing for anyone receiving welfare benefits.
Not only is this a gross violation of privacy rights, it also perpetuates our insane drug war and wastes taxpayer money at a time when budgets are being savaged.
A federal judge was not impressed with the new law:
Hopefully he’s right and this idiotic law will be held unconstitutional.
Tags: drug testing, drug tests, Drug War, failed War on Drugs, Fourth Amendment, Fourth Amendment protections, Fourth Amendment searches, Fourth Amendment violations, idiotic Drug War, Judge Mary Scriven, Rick Scott, Rick Scott privacy, right to privacy, unconstitutional search, unreasonable drug tests, unreasonable search, War on Drugs, welfare drug tests