Government

03 Jun 2020
Within days of the announcement that the UK's new Joint Biosecurity Centre would be run by Tom Hurd, the Home Office's head of counter-terrorism, the government announced that instead it would be moved to the Department of Health and led by Clara Swinson, a senior health official responsible for
16 Nov 2017
In 2017, US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would seek to use artificial intelligence to automatically evaluate the probability of a prospective immigrant “becoming a positively contributing member of society.” In a letter to acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary
17 Aug 2018
US Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) used social media monitoring to track groups and people in New York City associated with public events opposing the Trump administration’s policies, including ones related to immigration and gun control. The investigative branch of ICE created and
09 Jan 2019
The US government created a database of more than 50 journalists and immigrant rights advocates, many of whom were American citizens, associated with the journey of migrants travelling from Central America to the Mexico-US border in late 2018. Officials from Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
29 Apr 2019
A private intelligence company, LookingGlass Cyber Solutions, used social media to monitor more than 600 “Family Separation Day Protests” held across the United States on June 30, 2018, to oppose the Trump administration’s policy family separation policy. The policy was part of a “zero tolerance”
06 May 2019
Absher, an online platform and mobile phone app created by the Saudi Arabian government, can allow men to restrict women’s ability to travel, live in Saudi Arabia, or access government services. This app, which is available in the Google and Apple app stores, supports and enables the discriminatory
28 Jan 2019
As part of its planning for the 2020 Olympic Games, due to be held in Tokyo, Japan approved a law that would allow the government to conduct a survey to identify vulnerable Internet of Things devices. The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology staff who carry out the survey
19 Apr 2018
By 2018, Palantir, founded in 2004 by Peter Thiel to supply tools for finding obscure connections by analysing a wide range of data streams to the Pentagon and the CIA for the War on Terror, was supplying its software to the US Department of Health and Human Services to detect Medicare fraud, to the
21 Sep 2018
In September 2018 the UK's Information Commissioner found that it was likely that during 2017 a number of migrant rough sleepers were reported to the Home Office enforcement teams by the homelessness charity St. Mungo's. The finding followed a complaint from the Public Interest Law Unit. The charity
08 Jul 2018
In July 2018, members of the Internal Security Organisation, Uganda's counterintelligence agency, raided South African telecommunications provider MTN's Uganda data centre in Mutundwe. In a letter to the police, MTN said the ISO kidnapped a data manager who worked for the contractor that ran the
31 May 2018
Rising suspicion of benefits claimants in the UK led by 2018 to the Department of Work and Pensions' adoption of numerous surveillance tactics, including using social media postings, gym memberships, airport footage, and surveillance video from public buildings including supermarkets, to build cases
22 Aug 2018
The 2017 hack of the shipping company A.P. Møller-Maersk, which manages 800 seafaring vessels and 76 ports that handle nearly a fifth of the world's shipping capacity, required an emergency shutdown of the company's entire IT system, including its phones. Maersk was a victim of NotPetya, the most
24 Sep 2018
In 2018, the Paris prosecutor's office opened a preliminary inquiry after the lawyer Pierre Farge accused a Bercy specialist intelligence branch of the tax authorities of hacking his firm's database to access information covered by professional confidentiality. The case serves to illustrate the
09 Apr 2018
A 2016 Privacy International report on Syrian state surveillance found that between 2007 and 2012 the Assad regime spent millions of dollars on building a nationwide communications monitoring system. By 2012, this surveillance capability helped the Syrian government target and murder journalists
26 Jul 2018
In 2018, the chair of the London Assembly's police and crime committee called on London's mayor to cut the budget of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, which provides oversight, in order to pay for AI systems. The intention was that the efficiencies of adopting AI would free up officers'
17 May 2018
In May 2018, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement abandoned the development of machine learning software intended to mine Facebook, Twitter, and the open Internet to identify terrorists. The software, announced in the summer of 2017, had been a key element of president Donald Trump's "extreme
30 Sep 2018
In September 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security proposed to add credit scores and histories to the list of information immigrants are required to submit when applying for legal resident status. The stated purpose of the proposed rule is to bar those who might become a "public charge" from
06 Sep 2018
Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the New York City Police Department installed thousands of CCTV cameras and by 2008 in partnership with Microsoft had built the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center to consolidate its video surveillance operations into a single command centre that also
16 Dec 2017
In December 2017, it was revealed that the large telco Bharti Airtel made use of Aadhaar-linked eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer) to open bank accounts for their customers without their knowledge or consent. eKYC is a way of using data in the UIDAI database as part of the verification process
Designed for use by border guards, Unisys' LineSight software uses advanced data analytics and machine learning to help border guards decide whether to inspect travellers more closely before admitting them into their country. Unisys says the software assesses each traveller's risk beginning with the
27 Feb 2018
Under a secret deal beginning in 2012, the data mining company Palantir provided software to a New Orleans Police Department programme that used a variety of data such as ties to gang members, criminal histories, and social media to predict the likelihood that individuals would commit acts of
In a draft January 2018 report obtained by Foreign Policy and produced at the request of US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, the Department of Homeland Security called for continuous vetting of Sunni Muslim immigrants deemed to have "at-risk" profiles. Based on studying 25
The story began with the free Bylock messaging app, which was used between 2014 and 2016 and which the Turkish government associated with treason and followers of Fethullah Gülen, the group they believe was behind the attempted 2016 coup. The app was downloaded roughly half a million times and had
12 Feb 2018
In February 2018 the Home Office gave the Yorkshire Police 250 scanners that use a smartphone app to run mobile fingerprint checks against the UK's criminal fingerprint and biometrics database (IDENT1) and the Immigration and Asylum Biometrics System (IABS). The app was simultaneously made available
30 Jan 2018
As a gift in 2012, the Chinese government built the African Union's $200 million Addis Ababa headquarters, where African ministers and heads of state meet twice a year to discuss major continental issues. In 2017, Le Monde Afrique discovered that the building's computer systems incorporated an
07 Feb 2018
In February 2018, police in China began using connected sunglasses equipped with facial recognition to scan crowds looking for suspected criminals. In a test at a busy train station in the city of Zhengzhou, police were able to identify and apprehend seven suspects accused of crimes ranging from hit
Mothers of black, male teenagers in Chicago, fear their children will be added to the Chicago Police Department's gang database. As of the end of 2017, the database contains the names of 130,000 people, 90% of them black or Latino, who are suspected of being gang members. Most have never been
In the remote western city Xinjiang, the Chinese government is using new technology and humans to monitor every aspect of citizens' lives. China, which has gradually increased restrictions in the region over the last ten years in response to unrest and violent attacks, blames the need for these
18 Oct 2016
A 2016 report, "The Perpetual Lineup", from the Center for Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University's law school based on records from dozens of US police departments found that African-Americans are more likely to have their images captured, analysed, and reviewed during computerised
24 Apr 2016
As part of its Smart Nation programme, in 2016 Singapore launched the most extensive collection of data on everyday living ever attempted in a city. The programme involved deploying myriad sensors and cameras across the city-state to comprehensively monitor people, places, and things, including all
20 Jul 2015
On July 1, 2015 Kuwait's National Assembly passed a new counter-terrorism law that included the requirement that all 1.3 million Kuwaiti citizens and 2.9 million foreign residents provide DNA samples, which will be stored in a database maintained and operated by the Interior Ministry. The law, which
09 Jul 2015
In 2015, Chinese hackers stole sensitive information including social security numbers and residency, employment, educational, and medical histories concerning more than 21 million people from the US Office of Personnel Management. OPM houses this information about all federal employees along with
10 Jan 2016
A new generation of technology has given local law enforcement officers in some parts of the US unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens. In Fresno, California, the police department's $600,000 Real Time Crime Center is providing a model for other such centres that have opened in New
09 Oct 2015
In 2015, Ant Financial, a Chinese company affiliated with Alibaba, began deploying "Sesame Credit scores". Ant, which also runs the popular payment app Alipay, claims that it uses both online and offline purchasing and spending habits to calculate a credit worthiness score for each of its more than
08 Apr 2016
In September 2016, the US Federal Trade Commission hosted a workshop to study the impact of big data analysis on poor people, whose efforts to escape poverty may be hindered by the extensive amounts of data being gathered about them. Among those who intensively surveil low-income communities are
11 Mar 2016
In 2016 Jonathan Evans, the former head of Britain's MI5 warned that private firms are analysing "open source" - that is, publicly posted - information to create profiles that are just as intrusive as anything Britain's intelligence agencies deploy and that the gap is closing between open
09 Apr 2017
In a 2017 study of patterns of postings on Chinese social media, three Harvard researchers disagreed with the widespread claim that the government's strategy is to post "50c party" posts that argue for the government's side in policy and political debates. Instead, the researchers estimated that the
10 Jun 2016
In June 2016, National Security Agency deputy director Richard Ledgett told a conference on military technology conference that the agency was researching whether internet-connected biomedical devices such as pacemakers could be used to collect foreign intelligence. Ledgett identified the complexity
06 Oct 2015
In 2015, the Canadian Department of National Defence issued a procurement request for a contractor who could find "vulnerabilities and security measures" in a 2015 pick-up truck whose model and make were not specified and "develop and demonstrate exploits" for the military. The contractor was to
A new generation of technology has given local law enforcement officers in some parts of the US unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens. The police department of Frenso California uses a cutting-edge Real Time Crime Center that relies on software like Beware. As officers respond to
14 Nov 2016
At the Sixth Annual Conference on Social Media Within the Defence and Military Sector, held in London in 2016, senior military and intelligence officials made it clear that governments increasingly view social media as a tool for the Armed Forces and a "new front in warfare". Social media are also
10 Sep 2015
In 2015, US director of national intelligence James Clapper, backed by National Security Agency director Admiral Michael Rogers, warned Congress that the next phase of escalating online data theft is likely to involve manipulating digital information. Clapper and Rogers viewed this type of attack as
10 Aug 2015
In May 2015, the US Department of Justice and the FBI submitted a declaration to an Oregon federal judge stating that the US government's no-fly lists and broader watchlisting system relied on predictive judgements of individuals rather than records of actual offences. The documents were filed as
A new examination of documents detailing the US National Security Agency's SKYNET programme shows that SKYNET carries out mass surveillance of Pakistan's mobile phone network and then uses a machine learning algorithm to score each of its 55 million users to rate their likelihood of being a
27 Mar 2017
A US House of Representatives oversight committee was told in March 2017 that photographs of about half of the adult US population are stored in facial recognition databases that can be accessed by the FBI without their knowledge or consent. In addition, about 80% of the photos in the FBI's network
In 2017, a website run by the Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security leaked the personal details of over.1 million Aadhaar subscribers, most of them old age pensioners who had enabled automatic benefits payment into their bank accounts. Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued to