Before the advent of cloud computing, law enforcement would often have to physically go into an office or home and seize computers and servers of criminal suspects and their cohorts — an obvious tip-off that an investigation is taking place. But now, with so much data living far from the devices used to access it, the government can seize that information without having to load up a van full of hardware, leaving the target of the investigation none the wiser. What’s more, the government can try to block cloud-computing companies from telling affected customers about these seizures, which Microsoft believes is a violation of the Constitution. [More]
Usually, D.C. moves slowly. There’s a kind of plodding, methodical rhythm to Congress and the federal agencies, and very little turns on a dime. So it stands out that less than 48 hours after introducing a bill into the Senate, over 42,000 people have already objected to basically everything about it.
A week after it was first reported that Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Richard Burr (NC) were prepping a bipartisan bill that would compel tech companies to build their devices and software with weakened encryption or built-in backdoors for law enforcement, the actual bill has been introduced. Here’s what you need to know about why consumer and privacy advocates are concerned.
While we’ve been talking about virtual reality for decades, the current slate of VR headsets marks the first time we’ve seen anything close to widespread adoption of the technology. And when one of the leading companies in the field also happens to be owned by a company that makes billions of dollars tracking your online behavior, you can’t fault people for being concerned about privacy.
In February, while a federal court in California was pondering whether or not to compel Apple’s assistance in unlocking a terrorist’s iPhone, a federal magistrate judge in New York ruled — in a drug-related case — that the government couldn’t force Apple to defeat its own encryption. In spite of that ruling, the Justice Department now tells the court that it is going ahead with its effort to require Apple’s help. [More]
Even though the FBI has figured out a work-around that — for now — allows the agency to bypass an iPhone’s encryption, the debate still continues about which is more important: privacy for all consumers, or ready-but-limited access for law enforcement? Today, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp made it clear which side of that argument it comes down on. [More]
The number-one complaint we get from Consumerist readers is “You guys just don’t have enough ads on your site! Where are all the pop-ups, roll-overs, pop-overs, auto-play videos, and page-crashing ad units that make surfing the web so dang enjoyable?” We hear you, we do; we just don’t have the staff to sell all those ads you want bogging down your browser and tracking you across pages and platforms. And even if we did, those pesky jerks at the FCC are trying to rob us — and consumers — of more options to be marketed to, and commodified by, our Internet service providers. [More]
The Federal Communications Commission today in their monthly meeting voted narrowly to move forward with two high-profile, contentious proposals. One is formally adopting a plan to modernize the Lifeline program, and the other is to start considering how to apply stronger consumer privacy protections to ISPs.
One of Apple’s biggest concerns about being compelled to assist the FBI in bypassing the security measures on the iPhone was that it would be just the first of many requests to get around the device’s encryption, thus increasing the odds of this work-around getting into the hands of hackers. Now comes news that the FBI — which was able to crack the iPhone lockdown without Apple’s assistance — is offering to unlock Apple devices for other law enforcement agencies. [More]
The high-profile legal standoff between Apple and the FBI recently came to an end when the government unlocked a terrorist’s iPhone without Apple’s assistance, but new data confirms that this single showdown is just one of dozens of cases where the federal government has successfully used a more than 225-year-old law to compel Apple or Google to aid authorities in bypassing smartphone security measures. [More]
California law requires that, before any party involved in a phone call can record the conversation, all parties must be made aware they are being recorded. Violations of that law can get quite costly; just ask Wells Fargo, which has to ante up $8.5 million to close a state investigation into the bank’s repeated invasions of privacy. [More]
Later this week, the Federal Communications Commission will be voting on a proposal intended to protect some of your personal data from being shared by your Internet service provider, by requiring that the ISP first get your permission. As the vote approaches, the broadband industry is trying to make the case that your ISP’s collecting and sharing of customer data is no different than Facebook or Google’s. [More]
Last week, it was reported that the FBI had figured out how to unlock the iPhone belonging to one of the shooters who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, CA, on Dec. 2, 2015. Now, it’s official, as the government has dropped its attempt to compel Apple to aid the FBI in bypassing the device’s security — but this is just the first of likely many fights over this issue. [More]
Earlier today, healthcare provider MedStar Health, which operates nearly a dozen hospitals in the D.C. area and some 100 clinics, took its network offline after detecting the presence of a computer virus. Now the FBI is investigating. [More]
Who sees your prescription information? No, there are more people involved than just the pharmacists and technicians at your local drugstore and your doctor and his or her employees. Information about your medications can also end up with data miners, insurance companies other than your health insurer, and companies that your pharmacy does business with. [More]
A federal court in California is currently weighing whether or not Apple could be compelled to aid the FBI in unlocking an iPhone that belonged to one of the terrorists behind the Dec. 2, 2015 shootings in San Bernardino, CA. But even if the court rules that Apple must assist the government in opening the device, some engineers at the company are reportedly considering resistance. [More]