Happy December! I’m writing this roundup post from The Department, where I’m celebrating my eighth year of freelancing, so I’ll be writing about that soon. But first, here’s a roundup of some projects and articles of mine that were published this month, as well as links to three podcasts I co-produced and cohosted along with Trevor Hultner.
Street-Level Surveillance (Electronic Frontier Foundation) I’m thrilled to share this project, which I wrote in collaboration with EFF. It has been in the works for months. It’s a series on modern surveillance tools used by law enforcement, including automated license plate readers, body-worn cameras, cell-site simulators (also known as IMSI catchers, also known as stingrays), drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles), and facial recognition. The site also has some information on tattoo recognition, resources for criminal defense attorneys, and more.
Staggering Variety of Clandestine Trackers Found in Popular Android Apps (The Intercept) Weather, flashlight, rideshare, and dating apps, among others, are infested with dozens of trackers collecting vast amounts of information, researchers found. Exodus Privacy and Yale Privacy Lab wrote about 44 different varieties found in 300 apps downloaded by billions of people. Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing went into a little more detail about how these trackers are almost certainly in iOS apps, too, and the legal issues that make this difficult to confirm.
Mr. Robot post-show discussions (Motherboard). If you’ve been following this amazing dystopian suspense thriller, you may also want to geek out on some commentary from a bunch of hackers and journalists. Here’s our post-show chats on Episode 4 Metadata, Episode 5: Runtime Error, Episode 6: Kill Process, and Episode 7: Fredrick & Tanya. (Psst: Episode 8: Don’t Delete Me is also up, but technically posted in December.)
Your fitness questions, answered (Experience Life): I interviewed some experts on what to do with your legs during pull-ups, whether you should lock your elbows or not during upper-body exercises, and why you yawn while you exercise.
This month we looked into a representative who not only assaulted a journalist but also lied to the police about it, the resignation of Puerto Rico’s emergency management director, and the very fishy murder of a Baltimore detective