• NIST updates Risk Management Framework to include privacy considerations

    Augmenting its efforts to protect the U.S. critical assets from cybersecurity threats as well as protect individuals’ privacy, NIST has issued a draft update to its Risk Management Framework (RMF) to help organizations more easily meet these goals.

  • Privacy advocates urge New York court to ban warrantless searches at the border

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus brief Tuesday, along with the ACLU and NYCLU, urging a New York State appellate court to rule that border agents need a probable cause warrant to search the electronic devices of people at international airports and other border crossings. EFF notes that recent weeks saw court victories for travelers’ digital privacy.

  • Your genome may have already been hacked

    On 25 April, California law enforcement announced the possible capture of a long-sought serial killer. Shortly after, it was reported that police had used public DNA databases to determine his identity. This extraordinary event highlights that when you send off a cheek swab to one of the private genome companies, you may sacrifice not just your own privacy but that of your family and your ancestors. In a time of widespread anxiety over the misuse of social media, Americans should also be concerned over who has access to their genetic information.

  • Britain’s mass surveillance regime is directly opposing human rights

    In light of the Facebook data scandal more people are beginning to challenge the web’s pervasive surveillance culture. But few British citizens seem to be aware of the government’s own online surveillance regime – significant parts of which have been deemed unlawful.

  • Hearing Monday in lawsuit over border searches of laptops, smartphones

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will appear in federal court in Boston Monday, fighting the U.S. government’s attempts to block their lawsuit over illegal laptop and smartphone searches at the country’s borders.

  • Activists cry foul as Russian court orders Telegram app blocked

    A Moscow court has issued an order to block access to Telegram, ruling in favor of the state and against the defiant self-exiled Russian entrepreneur who created the popular messaging app. The 13 April ruling was expected, but is certain to deepen concerns that the government is seeking to close avenues for dissent as President Vladimir Putin heads into a new six-year term. Amnesty International warned that blocking Telegram would be “the latest in a series of attacks on online freedom of expression” in Russia.

  • New approaches are needed to protect consumer data

    Facebook’s current privacy crisis and questions about how Google gathers, uses and stores our personal information demonstrate an urgent need to review and replace inadequate and outdated ways to regulate data and information, according to a business law expert.

  • Privacy of Americans not protected in omnibus spending bill

    The CLOUD Act, inserted at the very end of the 2,232-page omnibus spending bill, will make substantial amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). It grants U.S. law enforcement entities new powers to compel U.S. companies to disclose communications and data on U.S. and foreign users that is stored overseas. It also empowers foreign governments to demand the stored and real-time data and communications of users outside the U.S.

  • Leaky apps exacerbate Facebook’s privacy risks

    A bug in Facebook’s advertising platform made it possible for potential hackers to uncover users’ phone numbers, according to new research. The Facebook advertising system is incredibly effective at targeting specific audiences, which is what has made the company so lucrative, says a researcher. But because anyone can become an advertiser, and there is very little transparency in what ads are being placed, the platform “could be used for nefarious purposes,” he added.

  • With no clear liability against Facebook, expert calls for stronger data privacy laws

    The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it has opened an investigation into Facebook after a data analytics firm collected the private data of more than fifty million users. Cambridge Analytica, the data company hired by the Trump campaign in 2016, has been accused of taking private information unbeknownst to users. The FTC will investigate whether or not Facebook violated a 2011 consent order with the FTC over its handling of user data and how the company notifies changes to its terms of service. Northeastern’s Professor Woodrow Hartzog, who specializes in privacy and data protection law, explains the possible legal fallout from this investigation.

  • Cambridge Analytica: the data analytics industry is already in full swing

    Revelations about Cambridge Analytica have laid bare the seeming lack of control that we have over our own data. Suddenly, with all the talk of “psychographics” and voter manipulation, the power of data analytics has become the source of some concern. But the risk is that if we look at the case of Cambridge Analytica in isolation, we might prevent a much wider debate about the use and control of our data. By focusing on the reports of extreme practices, we might miss the many everyday ways that data analytics are now shaping our lives.

  • Use of face recognition systems threatens civil liberties: EFF report

    Face recognition—fast becoming law enforcement’s surveillance tool of choice—is being implemented with little oversight or privacy protections, leading to faulty systems that will disproportionately impact people of color and may implicate innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit, says an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) report. Independent oversight, privacy protections are needed.

  • Cambridge Analytica’s abuse of Facebook user data shows “profound impact of technology on democracy”

    Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform for violating its guidelines on the use of user data. The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) says that a weekend New York Times article further illuminated the scale of Cambridge Analytica’s efforts and showed how the company used personal information about users to conduct targeted political outreach. “These revelations illustrate the profound impact internet platforms can have on democracy,” CDT says.

  • Appellate court issues encouraging border search opinion

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in U.S. v. Molina-Isidoro recently issued an encouraging opinion related to the digital privacy of travelers crossing the U.S. border. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus brief last year in the case, arguing that the Supreme Court’s decision in Riley v. California (2014) supports the conclusion that border agents need a probable cause warrant before searching electronic devices because of the unprecedented and significant privacy interests travelers have in their digital data. In Riley, the Supreme Court followed similar reasoning and held that police must obtain a warrant to search the cell phone of an arrestee.

  • Germany’s highest court reviewing country’s permissive new surveillance laws

    German journalists, press groups, and civil rights advocates have asked Germany’s Constitutional Court to review the legality of the government’s surveillance capabilities. The plaintiffs contend that the law allows for the “virtually unrestricted” monitoring of foreign reporters.