The Norman Transcript

Local news

February 26, 2013

Policy’s ambiguity threatens personal privacy

NORMAN — Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication Faculty and guests were treated to a candid and troubling glimpse into the rapid expansion of surveillance methods through popular digital media Monday evening.

Ashley Packard, University of Houston-Clear Lake professor and author of Digital Media Law, joined Chris Soghoian, ACLU principal technologist and senior policy analyst, to provide expert insight into the vast legal liberties certain entities exploit to silently track the daily activities of the Internet’s billions of users.

“Here in the U.S., our laws are very ad hoc regarding privacy and (are) very reactive,” Packard said. “We have laws protecting our health record information, financial information, electronic information. But most of those laws regulate how the people who have that information can use it, not what information they can gather in the first place.”

Though this concept may seem relatively harmless or even defensible from a law enforcement standpoint, the ambiguity of current digital privacy policy has created and continues to create boundless access to increasingly detailed personal information.

“I think one of the reasons the surveillance state has been able to advance as far as it has, both in terms of the scale of surveillance and the extent to which the government can delve into our most private affairs, is because the public doesn’t know what’s going on,” Soghoian said. “It’s much easier to spy on a population that doesn’t know it’s happening or assumes ‘it’s not happening to me.’”

Packard and Soghoian detailed how surveillance of satellites, international Internet cables, security cameras or individuals’ email and social media accounts requires little to no clearance and, once accessed, can be easily dispersed or compromised.

Citing NASA’s security breaches in 2011, Packard and Soghoian also discussed the vulnerability of information in individuals’ background checks — released by individuals on the assumption their information is secure.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Bicycle Racks Five more bike racks installed downtown

    Public art was installed Thursday along east Main Street in historic downtown Norman. Five colorful art pieces aren’t just for looks. The musical notes, dream catcher, fork and spoon, scissortail flycatcher and a bent arrow also are bike ...

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Water Reclamation Wastewater upgrade under way

    Norman’s $63 million water reclamation facility upgrade is under way. Once known as a sewer plant, the facility’s moniker reflects the current trend in water reuse and treatment that’s crossing the United States....

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Sooners on Saturday

    Meet the Sooners Day will be Saturday at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The annual, free event kicks off preseason practice and gives University of Oklahoma fans an opportunity to interact with their favorite players and ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Okla. City museum shows pigeons in positive light

    OKLAHOMA CITY — It wasn’t long after Lorrie Monteiro started her new gig as curator of the American Pigeon Museum that she started to wonder, “What have I done?” Monteiro had experience working at museums but knew almost nothing about the ...

    August 1, 2014

  • OKC man charged with rape

    After being brutally raped and kidnapped for four days, a woman escaped and called 911 last week, which led to charges against an Oklahoma City man. Zohaib Sahibzada Dastgir, 28, was charged with three counts of first-degree rape, two ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Parks officials set to fog for mosquitoes in Norman

    Norman parks and recreation officials will fog for mosquitoes Saturday night in northeast Norman....

    August 1, 2014

  • New natural gas plant coming to south central area

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new plant projected to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day is coming to the Grady/Stephens county area....

    August 1, 2014

  • Motorists should watch for pedestrians

    With another school year approaching, the Norman Police Department wants motorists to be mindful of the increase in pedestrian and vehicle traffic. During the month of August, the Norman Police Department will concentrate resources in the ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Crime briefs

    Man charged with rape A Norman man was charged with second-degree rape Thursday after a teen reported that she had been engaging in sexual activity with him. Stacy Lynn Thomas, 36, had numerous sexual encounters with the 15-year-old girl ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Wednesday: · 1:36 a.m. burglary in progress, 3700 block of Barwick Drive · 9:54 a.m. larceny report, 500 block of South University Boulevard · 10:42 a.m. larceny report, 1400 ...

    August 1, 2014