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.: Security under the skin - 16th Oct 2004

"A US company has been given the green light to implant microchips in humans. It's intended to provide medical information ... but will it turn into a surveillance system?

How would you like to have the equivalent of a barcode built into your arm? It would be convenient. A quick scan could save the need to show passports or ID cards. It would be handier than carrying cash or producing medical records. And a particularly clever barcode would let people find you if you were lost or abducted.

Would it mean less hassle and more security? Or would it make you feel like a DVD tagged in the supermarket? Or like a criminal being monitored everywhere you went?..."
[BBC]




.: Senate Wants Database Dragnet - 14th Oct 2004

"The Senate could pass a bill as early as Wednesday evening that would let government counter-terrorist investigators instantly query a massive system of interconnected commercial and government databases that hold billions of records on Americans.

The proposed network is based on the Markle Foundation Task Force's December 2003 report, which envisioned a system that would allow FBI and CIA agents, as well as police officers and some companies, to quickly search intelligence, criminal and commercial databases. The proposal is so radical, the bill allocates $50 million just to fund the system's specifications and privacy policies..."
[Wired]




.: Implantable chip provides medical information, privacy worries - 14th Oct 2004

"Medical milestone or privacy invasion? A tiny computer chip approved Wednesday for implantation in a patient's arm can speed vital information about a patient's medical history to doctors and hospitals. But critics warn that it could open new ways to imperil the confidentiality of medical records.

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that Applied Digital Solutions of Delray Beach, Fla., could market the VeriChip, an implantable computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, for medical purposes. With the pinch of a syringe, the microchip is inserted under the skin in a procedure that takes less than 20 minutes and leaves no stitches...."
[SFGate]




.: Bill Imposes Prison Time Over 'Spyware' - 7th Oct 2004

"The House on Thursday passed the second bill in three days that would outlaw "spyware," irritating software that quietly monitors the activities of Internet users. It would add penalties of up to five years in prison for people convicted of installing such programs without a computer user's permission.

The bill, known as the "Internet Spyware Prevention Act," passed 415-0. It would give the Justice Department (news - web sites) $10 million to crack down on companies and others that secretly install spyware and those who attempt to trick victims into disclosing personal details and financial information in e-mail scams popularly known as "phishing..."
[AP]




.: House OKs Bill Imposing 'Spyware' Fines - 6th Oct 2004

"Companies and others that secretly install "spyware" programs on people's computers to quietly monitor their Internet activities would face hefty federal fines under a bill the House passed Tuesday.

The most egregious behaviors ascribed to the category of such software secretly recording a person's computer keystrokes or mouse clicks are already illegal under U.S. wiretap and consumer protection laws. The House proposal, known as the "Spy Act," adds civil penalties over what has emerged as an extraordinary frustration for Internet users, whose infected computers often turn sluggish and perform unexpectedly..."
[AP]






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