US governments are already beginning to use the technology in a limited capacity. Last week the New York department of motor vehicles announced that it had made more than 4,000 arrests using facial recognition technology. Instead of scanning police footage, the software is used to compare new drivers’ license application photos to images already in the database, making it tougher for fraudsters to steal someone’s identity.

Before Palantir, building each profile was a time-consuming job...for an analyst to tie together information from disparate sources... Because Palantir could automatically integrate everything from citizen tips and crime incidents to field interviews and partial license plates, it dramatically accelerated the production of Chronic Offender Bulletins. What used to take an hour could be generated in three to five minutes. The analysts could now profile every single person stopped by police

Illinois legislators are considering a “right to know” bill that would let consumers find out what information about them is collected by companies like Google and Facebook, and what kinds of businesses they share it with. Such a right, which European consumers already have, has been a longtime goal of privacy advocates ... these rules could end up guiding the rights of consumers far beyond Illinois

The leaked documents suggested that the CIA can bypass the security measures of encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp—but that doesn’t mean you should stop using them ... The leaked documents don’t in any way indicate that the CIA has identified vulnerabilities in any of these apps. Rather, the CIA has identified vulnerabilities in the smartphone technology that these apps run on, not the apps themselves. This distinction matters.

Cambridge Analytica buys personal data...like land registries, automotive data, shopping data, bonus cards, club memberships, what magazines you read, what churches you attend...in the US, almost all personal data is for sale...Cambridge Analytica aggregates this data with the electoral rolls of the Republican party and online data and calculates a Big Five personality profile. Digital footprints suddenly become real people with fears, needs, interests, and residential addresses.

Monero’s unique privacy properties that go well beyond the decentralization that makes Bitcoin so resistant to control by governments and banks. It’s instead designed to be far more private: fully anonymous, and virtually untraceable. Those features have made Monero a budding favorite within at least one community that has a pressing need for secrecy...dealers of everything from stolen credit cards to heroin to handguns accepting the stealthier cryptocoin.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches. The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data.

with the rise of private firms like Hacking Team, penetrating the email accounts of political opponents does not require the kind of money and expertise available to major powers. A subscription-based website called Insider Surveillance lists more than a dozen companies selling so-called ethical malware, including Milan-based Hacking Team, the German firms FinFisher and Trovicor and the Israeli company Nice. Compared with conventional arms, surveillance software is subject to few trade controls

Facebook is bundling a dozen different data companies to target an individual customer ... sources include detailed dossiers obtained from commercial data brokers about users’ offline lives ... Facebook’s categories range from innocuous groupings of people who like southern food to sensitive categories such as “Ethnic Affinity” which categorizes people based on their affinity for African-Americans, Hispanics and other ethnic groups.

The US, along with any sufficiently-connected country, is now only a few court directives, or a state-sponsored hack, away from an active surveillance state... The deportation force envisioned by Trump, targeted with court-released Facebook data, is a legal possibility ... Searches, emails, messages, transactions, browsing history, and millions of other data points the tech giants store can pinpoint millions of American’s identities with unrivaled precision.