Looking for more recent news?

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]

Share This

Share this post with your friends!