Lots of Americans think that the government is spying on them, but in the dystopian future, it’s probably just as likely to be a McDonald’s that’s keeping track of your every move. Multiple fast food chains are reportedly trialling license plate recognition systems for their drive-thrus. It looks like the main aim is to either speed up service, or juice more money out of customers: If a camera at, say, a Starbucks recognizes a repeat customer, it might show a custom menu centering around that person’s tastes, or it might be able to store that person’s payment details.
Just months before millions of its internal documents were stolen and dumped on the internet, the Tennessee-based surveillance company Perceptics was preparing to pitch New York’s transit authority on how it could help enforce impending “congestion pricing” rules, according to leaked documents reviewed by The Intercept. The pitch, as outlined in the files, went well beyond mere toll enforcement and into profiling New Yorkers’ travel patterns and companions, creating what experts describe as major privacy risks.
[A]s the technology has matured, it’s gotten in the hands of organizations that, five years ago, would never have been able to consider it. Small-town police departments can suddenly afford to conduct surveillance at a massive scale. Neighborhood homeowners associations and property managers are buying up cameras by the dozen. And in many jurisdictions, cheap automatic license plate reader (ALPR) cameras are creeping into neighborhoods – with almost nothing restricting how they’re used besides the surveiller’s own discretion….
Do you know where you were five years ago? Did you have an Android phone at the time? It turns out Google might know—and it might be telling law enforcement. […] The data Google is turning over to law enforcement is so precise that one deputy police chief said it “shows the whole pattern of life.” It’s collected even when people aren’t making calls or using apps, which means it can be even more detailed than data generated by cell towers.
Investigators have been tapping into the tech giant’s enormous cache of location information in an effort to solve crimes. Here’s what this database is and what it does. Read the full article at the New York Times.
Want to use toll roads on the East Coast, but hate having to carry change? EZ Pass offers cashless, open road tolling across 17 states. The catch? States using the system might also be watching you. Although the system is intended to be used solely to collect tolls, several states, including New York and Virginia, are using the system to track traffic patterns and drivers–much to the alarm of privacy advocates.
Ford CEO frankly admits that the car of the future is a surveillance device that you pay to spy on you
Take Ford CEO Jim Hackett, whose recent Freakonomics Radio appearance celebrated his company’s shift from a car business to a debt-issuance business, with Ford Credit now accounting for a third of the company’s profits. Hackett vowed to increase that share by using the leverage he could exert over his debtors to force them to let him spy on them (for example, by doubling down on GM’s car radio surveillance), and then cross-referencing this data on the data borrowers are forced to supply in order to buy their cars, and with data-sets from corporate acquisitions like the scooter company Spin.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have hidden an undisclosed number of covert surveillance cameras inside streetlights around the country, federal contracting documents reveal. Read the full article at Quartz.
Every minute for three months, GM secretly gathered data on 90,000 drivers' radio-listening habits and locations
On September 12th, GM’s director of global digital transformation Saejin Park gave a presentation to the Association of National Advertisers in which he described how the company had secretly gathered data on the radio-listening habits of 90,000 GM owners in LA and Chicago for three months in 2017, tracking what stations they listened to and for how long, and where they were at the time; this data was covertly exfiltrated from the cars by means of their built-in wifi.