August 23, 2012

Security Terms

I will routinely update this post to provide definitions to various security terms used throughout this blog.

Phishing: The best definition comes from Webopedia "The act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft...also referred to as brand spoofing  or carding, is a variation on "fishing," the idea being that bait is thrown out with the hopes that while most will ignore the bait, some will be tempted into biting."

No Green Light on Using Red Light Cameras

Image from The Expired Meter
In early July, published an article about the red-light cameras in the Seattle, WA area. These cameras became a recent hot topic because a couple of recent murders occurred in the vicinity of traffic cameras in Seattle. There is a possibility that these cameras may have caught images that could help investigators, such as a picture of the gunman or fleeing vehicle. Due to the 2005 Washington State law, police investigators may never know, because the red-light cameras cannot be used in criminal investigations, including serious crimes.

Why so strict?
In the midst of protests against the placement of these cameras, Washington State law makers wrote the strict language into the law to appease the privacy right activists. These cameras were viewed as an erosion of privacy. While there are issues with red light cameras, I am skeptical about the privacy concern claim.

While State lawmakers are promising to review this law, I question how preventing law enforcement the use of these cameras during legal investigations help quell privacy concerns? Typically zero tolerance laws and policy are nothing more than "feel good" rules. If the concern is so great, why not provide the courts authority to grant permission through a special warrant, like a search warrant? This provides oversight to protect privacy concerns, while granting law enforcement investigators valuable tools.

And to all the privacy advocates that created such a scene back in 2005 about these cameras, where are your protests about the evasive practices by private companies?