At a glance.
- 4th US Circuit rules against Baltimore PD's aerial surveillance program.
- Premise Data app and a gig market for surveillance workers.
- TikTok sued over children's data.
Grounded Baltimore “spy planes” criticized by appellate court.
The 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled against the city of Baltimore and in favor of activists seeking to stop the city’s use of camera-equipped surveillance airplanes, the Baltimore Sun reports. Though the city spending board canceled the program last October, the ruling ensures that the planes will remain grounded and the majority of the 6.7 million images of footage remain sealed, and will likely discourage other cities from attempting similar endeavors. “Allowing the police to wield this power unchecked is anathema to the values enshrined in our Fourth Amendment,” Chief Judge Roger Gregory said.
Premise app turns users into government gig workers.
The Wall Street Journal investigates a new consumer app that has users, many from developing countries, unwittingly performing intelligence work for the US military. Established in 2013 with the goal of collecting data for governments and other organizations completing international development work, Premise allows users to earn money for completing simple data-gathering tasks like taking photographs, completing surveys, or reporting on consumer goods prices. Around half of Premise’s current clients are commercial companies seeking information about the market and their competitors, but the app’s partners also include US and foreign governments conducting surveillance and gathering data on public sentiment. In recent years, San Francisco-based app developer Premise Data Corp. has sought employees with experience in the intelligence community and has earned around $5 million since 2017 working with defense entities like the US Air Force. Premise's Chief Executive Officer Maury Blackman said, “Data gained from our contributors helped inform government policy makers on how to best deal with vaccine hesitancy, susceptibility to foreign interference and misinformation in elections, as well as the location and nature of gang activity in Honduras.”
TikTok accused of collecting children’s data without permission.
Social media giant TikTok could be facing a lawsuit for allegedly collecting the data of minors without their consent, Computing reports. Dutch non-profit Consumentenbond and the Take Back Your Privacy Foundation say TikTok has been collecting personal data like videos, photos, and location info and tracking the activities of over a million children in the Netherlands, and then transferring the data outside of the EU in violation of data privacy regulations, using it to earn billions of dollars in targeted ad sales. "The conduct of TikTok is pure exploitation," Sandra Molenaar, director of the Consumentenbond, stated. "TikTok has turned children into a product.” The organizations have threatened to file a legal challenge if TikTok does not pay €1.5 billion in compensation, delete the collected data, and revamp their data handling procedures. In a statement, TikTok said it is “committed to engage with external experts and organisations to make sure we're doing what we can to keep people on TikTok safe.”