License Plate Surveillance, Courtesy of Your Homeowners Association
Flock Safety works with police to market scanners to hundreds of private community groups — which have no privacy safeguards.
At a city council meeting in June 2021, Mayor Thomas Kilgore, of Lakeway, Texas, made an announcement that confused his community.
“I believe it is my duty to inform you that a surveillance system has been installed in the city of Lakeway,” he told the perplexed crowd.
Kilgore was referring to a system consisting of eight license plate readers, installed by the private company Flock Safety, that was tracking cars on both private and public roads. Despite being in place for six months, no one had told residents that they were being watched. Kilgore himself had just recently learned of the cameras.
“We find ourselves with a surveillance system,” he said, “with no information and no policies, procedures, or protections.”
The deal to install the cameras had not been approved by the city government’s executive branch.
Instead, the Rough Hollow Homeowners Association, a nongovernment entity, and the Lakeway police chief had signed off on the deal in January 2021, giving police access to residents’ footage. By the time of the June city council meeting, the surveillance system had notified the police department over a dozen times.
“We thought we were just being a partner with the city,” Bill Hayes, the chief operating officer of Legend Communities, which oversees the Rough Hollow Homeowners Association, said at the meeting. “We didn’t go out there thinking we were being Big Brother.”
Lakeway is just one example of a community that has faced Flock’s surveillance without many homeowners’ knowledge or approval. Neighbors in Atlanta, Georgia, remained in the dark for a year after cameras were put up. In Lake County, Florida, nearly 100 cameras went up “overnight like mushrooms,” according to one county commissioner — without a single permit.
Flock Safety, which began as a startup in 2017 in Atlanta and is now valued at approximately $3.5 billion, has targeted homeowners associations, or HOAs, in partnership with police departments, to become one of the largest surveillance vendors in the nation. There are key strategic reasons that make homeowners associations the ideal customer. HOAs have large budgets — they collect over $100 billion a year from homeowners — and it’s an opportunity for law enforcement to gain access into gated, private areas, normally out of their reach.
Over 200 HOAs nationwide have bought and installed Flock’s license plate readers, according to an Intercept investigation, the most comprehensive count to date. HOAs are private entities and therefore are not subject to public records requests or regulation.
In generating partnerships with private neighborhoods, however, police capitalize on a loophole in law: getting around restrictions on data collection. In Washington state, where it’s illegal to track plates, HOAs like Alder Meadow, in a wealthy Seattle suburb, share their access to the technology with local police. And since Fourth Amendment privacy rules do not apply to private citizens, HOA boards are not subject to any oversight.
>since Fourth Amendment privacy rules do not apply to private citizens, HOA boards are not subject to any oversight.
That's incorrect, all commercial entities are subject to the oversight of their customers.
Some years back I bought a Samsung CLX-3300 printer. It worked great. Most of the time it was plugged into a RPi that was handling the spooling with cups, and I used third party toner without any issues.
Recently the SD card of the RPi died, so that option was not available to me any more. Yesterday, my wife had to print something, so she plugged her Windows 10 computer into the USB port of the printer. And presto – the display shows Incompatible toner – for all toner.
There’s no technical reason for this. The printer worked fine with exactly the same toner the day before. However, 'HP has obviously decided that this should not be allowed.' It’s not a original move in the printer business.
It’s hardly original; printer manufacturers have been at this for years. The new thing here is that they modified the printer after it was purchased, without informing me. They didn’t provide any information that the firmware would be updated, and essentially lead to a Denial of Service.
HP did the same thing in 2016, for which they was chastised by EFF and Cory Doctorow. That’s why I bought a Samsung printer, not a HP printer. Sadly, HP purchased Samsung some time after I purchased my printer…
HP are turbojews with their printers, you can't even set up their small personal models anymore without an HP Smart account and their shitty bloat software from the Windows Store. Some brands don't give a shit what toner you use, like Brother or Canon. I've been dumping chink ink in my Canon for years, it knows it's not genuine but it doesn't care beyond a notification when I install it say "hey this ink isn't official fyi". no shit it has a picture of an owl on the label of course it's not official.
However, the stateless society goes much, much further in preventing crime – specifically, by identifying those who are going to become criminals, and preventing that transition. In this situation, the stateless society is far more effective than any State system.
In a stateless society, contracts with DROs are required to maintain any sort of economic life – without DRO representation, citizens are unable to get a job, hire employees, rent a car, buy a house or send their children to school. Any DRO will naturally ensure that its contracts include penalties for violent crimes – so if you steal a car, your DRO has the right to use force or ostracism against you to get the car back – and probably retrieve financial penalties to boot.
How does this work in practice? Let’s take a test case. Say that you wake up one morning and decide to become a thief. Well, the first thing you have to do is cancel your coverage with your DRO, so that your DRO has less incentive against you when you steal, since you are no longer a customer. DROs would have clauses allowing you to cancel your coverage, just as insurance companies have now. Thus you would have to notify your DRO that you were dropping coverage. No problem, you’re off their list.
However, DROs as a whole really need to keep track of people who have opted out of the entire DRO system, since those people have clearly signaled their intention to go rogue and live “off the grid.” Thus if you cancel your DRO insurance, your name goes into a database available to all DROs. If you sign up with another DRO, no problem, your name is taken out. However, if you do not sign up with any other DRO, red flags pop up all over the system.
What happens then? Remember – there is no public property in a stateless society. If you’ve gone rogue, where are you going to go? You can’t take a bus – bus companies will not take rogues, because their DRO will require that they take only DRO-covered passengers, in case of injury or altercation. Want to fill up on gas? No luck, for the same reason. You can try hitchhiking, of course, which might work, but what happens when you get to your destination and try to rent a motel room? No DRO card, no luck. Want to sleep in the park? Parks are privately owned, so keep moving. Getting hungry? No groceries, no restaurants – no food! What are you going to do?
So, really, what incentive is there to turn to a life of crime? Working for a living – and being protected by a DRO – pays really well. Going off the grid and becoming a rogue pits the entire weight of the combined DRO system against you – and, even if you do manage to survive and steal something, it has probably been voice-encoded or protected in some other manner against unauthorized use.
Let’s suppose that you somehow bypass all of that, and do manage to steal, where are you going to sell your stolen goods? You’re not protected by a DRO, so who will buy from you, knowing they have no recourse if something goes wrong? And besides, anyone who interacts with you may be dropped from the DRO system too, and face all the attendant difficulties.
Will there be underground markets? Perhaps – but where would they operate? People need a place to live, cars to rent, clothes to buy, groceries to eat. No DRO means no participation in economic life.
"Practical Anarchy", Stefan Molyneux
He doesn't speak for anyone in the liberty movement. Dave Smith said he likes his stuff on peaceful parenting (i.e. apply the NAP downwards instead of just crying about the state) but refuses to comment on any of his other crazy shit.
Have you heard his position on aliens. He's said this multiple times on his radio show now. The only way aliens could develop the technology for interstellar travel is through a purely volunteerist society therefor the arrival of aliens is guaranteed to be a good thing and they will establish ancapistan on earth.
I seriously can't tell if he's controlled opposition of scientology tier schizo detached from reality.
Anyway enough ad hominem.
>In a stateless society, contracts with DROs are required to maintain any sort of economic life
That's just his crypto-fascist fantasy. Prominent anarchist thinkers, ones people actually listen to, like Rothbard (Ethics of Liberty), Hoppe (Myth of National Defense) and Bob Murphy (Chaos Theory) point of insurance companies to solve the problems of security without the state. But the way it works is the insurance company pays you or your family if something happens to you. They then have a financial incentive to make sure nothing does happen to you. And to catch the perpetrators if something does happen (to get compensation).
Just like health insurance charges more if you smoke, defense insurance will charge more if you refuse to carry a gun or something. But they can't force you to do anything.
>Any DRO will naturally ensure that its contracts include penalties for violent crimes
I think this is where he's talking out of his ass. The first incentive for you to not commit violent crimes is to not get shot in the face by your intended victim or nearby good samaritans (cue the meme of dude gets shot by every customer inside the texas store he tried to rob). The second incentive is even if you get away, the victim's insurance company would rather track you down and make you pay than pay themselves.
>Remember – there is no public property in a stateless society.
A better point to make here is that there is no welfare or prison. Everytime you fuck with someone you run the risk of getting shot in self defense. Criminals are essentially purged from the genepool.
>Will there be underground markets? Perhaps – but where would they operate?
*angry agorist noises*
Wear face mask not for covid-19 but to avoid facial recognition.
In addition to the chiefly "oppressive" apparatus—the standing army, the police and the bureaucracy — the modern state possesses an apparatus which has extremely close connections with the banks and syndicates, an apparatus which performs an enormous amount of accounting and registration work, if it may be expressed this way. This apparatus must not, and should not, be smashed. It must be wrested from the control of the capitalists; the capitalists and the wires they pull must be cut off, lopped off, chopped away from this apparatus; it must be subordinated to the proletarian Soviets; it must be expanded, made more comprehensive, and nation-wide. And this can be done by utilising the achievements already made by large-scale capitalism (in the same way as the proletarian revolution can, in general, reach its goal only by utilising these achievements).
Capitalism has created an accounting apparatus in the shape of the banks, syndicates, postal service, consumers' societies, and office employees' unions. Without big banks socialism would be impossible.
The big banks are the "state apparatus" which we need to bring about socialism, and which we take ready-made from capitalism; our task here is merely to lop off what capitalistically mutilates this excellent apparatus, to make it even bigger, even more democratic, even more comprehensive. Quantity will be transformed into quality. A single State Bank, the biggest of the big, with branches in every rural district, in every factory, will constitute as much as nine-tenths of the socialist apparatus. This will be country wide book-keeping, country-wide accounting of the production and distribution of goods, this will be, so to speak, some thing in the nature of the skeleton of socialist society.
We can "lay hold of" and "set in motion" this "state apparatus" (which is not fully a state apparatus under capitalism, but which will be so with us, under socialism) at one stroke, by a single decree, because the actual work of book-keeping, control, registering, accounting and counting is performed by employees, the majority of whom themselves lead a proletarian or semi-proletarian existence.
By a single decree of the proletarian government these employees can and must be transferred to the status of state employees, in the same way as the watchdogs of capitalism like Briand and other bourgeois ministers, by a single decree, transfer railwaymen on strike to the status of state employees. We shall need many more state employees of this kind, and more can be obtained, because capitalism has simplified the work of accounting and control, has reduced it to a comparatively simple system of book-keeping, which any literate person can do.
The conversion of the bank, syndicate, commercial, etc., etc., rank-and-file employees into state employees is quite feasible both technically (thanks to the preliminary work performed for us by capitalism, including finance capitalism) and politically, provided the Soviets exercise control and supervision.
As for the higher officials, of whom there are very few, but who gravitate towards the capitalists, they will have to be dealt with in the same way as the capitalists, i.e., "severely". Like the capitalists, they will offer resistance. This resistance will have to be broken, and if the immortally naïve Peshekhonov, as early as June 1917, lisped like the infant that he was in state affairs, that "the resistance of the capitalists has been broken", this childish phrase, this childish boast, this childish swagger, will be converted by the proletariat into reality.
We can do this, for it is merely a question of breaking the resistance of an insignificant minority of the population, literally a handful of people, over each of whom the employees' unions, the trade unions, the consumers' societies and the Soviets will institute such supervision that every Tit Titych will be surrounded as the French were at Sedan. We know these Tit Tityches by name: we only have to consult the lists of directors, board members, large shareholders, etc. There are several hundred, at most several thousand of them in the whole of Russia, and the proletarian state, with the apparatus of the Soviets, of the employees' unions, etc., will be able to appoint ten or even a hundred supervisers to each of them, so that instead of "breaking resistance" it may even be possible, by means of workers' control (over the capitalists), to make all resistance impossible.
The important thing will not be even the confiscation of the capitalists' property, but country-wide, all-embracing workers' control over the capitalists and their possible supporters. Confiscation alone leads nowhere, as it does not contain the element of organisation, of accounting for proper distribution. Instead of confiscation, we could easily impose a fair tax (even on the Shingaryov scale, for instance), taking care, of course, to preclude the possibility of anyone evading assessment, concealing the truth, evading the law. And this possibility can be eliminated only by the workers' control of the workers' state.
"Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?" Vladimir Lenin
Written: October 1, 1917
>Without big banks socialism would be impossible.
>our task here is merely to lop off what capitalistically mutilates this excellent apparatus, to make it even bigger, even more democratic, even more comprehensive.
C2PA will amp surveillance up to near 9'000.
>a techlet reads some scary headlines and jumps to conclusions
The (official) goal of the C2PA standard is to track where digital files came from and what edits have been made along the way.
To achieve this, metadata is added to files when they are created and cryptographically signed by the vendor. Then if you modify the file with C2PA compliant software it will push another piece of signed metadata to show who you are and what changes you made. If you edit it with non-C2PA software then the original metadata will be invalid and anybody who analyzes the file will know that this is not the original version.
The idea seems to be that digital cameras will automatically add C2PA metadata to any photos it takes so then when it ends up on the internet you can "prove" it came from a Nikon camera and not photoshop. It also means you can "prove" the file is exactly what came out of the camera and has no been modified.
I don't see any information on if/how they want to prevent people from simply removing the C2PA. I think that will always be technologically possible.
So far only Adobe Photoshop and some cloud services support adding C2PA to files. No actual cameras support it.
And in reality state actors will just bribe/coerce/steal the vendor singing keys so this is useless for combating state propaganda. What is interesting though is that if a private citizen can get hold of one of these cameras and record evidence of something government doesn't want people to know, it will be harder for them to pass it off as photoshop because there is no plausible way for a private person to forge the C2PA signature.
For that reason I don't think this will actually go anywhere. As much as the camera manufacturers want to remain relevant in the age of smart phones this actually gives more power to the people than the state.
>C2PA will amp surveillance up to near 9'000.
As a general heuristic, anyone who writes "Microshit" and "jewtel" is not a serious person and probably has no clue what he's talking about. C2PA is basically DKIM for images. Under some limited circumstances it can prove where a file/email came from but you can always just strip it out and live as if it doesn't exist.
>I don't see any information on if/how they want to prevent people from simply removing the C2PA. I think that will always be technologically possible.
The whole point is that anybody can verify the signatures inside the metadata and if you know where the metadata is you can just remove it. It might be trickier if they embed it inside the image somehow like a watermark but the same principle applies, the location and format has to be public knowledge for people to be able to verify it and if you know where it is you can delete it or at the very least overwrite it with garbage.
The United States government has been secretly amassing a “large amount” of “sensitive and intimate information” on its own citizens, a group of senior advisers informed Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, more than a year ago.
The size and scope of the government effort to accumulate data revealing the minute details of Americans' lives are described soberly and at length by the director's own panel of experts in a newly declassified report. Haines had first tasked her advisers in late 2021 with untangling a web of secretive business arrangements between commercial data brokers and US intelligence community members.
What that report ended up saying constitutes a nightmare scenario for privacy defenders.
“This report reveals what we feared most,” says Sean Vitka, a policy attorney at the nonprofit Demand Progress. “Intelligence agencies are flouting the law and buying information about Americans that Congress and the Supreme Court have made clear the government should not have.”
In the shadow of years of inaction by the US Congress on comprehensive privacy reform, a surveillance state has been quietly growing in the legal system's cracks. Little deference is paid by prosecutors to the purpose or intent behind limits traditionally imposed on domestic surveillance activities. More craven interpretations of aging laws are widely used to ignore them. As the framework guarding what privacy Americans do have grows increasingly frail, opportunities abound to split hairs in court over whether such rights are even enjoyed by our digital counterparts.
“I’ve been warning for years that if using a credit card to buy an American’s personal information voids their Fourth Amendment rights, then traditional checks and balances for government surveillance will crumble,” Ron Wyden, a US senator from Oregon, says.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) did not immediately respond to a request for comment. WIRED was unable to reach any members of the senior advisory panel, whose names have been redacted in the report. Former members have included ex-CIA officials of note and top defense industry leaders.
Wyden had pressed Haines, previously the number two at the Central Intelligence Agency, to release the panel's report during a March 8 hearing. Haines replied at the time that she believed it “absolutely” should be read by the public. On Friday, the report was declassified and released by the ODNI, which has been embroiled in a legal fight with the digital rights nonprofit the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) over a host of related documents.
“This report makes it clear that the government continues to think it can buy its way out of constitutional protections using taxpayers’ own money," says Chris Baumohl, a law fellow at EPIC. “Congress must tackle the government’s data broker pipeline this year, before it considers any reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” he said (referring to the ongoing political fight over the so-called “crown jewel” of US surveillance).
The ODNI's own panel of advisers makes clear that the government’s static interpretations of what constitutes “publicly available information” poses a significant threat to the public. The advisers decry existing policies that automatically conflate being able to buy information with it being considered “public.” The information being commercially sold about Americans today is “more revealing, available on more people (in bulk), less possible to avoid, and less well understood” than that which is traditionally thought of as being “publicly available.”
Perhaps most controversially, the report states that the government believes it can “persistently” track the phones of “millions of Americans” without a warrant, so long as it pays for the information. Were the government to simply demand access to a device's location instead, it would be considered a Fourth Amendment “search” and would require a judge's sign-off. But because companies are willing to sell the information—not only to the US government but to other companies as well—the government considers it “publicly available” and therefore asserts that it “can purchase it.”
It is no secret, the report adds, that it is often trivial “to deanonymize and identify individuals” from data that was packaged as ethically fine for commercial use because it had been “anonymized” first. Such data may be useful, it says, to “identify every person who attended a protest or rally based on their smartphone location or ad-tracking records.” Such civil liberties concerns are prime examples of how “large quantities of nominally ‘public’ information can result in sensitive aggregations.” What's more, information collected for one purpose “may be reused for other purposes,” which may “raise risks beyond those originally calculated,” an effect called “mission creep.”
Most Americans have at least some idea of how a law enforcement investigation unfolds (if only from watching years of police procedurals). This idea imagines a cop whose ability to surveil them, turn their phone into a tracking device, or start squeezing records out of businesses they frequent, are all gated behind evidentiary thresholds, like reasonable doubt and probable cause.
These are legal hurdles that no longer bother an increasing number of government agencies.
Access to the most sensitive information about a person was once usually obtained in the course of a “targeted” and “predicated” investigation, the report says. Not anymore. “Today, in a way that far fewer Americans seem to understand, and even fewer of them can avoid, [commercially available information] includes information on nearly everyone,” it says. Both the “volume and sensitivity” of information the government can purchase has exploded in recent years due to “location-tracking and other features of smartphones,” and the “advertising-based monetization model” that underlies much of the internet, the report says.
“In the wrong hands,” the ODNI’s advisers warn, the same mountain of data the government is quietly accumulating could be turned against Americans to “facilitate blackmail, stalking, harassment, and public shaming.” Notably, these are all offenses that have been committed by intelligence agencies and White House administrations in the past. What constraints do exist on domestic surveillance activities are all a direct response to that history of political sabotage, disinformation, and abusive violations of Americans' rights.
The report notes: “The government would never have been permitted to compel billions of people to carry location tracking devices on their persons at all times, to log and track most of their social interactions, or to keep flawless records of all their reading habits. Yet smartphones, connected cars, web tracking technologies, the Internet of Things, and other innovations have had this effect without government participation.”
The government must appreciate that all of this unfettered access can quickly increase its own power “to peer into private lives to levels that may exceed our constitutional traditions or other social expectations,” the advisers say, even if it can't blind itself to the fact that all this information exists and is readily sold for a buck.
We reviewed 25 car brands in our research and we handed out 25 “dings” for how those companies collect and use data and personal information. That’s right: every car brand we looked at collects more personal data than necessary and uses that information for a reason other than to operate your vehicle and manage their relationship with you. For context, 63% of the mental health apps (another product category that stinks at privacy) we reviewed this year received this “ding.”
And car companies have so many more data-collecting opportunities than other products and apps we use -- more than even smart devices in our homes or the cell phones we take wherever we go. They can collect personal information from how you interact with your car, the connected services you use in your car, the car’s app (which provides a gateway to information on your phone), and can gather even more information about you from third party sources like Sirius XM or Google Maps. It’s a mess. The ways that car companies collect and share your data are so vast and complicated that we wrote an entire piece on how that works. The gist is: they can collect super intimate information about you -- from your medical information, your genetic information, to your “sex life” (seriously), to how fast you drive, where you drive, and what songs you play in your car -- in huge quantities. They then use it to invent more data about you through “inferences” about things like your intelligence, abilities, and interests.
Most (84%) share or sell your data
It’s bad enough for the behemoth corporations that own the car brands to have all that personal information in their possession, to use for their own research, marketing, or the ultra-vague “business purposes.” But then, most (84%) of the car brands we researched say they can share your personal data -- with service providers, data brokers, and other businesses we know little or nothing about. Worse, nineteen (76%) say they can sell your personal data.
A surprising number (56%) also say they can share your information with the government or law enforcement in response to a “request.” Not a high bar court order, but something as easy as an “informal request.” Yikes -- that’s a very low bar! A 2023 rewrite of Thelma & Louise would have the ladies in custody before you’ve had a chance to make a dent in your popcorn. But seriously, car companies' willingness to share your data is beyond creepy. It has the potential to cause real harm and inspired our worst cars-and-privacy nightmares.
And keep in mind that we only know what companies do with personal data because of the privacy laws that make it illegal not to disclose that information (go California Consumer Privacy Act!). So-called anonymized and aggregated data can (and probably is) shared too, with vehicle data hubs (the data brokers of the auto industry) and others. So while you are getting from A to B, you’re also funding your car’s thriving side-hustle in the data business in more ways than one. https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/articles/its-official-cars-are-the-worst-product-category-we-have-ever-reviewed-for-privacy/
Guess I'll have to buy a motorcycle then!
That and be a communist to diss the owners of land.
.....oh..... lemme just *leaves*
>A 2023 rewrite of Thelma & Louise would have the ladies in custody before you’ve had a chance to make a dent in your popcorn
Mask slip moment for Mozilla, no a totalitarian police state does not prevent crime. Criminals will always find ways around the surveillance while ordinary people are the real victims.
>And keep in mind that we only know what companies do with personal data because of the privacy laws that make it illegal not to disclose that information (go California Consumer Privacy Act!).
Of course more government is always the answer.