Using images of cats uploaded to photosharing services, including Flickr, Twitpic and Instagram, Mr. Mundy extracted latitude and longitude coordinates that many modern cameras, especially those in smartphones, attach to each image. His site displays random images from a sample of one million of the many millions of pictures tagged with the word “cat” online. The images are displayed on a map using satellite imagery, with nearby cat photos also visible. Specific street addresses are not displayed, but the geographic information can leave few details to the imagination in rural areas.

What the Internet Can See From Your Cat Pictures - NYTimes.com

More than 5% of the sites they surveyed had turned to a technique known as “canvas fingerprinting” to identify visitors. This technique forces a web browser to create a hidden image. Subtle differences in the set-up of a computer mean almost every machine will render the image in a different way enabling that device to be identified consistently. Popular sites using the technique included the White House, the San Francisco Chronicle’s website and the YouPorn pornographic portal.

BBC News - Browser ‘fingerprints’ help track users

Avast has discovered that some older smartphones only erase the indexing of the data and not the data itself, which means pictures, emails and text messages can be recovered relatively easily by using standard forensic tools that anyone can buy and download. The company claims that of 40,000 stored photos extracted from 20 phones purchased from eBay, more than 750 were of women in various stages of undress, along with 250 selfies of “what appears to be the previous owner’s manhood”. There was an additional 1,500 family photos of children, 1,000 Google searches, 750 emails and text messages and 250 contact names and email addresses.

BBC News - Naked selfies extracted from ‘factory reset’ phones

For Citizenme, the price you pay is much higher, and it’s trying to shift internet economics back in your direction. The long-term plan is to provide a way for you to sell your own online data directly to advertisers and others of your choosing. But it isn’t there just yet. In the meantime, it’s focused on helping you collect and analyze your social media data through a mobile app that connects to multiple social networks—giving you more insight into how things work today. “The very first step is raising awareness, helping people understand what’s being done with their data,” says Citizenme founder StJohn Deakins.

The App That Lets You Spy on Yourself and Sell Your Own Data | Enterprise | WIRED

If you visit the forum page for the popular Linux Journal, dedicated to the open-source operating system Linux, you could be fingerprinted regardless of where you live because the XKeystore source code designates the Linux Journal as an “extremist forum.” Searching for the Tails, operating system, another Windows alternative popular among human rights watchers, will also land you on the deep-packet inspectee list.

If You Do This, the NSA Will Spy on You - Defense One

Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else. Many of them were Americans. Nearly half of the surveillance files, a strikingly high proportion, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents. NSA analysts masked, or “minimized,” more than 65,000 such references to protect Americans’ privacy, but The Post found nearly 900 additional e-mail addresses, unmasked in the files, that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or U.S.residents. The surveillance files highlight a policy dilemma that has been aired only abstractly in public. There are discoveries of considerable intelligence value in the intercepted messages — and collateral harm to privacy on a scale that the Obama administration has not been willing to address.

In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are - The Washington Post

U.S. Privacy Panel Backs N.S.A.’s Internet Tapping

The federal privacy board that sharply criticized the collection of the phone records of Americans by the National Security Agency has come to a starkly different conclusion about the agency’s exploitation of Internet connections in the United States to monitor foreigners communicating with one another abroad.

That program, according to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, is largely in compliance with both the Constitution and a surveillance law that Congress passed six years ago.

The board, which Congress made an independent agency in 2007 and became fully operational around the time that Edward J. Snowden began releasing a trove of N.S.A. documents, concluded that the agency largely abided by the rules set out by Congress as it gathered the communications of foreigners, a process that necessarily swept in some emails and phone calls involving American citizens.

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

ISPs File Legal Complaint in Europe Over Spying

Seven Internet service providers and non-profit groups from various countries have filed a legal complaint against the British spy agency GCHQ. Their issue: that the clandestine organization broke the law by hacking the computers of Internet companies to access their networks.

The complaint, filed with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, calls for an end to the spy agency’s targeting of system administrators in order to gain access to the networks of service providers and conduct mass surveillance. The legal action was filed in conjunction with Privacy International, and stems from reports last year that GCHQ hacked employees of the Belgian telecom Belgacom in order to access and compromise critical routers in the company’s infrastructure to monitor the communication of smartphone users that passed through the router.

» via Wired

it’s very easy for a bored, lonely person to get sucked into weird corners of the Internet. It had started innocently enough. Before you know it, you’re reading someone’s secret eating-disorder diary, and clicking through her portfolio of pinup shots. That was a decade ago, but by now we’ve all been there on some level: How easy is it, on Facebook, to click, scroll, and tab yourself into a weird, voyeuristic place? One where you have to stop and ask yourself: “How did I get here?”

When an Internet Stranger is in Trouble, Do You Have to Help? - Erin Griffith - The Atlantic

The United States has long had broad no-spying arrangements with those four countries — Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — in a group known collectively with the United States as the Five Eyes. But a classified 2010 legal certification and other documents indicate the NSA has been given a far more elastic authority than previously known, one that allows it to intercept through U.S. companies not just the communications of its overseas targets but any communications about its targets as well. The certification — approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and included among a set of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — lists 193 countries that would be of valid interest for U.S. intelligence. The certification also permitted the agency to gather intelligence about entities including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Court gave NSA broad leeway in surveillance, documents show - The Washington Post