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06 Feb 2011 12:04


World: This should be on your radar: Trial for Americans begins in Iran

Two of the three shown – Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal – will be in court today on spying charges. Shourd returned to the U.S. for medical reasons. She’ll be tried in absentia. source

15 Jan 2011 22:02


World: New Tunisia leader’s first act: Opening up the Interwebs

As a follow-up to our last Tunisia post, it’s good to note that new leader Fouad Mebazaa has unblocked the Interwebs in the country. Good news for everyone who likes freedom. source

15 Jan 2011 21:06


World: Tunisians: Ousted leader Ben Ali just as bad as “Big Brother”

  • I saw the RCD and the government and saw that it’s exactly like this book, with the big pictures of Ben Ali everywhere and people listening in to phone calls and informing on each other. Joining them is like selling your soul to the devil.
  • Former Tunisian citizen Ahmad Chebil • Explaining his experience with Zine el Abidine Ben Ali’s government, which wanted him to become a “citizen watcher” – essentially, someone who would spy on others and inform the government. But he never went for it – wanna know why? Well, he read a french translation of “1984” and could see the evil behind the basic idea. Also worth noting: This Ars Technica article explaining how the country ratcheted up its Internet censorship efforts in recent weeks – and how the Internet fought back. source

29 Nov 2010 10:00


U.S.: Wikileaks: Wow, there’s a lot of espionage in these cables

  • Is it a natural part of diplomatic activity to have diplomats collecting biometric data? … [It’s] a contravention of how diplomats are supposed to conduct business.
  • Wikileaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson • Expressing the organization’s level of surprise at the extent of the espionage they found. The State Department claimed that its diplomats were in fact not spying.  “Contrary to some Wikileaks’ reporting,” wrote State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley, “our diplomats are diplomats. They are not intelligence assets.” source

17 Aug 2010 21:58


Tech: Will that webcam-spying school district face criminal charges?

  • NO but the class-action lawsuit is still on the table source

09 Jun 2010 11:18


Offbeat: School: You can take your test whenever if we can spy on you

  • Somehow, fingerprints and cameras doesn’t sound better than sitting in a classroom. University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, is testing a new exams-at-your-leisure program by Software Secure. You can take tests anytime, but it shuts off your Internet and watches to ensure you’re not cheating. It’s intended for people who have full-time jobs, but honestly it just sounds a wee bit over-the-top. source

16 Apr 2010 17:32


U.S.: “A little soap opera”: Thousands of images in school spying case

  • Apparently, they were using the webcam-equipped laptops for constant surveillance. The Lower Merion, Pa. School District, currently facing a class-action lawsuit for its role in a webcam surveillance scheme, reportedly took photos of plaintiff Blake Robbins while he was sleeping, chatting, and so on – as many as 400 images of Blake alone over a two-week period. (Just imagine how that worked for all the other kids with school-issued laptops.) Administrators reportedly loved the service, which has now been disabled, and Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has introduced legislation to block usage of surveillance software for this purpose (smart idea, dude). source

22 Feb 2010 21:37


Tech: How the Lower Merion webcam-spying sausage was made

  • The dude talking on this clip, Mike Perbix, is the network tech for Lower Merion School District. In this webcast, he’s talking about the spying software installed on all of the machines given to students at Harriton High School, called LanREV. He’s promoting the product, which tells you exactly how invested Perbix was in this technology. Did it ever hit him, or the district, that parents and students might be really pissed about this? The author of the blog post investigating LanREV, by the way, tells you how to remove it in a later post. He calls it a trojan. source
  • Update: Oh, and the kid who got in trouble for reportedly using drugs? He was eating Mike & Ike candy. This school district is run by an institution of idiots.

20 Feb 2010 15:36


Tech, U.S.: Pennsylvania school district learns spying on students a bad idea

  • 42 number of times the school turned on the webcams to check on behavior (they did)
  • one student was nailed by the school for reportedly selling drugs in his home (he didn’t)
  • one class-action lawsuit was filed as a result of the privacy-infringing app (oh boy) source
  • The result? Students are totally up in arms about the violation in privacy, with some students noting the laptop is open in their bedrooms even when changing. Dear Lower Merion School District of Rosemont, Pa.: You guys are idiots. We don’t live in a nanny state.

18 Apr 2009 11:34


U.S., World: Roxana Saberi’s harsh sentence blindsided her family

  • We are very shocked and we were not expecting it. We were hoping for six months and then clemency.
  • Reza Saberi • Father of Roxana Saberi, on the harsh sentence she got from an Iranian court for spying. She could have gotten the death penalty. • source