Privacy Blog

“By continuing the process of inflation, governments can confiscate secretly and unobserved an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes, writing about the effects of a seemingly small amount of inflation every year.

Legal Affairs

Is DNA Evidence Reliable?

DNA has become a major tool for use by police in solving cold cases of murder and other violent crimes. In the past year, about 50 cold cases have been solved nationwide using public genealogy websites. But is this evidence alone reliable? James H. Manahan, J.D., has written an article in the Lake County (Minnesota) News-Chronicle that tells why DNA evidence alone can be misleading. Manahan cautions that DNA is […]

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Facebook Settles Case Involving Organizations Targeting Consumers By Ethnicity

More shenanigans at Facebook. Is there no end? (Oh, right. There is no end.) Facebook is paying about 5 million dollars in fines to settle lawsuits that claim the social media site allowed organizations to target consumers based on ethnicity. Facebook doesn’t allow advertisers to filter based on race, but consumers can be targeted through criteria called “ethnic affinity”. You can find dozens of articles describing the reasons why Facebook has […]

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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 […]

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Revealed: Facebook’s Global Lobbying Against Data Privacy Laws

While promising more privacy in the future, Facebook’s senior management has simultaneously been lobbying politicians around the world, promising investments and incentives while seeking to pressure them into lobbying on Facebook’s behalf against data privacy legislation. Perhaps the company should be renamed to TwoFacedBooks.com? You can read about the recent exposure of secret, backroom lobbying in an article by Carole Cadwalladr and Duncan Campbell in The Guardian at: http://bit.ly/2TBgC52.

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Leaked Documents Show the U.S. Government Tracking Journalists and Immigration Advocates Through a Secret Database

There’s no surprise here. It is well known that the U.S. government secretly tracks citizens and non-citizens alike. Some attorneys claim this is illegal and even unconstitutional. (I’ll leave it to the attorneys to argue those points.) Now a secret tracking database has been exposed. The newly-exposed documents detail an intelligence-gathering effort by the United States and Mexican authorities, targeting more than 50 people including journalists, an attorney, and immigration […]

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California’s Governor Newsom Wants to Tax the Companies that Capitalize on Aggregating Customers’ Personal Information and then Sell It

California Governor Gavin Newsom has set off a flurry of speculation after he said the state’s consumers should get a piece of the billions of dollars that technology companies make by capitalizing on personal data they collect. The new governor has asked aides to develop a proposal for a “data dividend” for California residents but provided no hints about whether he might be suggesting a tax on tech companies, an […]

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