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]

(Atwater Village Newbie)

Google: Of Course We’re Going To See What’s In Emails Sent To Gmail Addresses, Don’t Be Silly

Raise your hand if you use Gmail. Now look around at your pals, who are ostensibly reading this with you and are perhaps one of 425 million Gmail users. Anyone sending email to those people apparently have no “reasonable expectation” that those communications are confidential, according to a court filing submitted by Google. [More]

Sylvan Tries To Distance Itself From Learning Center That Left Sensitive Files In Trash

Sylvan Tries To Distance Itself From Learning Center That Left Sensitive Files In Trash

Yesterday we told you about the Sylvan Learning Center in Beaverton, OR, that chose to leave hundreds of file folders containing sensitive customer information in a dumpster instead of shredding them. Now, the folks at Sylvan HQ are doing damage control. [More]

I heart privacy?

Mobile Dating App Tinder Says Security Breach Lasted Hours, But Two Weeks Is A Lot Of Hours

For those not in the know, Tinder is a sort of hookup app that works a bit differently than your traditional dating site: Users share their location with the app so Tinder can say hey, there’s someone nearby if you want to meet them. But birth dates and more specific location data of where you are aren’t supposed to show up to other users, and neither is your Facebook profile, as users are  identified on the app by just first name. All of that was exposed during a recent security breach, which yesterday Tinder said lasted only a few hours, but a new report says that was the case for weeks. [More]

(C x 2)

Tell AT&T You Don’t Want It Selling Info About Your Wireless And U-Verse Usage

Last year, Verizon Wireless ticked off a lot of people when it announced its Precision Market Insights program, which sells supposedly anonymous data about customers’ wireless behavior to marketers. Now AT&T has decided it wants to make money selling this sort of info to third parties, but for both wireless and U-Verse customers. [More]

Here's a letter sent to a Consumerist reader in 2013, reminding him to re-opt-out of BofA junk mail.

Bank Of America Makes You Opt Out Of Junk Mail Every 5 Years, Even If You Don’t Have An Account

When you opt out of receiving junk mail from a company, you might think that this is the last time your mailbox will be filled with that particular business’s unsolicited offers. But no, as some companies put time limits on how long you can stop them from wasting time, paper, and money to send you things that go straight into the shredder. [More]

You Can Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stalker-Proof, But Then You Might As Well Not Have A Profile

You Can Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stalker-Proof, But Then You Might As Well Not Have A Profile

On Facebook, you can make your profile very private so that no one outside of your network can see anything other than your name. You can also block individuals from contacting you. Twitter allows you to make your feed private so that you pick and choose who can follow your Tweets. Meanwhile, LinkedIn allows you to limit who can see your profile, but does not give you the ability to block individuals, so it’s kind of an all or nothing. [More]


Apple Says It Received 5,000 Data Requests From Law Enforcement, Doesn’t Say How Many It Fulfilled

With many people still wondering about the extent to which the National Security Agency and other authorities were peeping in to consumers’ phone and Internet activities, some of the larger firms caught up in the scandal are making attempts at being transparent about what they did and didn’t hand over to the government. However, some are being more transparent than others. [More]

(Daniel Fuentealba P.)

You Should Probably Check Your Facebook Privacy Settings Right Now

If you’re like most Consumerist readers, you’re probably Internet-savvy enough to carefully screen what you say on Facebook, and to use filters when you have something more colorful and interesting to post. Now that everyone from your grandmother to your niece’s cat are on using Facebook, though, everyone could use a reminder of how to set up your privacy settings, how to change who sees a given post, and how to make sure those settings are still arranged how you want them. [More]

Google Says No (For Now) To Facial Recognition Apps For Glass

Google Says No (For Now) To Facial Recognition Apps For Glass

As consumers test Google’s Glass device on the streets and subways of America, many people have raised privacy concerns about the possibility of developers creating facial recognition apps for the wearable computers. But Google is trying to calm those fears by saying it won’t allow such apps… for the time-being. [More]

Microsoft Eases Concerns (Slightly) About Being Spied On By Xbox One

Microsoft Eases Concerns (Slightly) About Being Spied On By Xbox One

Among the major concerns about the upcoming Xbox One gaming console is that the device’s new Kinect sensor is so thoroughly integrated into the the system that it will always be on and listening/watching what users are doing. In response to consumers who would rather not be monitored 24/7, Microsoft has issued a statement that quells some concerns while raising others. [More]

Nordstrom Decides To Stop Tracking Customers’ Smartphones

Nordstrom Decides To Stop Tracking Customers’ Smartphones

Earlier this week, we told you how Nordstrom has been testing a smartphone tracking service at 17 of its stores around the country. Almost immediately after the public found out about the tracking system, the department store decided to put an end to it, though it insists the timing is just a coincidence. [More]


Barclays Replacing Security Questions With Voice-Recognition

We know you all love calling your bank and being asked the same security questions over and over; and we’re sure that bank employees get a real kick out of having to ask these questions and hearing customers groan. Barclays thinks it has the answer to the problem — voice-recognition software. [More]


Your ZIP Code And Your Name, That’s All Retailers Need To Track Your Behavior

How many times have you been asked “May I have your ZIP code?” when paying with a credit card? Many people just assume it’s for security purposes, but in reality it’s more likely that you may have just given marketers access to a wealth of knowledge about you and your shopping habits. [More]

(Matt McGee)

Google To Pay States $7 Million For Privacy Violations Related To Street View

Remember way back in 2010 when people were up in arms about Google collecting and storing data — including e-mails, texts, browsing histories, and other fun, private stuff — while tooling around taking photos for Google Street View? Well, the multi-state lawsuit over that mess has finally been settled. [More]

(CBS Sacramento)

Hospital Sends Lab Test Results For 10 Patients To Random Stranger

Even in this era of over-sharing and supposed transparency, most people don’t want their medical files shared with anyone who doesn’t absolutely need to see them. But all it takes is one person to not pay attention when stuffing envelopes for private medical documents to be shared with the world. [More]

(So Cal Metro)

AT&T E-Mails Me Stranger’s Account Statements, Shrugs

Eric was most likely an early adopter of Gmail, meaning that he was able to nab the address “elastname@gmail.com.” If you substitute in Eric’s actual last name for “lastname”, that is. The problem, as many early Gmail adopters can tell you, is that every other “E. Lastname” in the world seems to give out Eric’s e-mail address as his own. This time, it was serious: an AT&T business account holder gave the company Eric’s e-mail address, and now he’s getting notifications that have way, way more personal information than he’s comfortable having about a stranger. AT&T’s response? He should contact their customer himself. [More]