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

Fairfax County, Virginia Police can No Longer Maintain a Database of Photos of Vehicle License Plates because of Privacy Laws

A Fairfax County judge on Monday ordered the Fairfax County police to stop maintaining a database of photos of vehicle license plates, with the time and location where they were snapped, ruling that “passive use” of data from automated license plate readers on the back of patrol cars violates Virginia privacy law. Details may be found in an article by Tom Jackman in the Washington Post at:

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Facebook has been Charged with Housing Discrimination by the US Government

Is there no end to Facebook’s illegal activities? The Department of Housing and Urban Development has filed charges against Facebook for housing discrimination, escalating the company’s ongoing fight over discrimination in its ad targeting system. The charges build on a complaint filed in August, finding that there is reasonable cause to believe Facebook has served ads that violate the Fair Housing Act.

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Researchers Find Google Play Store Apps were Actually Government Malware and Spyware

Security researchers have found a new kind of government malware that was hiding in plain sight within apps on Android’s Play Store. More than 20 malicious apps went unnoticed by Google over the course of roughly two years. Experts told Motherboard the operation may have ensnared innocent victims as the spyware appears to have been faulty and poorly targeted. Legal and law enforcement experts told Motherboard the spyware could be […]

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Russia Orders Major VPN Providers To Block ‘Banned’ Sites

This is a case of government censorship at its worst: During the past few days, Russian telecoms watch Roscomnadzor says it sent compliance notifications to 10 major VPN services with servers inside Russia — NordVPN, ExpressVPN, TorGuard, IPVanish, VPN Unlimited, VyprVPN, Kaspersky Secure Connection, HideMyAss!, Hola VPN, and OpenVPN. The government agency is demanding that the affected services begin interfacing with the FGIS database, blocking the sites listed within. Several […]

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The Mounting Federal Investigations Into Facebook

According to an article by Cecilia Kang in the New York Times: “Facebook now faces investigations into its business practices from a variety of federal agencies. Officials have opened inquiries into possible civil and criminal violations of laws related to privacy, corporate governance and discrimination.” The article then goes on to list the many current investigations being conducted by the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice […]

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FTC Fines Four Operations Responsible For Billions of Illegal Robocalls

I hadn’t thought about this issue until I read that four companies that made billions of illegal robocalls have now been caught and fined. I don’t think my phone has received a robotic robocall for the past several days. (I never answer calls from phone numbers I don’t recognize. If the caller hangs up without leaving a voice message I assume it was a marketing caller, probably a robo-caller.) The […]

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Vigilant, Its Customers, Police, and the State of California Are Lying About ICE’s Access To License Plate Records

Can you believe that companies, police, and even state governments are lying to the public? What a concept. (Irony intended.) Everyone’s hooking up ICE with automatic license plate reader (ALPR) data. And everyone’s misleading the public about it, starting with ALPR manufacturer, Vigilant. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been investigating California law enforcement’s data sharing claims with relation to its Vigilant ALPRs and finding their public statements are directly contradicted […]

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