Privacy

  • U.S. secretly obtains AP phone records to identify source of story

    In what the AP calls a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into the news organization’s news work, the U.S. Justice Department secretly gathered two-months-worth of telephone records of the agency’s reporters and editors. The AP says the records listed incoming and outgoing calls to the offices and homes of reporters and editors. The Justice Department began collecting the phone records in order to identify the source or sources of a 7 May 2012 AP story which detailed a secret CIA operation in Yemen to intercept an al Qaeda-sponsored attempt to load an IED onto a U.S.-bound airplane.

  • Texas legislators want TSA out to allow for anti-groping policy

    Texas lawmakers  are considering proposals  to opt out of federal protection at all airports in the state. One of the proposals calls for charging airport security officials who aggressively check passengers.

  • Pervasive surveillance threatens privacy, gives power advantage to the watcher

    Surveillance is everywhere, from street corner cameras to the subject of books and movies. A researcher says that pervasive surveillance menaces our intellectual privacy and it gives the watcher a power advantage over the watched, which can be used for blackmail, persuasion, or discrimination.

  • In 2012, Microsoft received 70,665 law-enforcement requests for customer information

    On Thursday, Microsoft released the number of law enforcement requests it has received for information on its hundreds of millions of customers. By releasing the information, Microsoft is now putting itself on the same team as Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and other Web businesses which have published reports on law-enforcement request for customer information. In 2012 Microsoft received a total of 70,665 law-enforcement requests for customer information.

  • Google’s assault on privacy: a reminder

    A year ago, on 1 March 2012, Goggle launched its privacy-eroding policy of combining and collating users’ information across all of Goggle’s products. Google offers no opt-out option. Forcing consumers to share every aspect and nuance of their Internet practices with the company was not enough for Google. Yesterday, the attorney generals of thirty-eight states reached an agreement with Google concerning Google’s practice of spying on Wi-Fi users. The company sheepishly admitted that its Street View Vans collected 600GB of user data from unprotected Wi-Fi networks, and was fined a measly $7 million.

  • Facebook’s Likes expose intimate details, personality traits of millions

    Research shows that intimate personal attributes can be predicted with high levels of accuracy from “traces” left by seemingly innocuous digital behavior, in this case Facebook Likes. Study raises important questions about personalized marketing and online privacy.

  • iPhones can reveal a lot about their owners to law enforcement

    People assume their iPhones are safe to keep their personal information on. They would be dismayed to realize what law enforcement agencies can find about them on their phone.

  • DHS reasserts right for search and seizure without probable cause

    Thousands of times a year  people are stopped as they cross into the United States, and their cell phones, tablets, and laptops are taken from them. Their e-mails and photos and other important documents are searched thoroughly without  probable cause.

  • Seattle mayor says no to drones

    Seattle mayor Mike McGinn has shut down the Seattle Police Department’s drone program before it started. McGinn said the police need to stay focused on “community building.” The announcement came just one day after the city held a public hearing to discuss restrictions to be imposed on drone use by the police departments. Many citizens voiced their concerns about possible violations of privacy.

  • Legislation to require Internet privacy baseline not around the corner

    The European Union has set tough privacy protection laws and is even considering a proposal which would set even stricter requirements on Internet companies, including allowing users to access and delete data collected on them. The United States, however, has very few privacy protection laws. Some argue this is a good thing.

  • DNA sequencing a serious risk to privacy

    The growing ease of DNA sequencing has led to enormous advancements in the scientific field. Through extensive networked databases, researchers can access genetic information to gain valuable knowledge about causative and preventative factors for disease, and identify new targets for future treatments. The wider availability of such information, however, also has a significant downside — the risk of revealing personal information. New study finds that new policies are needed to safeguard participants’ identity in genetic studies.

  • More states consider laws to limit the use of drones by police

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) appears ready to allow the use of drones in the United States, by both law enforcement agencies and private citizens, almost with no restrictions. Experts predict that by the end of the decade, there will be about 30,000 drones flying over the United States. Legislators in at least eleven states want to impose limits on the use of UAVs as worries grow that the unregulated use of drones would erode the liberties of Americans.

  • Facebook new search feature has cyber experts worried

    A new Facebook search feature has security experts concerned. They  are warning users of the site to strengthen their security settings to avoid embarrassment and to protect themselves from cybercriminals.

  • Google wants to limit law enforcement’s access to e-mails, users’ information

    In 2012 Google received 16,407 requests for user data, which affected 31,072 users or accounts. More than half of the requests were accompanied with a subpoena, the others were not. Google is planning on lobbying Washington this year to persuade lawmakers that they should make it harder for law enforcement to gain access to  e-mails and other digital messages.

  • New Hampshire bill would limit searches, expand expectation of privacy

    New Hampshire State Representative Neal Kurk ® says state residents do not expect,when they throw something out in their trash or leave a drinking glass with their saliva on it at a public place, that law enforcement, insurance companies, or data miners would use the trash left behind to glean  personally identifiable information.