iPhones Aren’t Safe From Google’s Sensorvault Database

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Google has a database called Sensorvault. It contains location data of users and shares it with law enforcement—if they have a warrant, of course. Apple honors lawful requests as well. But Jennifer Valentino-DeVries wonders whether the database is too broad.

Google would not provide details on Sensorvault, but Aaron Edens, an intelligence analyst with the sheriff’s office in San Mateo County, Calif., who has examined data from hundreds of phones, said most Android devices and some iPhones he had seen had this data available from Google…

“It shows the whole pattern of life,” said Mark Bruley, the deputy police chief in Brooklyn Park, Minn., where investigators have been using the technique since this fall. “That’s the game changer for law enforcement.”

U.S. Government Tracks Journalists in Database

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A startling investigation by NBC 7 journalists reveals how the U.S. government tracks journalists through use of a database.

Documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates show the U.S. government created a secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports.

In fact, their own government had listed their names in a secret database of targets, where agents collected information on them. Some had alerts placed on their passports, keeping at least two photojournalists and an attorney from entering Mexico to work.

This is why private services like end-to-end encrypted messaging apps are so important. It’s bad enough if a foreign government is surveilling you. We don’t need our own government to do the same.

NSA Spying Program Has Allegedly Ended

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The NSA spying program that analyzed the calls and texts of American citizens has allegedly been shut down.

Christopher Augustine, an N.S.A. spokesman, told The New York Times in January that agency officials were “carefully evaluating all aspects” of the Freedom Act program, and were discussing its future. Mr. Augustine made clear that the White House would make the final call about whether to ask Congress to extend the Freedom Act.

I hope this is actually true. Now we need the GCHQ to not spy on us either.

This Google Nest Device Has a Secret Microphone

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The Nest Secure smart home hub has had a secret microphone this whole time. But poor Google just plain forgot to tell us.

On Tuesday, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider the company had made an “error.” “The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part,” the spokesperson said.

Silly Google, tricks are for kids. Also, get a HomePod.

Feds Share Terrorist Watch List With 1,400 Private Companies

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The federal government shares its terrorist watch list with over 1,400 private companies, including hospitals and universities. The government has insisted for years it doesn’t share it with private companies, only to have lied this whole time. Why would it be a big deal? It’s relatively easy for innocent people to end up on the list.

The government’s admission comes in a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Alexandria by Muslims who say they regularly experience difficulties in travel, financial transactions and interactions with law enforcement because they have been wrongly added to the list. The Associated Press is the first to report on the disclosure after reviewing the case documents.

What Happens When U.S. Personnel Serve a Foreign Intelligence Agency?

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Remember that story about the iPhone hacking tool called Karma? Lawfare published a good piece detailing the consequences of U.S. spies working for a foreign intelligence agency.

Along the way, the Americans came to appreciate that their efforts at times did indeed include surveillance of political opponents of UAE authorities, and further that the UAE service at times targeted Americans despite assurances that this would not occur (or at least that the operations Project Raven in particular conducted or supported would not be directed at Americans).

That’s probably the biggest point of the story. Americans spying on Americans on behalf of another country.

Sorry, Facebook Messenger Decryption is Secret

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Yesterday a U.S. judge ruled that a secret government effort to compel Facebook to decrypt Messenger voice conversations won’t be revealed.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the public’s right to know the state of the law on encryption outweighed any reason the U.S. Justice Department might have for protecting a criminal probe or law-enforcement method.

One word: PRISM.