Additional privacy controls in Facebook

First SPAM your friend, and now Facebook said on Tuesday it is introducing new privacy controls that give users of the fast-growing social-network site the ability to preserve social distinctions between friends, family and co-workers online. But only 25 percent of existing users have bothered to take control of their privacy using Facebook’s existing personal information settings, the company said in a statement. Read more…

Facial recognition for driving licenses

After a driver sits for a photo at the Illinois Secretary of State office to renew a license, officials use facial-recognition technology to give the resulting image a close look.

First, state officials verify that the face matches the images portrayed on previous licenses issued under the driver’s name. The second, more extensive run-through determines if the same face appears on other Illinois driver’s licenses with different names.

Since starting the program in 1999, the state has uncovered more than 5,000 cases of multiple identity fraud, said Beth Langen, policy and program division administrator at the Illinois Secretary of State office. The state pays Digimarc Corp. about 25 cents per license for the service, she said. Read more…

Big Brother Awards

I came across this last week that I thought was quite fun. The International Big Brother Awards handed out by Privacy International to privacy invaders.

Most invasive company was Choicepoint, for their vast databases of personal data, sold to nearly anyone who wishes to pay.

Worst public official was Stewart Baker, former general counsel for the National Security Agency and now undersecretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, behind and at the forefront of most disastrous U.S. surveillance policies, most recently the EU-U.S. agreement on Passenger Name Records transfers.

Most heinous government was The United Kingdom, for being the greatest surveillance society amongst democratic nations, rivaling only Malaysia, China and Russia as it also leads other countries across the EU down its same path.

Most appalling project or technology was International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency, for implementing a variety of invasive policies behind closed doors, including the ‘biometric passport’ and passenger data transfer-deals.

Lifetime menace award went to “communitarianism” and the proponents of the ‘Common Good’, because every bad policy around the world is justified based on the philosophy that is good for society and the individual must sacrifice his or her selfish rights in favour of the needs of the many.

You should read more to see who came second, third, etc…