You’re a savvy shopper, a well-educated consumer. You know to shop around to look for the best price on something before you fork over your cash. And after doing all your homework, you find out from Facebook that a friend on the other side of the country got the same item from the same website for less than you just paid. Why? How? Because an algorithm decided how much each of you should pay, and there’s nothing you can do about it. [More]
It’s one thing to comply with a court order from law enforcement seeking access to a user’s email account; it’s another to build a tool specifically to help U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies eavesdrop on those online discussions. A new report claims that Yahoo did just that last year by creating a program that allowed the company to scour all of its messages on behalf of the government. [More]
Tech can be pretty great, and smart, connected tech can be really great. Miniaturization and the ability to control devices remotely has led to some fantastic advances in, for example, health care. But today in “wow, our glorious tech-driven future is so strange and dystopic some days,” we are reminded that anything that can be networked is vulnerable, and can be hacked. [More]
AT&T offers GigaPower subscribers in several cities two options: pay $70 for your connection and get your data snooped on, or keep your privacy and pay $99. The company has regularly defended the program from critics, and claimed that it’s basically the wave of the future. And yet today, seemingly out of nowhere, A&T has suddenly announced that it will be dropping the option nationwide, and charging all consumers the same — lower — price. [More]
We are sure you will be shocked, shocked to hear that a major telecom company that currently makes some money from having customers pay to keep private data private wants to be able to continue doing so whenever possible. And yet, here we are. [More]
A Verizon Wireless employee has pleaded guilty to violating federal law by selling customer phone records and location data to a private investigator, starting at a measly $50 a month. [More]
In the wake of two data breaches at hotels operating under the Trump Hotel Collection umbrella, the attorney general for the state of New York has reached a settlement with the company that involves a small financial penalty and promises of improved data security. [More]
“Privacy” is the buzz of our era, but… what even is privacy? Different consumers, businesses, and regulators each have their own definitions and perspectives on the issue, while the law, too, is always evolving. [More]
In the months following the tragic Dec. 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, the FBI and Apple engaged in a heated legal (and publicity) battle over whether or not the tech giant could be compelled to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the attackers. Then in March 2016, the FBI paid an unidentified third party to provide a solution this particular problem. The identity and actual cost of this unlocking is still unknown, but two of the country’s biggest media companies have sued the FBI to learn more. [More]
Gaming can be, well, a kind of consumer-unfriendly industry. Players who build and upgrade their own PCs, though, usually expect a level of control over their experience that console gaming may not offer. And anything that changes that is not likely to go over well, as a change to certain Nvidia software is demonstrating. [More]
When your child uses a kid-targeted website for Barbie, Dora the Explorer, Neopets, Nerf, or Nickelodeon, federal law limits what information can be collected. But an investigation by the New York state attorney general found that some of the biggest names in toys and kids’ entertainment were violating that law by collecting information from their young users without authorization, and by allowing third parties to track users’ behavior across the internet. [More]
Apple, Amazon, Google, Twitter, Dozens More Voice Support For Microsoft Lawsuit Against Justice Dept.
In April, Microsoft sued the U.S. Department of Justice, arguing that its “customers have a right to know when the government obtains a warrant to read their emails,” and that “Microsoft has a right to tell them.” While Microsoft might be the only plaintiff in this case, dozens of tech biggies, media companies, privacy advocates, and others have let the court know that they stand behind Microsoft. [More]
Back in July, when the Pokémon Go fad first hit and users had serious questions about the types of personal data that the location-based game was gobbling, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota decided to step in and add some gravitas to the proceedings. Franken is concerned about privacy and technology and how they intersect in new products like the Oculus Rift or Apple Music. His office sent game-maker Niantic a letter back in mid-July. The company responded, and their response, predictably, is that users shouldn’t have any privacy concerns. [More]
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]