Category Archive: Territorial privacy

How retail companies use sonic weapons to physically assault kids – and ten ways they can do it better.

By Simon Davies Back in 2005, an entrepreneur by the name of Barry Stapleton came up with an ingenious plan to automatically ward off “unruly” children and young people loitering around high-end retail shops. Stapleton’s idea was to build an ultrasonic device that could be heard only by people under the age of 25 (the …

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Bag searches at borders reveal more than ornamental nipple clamps

Bag searches at the border are becoming a privacy issue. Simon Davies explains why we need to put our foot down on zealous security officials.  The online world is replete with embarrassing tales of air travellers who have suffered the indignity of having the intimate contents of their luggage aired in public by zealous security …

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How law enforcement cooperates – and what we should do about it

In the second part of a two-part series, Simon Davies examines the ongoing controversy over arrangements for exchange of information and judicial process between nations. Last week, the European Parliament approved a new Umbrella Agreement to protect personal information that is passed between the law enforcement authorities in the EU and the US. It’s a …

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Google takes a dangerous stride from your head to your home

By Simon Davies Odds are that the next big swoon for tech journalists will be the Internet enabled smart home, whose clever interconnected devices could eventually outwit even the most street-smart homeowner. So when market leader Nest Labs this week announced that it was opening up its “conscious home” platform to developers, most media commentators …

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What the Italians can teach us about home security

By Simon Davies For some decades, many Americans have felt deeply anxious about their personal security. This anxiety became so embedded that by 1980 two-thirds of the nation reported feeling “highly fearful” of becoming a victim of violent crime. You might imagine that this fear would be reflected in an obsession with proven and robust …

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Google Glass goes on sale today – but there are relatively few circumstances where you can legally and safely use it

By Simon Davies Google’s controversial Glass technology goes on sale to the public for the first time today amidst a flamboyantly promoted one-day sale across the US – but “buyer beware”. The experience might not be as rich as you imagine. Ignore for a moment the rising tide of public concern about Glass – or …

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Google reveals the secret of its success: “dolphin power”

By Simon Davies It has been revealed that Google executives derive their power from dolphins. Well, from the metaphor of dolphins. This surprising news comes courtesy of the personal blog of Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel. After launching into yet another diatribe against Europe’s rule of law (which are always entertaining) he poetically reflects: …

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US states pilot the drone menace into the statute books

By Simon Davies A new report on the regulation of drones in the US has identified a surge in state legislation to control the technology. The analysis “The Year of the Drone” was prepared by Allie Bohm of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It presents an interesting picture of increased activity by state legislatures …

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Military drones are scary enough, but toy-store drones without ethical guidelines are going to be terrifying

By Simon Davies Walking through Boston Airport yesterday brought both the chill of foreboding and a thrill of excitement. I was being chased by a miniature drone. It was an awesome piece of technology. Controlled remotely through the Android platform it had two high resolution cameras, gyroscopic stabilisers and proximity sensors. The video images were …

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In the blink of an eye, Google Glass has just shifted to the dark side

By Simon Davies Last week a California start-up – Lambda Labs – announced that it is about to release a face recognition app for Google Glass. With this simple innovation the wearable technology has been transformed from a cool gizmo into a privacy quagmire. Facial recognition is a digital “biometric” technique that scans a face …

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