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Week of Nov. 19, 2019

Federal court rules against warrantless searches of electronic devices at ports of entry, Microsoft will honor CCPA across entire U.S., and more data privacy news.

U.S. Court rules against warrantless searches at ports of entry

In 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit on the behalf of 11 travelers (10 of whom are U.S. citizens) whose electronic devices were searched without a warrant upon entering the country. Now a federal court has ruled that the searches violated the Fourth Amendment. Meanwhile, the government has conducted tens of thousands of the searches at airports, seaports, and border crossings in the time since the lawsuit was filed. [Read more]

Google’s recent healthcare ventures raise antitrust concerns

Last week, we covered news of Google’s FitBit acquisition along with the exposure of the search giant’s Project Nightingale research venture with Asension healthcare involving the healthcare data of 50 million patients. These events have raised privacy concerns and have now drawn a federal inquiry. The Office for Civil Rights within the Department of Health and Human Services will seek information about the mass collection of medical data to ensure HIPAA regulations were followed. [Read more]

Microsoft announces that it will follow the CCPA nationally

Microsoft has announced its intention to honor the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) throughout the U.S. In the announcement, Microsoft issued a challenge Congress to pass robust federal privacy legislation to protect consumers nationally. The CCPA takes effect on January 1, 2020, and will regulate how companies handle online data while providing new rights for California’s consumers. [Read more]

Week of Nov 13, 2019

Google has a voracious appetite for healthcare data, universities are exploiting student test scores, and more data privacy news.

Google’s purchase of Fitbit may have implications for your privacy

Google recently purchased Fitbit, a health tracking wearables company, for $2.1 billion. The deal will help Google compete with Apple in the wearables space. Fitbit has more than 27 million customers, all of whom will now see their health data turned over to one of the biggest data collection companies on the planet. Google says that privacy is “paramount” and it will give customers the option to “review, move or delete their data.” However, privacy experts remain concerned about the lack of effective regulation regarding health data collected by wearables and mobile applications. [Read more]

Google collecting health records as part of Project Nightingale

If you thought there was only one big story this week about Google gobbling up consumer health data, you’d be wrong. A new report has uncovered Project Nightingale, an initiative by Google and healthcare giant Ascension that has amassed millions of healthcare histories across the U.S. without the knowledge of patients or doctors. Google disputes the idea that the data has been gathered secretly and says that it is using the data to design software that enhances patient care using artificial intelligence. [Read more]

Websites aren’t only tracking you, they’re fingerprinting you

You might think using incognito mode or deleting cookies prevents websites from tracking you. Unfortunately, many sites have been using a method known as browser fingerprinting which uses technical details about your browser and system settings to identify your unique online signature. And while the tactic is difficult to combat, consumers can reduce fingerprinting by using privacy-oriented browsers such as Firefox and Safari. [Read more]

School surveillance software monitoring millions of U.S. students

Millions of U.S. students are having their school lives monitored, from chats with classmates to homework assignments. Monitoring software such as Gaggle claims to protect children with content scanning and real-time sentiment analysis that is meant to prevent acts such as bullying, self-harm, and other acts of violence. However, many believe the software is a solution in search of a problem that is doing more harm than good. [Read more]

College Board selling test data to help universities raise rejection rates

Universities across the country are buying SAT data from test owner College Board to boost rankings and exclusivity. Here’s how it works:

  1. A university buys SAT data to identify students with scores that are too low to be admitted.
  2. The university mails brochures to the student and invites them to apply.
  3. The university receives the application and rejects the student.
  4. The university’s application rate rises while its acceptance rate declines, thus improving exclusivity at the expense of the student.
  5. Students pay College Board to re-take the SAT.

[Read more]

Online companies are keeping secret consumer scores

Most companies keep some sort of internal customer score to measure loyalty, value, and other metrics. These scores have always been secret but thanks to new privacy laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, internet users finally have the right to see what kinds of information is being collected and how these scores are tabulated. [Read more]

Lawmakers introduce bill to create Digital Privacy Agency

Two Democratic members of Congress, Representatives Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren, introduced the Online Privacy Act to create a new Digital Privacy Agency. The federal agency would enforce privacy rights and be authorized to hire up to 1,600 employees. The bill would also enable consumers to obtain, correct, and delete information gathered by covered entities. [Read more]

Week of October 29, 2019

Dozens of music festivals agree not to use facial recognition, police need a warrant to search your car’s computer, and more data privacy news.

Comcast lobbying against browser encryption

A new report indicates that Comcast, one of the country’s largest internet service providers, has been lobbying lawmakers against encrypted browsing data. Mozilla and Chrome both soon plan to implement DNS encryption with Firefox and Chrome respectively. The technology will mask much of the data used and sold by ISPs for targeted advertising and other purposes. [Read more]

Dozens of music festivals agree not to use facial recognition

Coachella, Austin City Limits, and dozens of other music festivals around the world have agreed to abstain from the use of facial recognition. Activists and musicians have recently released the results of a campaign to get festival promoters on record indicating whether or not they plan to use the technology. However, despite this modest victory for digital rights activists, facial recognition continues its rapid expansion into other aspects of everyday life with little opposition. [Read more]

Mozilla adds privacy report to Firefox for enhanced tracking visibility

Mozilla continues adding proactive privacy protections to their Firefox browser. In September, Firefox 70 began blocking third-party cookies by default. Now, the browser will offer a privacy protection report that increases the visibility of internet trackers. The report helps users understand how companies attempt to track their activities by providing insight into cross-site trackers and browser fingerprinters (which identify you through system’s unique technical specifications). [Read more]

Georgia State Supreme Court rules warrant required for vehicle data

Stemming from a tragic traffic accident, the Georgia State Supreme Court has reversed an appeals court decision regarding the privacy of vehicle data. Following a tragic accident, an officer obtained speed data from the one of the cars without a warrant, a move the court found violated the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights. [Read more]

Google announces achievement of quantum supremacy

Google has announced that it has achieved quantum supremacy. Google says that its 53 qubit Sycamore processor takes just over 3 minutes to perform a calculation that would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years. The achievement will have broad consequences, not the least of which will be its impact on the security protocols used to safeguard information worldwide. [Read more]

Week of October 21, 2019

Senator wants Big Tech to mind its own business, Apple allowing Tencent to mine Safari users’ business, and more data privacy news.

New report reveals futility of Google privacy tool

Every move you make while logged in to Google is recorded. Fortunately, the search giant provides tools that allow you to auto-delete your Google activity on a continual 3- or 18-month basis. Unfortunately, as it turns out, Google has probably extracted everything they need before your data is deleted, rendering their auto-delete tool pointless. [Read more]

Apple’s Safari browser sending data to Chinese company Tencent

Following accusations of pandering to the Chinese government by removing an app used by Hong Kong protesters and deleting the Taiwanese flag emoji, a new report has revealed that Apple may be sending sensitive browser data to Tencent. Often accused of controversial data-sharing practices, Tencent is a multinational conglomerate that holds interests in hundreds of companies including WeChat, China’s most popular social platform. [Read more]

Instagram to allow more control over app permissions

Numerous companies offer services to Instagram users, such as photo printing, but they require account access. These third-party applications are sometimes forgotten about or ask for more permissions than necessary. To address these concerns, Instagram is rolling out a new feature that allow users to manage third-party permissions. Once available, users will gain access to a list of third-party apps for modification or removal. [Read more]

Senator Wyden introduces Mind Your Own Business Act

Known as a vocal critic of Big Tech, Sen. Ron Wyden introduced the Mind Your Own Business Act, a federal privacy bill which proposes jail time for executives and steep fines for companies found misusing personal information. The bill also includes tax penalties tied to executive salaries and the ability to levy fines of up to 4% of annual revenues—the same amount permitted by the EU’s GDPR. [Read more]

Week of October 15, 2019

FBI surveillance deemed illegal, California limits facial recognition, and more data privacy news.

FISA court reveals illegal FBI surveillance

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has found that thousands of FBI searches from 2017 and 2018 were conducted illegally and violated Americans’ privacy rights. An NSA database intended for monitoring foreign nationals was used improperly to search for information on Americans by FBI personnel and contractors. The court ruling was made in October 2018, but was just recently released to the public. [Read more]

Twitter admits to using account security information for advertising

Twitter recently disclosed that phone numbers and email accounts provided by users to secure their account were used for advertising purposes. Users provided the information as a secondary means of security for two-factor authentication. While Twitter claims the use of account security information for advertising was a mistake, the same practice has been employed by other social media giants such as Facebook. [Read more]

U.S., UK, and Australia want to stop Facebook’s encryption plans

U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, along with officials from Australia and the UK, have sent an open letter requesting that Facebook stop its plans for end-to-end encryption across its messaging platforms. Authorities claim that end-to-end encryption prevents them from accessing information that might be needed in the course of an investigation. Privacy advocates counter that end-to-end encryption is necessary to secure online communications from bad actors and government overreach. [Read more]

California blocks facial recognition use with police body cameras

Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed AB125, a bill to ban the use of biometric identification on police body cameras. The bill was passed after Amazon’s Rekognition software misidentified 26 legislators as criminals. The technology is widely used in China and other countries but has not yet been employed in California. Similar legislation has been enacted in Oregon and New Hampshire. [Read more]

Week of Sept. 30, 2019

EU court weakens ‘right to be forgotten,’ FTC may soon weaken Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and more data privacy news.

Google wins dispute over EU’s Right to be Forgotten

A European Union court has ruled that Google’s responsibility for requests to remove links to outdated or embarrassing information includes only EU sites and does not extend to sites outside of Europe. That means if a user in France requests that data be removed from Google.fr, it may continue to exist on non-EU versions such as Google.com. Seemingly unaware of VPNs and basic search techniques, the court suggested that search engines should “seriously discourage” the use of non-EU pages to find information. [Read more]

Gatwick Airport embracing facial recognition for boarding

Gatwick will become the United Kingdom’s first airport to adopt facial recognition for boarding. Passengers will scan their passports, and then facial recognition will scan their face to confirm a match. Passengers can opt-out and have their passports checked by a human, but privacy advocates point out that the option is not sufficiently advertised. The technology has been the source of controversy in the United Kingdom. It has been used heavily by London police and was recently removed from the King’s Cross area after public outcry. [Read more]

FTC looking to relax children’s privacy protections

A Federal Trade Commission official recently commented that the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) might be changed to allow for behaviorally targeted advertising. The official mentioned that the rules harm content creators and has suggested that it’s unfair to assume that all viewers of children’s content are actually children. The remarks come in the wake of Google’s $170 million fine for COPPA violations. [Read more]

Google reorganizing ad business and adding new head of privacy

Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s advertising chief, has announced a major reorganization of the company’s ad business and is hiring a new head of privacy. The move suggests an increased emphasis on privacy for a business facing numerous anti-trust lawsuits and regulatory fines. The reorganization will also split the buy-side and sell-side of Google’s advertising division. [Read more]

Nevada privacy law takes effect first of October

A new law allowing Nevada residents to opt-out of online businesses selling their personal data goes into effect Oct. 1. The law, SB 220, applies to the sale of data, rather than the exchange of data, and defines personal information much more narrowly than the upcoming CCPA. Upon receiving a consumer request, companies must remove personal data within 60 days or face steep fines. [Read more]

Week of Sept. 23, 2019

Vast private surveillance network is probably tracking your vehicle, every single person in Ecuador needs credit monitoring, and more data privacy news.

Vast private surveillance network tracks millions of vehicles

The Digital Recognition Network (DRN) is a private surveillance system generated by countless vehicle repossession agents who indiscriminately scan and upload license plates and vehicle locations across the U.S. The system is used by the auto insurance industry and private investigators but there is concern that the network is too invasive and could violate privacy by documenting movement and routines over time. [Read more]

Facebook Portal recording audio and sharing it with contractors despite privacy promises

The 2018 press release for Facebook’s home video product, Portal, explicitly stated “Facebook doesn’t listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls. Your Portal conversations stay between you and the people you’re calling.” Now it’s been revealed that the company has been recording Portal audio and sharing a portion of it with contractors. [Read more]

Data of all Ecuadorian citizens exposed in extensive breach

An International coalition of law enforcement agencies broke up business email compromise (BEC) scammers in nine different countries. Known internally as Operation reWired, the crackdown netted 281 suspects and recovered more than $118 million in bogus wire transfers. BEC schemes are highly targeted phishing plots that use social engineering to dupe high-level employees into revealing sensitive data or wiring large sums of money. [Read more]

Massive data breach exposes medical images and data of millions

More than 5 million Americans have had their X-ray, MRI, CT, and other medical images exposed in a massive health records breach. An investigation by Pro Publica has uncovered 187 servers around the country that are unprotected by basic security measures such as passwords. Most of the vulnerable data found involved independent radiologists and medical imaging centers rather than large hospitals or medical centers. [Read more]

Week of Sept. 17, 2019

The White House suggests monitoring devices of people with mental illness, Facebook faces another class action suit, and more data privacy news.

Google focus of massive antitrust probe focused on advertising practices

50 state attorneys general announced an antitrust investigation into Google’s advertising practices. Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the probe will focus on Google’s “overarching control of online advertising markets” and “anticompetitive behavior.” The move comes after the E.U. fined Google more than $9 billion for antitrust violations since 2017. [Read more]

Federal judge gives go ahead for class action against Facebook

Facebook allowed third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, to access users’ information for profit. As a result, a federal judge has ordered the social media giant to face a nationwide class action lawsuit for privacy violations. Last month, another Facebook class action suit made privacy news when a federal appeals court ruled that the company must answer for its collection of biometric data. [Read more]

International crackdown on business email compromise (BEC)

An International coalition of law enforcement agencies broke up business email compromise (BEC) scammers in nine different countries. Known internally as Operation reWired, the crackdown netted 281 suspects and recovered more than $118 million in bogus wire transfers. BEC schemes are highly targeted phishing plots that use social engineering to dupe high-level employees into revealing sensitive data or wiring large sums of money. [Read more]

The White House wants to monitor devices of those with mental illness

The White House has proposed monitoring the phones and smartwatches of people who have a mental illness as a response to the unending rash of mass shootings. Experts have pointed out that the link between mental illness and violence is tenuous at best and that there’s no evidence that violent tendencies can be predicted via personal devices. [Read more]

Week of Sept. 9th, 2019

Big tech wants to water down the CCPA, U.S. authorities want to use fictitious social media accounts, and more data privacy news.

Firefox 69 launches with third-party cookies blocked by default

Mozilla has released the latest incarnation of their Firefox web browser with Enhanced Tracking Protection enabled by default. That means third-party cookies will be automatically disabled and that Firefox users will need to opt-in to being tracked across the internet. [Read more]

Ring formally announces cozy relationship with law enforcement

A few weeks ago, we covered news of Amazon’s agreements with police departments to swap 911 dispatch data for access to its Ring doorbell cameras. Now, Ring has officially announced the Neighbors Portal program which involves partnerships with more than 405 police departments around the country. Privacy advocates are concerned that Amazon is creating a profitable surveillance network for police. [Read more]

U.S. to monitor immigrants using phony social media accounts

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently reversed a ban on the use of fictional social media accounts. This means U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers can begin using phony accounts to monitor foreigners seeking citizenship, visas, and green cards. Fictional accounts violate the terms of service for both Facebook and Twitter. Both companies have recently banned Chinese officials for creating phony accounts intended to influence the Hong Kong protests. [Read more]

Amazon wants customers to lend a hand for biometric food purchases

Amazon is reportedly testing hand scanners for purchases—because of course they are. The plan is to roll out biometric purchasing at Whole Foods stores in the coming months. The technology is the latest in the company’s expanding biometric portfolio which also includes its controversial facial recognition software, Rekognition. In light of the recent Suprema data breach that exposed more than 1 million fingerprint and facial recognition data sets, customers might consider taking five seconds to pull out a credit card in lieu of hand payments. [Read more]

Google fined $170 million for violation of children’s privacy act

Two weeks ago, we covered Google’s decision to end advertising targeted at children’s content on YouTube. It now appears the move was too little, too late. The FTC announced a $170 million fine against Google for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). [Read more]

Study to gauge Facebook’s impact on democracy falling apart

Participants in a study designed to measure Facebook’s impact on democracy are threatening to quit the program. Facebook launched the program several months ago with a promise to provide access to a wide array of data to be reviewed by independent scholars. However, funders of the study claim Facebook is restricting data access to only a portion of what was expected. [Read more]

Big tech working to weaken the California Consumer Privacy Act

Is the California Consumer Privacy Act trying to destroy the internet or is it trying to save it? For several months, a barrage of ads on social media sites have tried to convince the public of the former. It turns out that the group behind the ads, the Internet Association, is a lobbying organization for Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and Google. [Read more]

Week of Aug. 26, 2019

Twitter disrupts propaganda campaign, Google discontinues data sharing program, and more data privacy news

Twitter disrupts manipulation campaign aimed at Hong Kong protests

A coordinated effort intended to spread misinformation through Twitter has been thwarted. Twitter reports that 936 accounts originating in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have been suspended for violating the company’s platform manipulation policies in what is suspected to be a state-sponsored effort to undermine protesters. At issue is an extradition bill that many Hong Kongers feel cedes too much power to the PRC’s government. [Read more]

Facebook launches tool to clear—but not delete—user history

Landing in the “something is better than nothing” category, Facebook has launched its long promised “clear history” tool in Spain, Ireland, and South Korea with other countries to follow. However, the tool merely disconnects a user’s Facebook data from third-party advertisers, rather than deleting it, raising questions about Facebook’s decision to use “clear history” as the name for its new tool. [Read more]

Google stops program that gave user data to wireless carriers

A previously undisclosed Google program designed to provide Android users’ data to wireless carriers has been shut down. The Mobile Network Insights program was reportedly used to identify network coverage gaps using aggregated data. The move comes amid increasing scrutiny of data sharing practices by privacy advocates and regulators. [Read more]

YouTube moves to end targeted advertising on content intended for children

Closing out this relatively positive week of data privacy news, YouTube is close to ending targeted advertising on content geared toward children. The change in policy is a result of numerous complaints from consumer groups about the collection of children’s behavioral data. However, some are already voicing concern that the changes do not go far enough and the FTC is looking into whether YouTube has violated the Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPPA). [Read more]

Week of Aug. 19, 2019

British Airways adds to data breach baggage, Facebook faces facial recognition suit, and more data privacy news

Biometric breach exposes fingerprint and facial data

Suprema, a provider of biometric security services, stored millions of records in an unprotected and unencrypted database, according to researchers. Fingerprints and facial recognition data were among a variety of highly sensitive information found in an insecure database. Most of the records were unencrypted. Don’t worry, just call the help desk to reset your fingerprint. [Read more]

Facebook to face facial recognition suit

A federal appeals court rejected Facebook’s attempt to reverse a class action lawsuit aimed at its collection of biometric data. At issue is Facebook’s facial recognition technology and its associated “Tag Suggestions” feature that allows people to tag their friends’ photos. [Read more]

Paywalls back up despite Chrome 76 incognito fix

A couple of weeks ago, we covered Chrome 76’s closure of a loophole that allowed websites to detect incognito mode and prompt users to log in or pay for a subscription. Now, major publishers such as The New York Times have found other ways to detect incognito mode and paywalls are back up. [Read more]

British Airways check-in links vulnerable to cyberattack

In early July, the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced its intention to issue a $230 million fine against British Airways for GDPR violations related to a massive 2018 data breach. Only one month later, researchers at security firm Wandera have found that British Airways check-in links—which include unencrypted passenger data—are vulnerable to attack. [Read more]

Facebook contractors paid to transcribe audio chats

In what’s becoming a trend here at GetApp’s data privacy newsletter, yet another big tech company has allowed contractors to listen to users’ conversations. This time it’s Facebook who hired contractors to transcribe voice conversations carried out through Messenger, the social media giant’s chat platform. In response to the report, Facebook has “paused” the program. [Read more]

Are big tech scandals scaring away new graduates?

Computer science graduates at elite schools such as Stanford may now be less inclined to work for some major tech companies than in years past. Job-offer acceptance rates are down at some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players as many graduates seek employment at scandal-free firms and increasingly consider activism when exploring opportunities. [Read more]

Aug. 12, 2019

Senators want a federal privacy law, Facebook wants to read your mind, and more data privacy news

Is Your Phone Spying on You?

We’ve all experienced that strange coincidence of talking about something one day and getting an ad for it the next. Could it be that covert software is illegally picking up on your random conversations? Or maybe it’s just that your data trail is far more complicated than you realize. [Read more]

Facebook Literally Wants to Read Your Mind

We all know by now that Facebook isn’t just a social media site. It’s a technology juggernaut out to conquer numerous industries. Now Facebook’s brain-computer interface program (BCI) is designing a world where you simply think about typing instead of using your fingers, and that’s just the start. [Read more]

[PODCAST] Does Google Know Too Much About Us?

A recent Guardian podcast asks if Google’s business model has created a new era of mass surveillance. The intriguing conversation asks if the search giant should be trusted, covers its wide swath of interests, and explores whether there are any viable alternatives. [Listen here]

Instagram Partner Broke Rules to Scrape Data of Millions

Business Insider reports that marketing firm Hyp3r has been defying Instagram’s rules by scraping millions of users’ location data. In response, Instagram has issued a cease and desist order to Hyp3r and made changes to their API. Hyp3r denies any wrongdoing. [Read more]

Microsoft Contractors Listening to Translated Skype Calls

Last week, it was Apple allowing contractors to listening in on Siri recordings. This week, it’s Microsoft allowing contractors to listen to translated Skype calls. While Microsoft said that users are advised that voice data is collected to improve services, the report specifies that customers are not notified that humans are listening to private conversations. [Read more]

Senators Working Through Recess on Federal Privacy Law

Negotiations are underway among Senators and industry representative in an attempt to patch together federal privacy legislation before Labor Day. A key issue is the inclusion of a private right of action allowing consumers to file suit for data violations. The component is thought to be a must-have for many Democrats and a deal-breaker for Republicans. [Read more]

August 5, 2019

Amazon trades data with police, Apple exposes Siri recordings to contractors, and more data privacy news

Amazon’s Ring Accessing Real-Time 911 Data

Amazon is entering into agreements with police departments across the country to gain access to live emergency dispatch data for its crime-reporting app, Neighbors. In return, police departments are gaining access to Ring doorbell cameras. [Read more]

Capital One data breach uncovered through email tip

On July 29, Capital One announced a data breach affecting more than 100,000 million customers. And although it ranks as one of the most severe breaches on record, what really makes the story interesting is how the breach was uncovered, a suspicious GitHub account, and the alleged hacker’s erratic online posts. [Read more]

Siri recordings exposed to Apple contractors

Siri listens to your questions, commands, and a whole lot more. As it turns out, a lot more people than previously known have been listening to Siri’s recordings. A report in The Guardian features a whistleblower’s claims that private conversations have been used by Apple contractors to monitor the voice assistant for quality control. Apple downplayed the report stating that less than 1% of all recordings are used for the grading program. [Read more]
Update: Apple has temporarily suspended the program following the report and announced that users will be able to opt out in the future.

91% of US Consumers Feel Online Ads Know Too Much

A recent GetApp survey reveals that more than 9 in 10 consumers feel online advertisers know too much about them. The report focuses on the effectiveness of marketing personalization, what information consumers are comfortable with sharing, and what data they’d prefer to keep to themselves. [Read more]

Visa contactless credit cards vulnerable to hack

Contactless credit card technology might be the easiest way pay for a ride on the subway or purchase a cup of coffee, but it might also be the easiest way to steal your credit card information. A new report Security researchers have identified communication flaws in the technology that could be easily exploited by hackers. [Read more]

Week of July 29th, 2019

FTC fines Equifax $700 million, UK committee frowns upon facial recognition, and more data privacy news

FTC draws a line with $700 million Equifax fine

In 2017, Equifax exposed the records of nearly half the U.S. adult population—a particularly striking breach considering the credit bureau’s role in determining how well the public maintains their own records. This week, Equifax faces an FTC fine in the amount of $700 million, or just over 20% of its 3.41 billion 2018 revenues. The move follows Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine and two record GDPR fines issued in the United Kingdom earlier this month, indicating a growing global appetite to punish data privacy violations. [Read more]

Chrome 76 issues veto on detection of incognito

There was a time when it was easy to avoid paywalls at websites like The Washington Post or the Los Angeles Times simply by switching to incognito mode. That all changed when publishers began using a loophole that allowed them to detect incognito mode and refer users to a paid subscriber sign-in page. However, with the release of Chrome 76, Google has fixed the loophole and incognito mode will again be invisible to publishers. [Read more]

UK committee on a mission to suspend facial recognition

As public concern over FaceApp fills headlines and the debate over the rapid spread of facial recognition technology begins to boil over, MPs from the UK’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee are recommending the suspension of facial recognition trials by police and public surveillance programs. [Read more]

Security professionals lose sleep over unpatched Bluekeep

Microsoft’s Bluekeep vulnerability, also known as CVE-2019-0708, was identified back in May and continues to threaten nearly a million unpatched machines. The exploit has the potential to foment another massive attack similar to WannaCry, which spread rapidly to hundreds of thousands of unpatched machines back in 2017. [Read more]

Have ransomware kingpins returned in new digital skins?

Back in March, the purveyors of GrandCrab Ransomware-as-a-Service(RaaS) announced their retirement while declaring a (perhaps inflated) profit of more than $2 billion; however, a recent report indicates their retirement might have been in name only. [Read more]

New browser makes your data more difficult to devour

Firefox and Chrome have features that can be invoked and extensions that can be installed to enhance online privacy. But some new browsers are being developed with privacy as the default rather than as an added feature. [Read more]

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