Author Topic: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments  (Read 442300 times)


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Govt tracking people's movement in Wuhon Virus
« Reply #1154 on: March 29, 2020, 01:17:32 AM »
second post
Government Tracking How People Move Around in Coronavirus Pandemic
Goal is to get location data in up to 500 U.S. cities to help plan response; privacy concerns call for “strong legal safeguards,” activist says
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has started to get data through one project, dubbed the Covid-19 Mobility Data Network.

By Byron Tau
Updated March 28, 2020 6:50 pm ET

WASHINGTON—Government officials across the U.S. are using location data from millions of cellphones in a bid to better understand the movements of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic and how they may be affecting the spread of the disease.

The federal government, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local governments have started to receive analyses about the presence and movement of people in certain areas of geographic interest drawn from cellphone data, people familiar with the matter said. The data comes from the mobile advertising industry rather than cellphone carriers.
The aim is to create a portal for federal, state and local officials that contains geolocation data in what could be as many as 500 cities across the U.S., one of the people said, to help plan the epidemic response.

The data—which is stripped of identifying information like the name of a phone’s owner—could help officials learn how coronavirus is spreading around the country and help blunt its advance. It shows which retail establishments, parks and other public spaces are still drawing crowds that could risk accelerating the transmission of the virus, according to people familiar with the matter. In one such case, researchers found that New Yorkers were congregating in large numbers in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and handed that information over to local authorities, one person said. Warning notices have been posted at parks in New York City, but they haven’t been closed.

The data can also reveal general levels of compliance with stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, according to experts inside and outside government, and help measure the pandemic’s economic impact by revealing the drop-off in retail customers at stores, decreases in automobile miles driven and other economic metrics.

The CDC has started to get analyses based on location data through through an ad hoc coalition of tech companies and data providers—all working in conjunction with the White House and others in government, people said.

The CDC and the White House didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The growing reliance on mobile phone location data continues to raise concerns about privacy protections, especially when programs are run by or commissioned by governments.

Wolfie Christl, a privacy activist and researcher, said the location-data industry was “covidwashing” what are generally privacy-invading products.

“In the light of the emerging disaster, it may be appropriate to make use of aggregate analytics based on consumer data in some cases, even if data is being gathered secretly or illegally by companies,” said Mr. Christl. “As true anonymization of location data is nearly impossible, strong legal safeguards are mandatory.” The safeguards should limit how the data can be used and ensure it isn’t used later for other purposes, he said.

Privacy advocates are concerned that even anonymized data could be used in combination with other publicly accessible information to identify and track individuals.

Some companies in the U.S. location-data industry have made their data or analysis available for the public to see or made their raw data available for researchers or governments. San Francisco-based LotaData launched a public portal analyzing movement patterns within Italy that could help authorities plan for outbreaks and plans additional portals for Spain, California and New York. The company Unacast launched a public “social distancing scoreboard” that uses location data to evaluate localities on how well their population is doing at following stay-at-home orders.

Other state and local governments too have begun to commission their own studies and analyses from private companies. Foursquare Labs Inc., one of the largest location-data players, said it is in discussions with numerous state and local governments about use of its data.

Researchers and governments around the world have used a patchwork of authorities and tactics to collect mobile phone data—sometimes looking for voluntary compliance from either companies or individuals, and in other cases using laws meant for terrorism or other emergencies to collect vast amounts of data on citizens to combat the coronavirus threat.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have launched a project to track volunteer Covid-19 patients through a mobile phone app. Telecom carriers in Germany, Austria, Spain, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries have given data over to authorities to help combat the pandemic. Israel’s intelligence agencies were tapped to use antiterrorism phone-tracking technology to map infections.

In the U.S., so far, the data being used has largely been drawn from the advertising industry. The mobile marketing industry has billions of geographic data points on hundreds of millions of U.S. cell mobile devices—mostly drawn from applications that users have installed on their phones and allowed to track their location. Huge troves of this advertising data are available for sale.

The industry is largely unregulated under existing privacy laws because consumers have opted-in to tracking and because the data doesn’t contain names or addresses—each consumer is represented by an alphanumeric string.

Cellphone carriers also have access to massive amounts of geolocation data, which is granted much stricter privacy protection under U.S. law than in most other countries. The largest U.S. carriers, including AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., say they have not been approached by the government to provide location data, according to spokespeople. There have been discussions about trying to obtain U.S. telecom data for this purpose, however the legality of such a move isn’t clear.

—Patience Haggin, Drew FitzGerald and Sarah Krouse contributed to this article.
Write to Byron Tau at
Corrections & Amplifications

The Covid-19 Mobility Data Network is working primarily with state and local governments. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said it was providing location data insights to the federal government. (March 28, 2020)


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WSJ: Washington's Facial Recognition Law
« Reply #1155 on: April 03, 2020, 02:47:45 PM »
Washington State OKs Facial Recognition Law Seen as National Model
Microsoft-backed bill sets limits but doesn’t ban the technology

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said the new law balanced ‘the interests of law-enforcement, the business community and individuals’ right to privacy.’
By Ryan Tracy
March 31, 2020 4:34 pm ET
Washington state adopted a Microsoft Corp. -backed law enshrining the most detailed regulations of facial recognition in the U.S., potentially serving as a model for other states as use of the technology grows.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed the law Tuesday allowing government agencies to use facial recognition, with restrictions designed to ensure it isn’t deployed for broad surveillance or tracking innocent people.

The law makes Washington’s policy stricter than many states that don’t have any laws governing the technology, but more permissive than at least seven U.S. municipalities that have blocked government from using it out of concerns about privacy violations and bias.

Passage of the law is a win for Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Wash., near Seattle, and which had lobbied in favor of it. Cloud providers such as Microsoft and other technology firms see a multibillion-dollar opportunity as businesses and governments apply facial recognition to identify customers, solve crimes, control access to buildings and more. Proposed bans on the technology threaten that opportunity.

Other tech companies say they support regulation of facial recognition, but generally haven’t been as active as Microsoft in promoting legislation. Seattle-based cloud computing giant Inc. has called for national standards but hasn’t said much publicly on the facial recognition law in its home state.

Related Video
Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Facial Recognition Technology


Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Facial Recognition Technology
Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Facial Recognition Technology
Facial recognition is going mainstream. The technology is increasingly used by law-enforcement agencies and in schools, casinos and retail stores, spurring privacy concerns. In this episode of Moving Upstream, WSJ’s Jason Bellini tests out the technology at an elementary school in Seattle and visits a company that claims its algorithm can identify potential terrorists by their facial features alone.
There are signs the Washington model is catching on in other states. Lawmakers in California, Maryland, South Dakota and Idaho introduced bills this year with text mirroring the Washington state bill, word-for-word in some sections, according to Quorum Analytics Inc., a software company that tracks legislation. Those bills haven’t advanced.

Microsoft has helped promote the legislation in other states. In Idaho, Republican State Rep. Britt Raybould modeled a facial-recognition proposal on a draft of the Washington bill she received from Microsoft after reaching out to the company, she said in an interview. “It’s a starting point,” she said of the Idaho bill.

In Hawaii, a lobbyist for Microsoft was circulating a draft of the Washington bill late last year, according to the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which says it received a copy from the lobbyist by email.

A Microsoft spokesman noted the company has been openly advocating for facial recognition regulations since 2018.

“Washington state’s new law breaks through what at times has been a polarizing debate,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post Tuesday. “This balanced approach ensures that facial recognition can be used as a tool to protect the public, but only in ways that respect fundamental rights and serve the public interest.”

The idea of regulation didn’t catch on in Hawaii. Instead, lawmakers there were considering a moratorium on government use of facial recognition before postponing this year’s legislative session amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new Washington law, if a government agency wants to use facial recognition, it has to first give public notice, hold at least three community meetings, and publish a report outlining the technology’s potential impact on civil liberties.

Police could use facial recognition for ongoing surveillance or real-time identification of people but they will need a warrant or court order first.

The law also includes checks on the technology. It can’t be used to make significant government decisions without “meaningful human review,” and government employees must be trained on the technology’s limitations.

A company providing it to the government has to allow for independent third-party testing of the system, checking for accuracy or bias. Washington state Sen. Joe Nguyen, a Democrat and the bill’s main sponsor, said that provision has national implications because problems identified in his state will have to be fixed elsewhere, too. In addition to being a part-time legislator, Mr. Nguyen works as a senior program manager at Microsoft.

Some in Washington state have criticized the law. Jennifer Lee, technology and liberty project manager for the ACLU’s local chapter, says the bill gives the government too much leeway. She noted one provision that allows police to use the technology without a warrant if “exigent circumstances exist.”

“We need a temporary ban on face surveillance, not ongoing use that allows beta testing of face surveillance on the most impacted and vulnerable communities,” Ms. Lee said.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs also lobbied against the bill, saying it placed too many bureaucratic requirements on law enforcement agencies.

“There is a version of facial recognition regulations that we are okay with,” but this law “hinders our ability to keep people safe,” said James McMahan, the group’s policy director. He pointed to a requirement that police obtain a court order before a common use of facial recognition: Identifying a missing or deceased person.

As he signed the law, Mr. Inslee, a Democrat, said it “provides state and local governments a set of guidelines around facial recognition technology while balancing the interests of law-enforcement, the business community and individuals’ right to privacy.”

Write to Ryan Tracy at


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msft gets bill passed in their state by lobbying
« Reply #1156 on: April 03, 2020, 03:07:48 PM »
msft facial recognition

who the heck are they to do this to us?

Screw Gates, Mr pandemic expert

)I know he just resigned From BOD, so what he is pushing this stuff )

do we the people EVER have.a say in this.
yeah right it will solve crimes

how about we use it to identify illegals?