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

Senate Democrats Unveil Privacy Bill with Fines for Privacy Violations

From a Reuters News article: “Democratic senators proposed legislation on Tuesday that would set penalties for online companies like Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc if they mishandle users’ personal data. “The measure comes at a time when the luster of the Big Tech platforms, once praised as one of the most dynamic parts of the U.S. economy, has faded because of data breaches and discomfort over what information about […]

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India Says Law Permits Agencies To Snoop on Citizens’ Devices

The Indian government said on Tuesday that it is “empowered” to intercept, monitor, or decrypt any digital communication “generated, transmitted, received, or stored” on a citizen’s device in the country in the interest of national security or to maintain friendly relations with foreign states. Details may be found at: https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/19/india-intercept-monitor-citizen-computers/.

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Senators want Zuckerberg to Explain Why Facebook Still Tracks Your Location even When You Ask It Not To

Yes, Facebook sill lies to you. Why is that not a surprise? Two senators are asking Facebook to “respect” users’ decisions to keep their location data from the company. In a letter sent Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to respond to questions about how the company collects location data through the new operating systems for Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Android. […]

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FBI General Counsel Who Fought Apple over Encryption has had a Rethink

In 2016, FBI General Counsel Jim Baker demanded that Apple “break” the encryption that insures users’ privacy on iPhones. Apple refused to do so. The lawyers got involved and legal action was planned. Eventually, Jim Baker and the FBI dropped the case when the FBI proved the case by other means, not involving the iPhone’s encryption. You can read more about the case by reading the articles posted in this […]

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Some of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s warrantless searches through the National Security Agency’s enormous troves of communications data violated the law and the Constitution, according to secret surveillance court rulings partially declassified on Tuesday. The bureau’s so-called backdoor searches, long regarded by civil libertarians as a government end-run around warrant requirements, were overly broad, the court found. They appear to have affected what a judge on the court called […]

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U.S. Justice Department Sets Rules for Using Genealogy Sites to Solve Crimes

Investigators have used genealogy sites to solve a string of cold cases in recent years, but the US hasn’t really had a firm stance on how and when to use those sites. There’s now a basic framework in place, however. The U.S. Justice Department has established interim rules that determine how this forensic genetic genealogy can be used to tackle unsolved violent crimes. Officials portray it as striking a balance […]

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Secret FBI Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies

The F.B.I. has used secret subpoenas to obtain personal data from far more companies than previously disclosed, newly released documents show. The requests, which the F.B.I. says are critical to its counterterrorism efforts, have raised privacy concerns for years but have been associated mainly with tech companies. Now, records show how far beyond Silicon Valley the practice extends — encompassing scores of banks, credit agencies, cellphone carriers and even universities. […]

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Utah Adds More Privacy to Family Information Submitted to Online Genealogy and DNA Web Sites

Utah is now a safe haven for digital privacy and a model for the rest of the country to emulate. In March, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law a first of its kind privacy bill, HB 57, which prevents law enforcement officials from obtaining user data from third-party providers such as genealogy sites, Google, or Facebook just by asking. The new law says anyone who sends personal electronic information […]

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Russia Carried Out a ‘Stunning’ Breach of FBI Communications System

Here is one more reason why we cannot trust the FBI or any other government agency or law enforcement agency with “back doors” to encrypted information: the information obtained and supposedly kept secret by these agencies won’t be secret for very long. One of many examples is the recent revelation that Russian agents have dramatically improved their ability to decrypt certain types of secure communications and successfully tracked devices used […]

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Judge Calls Facebook’s Views on Privacy ‘So Wrong’ As He Allows Lawsuit to Proceed

A federal judge said Monday that Facebook has a warped idea of privacy after he ordered the company to face a lawsuit seeking damages from allowing third-party sites to harvest users’ data. “Facebook’s motion to dismiss is littered with assumptions about the degree to which social media users can reasonably expect their personal information and communications to remain private,” Judge Chhabria wrote. “Facebook’s view is so wrong.” The story by […]

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