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Chula Vista, Cars, No Plans, China, and 4%

Your round up of surveillance news for the week of May 10, 2021


Max Böhme / Unsplash

#153: A Border Town Confronts the Reality of Police Surveillance

May 3, 2021 | Wired by Sidney Fussell | ~1357 words

Residents of Chula Vista, California, a town situated directly across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, are forcing the City Council to reckon with the city’s surveillance apparatus after it was discovered the police department was sharing license plate data with federal agencies.


#154: Your Car Is Spying on You, and a CBP Contract Shows the Risks

May 3, 2021 | The Intercept by Sam Biddle | ~1431 words

Documents uncovered by Mijente and reported on by the Intercept not only show how much data cars suck up about their drivers, but how Customs and Border Protection is leveraging it. The data may include contacts, call records, and text messages, as well as what doors were opened and when, odometer readings, and even gear shifts. This data can clearly give CBP the ability to draw connections between persons of interest and gives them access to some of the most intimate data on their phones without having to go through the trouble of cracking the phone itself.


#155: Residents: More public input needed on York City surveillance proposal

May 5, 2021 | The York Dispatch by Logan Hullinger | ~816 words

Despite the conducting an online survey and holding multiple public forums, the city of York, Pennsylvania has only heard feedback from just over 200 of its 44,000 residents concerning the police-proposed surveillance camera network. One resident argued that “it’s clear [the city doesn’t] even know what the plan is,” thus making it difficult to provide meaningful and pointed feedback.


#156: How China turned a prize-winning iPhone hack against the Uyghurs

May 6, 2021 | MIT Technology Review by Patrick Howell O’Neill | ~1747 words

Each year, at a hacking competition known as Pwn2Own, cyber security researchers compete for prize money by demonstrating vulnerabilities they have found in widely used software such as Google Chrome, iOS, or the Android operating system. The competition used to be widely attended by Chinese researchers as well, until 2017 when China launched its equivelant competition. Since then, exploits demonstrated at the Chinese competition have also been spotted being used against the country’s Uyghur population, a large portion of when are currently being held in concentration camps, a move that many countries, including the U.S., have called genocide.


#157: Too Bad, Zuck: Just 4% of U.S. iPhone Users Let Apps Track Them After iOS Update

May 8, 2021 | Gizmodo by Alyse Stanley | ~441 words

Just two weeks after Apple rolled out its prompt asking each iPhone user if it would like to allow apps to track their behavior in other apps, only 4% of Americans said yes. While it is still too early to tell, this is a great indicator that most Americans oppose surveillance advertising, at least when it targets them.


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