This Government Facial Recognition System May Be Using Your Photo Without Your Consent or Knowledge

The U.S. government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology has been using images of abused children, U.S. visa applicants, dead arrestees, and even travelers boarding aircraft in the U.S. to help train its Facial Recognition Verification Testing program.

What’s more, the agency’s been doing it all without the knowledge of the people in those photographs. Your photo may be one of the ones being used. If so, you probably never gave permission for that use, did you?

The government’s use of these nonconsensual images is not exactly a secret but is never mentioned or publicized by the government.

You can read more about this questionable practice in an article by Anthony Nguyen in the Slate web site at: http://bit.ly/2YeLtDO.

‘Delete Facebook NOW’ says the Co-Founder of WhatsApp

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton urged people to ‘delete’ their Facebook accounts now, during an address made to students. Acton accuses Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of trading privacy for revenue after allowing ads on the platform. He has now called for people to ‘reject’ Facebook by deleting its family of apps from their smartphones and other devices.

Brian Acton is a co-founder of WhatsApp, a business later acquired by Facebook.

It comes after the world’s largest social network has been beset by a string of privacy scandals. The data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, linked to the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

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Facebook Faces Criminal Probe for Sharing User Data

It looks like criminal charges are in the future for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. A grand jury has subpoenaed records from at least two prominent device OEMs that had data-sharing agreements with Facebook.

Federal prosecutors, according to the New York Times, have launched a criminal probe into Facebook’s data-sharing practices that gave more than 150 other tech firms extensive access to user information, sometimes without consent.

Details may be found in an article by Stephanie Condon in the ZDnet web site at: https://www.zdnet.com/article/report-facebook-faces-criminal-probe-for-sharing-user-data/.

Russia Blocks Encrypted Email Provider ProtonMail

If ProtonMail’s encryption is so good that the Russians are afraid of it, then it must be very good encryption! This latest announcement from the state Federal Security Service, formerly the KGB, may turn out to be the best advertising that ProtonMail could ever obtain!

Instead of being “Banned in Boston,” ProtonMail is now proudly “Banned in Moscow.”

Well, the ban is perfect just yet. Some Russians are still able to use ProtonMail. Details may be found in an article in the ProtonMail web site at: https://protonmail.com/blog/russia-block.

You can find my past articles about ProtonMail by starting at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aprivacyblog.com+protonmail&t=h_&ia=web.

How Facebook Screwed Us All

Mother Jones has published an article by Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery that I will suggest should be required reading for every Facebook user.

“A country riven by ethnic tension. Spontaneous protests driven by viral memes. Violence and riots fueled by hateful fake-news posts, often about “terrorism” by marginalized groups.

“It’s a story we’ve seen play out around the world recently, from France and Germany to Burma, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria. The particulars are different—gas prices were the trigger in France, lies about machete attacks in Nigeria—but one element has been present every time: Facebook. In each of these countries, the platform’s power to accelerate hate and disinformation has translated into real-world violence.”

You can read the full story at: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/02/how-facebook-screwed-us-all/.

Firefox Announces Send, Providing Free Encrypted File Transfers while Keeping your Personal Information Private

I just tested this and found that it also works with Chrome and I suspect it will work with other web browsers as well. The sender and the recipient can be using either Windows or Macintosh. Additionally, Send will also be available as an Android app in beta later this week. Best of all, it is very easy to use. Not bad for FREE software! The following is an extract from the Mozilla Blog. (Mozilla is the organization that produces the free Firefox web browser):

“Imagine the last time you moved into a new apartment or purchased a home and had to share financial information like your credit report over the web. In situations like this, you may want to offer the recipient one-time or limited access to those files. With Send, you can feel safe that your personal information does not live somewhere in the cloud indefinitely.

Send uses end-to-end encryption to keep your data secure from the moment you share to the moment your file is opened. It also offers security controls that you can set. You can choose when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add an optional password for an extra layer of security.”

Further details are available in the full announcement at: https://mzl.la/2Hj8tww.