USA

The non-profit Resolve to Save Lives, led by Tom Frieden, director of the CDC in the Obama administration, finds that six months after the first coronavirus cases in the US most states are failing to report crucial information needed to track and control the spread of COVID-19. Among the issues
22 Jul 2020
Analysis of untreated wastewater from the county health department in Yosemite Valley led Biobot Analytics, based in Cambridge, MA, to estimate that 170 people in Yosemite national park during the July 4 weekend may have been infected with the coronavirus, dropping to 60 during the following week
16 Jul 2020
US epidemiologists are complaining that secrecy is interfering with public health efforts to curb the coronavirus. Beginning in April, California state and county health authorities have refused requests from scientists from Stanford University and several University of California campuses for
15 Jul 2020
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement service announced in July that the State Department will not issue visas to students whose universities shift to online-only learning and they must leave the country or face deportation. More than 1 million higher education students in the US come from
01 Jun 2020
Thermal temperature scanners, software keystroke monitors, and wearable location trackers are proliferating in US workplaces, with the data they collect outside of any of the country's electronic privacy laws. Companies report that employers are being asked to form part of the front line of contact
21 Apr 2020
Many of the steps suggested in a draft programme for China-style mass surveillance in the US are being promoted and implemented as part of the government’s response to the pandemic, perhaps due to the overlap of membership between the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, the body
12 Jun 2020
The officials managing Florida’s 100-plus coronavirus test sites have asked the 1.3 million people tested so far for for names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and insurance information. Nearly 1,000 private labs process these tests, and dozens of contractor organisations collect swabs and
15 Jun 2020
US state and local authorities are using data from a host of location tracking companies, some of them little-known, such as X-Mode Social, Foursquare Labs, Cuebiq, Unacast, Phunware, and SafeGraph, to help them decide how and when to reopen. Many of these companies are part of the adtech industry
29 Apr 2020
Amazon has spent $10 million to buy 1,500 cameras to take the temperature of workers from the Chinese firm Zhejiang Dahua Technology Company even though the US previously blacklisted Dahua because it was alleged to have helped China detain and monitor the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. The
01 May 2020
The controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI, which came to public attention for scraping billions of photos off social media sites to create a comprehensive facial recognition system, says it has offered to help US federal and three state agencies with contact tracing. The company
04 May 2020
In April, the US state of North Carolina's Dare County enacted a series of emergency declarations that establish checkpoints at all points where roads cross the county borders; travellers show an ID card with a Dare County address or a county-issued permit in order to enter the county. Dare County
10 May 2020
A number of incidents in which Zoom events in education settings were disrupted led the New York City school district to ban the use of Zoom for remote learning. Among the Zoombombing incidents: saboteurs inserted racist and anti-Semitic messages into a virtual graduation ceremony at Oklahoma City
24 Apr 2020
At least four law enforcement agencies in the US - two in California, and one in each of Maryland and Texas - are using drones to communicate with homeless people about maintaining social distance because encampments are located in areas that are difficult to access and police do not have to visit
29 Apr 2020
Hawaii governor David Ige has ordered all travellers to the island US state arriving between March 26 and May 31 to self-quarantine for 14 days. Violating the order is a criminal offence and subject to a $5,000 fine and up to a year's imprisonment. In addition, the Department of Transportation
25 Apr 2020
The automated facial recognition company Clearview AI has suggested to US federal and state authorities that its facial biometrics could leverage cameras already in place at gyms and retailers in order to identify individuals in the interests of contact tracing. Simultaneously, the company is asking
16 Apr 2020
New versions of drones that currently issue audio warnings reminding people in Elizabeth, New Jersey to observe social distancing guidelines will incorporate sensors and fever-detecting cameras that will monitor if people are sick or failing to social distance on the trails and in the parks of
29 Mar 2020

Saudi Arabia appears to be exploiting weaknesses in the global mobile telecoms network to track its citizens as they travel around the US, according to a whistleblower who has shown the Guardian millions of alleged secret tracking requests.

Data revealed by the whistleblower, who is seeking to expose vulnerabilities in a global messaging system called SS7, appears to suggest a systematic spying campaign by the kingdom, according to experts.

The data suggests that millions of secret tracking requests emanated from Saudi Arabia over a four-month period beginning in November 2019.

The tracking requests, which sought to establish the US location of Saudi–registered phones, appeared to originate from Saudi’s three biggest mobile phone companies.

The whistleblower said they were unable to find any legitimate reason for the high volume of the requests for location information. “There is no other explanation, no other technical reason to do this. Saudi Arabia is weaponising mobile technologies,” the whistleblower claimed. The data leaked by
31 Jan 2020
After 195 US citizens were repatriated from Wuhan, China in January they were placed in quarantine without warning in a cordoned-off section of the Air Force Research Base in California's Mojave Desert. The legal position of this and other similar quarantines is unclear, as the Centers for Disease
06 Mar 2020
Despite warnings that airport screening will only delay but not stop disease outbreaks, in early March US vice-president Mike Pence pledged "100% screening" on direct flights from Italy and South Korea to the United States. Source: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/why-airport-screening-wont
16 Sep 2019
Bethany Christian Services, an international pregnancy support and adoption agency, is launching a programme with Copley Advertising to send targeted ads to individuals visiting Planned Parenthood clinics, abortion clinics, methadone clinics and high-risk areas (AHPA). The targeting will be done
A 17-year-old Palestinian resident of Lebanon, Ismail B. Ajjawi, was deported shortly after he arrived at Boston Airport, where he was due to start attending Harvard University the following week. Immigration officers subjected him to hours of questioning — at one point leaving to search his phone
In November 2018 reports emerged that immigrants heading north from Central America to the US border are more and more often ensuring they are accompanied by children because "family units" are known to be less likely to be deported, at least temporarily, and smugglers charge less than half as much
03 Oct 2018
The 90-year old suspect when to his stepdaughter's house at San Jose, California for a brief visit. Five days later, his stepdaugter's body, Karen was discovered by a co-worker in her house with fatal lacerations on her head and neck. The police used the data recorded by the victim's Fitbit fitness
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
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”
10 Apr 2019
An investigation by Bloomberg, disclosed that thousands of Amazon employees around the world are listening in on Amazon Echo users.
14 Nov 2018
In yet another murder case, a New Hampshire judge ordered Amazon to turn over two days of Amazon Echo recordings in a double murder case in November 2018. Prosecutors believe that recordings from an Amazon Echo in the Farmington home where two women were murdered in January 2017 may yield further
02 Dec 2017
In 2015, James Bates (of Arkansas, United States) was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Victor Collins. Collins was found floating face down in Bates’ hot tub in November 2015, police said. Amazon Echo entered the murder case because someone present on the night of Collins’ death
04 Apr 2018
In the United States, monitoring efforts to combat public benefits fraud are often part of a broader approach that focuses on stigmatizing people receiving benefits and reducing their number, rather than ensuring that the maximum number of people who are eligible receive benefits. However, fraud
21 Dec 2017
In the United States, while everyone is surveilled not every is equal when it comes to surveillance. Factors including poverty, race, religion, ethnicity, and immigration status will affect how much you end up being surveilled. This reality has a punitive effect on poor people and their families and
20 Dec 2018
In 2015, officials within the US Treasury Department Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes unit used a network of private Gmail and Hotmail accounts set up by the Russians with the stated goal of jointly defeating ISIS. Soon, however, instead the Russian financial crimes agency was
18 Dec 2018
A December 2018 report prepared by the Oxford Internet Institute's Computational propaganda Research Project and the network analysis firm Graphika for the US Senate Intelligence Committee found that the campaign conducted by Russia's Internet Research Agency during the 2016 US presidential election
04 Dec 2018
During the campaign leading up to the 2018 US midterm elections, the email accounts of four senior aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee were surveilled for several months. The intrusion was detected in April 2018 by an NRCC vendor, who alerted the committee and its cybersecurity
02 Nov 2018
Facebook's latest tool for inspecting political ads showed that in the run-up to the US mid-term elections in November 2018, many of the same politicians who had been questioning Facebook about privacy and leaked user data were spending campaign funds on advertisements on the service. Between 2014
08 May 2018
Although the US rejected a "National Data Center" approach in 1966, eventually instead passing the 1974 Privacy Act, in 2018 the House of Representatives proposed a national database of all 40 million recipients of benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as
24 Jun 2018
During 2018, when US president Donald Trump operated a policy under which immigration officers separated families arriving at the border without documentation, there were a number of suggestions for using genetic testing to verify family relationships in the interests of reuniting them. After
07 Apr 2018
In late 2018, after apps like Strava and Polar Flow exposed the movements of staff around military bases, the US Department of Defense banned military troops and other workers at sensitive sites from using fitness trackers and other apps that could reveal their users' location. Military leaders will
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
15 May 2018
In 2011, the US Department of Homeland Security funded research into a virtual border agent kiosk called AVATAR, for Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time, and tested it at the US-Mexico border on low-risk travellers who volunteered to participate. In the following years, the
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
In February 2018 the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signed a contract with Vigilant Solutions, giving it access to the company's giant database of billions of license plate records, which can be searched to produce every place a given license plate has been seen in the last five years
07 Jul 2016
In 2016, supporters of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul for president were surprised to begin getting emails from the Trump campaign soon after their candidates dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination. In an investigation, CNNMoney found that nearly every failed 2016 presidential candidate sold
24 Nov 2015
Documents submitted as part of a 2015 US National Labor Relations Board investigation show that Walmart, long known to be hostile to unions, spied on and retaliated against a group of employees who sought higher wages, more full-time jobs, and predictable schedules. In combating the group, who
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
In 2015, The Intercept obtained documents showing that the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota used a fake Facebook account to friend and monitor local Black Lives Matter activists, and collect their personal information and photographs without their knowledge. The account was discovered in a