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Morning Security Brief: License Plate Reader Privacy Concerns, North Korea Demands Return of Ship, and More

By Lilly Chapa

►The American Civil Liberties Union has raised concerns that automatic license plate scanners used by police store vehicle information for years—with little to no privacy protections—and could allow law enforcement to track the movements of everyone who drives a car. The organization has called for legislation to limit the technology and protect drivers’ privacy. The police surveillance was documented after the ACLU pored over 26,000 pages of public records requests from 600 police departments. "The documents paint a startling picture of a technology deployed with too few rules that is becoming a tool for mass routine location tracking and surveillance," the ACLU said in a written statement. The license plate readers are used to alert officers of vehicles associated in investigations and are mounted on bridges, overpasses and patrol cars.

 
►Panama has formally asked the United Nations for guidance on how to handle a seized North Korean ship containing hidden weapons. North Korea has also issued a statement demand that Panama release the ship and crew, according to CNN. "The Panamanian investigation authorities rashly attacked and detained the captain and crewmen of the ship on the plea of 'drug investigation' and searched its cargo but did not discover any drug," said a spokesman for North Korean's Foreign Ministry. The ship from Cuba was stopped by Panamanian officials for a routine search Monday when missiles were discovered hidden among the cargo. North Korea is banned from importing and exporting nuclear weapons, and although it is unclear why the weapons were being smuggled, officials are concerned North Korea is providing nuclear material to Cuba. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a frequent Cuban government critic, described the weapons shipment as a "flagrant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions."
 
► A joint investigation by the World Federation of Exchanges and‎ the International Organization of Securities Commissions found that half of all the world's critical financial exchanges have suffered cyber attacks in the past year. Hackers targeted non-trading stock market Web sites and generally implemented denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, according to Reuters. Although the hacking didn’t cause any serious problems in the market, experts are concerned that a single attack could have a widespread impact. “Doubt over the effectiveness of these regimes generally appears to rest on the international nature of cyber crime, which creates a major obstacle in effective enforcement,” said Rohini Tendulkar, author of the report. The report said that cyber crime costs the world between $38 billion and $1 trillion, although it is impossible to produce entirely accurate figures due to the indirect costs which are often left out of such calculations.

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