Sharing your phone’s password at the border

We all understand the importance of border security these days and the importance of keeping dangerous people out of the country.

Yet this has also led to policies that can be very disturbing for the ordinary citizen. For example, authorities have the right to search your laptop when you’re entering the country. I’ve never experienced this but you can see how this will be used for travelers with high-risk profiles.

Which brings us to the story of a Canadian man who was charged at the Canadian border for not sharing the password from his phone upon returning from the Dominican Republic. Who knows why he refused – maybe he was partying with some hotties and had compromising photos. Maybe he really had something to hide. Or maybe like the rest of us he was appalled at the notion of border agents asking to browse through his phone.

Regardless, he’s in trouble now and the rest of us can only hope never to be in that situation.

Social Media Sleuthing

The amount of surveillance we all face now in society is getting to be pretty alarming. Body cameras will only make things worse from a privacy point of view.

Still, this case of a hate crime quickly solved due to a surveillance camera coupled with one citizen using social media shows the power of technology in the face of senseless crimes.

The debate will rage as cameras become a bigger part of our lives at an exponential rate. Here we have the positives. There will be plenty of negatives as well.

Obama proposes FISA reforms

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.

Online privacy battle in California

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.

Surveillance gadgets for the holidays

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.

Look into the first fully digital, 3D, high-def-recording binoculars and you’re not gazing through glass, you’re observing dual independent electronic viewfinders. Why’s that better? You can adjust the image, focus instantly, and with the push of a button start recording the identical view in 1080p high-def, and 3D. The possibilities for the DEV-5 are limitless—birding, sports action, checking out that apartment across the street with the hot neighbor who always leaves the lights on… ok, maybe not (better to simply take advice from The Girl Next Door by getting her tips on love, sex, and dating sent right to your inbox).

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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