Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Legal Affairs

Are You Unknowingly Forfeiting Your Genetic Privacy Rights?

From an article by Katherine M. Silverman, published in the Mondaq.com web site: “The issue of genetic privacy is getting a lot of attention in the media lately, mainly due to the role DNA has played in identifying suspects in prominent “cold cases” like that of the Golden State Killer. But use of these “genetic genealogy” tools has raised concerns from privacy advocates who fear that genetic information shared on […]

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White House Officials Weigh Encryption Crackdown

White House officials apparently want to give a great “free gift” to credit card thieves, identity thieves, hackers, the spy agencies of foreign governments, and others who wish to do you harm. According to an article by Eric Geller in the Politico.com web site: “Senior Trump administration officials met on Wednesday to discuss whether to seek legislation prohibiting tech companies from using forms of encryption that law enforcement can’t break […]

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GEDmatch Implements Required Opt-In for Law Enforcement Matching and Privacy Issues

GEDmatch is an open data personal genomics database and genealogy website founded in 2010 by Curtis Rogers and John Olson. Its main purpose is to help “amateur and professional researchers and genealogists,” including adoptees searching for birth parents. However, it recently has also become “the de facto DNA and genealogy database for all of law enforcement,” according to The Atlantic’s Sarah Zhang. GEDmatch recently gained a lot of publicity after […]

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Federal Agencies are Spending Millions to Hack into Locked Cell Phones

Your tax dollars at work: hacking into everyone’s private information stored in cell phones in order to spy on you and on everyone else. “A $1.2 million tab for iPhone hacking technology at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement underscores how pervasively law enforcement is cracking into passcodes and other security features Americans use to keep their information private.” Details may be found in an article by Joseph Marks in the […]

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Political Pressure Builds for FTC to Punish Facebook with more than a ‘Bargain’ Fine

From the Washington Post: “Two top Senate lawmakers on Monday expressed frustration with a federal probe into Facebook’s privacy practices, urging the government to move more swiftly and consider imposing tough punishments that target the company’s top executives. “The message — delivered by Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) — reflects the mounting political pressure on the Federal Trade Commission to deliver a strong rebuke […]

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Ancestry.com Sued for ‘Misleading’ Customers About DNA Data

Genealogy information provider Ancestry.com has a “longstanding practice” of failing to get sufficient informed consent agreements from customers who submit medical and DNA information, a new lawsuit alleges. Lori Collett sued the Utah-based company’s subsidiaries—Ancestry.com DNA LLC and Ancestry.com Inc.—for allegedly “misleading and deceiving patients in California and across the country about what Ancestry was actually doing with their DNA.” Bloomberg news has a brief radio report about the lawsuit […]

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The $5 Billion Fine Facebook Expects to Pay the FTC is a Joke — On All Of Us

Facebook has been caught yet again illegally harvesting the email contacts of 1.5 million users without users’ consent. The company is facing a $5 billion fine assessed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Obviously, $5 billion is a lot of money for most everyone except Facebook. Facebook has $45 billion in cash and securities on hand and generates $5 billion in cash each quarter, even after investments in property and […]

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