Tag Archive: privacy

Science Policy Friday: Eyes of the Skies, Drones on the Rise – Part 2

SciPoliFri_Box.gifThis is the second in a series of articles or news gathering of science and technology policy issues facing New Jersey or the nation. Thanks to my science and environment intern Arcadia Lee for research and drafting this article.  Cross-posted at DanBenson.com

Last week, I discussed my legislation (A-1039/S-2310) that sets standards for law enforcement and other government agency use of drones.  This week, I’m highlighting legislation (A-4344) sponsored by Assembly Homeland Security Chair Annette Quijano and myself that seeks to protect infrastructure from drone surveillance and requires certain drones to be registered and insured.

There have been a few instances to date where a policy like this would have come in handy. Over the summer, a woman was knocked unconscious when she was struck by a small drone during the Pride parade in downtown Seattle. In New York, a businessman was almost hit by a drone after colliding with a building. Also this summer, in Florida, a small UAV sat hovered near a woman sitting at an outdoor table at a bar in Tampa, Florida and when the drone was made to follow her as she left, it crashed into her car’s roof.  California is still trying to track down the owners of drones that interfered with firefighting during recent wildfires.

A-4344 starts an important conversation on what type of reasonable restrictions and penalties should be imposed on those that take on the responsibility of operating a drone.  

Science Policy Friday: Eyes of the Skies, Drones on the Rise

SciPoliFri_Box.gifThis is the first in a series of articles or news gathering of science and technology policy issues facing New Jersey or the nation. Thanks to my science and environment intern Arcadia Lee for research and drafting this article. Cross-posted on DanBenson.com. Promoted by Rosi.

Drones seem to be everywhere in the news.  We may have seen the latest cool uses like The Lily Camera and Amazon’s package delivering drones.  Or read about concerns over safety and privacy, whether from amateur operators getting in the way of California firefighters or fears of government abuse of information gathering.

For New Jersey policymakers, safety has to be the primary focus as our state considers how best to assess and manage the risks associated with governmental, commercial and civilian use of drones within our borders.  I along with colleagues in the Assembly and Senate have introduced two timely bills that provide needed rules of unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as UAVs or drones, so that the promise of new technology can be realized without the inherent dangers to privacy and safety.  In addition Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman has passed Legislation in the House of Representatives regarding drones and their threat to security.

This first article focuses on NJ’s potential governmental use of drones and creating an important framework that balances privacy with the promise of enhanced capabilities by public safety.  The bill (A-1039/S-2310) sponsored with Speaker Prieto and Senator Sacco, sets forth certain standards to be followed by law enforcement agencies and fire departments when utilizing drones.  

For Sen. Shirley Turner to consider: ACLU guidelines for effective use of police body cameras

In the post-Ferguson world, legislatures are looking at ways to increase public trust in the police, increase the transparency and accountability of police conduct, and more accurately document police-public encounters, protecting the public against police misconduct, and helping protect police against false accusations of abuse.

And, to be frank, to clearly record and hopefully prevent  incidents like the one in Ferguson, Missouri where an unarmed teenager is shot and killed by police and differing accounts emerge. The thinking, by advocates, and by the makers of cameras already installed on many police dashboards across the country, is to get the story straight.

Senator Shirley Turner plas to propose legislation requiring police officers statewide to be equipped with body cameras. I think that’s an idea worth considering and I hope to see support from both Democrats and Republicans for this good government idea.

That said, I want to call to Sen. Turner’s attention, if she’s not already aware, that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has worked up some guidelines for how that should be done that I think are worth her considering. And that is particularly because they come from ACLU, which has a history of opposing undue government surveillance. That as a baseline, their support of police body-cams, make their policy suggestions valuable. These include guidelines for protecting the pubic against unreasonable invasion of privacy, preventing evidence from being edited to misguide how recordings should be used, and how long retained.

Here, in greater detail than I should summarize, are ACLU’s policy proposals for effective use of police body cams. I’ll be sending this to Sen. Turner’s office. I hope police chiefs and local municipal officials also give it a read.  

ACLU: New Jersey Police Departments Tracking Cell Phones Without Warrants

According to the ACLU there are police departments all over the country tracking people’s cell phones without warrants.  Here are the ones the ACLU lists in New Jersey.

  • Bayonne
  • Berkeley
  • Bloomfield
  • Brick Township
  • Bridgewater
  • Camden
  • Cherry Hill
  • Clifton
  • East Brunswick
  • East Orange
  • Edison
  • Egg Harbor
  • Elizabeth
  • Evesham
  • Franklin
  • Gloucester Township
  • Hackensack
  • Hamilton
  • Hoboken
  • Howell
  • Irvington
  • Jackson
  • Jersey City
  • Lakewood
  • Manchester
  • Middletown
  • Mount Laurel
  • Newark
  • North Bergen
  • North Brunswick
  • Old Bridge
  • Parsippany Troy Hills
  • Passaic
  • Paterson
  • Perth Amboy
  • Piscataway
  • Plainfield
  • Sayreville
  • South Brunswick
  • Toms River
  • Trenton
  • Union
  • Union City
  • Vineland
  • Washington Township
  • Wayne
  • West New York
  • West Orange
  • Woodbridge

Garden State Equality statement on the Dharun Ravi convictions

UPDATE: Garden State Equality statement.

The suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi moved forward efforts to protect students from bullying in all its forms, and helped drive and focus a New Jersey – and national – movement to protect gay rights. Gardent State Equality, in New Jersey, has been central to that fight. And we have all been watching for this verdict, knowing it won’t restore Tyler to his family, but may change the way all of us think of the lives of the people around us, with the respect each of us deserve.

Here is the statement following the Dharun Ravi verdict. (For disclosure’s sake, I should note that I am a member of the Garden State Equality board).

Statement is after the jump …

Dharun Ravi convictions in Tyler Clementi case

UPDATE: Garden State Equality statement.

Among the guilty verdicts returned today against Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student and roommate of Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death a few days after learning Ravi was spying on his private sexual encounters with another man in the dorm room he shared with Ravi:

GUILTY: Bias intimidation against Tyler Clementi

GUILTY: Invasion of privacy against Tyler Clementi

GUILTY: Invasion of privacy against M.B. (the other man)

GUILTY: Witness tampering

GUILTY: Evidence tampering

Star-Ledger details all counts here. (h/t dennismcgrath)

After 12 hours of deliberation over almost 3 days, the jury and 3 alternates (who did not participate in deliberations) have returned their verdicts. The trial played out over almost two weeks, with more than 30 witnesses, including dorm mates of both Ravi and Clementi, and Molly Wei, who viewed the webcam spying of Tyler Clementi’s private moments in his dorm room along with the “other man” whose identity is still being protected and is known only as M.B.. Ravi was also convicted of invading M.B.’s privacy along with Clementi, as both of them were glimpsed on Ravi’s webcam in moments meant to be private, but viewed in another room in the dorm.

The jury judged Ravi guilty of 23 of the 35 counts against him, fifteen of which are felonies.

The trial stretched over 13 days including opening and closing statements, with more than 30 witnesses and 100 pieces of evidence.

Snooping Bill Would Force ISPs to Retain and Share Your Browsing History, Credit Card and Bank Info

FYI – No member of the New Jersey congressional delegation has signed onto this, which is a good thing. Promoted by Rosi

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may have a pro-corporate attitude and can care less for our First Amendment rights, but it is important that residents of the Garden State fight back. We need to rally our own New Jersey lawmakers to stand up against this bill that takes away our privacy and hides behind an untrue title.  

“A direct assault on Internet users” is what the ACLU is calling it.  Just before the break a House committee approved HR 1981, a broad new Internet snooping bill.  They want to force Internet service providers to keep track of and retain their customers’ information — including your name, address, phone number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses. All residents with Internet access living in New Jersey will have their private information exposed for scrutiny from the government.

They’ve shamelessly titled it the “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act,” but our staunchest allies in Congress are calling it what it is: an all-encompassing Internet snooping bill.  ISPs would collect and retain your data whether or not you’re accused of a crime.

According to CNET, the “mandatory logs would be accessible to police investigating any crime and perhaps attorneys litigating civil disputes in divorce, insurance fraud, and other cases as well.”

You don’t have to be a pedophile or a criminal to be targeted; even your divorce case is valid enough for the ISPs to hand over any searches, emails, and activities you’ve done on the Internet.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who led Democratic opposition to the bill said, “‘It represents a data bank of every digital act by every American’ that would ‘let us find out where every single American visited Web sites.”

Click this link to join the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, and 25 other civil liberties and privacy groups in urging Congress to reject this mess of a bill.

And you can watch our new video about the Internet Snooping Bill here.

Extending the PATRIOT Act: Why I Said No

Update: Patriot Act extension fails in the House.

– promoted by Rosi

The powers of intelligence and enforcement are the most important powers of government – but also the most fearsome. These powers must be wielded very, very carefully.

For decades, our government has routinely collected information on potential foreign threats through various forms of surveillance.  These intelligence collection activities enjoy broad, bipartisan support in our country because of their value in helping to protect America’s citizens and interests.  However, in the 1960s and 1970s, these collection capabilities were turned on the American people, and executive branch agencies engaged in spying on the American public – sometimes even for political purposes.