Last month, Senators Diane Feinstein of California and Richard Burr of North Carolina were set to bring forth legislation that would end the debate on whether companies like Apple should help law enforcement unlock users’ devices, by requiring them to do so. In spite of the bipartisan, high-level sponsorship and the spotlight of the disputes between Apple and the Justice Department, it looks like this controversial legislation may never even be formally introduced. [More]
From a business standpoint, it makes sense for Netflix to block VPNs — virtual private networks — to cut down on users accessing its content in foreign countries. But privacy activists who just want to use VPNs to keep their internet connections, well, private, aren’t too pleased with Netflix’s recent blocking campaign. [More]
“The walls have ears” used to be a metaphorical expression. These days, as the era of the Internet of Things dawns and marches on apace, it’s becoming a little more literal every day. And while that’s all well and good for the adults who buy and install a device in their home, it might not be quite so legal for the house to listen to their kids.
“Individuality” does not exactly spring to mind when you’re in the middle of the workday commuter crush, trawling the same roads at the same time as every other 9-5 worker who has to get to work and pick the kids up from school. And yet it turns out that you — yes, you — have a unique way of approaching that commute. So unique, in fact, that it only takes a few minutes of driving data for you to be completely identifiable.
When you think of an identity thief, you probably envision some squirrelly jerk in a third-world country selling your data on the black market. He’s untraceable and living someplace where the police don’t care. However, that ID thief could be only miles away from you, living an otherwise normal life… in a police where police also don’t really care. [More]
Five years ago, a CVS representative explained that the reason why the pharmacy chain keeps printing such long receipts for customers is that customers like it. Maybe the public’s preferences have changed since 2011, since the chain officially announced today that it’s getting rid of the lengthy coupon-filled receipt streamers, and pre-loading coupons to customers’ rewards program cards instead. [More]
Usually when you think of “privacy,” that comprises ideas like, say, other people not knowing who you are, or being able to locate you down to the nearest meter. And yet that last bit seems to have been grossly overlooked by the developers of certain dating and hookup apps, which, it turns out, leak your exact location even if you have location-based services turned off.
We all kind of know that our devices, and our activities on them, are being tracked. In response, there are entire categories of apps and services that let you browse incognito, block ads, or hide your tracks — and many of those are quite popular. But it turns out there’s another kind of tracking signal that those privacy protectors, for the most part, miss.
Facebook Lawsuit Over Scanning Of Private Messages Moves Forward, But Plaintiffs Will Receive No Money
Way back in late 2013, a lawsuit accused Facebook of scanning links in users’ private messages and turning them into public “Likes,” from which the company earned revenue. This week, a federal court certified the class action, giving it the green light to move forward, but none of the plaintiffs should expect to see any money if they prevail at trial. [More]
Earlier today, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation intended to combat new rules that some critics believe gives expanded hacking authority to federal law enforcement agencies. In response, the Justice Department claims that this bill isn’t necessary to protect consumers’ privacy. [More]
Two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission accused Napster co-founder, and creator of Jerk.com, John Fanning of pilfering data from Facebook accounts then charging people $30 each to manage their online reputations. A federal appeals court recently upheld most of the FTC’s ruling that Fanning deceived consumers about the source of the information contained on Jerk.com and the benefits of paying for membership. [More]
There are a number of well-known apps that allow you remotely track your phone if it’s lost, or that track the movement of another device but do so with that user’s knowledge. What about those apps that let you track another phone — and maybe intercept calls and texts — without the other person having any idea? [More]
Six years after Facebook launched a feature that scans uploaded photos to see if it can recognize faces and suggest people to tag, a lawsuit about the social media site’s facial-recognition tech has been given the go-ahead by a federal court. [More]
Airbnb and VRBO are shaking up the hospitality industry by letting anyone with a spare room become an innkeeper. Uber and Lyft are disrupting the for-hire car market by letting you turn your car into a taxi. While these new platforms might be opening up the so-called “sharing” economy, some of them may also be a bit too willing to share user data with law enforcement. [More]
Spoofing phone numbers — the practice of making it appear to the caller ID system that you’re calling from a different number — is not illegal, so long as the spoofing is not done to commit fraud or otherwise perpetrate a crime. But even when the intent of the spoofing crosses the legal line, does the company providing the spoofing service bear any culpability? [More]
If you’re arrested or a suspect in a crime, the police can’t force you to remember the combination to your safe, or the passcode for your iPhone. But what if that phone can be unlocked with biometric data like a fingerprint? Does the ready access to this information give law enforcement an easy way to open secure devices, or would that be a violation of your constitutional rights? [More]