Daily Digest (7/1)

FCC Officially Deems Huawei, ZTE as National Security Threats; Arizona Police Use Drone Surveillance to Arrest Protesters; Canadian Privacy Officials to Probe Tim Hortons App Over Many Concerns; Calif. Police Hiding Surveillance Documents by Using Copyright; Click “Continue reading” below.

FCC Officially Deems Huawei, ZTE as National Security Threats

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday formally designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, meaning companies can no longer use the commission’s Universal Service Fund (USF) to buy equipment or services from the Chinese firms.

In November, the FCC implemented a rule barring any money from the fund from being spent on suppliers deemed a national security threat.

The agency recommended then that designation be applied to Huawei and ZTE. The fund provides more than $8.5 billion a year in subsidies to help telecoms provide adequate broadband to rural Americans that currently lack access.  

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that the designation was “based on the overwhelming weight of evidence.” 

“Both companies have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus, and both companies are broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country’s intelligence services,” he said.

“We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure,” Pai said.

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Arizona Police Use Drone Surveillance to Arrest Protesters

Police in Tempe, Ariz., used drone surveillance footage to arrest three protesters over the weekend.

Authorities alleged that the three stopped traffic during a Black Lives Matter protest outside a Barnes & Noble bookstore.

According to Vice.com, Arizona activists organized a “chalk walk” over the weekend, where protesters gathered to write on sidewalks in chalk to declare their support for racial justice.

Police took three people into custody, alleging two had damaged a passing car and a third had prevented authorities from making an arrest.

After the incident, protesters demanded police release footage of the alleged property damage and asked local businesses to release security footage of the area.

Tempe police flew the drone above the protestors, captured footage of the alleged crimes, and released the recordings Monday on YouTube, Vice.com reports.

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Canadian Privacy Officials to Probe Tim Hortons App Over Many Concerns

The Canadian Privacy Commissioner has launched an investigation into Tim Hortons’ mobile app amid widespread complaints about privacy abuses.

The investigation began after The Financial Post first disclosed that the app was collecting extensive location data and information of those using it, Yahoo Finance reports.

In a months-long investigation, the article indicated that the app collected “longitude and latitude coordinates more than 2,700 times in less than five months” — and not just when the app was being used.

The investigation is being conducted in partnership with three other Canadian agencies, according to a news release from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

“More specifically, the (Office of the Privacy Commissioner) will look at whether the organization is obtaining meaningful consent from app users to collect and use their geolocation data for purposes which could include the amassing and use of detailed user profiles, and whether that collection and use of the data is appropriate in the circumstances,” the release said. 

In a statement, Tim Hortons told Yahoo Finance that it would “fully cooperate” with the privacy regulator.

“We are confident we’ll be able to resolve this matter,” the statement said.

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Calif. Police Hiding Surveillance Documents by Using Copyright

California police are refusing to release documents on the surveillance they are using, citing copyright grounds under the law.

The agency has said that it will not comply on copyright grounds, though they have been required to do so under SB 978, which took effect Jan. 1, Vice.com reports. 

The law requires the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to “conspicuously” publish all law-enforcement agency training materials. 

Any effort to download training materials on facial-recognition technology or automated license plate readers, as well as of materials relating to courses on the use of force, leads to a Word document that reads, “The course presented has claimed copyright for the expanded course online,” the document said.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation Tuesday sent a letter protesting why this copyright claim was unlawful and unacceptable. EFF noted that the California Public Records Act (CPRA) allowed copyrighted material to be made available to the public.

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— By DPN Staff