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.
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.
Posted in: Gadgets, Privacy, Surveillance
Tags: 007, gadgets gift guide, high-def-recording binoculars, Holiday Gift Guide, local privacy laws, Pivothead HD Recording Sunglasses, recording binoculars, recording sungalsses, Sony Digital Binoculars, spying on others, surveillance cameras, surveillance equipment, surveillance gadgets, surveillance gifts
Privacy, telematics and car insurance
Here’s a fascinating story of how car insurance companies can monitor your driving.
When Zshavina Meacher of Cleveland traded in her car for a new 2011 Chevy Malibu last summer, her insurance premium jumped to $510 every six months. Her insurer, Progressive Corp., asked her whether she wanted to cut her rate.
If Meacher agreed to install a device in her car that monitors how safely she drives and the results were good, her rates would go down. If the results weren’t so good, her rates would stay the same. She agreed.
During the first few weeks, the device told Meacher that she slammed on her brakes a lot. She stopped the hard braking.
In February, the 23-year-old’s insurance bill dropped by $120 per six months, or 24 percent.
Meacher is happy her rates went down. And Progressive is happy the risk of Meacher getting into an accident went down. Fewer claims will help keep Mayfield-based Progressive profitable.
If you haven’t heard of telematics — a device that monitors your driving — then get ready. While Progressive started dabbling in telematics in the 1990s, it started pushing it in 2010 with its “Snapshot” program, and other insurers have stepped up interest in the last year.
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?
Posted in: Gadgets, Privacy, Surveillance
Tags: auto insurance, auto insurance rates, automobile insurance, automobile insurance rates, car insurance, car insurance rates, health insurance, health insurance monitoring, reduce my auto insurance, reduce my automobile insurance, reduce my car insurance, surveillance equipment, surveillance gadgets, telematics, telematics and privacy, telematics in insurance, telematics issues, trading privacy for discounts
Supreme Court rules unanimously in GPS case
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.
Posted in: Gadgets, Policies, Privacy, Surveillance
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