Do People Caught on Ring Cameras Have Privacy Rights?

Big picture, there’s no legal issue with posting surveillance cam content. Experts agree that it is generally legal to post video footage captured in a public space where the subject of the video lacks a reasonable expectation of privacy. (Things get a bit trickier with audio recordings, where states vary in consent rules, but, again, these rules often don’t apply when a person is in a public space, like on a sidewalk.) While a person’s front door area is legally considered “private” for Fourth Amendment purposes—meaning the police can’t snoop around without a warrant—a homeowner can surveil their own space. Accordingly, the decision to post content is almost entirely at the discretion of the camera’s owner, who also carries the burden of ensuring that their use of surveillance devices does not violate local privacy ordinances, according to Ring’s terms of service.

For its part, Ring warns users against using cam footage in a manner that is “harmful, [...]  read more

VPN Providers Threaten to Quit India Over New Data Law

VPN companies are squaring up for a fight with the Indian government over new rules designed to change how they operate in the country. On April 28, officials announced that virtual private network companies will be required to collect swathes of customer data—and maintain it for five years or more—under a new national directive. VPN providers have two months to accede to the rules and start collecting data.

The justification from the country’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) is that it needs to be able to investigate potential cybercrime. But that doesn’t wash with VPN providers, some of whom have said they may ignore the demands. “This latest move by the Indian government to require VPN companies to hand over user personal data represents a worrying attempt to infringe on the digital rights of its citizens,” says Harold Li, vice president of ExpressVPN. He adds that the company would never log user information or activity and that it will adjust [...]  read more

Europe Is Building a Huge International Facial Recognition System

The Prüm II documents, dated from April 2021, when the plans were first being discussed, show the huge number of face photos that countries hold. Hungary has 30 million photos, Italy 17 million, France 6 million, and Germany 5.5 million, the documents show. These images can include suspects, those convicted of crimes, asylum seekers, and “unidentified dead bodies,” and they come from multiple sources in each country.

Jakubowska says that while criticism of facial recognition systems has mostly focused on real-time systems, those that identify people at a later date are still problematic. “When you are applying facial recognition to footage or images retrospectively, sometimes the harms can be even greater, because of the capacity to look back at, say, a protest from three years ago, or to see who I met five years ago, because I’m now a political opponent,” she says. “Only facial images of suspects or convicted criminals can be exchanged,” the European [...]  read more

When Gig Workers Are Murdered, Their Families Foot the Bill

The maze of policies and supplemental policies can get complicated quickly. First off, most personal auto insurance plans don’t cover workers when they’re driving for hire. Secondly, payouts vary based on the trip phase: Transporting passengers, traveling to pick them up, and waiting for a new ride can all come with different benefits. If a driver turns the app off to pick up a snack or use the bathroom, their work policy no longer applies. Some policies contain exclusions for certain circumstances, like physical assault. California’s Prop 22 mandates more coverage than laws in other states, including survivor benefits, but payouts can still be denied on grounds such as fault or engagement in “personal activities.”

One evening this February, Agha Raza Ali received a phone call from his aunt. His 71-year-old uncle, Abdul Rauf Khan, was late coming home, and she was starting to worry. Khan and Ali ran a limousine service together in the Washington, DC, area, but [...]  read more

The Hidden Role of Facial Recognition Tech in Many Arrests

Quinn says the spread of facial recognition technology has led investigators to believe there will be suitable digital evidence in every case, similar to the way the TV show CSI led people to believe there would always be DNA or physical forensic evidence. In reality, security camera images can be grainy, low quality, from odd angles, and suffer from lighting issues that hinder a good match.

Given widespread mistrust of police in some areas, “we really need to put it out there and help educate our communities as to the value of this stuff and how we’re using it,” Quinn says. Referring to bans on facial recognition use in some cities, he says it otherwise “becomes very easy to discuss these technologies in terms of all or nothing.” 

As more states and cities consider restricting the technology, a September report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank, suggests that Congress create national standards to prevent a patchwork of regulation. [...]  read more

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