NEWS

Morning Security Brief: Stalking Apps, Man Indicted for Sharing a Link, Charlotte Wants to Expand Surveillance Network

By Carlton Purvis

►The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to approve legislation that would restrict the use of “cyberstalking” apps – apps that can be installed privately on a phone to monitor the user’s whereabouts. “Telephone companies currently are barred from disclosing to businesses the locations of people when they make a traditional phone call. But there's no such prohibition when communicating over the Internet. If a mobile device sends an email, links to a website or launches an app, the precise location of the phone can be passed to advertisers, marketers and others without the user's permission,” the AP reports. The legislation would make companies subject to penalties if they share a phone’s location data without getting permission from the user, fail to inform the user within seven days that the software is on the phone, or if the app is used to facilitate stalking. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., includes an exception for parents who want to track their minor children.

►Should sharing links be an indictable offense? The Feds think so. Barrett Brown, the 31-year-old Anonymous spokesman, has been indicted for sharing a link to stolen information. Brown is accused of posting a link to credit card numbers from the 2011 Stratfor hack. He’s been charged with “12 counts of device fraud, aggravated identify theft and trafficking stolen authentication features,” and is currently in a Texas prison after an arrest for other charges, SC Magazine reports.

►Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, want to expand their surveillance network by linking up with private businesses’ cameras. Police already have access to 650 cameras in places like sports venues and banks, but say the expansion would aid in fighting crime. The ACLU of North Carolina and city officials say the people of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County should have more information on how the footage will be used and more input on the amount of surveillance police use. 

►In other news, police in Vietnam are telling reisdents to be wary of pick pocketing gangs who target people in hospital waiting rooms. ♦ Just days after Australian police appeal to Apple about people getting stranded in the bush while following Apple Maps directions, Google Maps is released in the Apple Store. ♦ And the Pentagon has awarded Arsenal Medical, Inc., a $15.5. million contract to develop a medical foam that can be injected into a person to stop internal bleeding.

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