Predictive Models, Secret Scores: How Computers Decide Who You Are & What To Sell You

(Mike Saechang)

Savvy consumers all know that their lifetime debt history ends up in their credit score, and that lenders use that score to try to predict if someone is a good bet for a big loan like a mortgage. But even the most-connected consumer may not realize how many hundreds of other scores we all now trail in our wakes too, thanks to the advent of big data. Do you know, to the last decimal, how likely are you to buy jewelry? To sign up for cable? To have a kid in the next year? Someone, somewhere, is tallying all of that information about almost everyone. But good luck finding out what’s out there, who’s scoring it, and if your numbers are even actually about you at all. [More]

WhatsApp Founder: Just Because Facebook Bought Us Doesn’t Mean We’re Selling Users Out

WhatsApp Founder: Just Because Facebook Bought Us Doesn’t Mean We’re Selling Users Out

Amidst concern from users and industry trade groups over private information changing hands between WhatsApp and its new overlords at Facebook, the wireless messaging service’s CEO and founder is attempting to assuage fears in a new blog post promising that the company won’t sell users out. [More]

Facebook, WhatsApp Acquisition Face Privacy Hurdle After EPIC Files FTC Complaint

Facebook, WhatsApp Acquisition Face Privacy Hurdle After EPIC Files FTC Complaint

Mergers and acquisitions routinely face opposition and complaints. Facebook’s $19 billion deal to buy messaging system WhatsApp has been able to stay rather unopposed, until now. [More]

Tinder Fails For Months To Inform Public Of Security Flaw That Reveals Users’ Exact Location

Tinder Fails For Months To Inform Public Of Security Flaw That Reveals Users’ Exact Location

UPDATE Feb. 20: Tinder sent Consumerist the following statement the day after this story originally ran. It’s from CEO and founder Sean Rad. [More]

Child Protection Advocacy Group Rejects Facebook Privacy Lawsuit Settlement, Asks Court To Reconsider

Child Protection Advocacy Group Rejects Facebook Privacy Lawsuit Settlement, Asks Court To Reconsider

Facebook is notorious at this stage for playing fast and loose with users’ privacy. In 2013, the social sharing behemoth faced and settled a class-action lawsuit regarding its privacy practices. Today, one of the advocacy groups awarded a share of the settlement has reversed their stance, refused the payment, and is asking the court to reconsider the deal. [More]

Al Franken Isn’t Too Keen On Google Glass Face-Recognition App

Al Franken Isn’t Too Keen On Google Glass Face-Recognition App

Some people wouldn’t have a problem with you shooting photos and video of the people you pass as you stroll down the street sporting your Google Glass headgear. But if you could use a facial recognition app on that same device to glean personal information about complete strangers, it’s probably not going to be as warmly received. [More]

(Mike Matney)

What’s The NSA Using To Spy On You Now? Angry Birds.

The revelations about just how embedded into every facet of modern, technological life the NSA is just keep coming. The spy agency isn’t just collecting calling records and tracking electronics; they’re in your iPhone games, too. [More]

(Rosalyn Davis)

Advisory Panel Tells President To Stop Letting NSA Collect Everyone’s Phone Data

An advisory panel to President Obama is calling for an end to the NSA’s highly controversial phone data collection program. [More]

(afagen)

FTC: 12 Companies, Including 3 NFL Teams, Misrepresent Compliance Of Privacy Frameworks

Abiding by privacy standards is a big deal, even if those standards are voluntary. Twelve businesses, some that handle sensitive personal data about health and employment, were found to falsely claim they abided by international privacy frameworks. [More]

United Nations Names Online Privacy That You Probably Don’t Have As A Universal Human Right

United Nations Names Online Privacy That You Probably Don’t Have As A Universal Human Right

Online privacy: it’s a contentious ground between corporations and consumers, a troubled 21st century frontier of expectations, and, apparently, a universal human right. [More]

Snapchat Says It’ll Release More Secure Version Of App In Wake Of Hack

Snapchat Says It’ll Release More Secure Version Of App In Wake Of Hack

This week many Snapchat users were likely shocked to found out that 4.6 million usernames and the phone numbers connected to them were leaked online by a group of hackers. In response to the hack, Snapchat says now that it will release an updated version of its app that will allow users to opt out of the “Find Friends” feature that was exploited. [More]

Report: 4.6 Million Snapchat Phone Numbers And Usernames Leaked Online

Report: 4.6 Million Snapchat Phone Numbers And Usernames Leaked Online

While many Snapchat users are used to nudity, many of them only thought they were exposed for the 10 or so seconds that late-night selfie was on their recipient’s screen. But a new report says the phone numbers and usernames associated with more than 4.6 million Snapchatters in North America were leaked and posted online. [More]

Maker Of Wildly Popular Flashlight App Failed To Tell Users It Was Sharing Their Location Info

Maker Of Wildly Popular Flashlight App Failed To Tell Users It Was Sharing Their Location Info

Most of us have had the bright idea to use our smartphones as flashlights when searching underneath the couch or in the backseat of a dark car. And many millions of people have downloaded flashlight apps that maximize the light coming out of their devices. Most of those people probably never even considered that a flashlight app would be doing anything other than turning on the phone’s lights, and certainly not transmitting location data to third parties. [More]

Microsoft Promises That New Kinect Is Not (Always) A Crazy Spying Machine

Microsoft Promises That New Kinect Is Not (Always) A Crazy Spying Machine

With the new Xbox One console only weeks away from launch, Microsoft is doing its best to quell concerns that the new Kinect motion and voice sensor will be spying on users and storing important, sensitive information. [More]

College Board & ACT Sued For Selling Personal Info Of Test-Takers

College Board & ACT Sued For Selling Personal Info Of Test-Takers

As anyone who took the ACT or SAT tests remembers, shortly after you get your scores, your mailbox is flooded with brochures, pamphlets, and catalogs from schools that want your tuition money. This isn’t a coincidence, as The College Board and ACT, Inc. — the companies behind these tests — sells test-takers’ information to colleges. But a new lawsuit alleges that this practice is a breach of contract as it’s done without the test-takers’ consent. [More]

Your E-ZPass Might Be Tracking You Everywhere, Not Just Tollbooths

Your E-ZPass Might Be Tracking You Everywhere, Not Just Tollbooths

When you get a toll-paying transponder like the E-ZPass, you assume that it just sort of sits there until you drive through a toll booth. That’s not true. Maybe, according to a recent presentation at DEFCON, you should put your E-ZPass away unless you’re actually paying a toll right now. [More]

FTC Looking Into Recent Change To Facebook Privacy Policy

FTC Looking Into Recent Change To Facebook Privacy Policy

Back in 2011, Facebook settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission that the website deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information private, only to repeatedly allow that information to be shared and made public. The settlement requires that Facebook get explicit permission from users before sharing such information, but the FTC wants to know if the website’s latest privacy update violates that agreement. [More]

(gothamiste)

Google Defends Scanning Users’ Emails Because Humans Aren’t Actually Reading Anything

Google’s attorneys are having their say in court documents as part of the months-long battle over whether or not it’s okay for Google to read users’ private emails. The company is defending itself against a class action lawsuit filed in May that alleged the company “unlawfully opens up reads, and acquires the content of people’s private email messages.” [More]