27th August 2019
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 and computer — according to a written statement by Ajjawi. According to the student, his visa was revoked because of content posted by some social media contacts. The student alleges that…
12th August 2019
In October 2018, the Singapore-based startup LenddoEFL was one of a group of microfinance startups aimed at the developing world that used non-traditional types of data such as behavioural traits and smartphone habits for credit scoring. Lenddo's algorithm uses numerous data points, including the number of words a person uses in email subject lines, the percentage of photos in a smartphone's library that were taken with a front-facing camera, and whether they regularly use financial apps on…
12th July 2019
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 Elaine Duke, a group of 54 concerned computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and researchers objected to ICE’s proposal and demanded that ICE abandon this approach because it would be…
17th May 2019
In February 2019 Google engineers announced that they had created faster, more efficient encryption system that could function on less-expensive Android phones that were too low-powered to implement existing full-device encryption. The scheme, known as Adiantum, uses established and well-vetted encryption tools and principles. Android has required smartphones to support encryption since 2015's version 6, but low-end devices were exempt because of the performance hit. It will now be up to device…
Content type: News & Analysis
20th March 2019
Planning and participating in peaceful protests against governments or non-state actors’ policies and practices requires the capacity of individuals to communicate confidentially without unlawful interference. From protests in support of LGBTI rights to protests against specific projects that undermine local communities’ wellbeing, these movements would not have been possible without the ability to exchange ideas and develop plans in private spaces. Unlawful interference with someone’s…
10th March 2019
You can also read a more detailed explainer about social media intelligence (SOCMINT) here.
25th February 2019
You can also read a more detailed explainer about facial recognition cameras here.
15th February 2019
You can also read a more detailed explainer about IMSI catchers here.
9th February 2019
In July 2018, Facebook announced it was investigating whether the Boston-based company Crimson Hexagon had violated the company's policies on surveillance. Crimson Hexagon markets itself as offering "consumer insights". Its customers include a Russian non-profit with ties to the Kremlin, and multiple US government agencies. After pressure from civil liberties groups, Facebook put a policy in place in March 2017 barring the use of members' data for the purposes of government surveillance.…