Posted by: Clarinette | September 2, 2010

Life under digits

Update 20/03/2012

This could article could have been titled ‘when reality catch up with science fiction‘.

How to believe that your refrigerator is reporting you to the CIA or your flat screen TV is watching you?
Well, it’s all true, read by yourself :

– ‘CIA: We’ll spy on you through your refrigerator

– ‘Is Your New HDTV Watching You?
and from The Consumerist ‘Maybe Your New TV Is Watching You

– ‘Who is snooping into your address book?‘.
You will read that connected to the Path scandal of accessing your address book, Apple did told the US Congress ‘they caught and stopped Yelp, GoWalla, Hipster and Fooduspotting from doing this in the past.

– ‘Special Report: Chinese firm helps Iran spy on citizens‘ Do you beleive these technologies are exclusively used in Iran and in China?

– ‘Investigators question what Google knew, and when

– ‘Google asked to clarify privacy policy issues in ongoing EU laws compliance investigation

– ‘A clean-sweep of social media permissions

– ‘Lessons from Rutgers on privacy and hate speech‘, the student who set up a spycam to catch roommate Tyler Clementi in a same-sex romantic moment, and tweeted about it.

In a context where the security of sensitive collected data is not absolute, what to think of biometrics data stored by governments?
Here, the French highest jurisdiction has rejected biometrics in France.
Communiqué de Presse: “Par sa décision n° 2012-652 DC du 22 mars 2012, le Conseil constitutionnel s’est prononcé sur la loi relative à la protection de l’identité dont il avait été saisi par plus de soixante députés et plus de soixante sénateurs….

… le Conseil constitutionnel a jugé que la création d’un traitement de données à caractère personnel destiné à préserver l’intégrité des données nécessaires à la délivrance des titres d’identité et de voyage permet de sécuriser la délivrance de ces titres et d’améliorer l’efficacité de la lutte contre la fraude. Elle est ainsi justifiée par un motif d’intérêt général.
D’autre part, le Conseil constitutionnel a examiné l’ensemble des caractéristiques du fichier. En premier lieu, il est destiné à recueillir des données relatives à la quasi-totalité de la population française. En deuxième lieu, parmi les données enregistrées dans ce fichier, les données biométriques, notamment les empreintes digitales, sont particulièrement sensibles. En troisième lieu, les caractéristiques techniques de ce fichier permettent son interrogation à d’autres fins que la vérification de l’identité d’une personne. En quatrième lieu, la loi déférée autorise la consultation ou l’interrogation de ce fichier non seulement aux fins de délivrance ou de renouvellement des titres d’identité et de voyage et de vérification de l’identité du possesseur d’un tel titre, mais également à d’autres fins de police administrative ou judiciaire.

Eu égard à la nature des données enregistrées, à l’ampleur de ce traitement, à ses caractéristiques techniques et aux conditions de sa consultation, le Conseil constitutionnel a jugé que l’article 5 de la loi déférée a porté au droit au respect de la vie privée une atteinte qui ne peut être regardée comme proportionnée au but poursuivi. Il a en conséquence censuré les articles 5 et 10 de la loi déférée et par voie de conséquence, le troisième alinéa de l’article 6, l’article 7 et la seconde phrase de l’article 8.

Par ailleurs, le Conseil constitutionnel a examiné l’article 3 de la loi qui conférait une fonctionnalité nouvelle à la carte nationale d’identité. Cet article ouvrait la possibilité que cette carte contienne des « données » permettant à son titulaire de mettre en oeuvre sa signature électronique, ce qui la transformait en outil de transaction commerciale. Le Conseil a relevé que la loi déférée ne précisait ni la nature des « données » au moyen desquelles ces fonctions pouvaient être mises en oeuvre ni les garanties assurant l’intégrité et la confidentialité de ces données. La loi ne définissait pas davantage les conditions d’authentification des personnes mettant en oeuvre ces fonctions, notamment pour les mineurs. Le Conseil a en conséquence jugé que la loi, faute de ces précisions, avait méconnu l’étendue de sa compétence. Il a censuré l’article 3 de la loi. “

Update 25/01/2012

Here comes the smart pill that allows patients’ tracking and surveillance ! ‘Le médicament qui vous surveille.

Le medicament qui envoie un SMS au medecin:

‘Le médicament qui envoie un SMS au médecin – par Janko Skorup – L’invention d’une entreprise californienne pourrait changer le quotidien des malades. La firme a créé un comprimé comportant une micropuce, qui envoie des informations au médecin. storybild’

In August 2010, this article mentioned ‘NHS tests Proteus Biomedical’s smart pills

‘The United Kingdom’s National Health Service plans to begin piloting Proteus Biomedical’s “smart pills” this month to help curb health costs due to medication non-adherence among heart failure patients, according to a report in the Financial Times. The Royal Berkshire and Imperial College healthcare trusts are currently looking for 40 patients for the clinical trial, which will last four months.’

Top News Arab Emirates wrote ‘Proteus Biomedical Brings Smart Pills with Sensor in Britain

‘The report finds that the system is embedded with a sensor that is of rice grain size that is made up from food ingredients, reacting with stomach fluids that power signal and send statistics to skin patch.’

The Burril Report, 20 January 2012, titles : ‘Proteus Debuts Smart Pill in the United Kingdom

‘Digital health startup Proteus Biomedical is partnering with Lloydspharmacy for the first commercial launch its smart pill and patch system, which will be sold at pharmacies across the United Kingdom.’

InPharm, 20 January 2012, adds in ‘Proteus Biomedical has teamed up with Lloydspharmacy to sell Helius, a smart pill that tells a patient when to take a drug‘ :

‘The sensors release copper and magnesium into the body, which is then detected by a patch that attaches like a bandage to the patient’s skin, taking a digital stamp of when the pill was digested. ‘

These ‘smart pills’ could not only raise privacy and human dignity issues, but health issues as well.

On the privacy side, some of the challenges are:

– Which consent? How much the patient is aware of the process and it consequences to give an ‘informed’ consent’?

– Who has access to these data?

– how to revoke consent?

– Which guarantee of transparency?

Thank you to @Manhack for revealing this concerning news.

Update 11/01/2011 :
Exclusive: Google, CIA Invest in ‘Future’ of Web Monitoring. Google already knows much about us: flu tracking, search history, Gmails, voice, Google chats, Google pictures, Google doc, YouTube videos, purchases, holidays,  kids,…. to be shared for better or for worse.

Update 09/01/2011
‘Iris Scanning Set To Secure City in Mexico, Then the World
Electronic Pickpocketing using RFID to read credit cards
‘What Your Digital Photos Reveal About You’

‘Geotags invade privacy and OPSEC’

On my reading list: Michio Kaku: Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

Last week, I purchased my first London Oyster Card. This made me wonder in which society we are living.
Knowing that from now own, as it has become compulsory to use an Oyster card for every public transport in London, all my movements will be recorded.
Everywhere we go we leave footprints. In every border custom, as more and more countries keep a scan of passports; Countries increasingly collect digital finger prints or iris scan. When applying for visa, you are asked the details of your entire family, including parents and siblings.
At the Sydney airport, you are asked to declare if you are in possession of ‘pornography’. Who knows what they mean by ‘pornography’.  In some countries, a women showing her hair is indecent. In France, you’d easily go to the beach topless or less, would these sort of pictures be authorised to enter and be seen by Australian citizen?
Hotels keep a copy of passports, including some very personal information,
Pictures taken with a camera or smart phones keep track of the locations visited. When uploaded to a website such as Flickr, the location information used to be revealed.
Mobile phones by default tend to keep track of all movements by GPS.
Web surfing history at hotels or public places are collect.
Through purchases, track of all places visited are kept.
Many places increasingly use and store number plates recognition.
Some clothes or other items I purchased contained RFID tags. that includes some detergent spying on customers?
Why should we care? We have nothing to hide.

Many would probably not even notice anything unusual. London has turned into the capital city of CCTV cameras. Children are used to show their finger to pay for school lunch.
They have no fear of the Big Brother.
Classrooms are equipped by a microphone to broadcast big brother the announcements.

Law enforcement can  one day judge someone’s behaviour based on these collected data.

What about this guy who had to record every single of his movement to justify his innocence?

What if, my un-orthodoxe way of life became suspicious?
What if my homonyms did anything wrong?
What if the other Clarinette behaved ‘suspiciously’?
‘Every email and website to be stored by government’

Should we stop the omni-surveillance ?



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Monique Altheim, Monique Altheim. Monique Altheim said: Life under digits #privacy #surveillance #big brother […]

  2. Even this comment, by its recorded IP address in the server logs, can be traced back to my front door.

    The thing is though, when does convenience and/or safety cross the boundary of privacy? Is this boundary changing with each generation? And should we “expect” it to keep changing?

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