No, these aren’t images of ironically dressed hipsters culled from the pages of an Urban Outfitters catalog but rather the uncovered surveillance archives of the East German secret police, the Stasi.

Photographer Simon Menner’s dicovery and display of this archive is not meant to be humourous, it’s a reminder to the viewer of the overbearing nature of government agencies as Menner remarked to Reuters reporter Sarah Marsh:

“These were used during courses on how to dress up and blend into society,” the 33 year-old artist said. “They seem pretty absurd now, but it was meant seriously — this is evil stuff.”

Other photos revealed that Polaroids were used to document how an apartment was arranged before a …

A reader writes VentureBeat asking if it’s okay to install surveillance cameras to watch employees after a rash of trade secret thefts in the office.

The answer?

Proceed with caution.

4 Kinds of Surveillance

There are generally four kinds of employee related surveillance explains Curtis Smolar, a lawyer representing small businesses and start-ups:

  1. Work Related Data:  Usually acceptable and generally non-invasive, this monitoring type relates to on-the-job employee performance.
  2. Computer Data:  Potentially the most invasive type of monitoring, protect yoruself by making sure that your employee handbook states that this data is not private.
  3. Video Monitoring:  Coinsidered very invasive by employees and often rife with gray areas, notification of a company policy might prove acceptable.
  4. Audio Recording:  Possibly illegal in many states, a broad and

At a TedXObserver event in London last month author, activist, journalist, and blogger Cory Doctorow gave a talk outlining the ways we’re undervaluing our privacy in an era of full disclosure and 24/7 surveillance and asks the question:

“How do we get kids to care about online privacy?”

Doctorow states that Facebook uses “powerful game like mechanisms to reward disclosure” comparing it to B.F. Skinner’s theory of using social reinforcement to strengthen a desired behavior – Like giving away information.

Making Facebook Less Creepy

Parents and schools will spy on everything in the attempt to keep them safe but this may groom them for an existence where constant internet surveillance is considered legitimate, normal, and good ”teaching them to systematically undervalue their privacy years before they reach Facebook.” 

When too much of …

Imagine you’ve been detained as a suspected terrorist.  Only you’re a U.S. citizen, a university professor, and have a valid passport.

The U.S. terrorist watch list - the party that’s too easy to get invited to, and too hard to leave even when you don’t belong.  But that’s where Hasan Elahi wound up when he was mistaken for somebody else and thought to be stockpiling explosives.  

Hasan Baba interviewed Elahi for San Francisco’s KALW radio station and explains that:

He was eventually cleared, but the experience inspired him to launch a project called “Hiding in Plain Sight” in which he photographs every single detail of his daily life – no matter how mundane – and uploads it on his website for the world – and the FBI – to see.

Requests by law enforcement agencies for traditional types of surveillance such as wiretaps are reported to U.S. Congress as mandated by U.S. federal law.  Modern types of surveillance (electronic surveillance methods) like accessing stored data from email, IM’s, and cell phone locations require no such reporting.

A paper published by Christopher Soghoian, Indiana University Bloomington – Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, titled “The Law Enforcement Surveillance Reporting Gap“ explores the issues:

“Third party facilitated surveillance has become a routine tool for law enforcement agencies. There are likely hundreds of thousands of such requests per year. Unfortunately there are few detailed statistics documenting the use of many modern surveillance methods. As such, the true scale of law enforcement surveillance, although widespread, remains largely shielded from public view.”

Via PCWorld, …