Study: Malfunctioning Surveillance Gear, Not Sonic Weapons, Could Explain Cuba Embassy ‘Attack’

Bizarre reports of US diplomatic staff in Cuba suffering from symptoms resembling brain trauma, allegedly after hearing unsettling sounds resembling scraping metal or insects buzzing, have continued to baffle medical researchers. But a team from the University of Michigan may have come up with a credible explanation for the incident, per the Miami Herald. Read More >>

Apple Moves Chinese iCloud Encryption Keys to China, Worrying Privacy Advocates

Apple has moved encryption keys for mainland Chinese iCloud users to China, potentially enabling much easier access to data for the nation’s heavy-handed authorities and worrying privacy advocates. Read More >>

Finally, Facial Recognition for Cows is Here

Face recognition has spread from airports to football games to primary schools and now, farms and stables. An Irish computer vision company, Cargill and Cainthus, announced Wednesday that they’re piloting face recognition technology on cows starting this year. Privacy advocates may be less concerned by the threat of an encroaching bovine panopticon, but the worldwide pilot speaks to how both AI and face recognition technologies are slowly being embedded in all aspects of modern life. Read More >>

China Denies That It Gifted the African Union an HQ Building Stuffed Full of Surveillance Devices

The government of China has long held an interest in building bridges with countries across Africa, which it sees as both a major opportunity for economic investment and a chance to project geopolitical power. But while mutual solidarity is nice and all, the Chinese want to leave as little to chance as possible in their influence-building project on the continent, per a recent investigation by French newspaper Le Monde. Read More >>

The US Intelligence Community Apparently Wants Someone to Build Them a Brain

Are you a postdoctoral researcher with a hankering to help the US government hone its brain-warfare skills? Well, this is just the job for you! Read More >>

US Army Base Ditches Chinese-Made Surveillance Cameras Just So No One Gets the Wrong Idea

US Army officials say they replaced five Chinese-made surveillance cameras from Fort Leonard Wood, a base in the state of Missouri, in response to news stories about the company that manufactures them. The five cameras were made by Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, which is 42 per cent owned by the Chinese government and is just one of several Chinese firms facing greater scrutiny by American officials. Read More >>

Why Researchers Are Targeting a Shadowy FBI Programme Called ‘Gravestone’

If you’re the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), tasked with rapidly uncovering plots involving terrorism and cybercrime, you want access to as much intelligence as you can get your hands on. After all, your successes are rarely rewarded with a ticker-tape parade, but when you fail, well, there’s lots of career-ending blame and congressional testimony to go around. Read More >>

Edward Snowden’s New App Turns Your Spare Android Phone into a Pocket-Sized Security System

US whistleblower Edward Snowden has helped create a new way to protect you from potential snoops. Read More >>

Former Employee Accuses Uber of Hacking and Surveillance

In a damning letter released today, a former Uber employee, Richard Jacobs, claims that the company engaged in several illegal practises, including hacking, trade secret theft, and surveillance—all in an effort to emerge at the top of the competitive ride-hailing market. Read More >>

Redditors Say Sex Toy App Was Secretly Recording Them

Few things sow distrust faster than speculation that apps and internet-connected devices are surveilling their own users in secret. Facebook mining your browsing habits to serve adverts is one thing. But what if you found out your sex toy was taping you? Read More >>

north korea
North Korea’s Apple Obsession Brings New Meaning to the Phrase ‘Walled Garden’

The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea is not known for embracing outside influences. But the country’s ruling elite are such big fans of Apple that North Korean technology has been designed to mimic hardware and software developed by the company. And Pyongyang’s admiration for Cupertino apparently goes much deeper—and darker. Read More >>

British Spies Accused of Gathering Untold Social Media Data on Innocents, ‘Unlawfully’ Sharing it With Foreign Powers

British spy agencies have collected and shared huge databases of personal and social media information on millions of individuals, and effectively circumvented the investigatory body tasked with surveillance oversight, according to documents newly obtained by Privacy International, a London-based consumer advocacy group. Read More >>

Citizen, the Creepy Crime-Fighting App Formerly Known as Vigilante, Somehow Gets £9 Million

Citizen, the extremely dubious rebranding of Vigilante—an app which notifies users of 911 reports near them and encourages them to go out and shoot videos of the crimes and their aftermath—has somehow managed to acquire a new round of eight-figure funding. Read More >>

Prosecutor Claims Social Media Surveillance of Black Lives Matter Members Wasn’t Surveillance

Six local Black Lives Matter members in Clarkstown, New York have filed a federal suit against the town, its chief of police, police sergeant, and its Special Investigations Unit, accusing them of racial profiling and illegal surveillance that violated their first and 14th amendment rights. In a response to a local news outlet, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe denied the charges. The SIU, he says, does not engage in the illegal surveillance BLM members have alleged. Read More >>

Motorola’s New Body Cam AI Stops Just Short of Dystopian Surveillance

Unsurprisingly, the latest AI advancement in body camera technology comes no closer to increasing police accountability or officer transparency. As the public’s push for body cameras has died down, tech companies are now making their own appeal for body cameras to the police departments that buy them: offering sharper, smarter surveillance. Read More >>