It’s been less than a week since WhatsApp announced it would start sharing some user data with parent company Facebook, but in that short time, app users and privacy advocates alike have raised a ruckus over what they see as a broken promise. Now, some consumer privacy watchdog groups have filed a formal complaint with the FTC, asking them to look into it.
Facebook isn’t just Facebook. The company is massive, and has a whole suite of other apps and businesses it launches (or acquires) from time to time. The latest is kind of a pared down social network aimed at busy teens on the go — but that comes along with massive, glaring privacy flaws that could leave kids at risk.
When you find out that someone is using computer software to listen in on your emails and instant messages, your first instinct — after wanting to swat them with a wet newspaper — may be to sue the snooper for illegal wiretapping, but should the company that made that software also be held accountable? [More]
Why would the state need to know your name, phone number, where you live, wand how old you are when you buy beer? It’s unclear, but that kind of detailed info is exactly what Alabama regulators have proposed craft brewers collect from anyone buying beer to bring home. [More]
Internet service providers like making money. They don’t like regulations that prevent them from any avenues that could make them money. And they will argue basically anything they can think of to help prevent those regulations from happening. Like, for example, suggesting that you, the consumer, will actively suffer harm if Comcast and others aren’t allowed to charge you extra for keeping your data to yourself.
The fertility-tracking app Glow collects detailed information about users’ bodies and sex lives, and one thing that may not occur to users is the possibility that their data could be compromised. No, not just if someone swiped their phone or broke into their account: our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports discovered some serious security flaws in the app, which Glow has now fixed. [More]
The federal government is not as rich and all-powerful as we sometimes think: while the Office for Civil Rights of the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has the responsibility of dealing with possible violations of patients’ privacy by medical care providers, it doesn’t have tee budget to post the warning letters that it sends after a single breach online. Is that useful information that the government should know about? Experts say that it is. [More]
When law enforcement officials serve a tech company with a warrant for information on a specific user, does the fact that the company could easily access that information online negate the concern that the sought-after data is stored wholly outside the U.S.? A federal appeals court — in a case involving a Microsoft email user — says that the location of the information does matter. [More]
Last fall, Congress passed — and the President signed — an emergency budget bill that opened up a loophole that allows federal agencies, and private companies working on the government’s behalf, to make debt collection robocalls. However, a recently released ruling from the Federal Communications Commissions makes it clear that the entire U.S. government is exempt from rules limiting the use of robocalls to American consumers, so long at it involves government business. [More]
Google is everywhere. It’s the world’s biggest search engine, the most popular phone operating system, the most popular web browser, an incredibly popular e-mail service, and a thousand other things. That means it knows a lot about you, especially if you you log in to a Google account and sync or unify your profile about services. Seeing exactly how much it is they know about you, and how it’s used… well, that’s been a little harder. Until now.
Update: In a second statement to Fusion, Facebook retracted its original statement that location is one of the ways in which it suggests who you may wish to follow, and now says, “We’re not using location data, such as device location and location information you add to your profile, to suggest people you may know. We may show you people based on mutual friends, work and education information, networks you are part of, contacts you’ve imported and other factors.”
A new phone or laptop is expensive. So you trade in an old one to fund the upgrade. Straightforward, right? And thousands of businesses do the same every year. But that means there’s a whole big world out there of resold devices that may still have more of your data on them than they are supposed to. A lot more.
Imagine you’re one of the many American workers subject to random tests for the presence of drugs or alcohol in your system, and a test turns up high levels of heroin and cocaine. If you contend that the lab must have mixed up your urine sample with someone else’s should you be able to demand a DNA test to prove your innocence? If you’re a pilot, the answer is no. [More]
Earlier this week, in response to the recent massacre of 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Senators John McCain of Arizona and Richard Burr of North Carolina introduced a controversial piece of legislation that, if approved, would allow federal law enforcement to perform searches of suspects’ electronic and online records without a traditional court order. However, this morning the Senate narrowly failed to approve the bill. [More]