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

Virginia Bill Seeks to Protect Digital Privacy After Death

The 2015 Virginia General Assembly has passed a bill that is now awaiting Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s signature. It is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. The Privacy Expectation Afterlife and Choices Act aims to assure that a person’s electronic footprint remains off-limits after death — even to his or her close kin — except under very strictly controlled circumstances. The legislation gives the executor of […]

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Iowa Lawmakers Want to Make Gun Permits Secret

Two state lawmakers are working behind the scenes at the Iowa Capitol in a bid to block the public from obtaining the names of people who hold permits to carry weapons and purchase handguns. The proposed legislation is intended to make personally identifiable information on gun permits, such as names, addresses, and dates of birth, confidential. Under current Iowa law, permits to carry weapons are open records that can be […]

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Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval for Government to take Anybody’s DNA

The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday let stand the conviction of a rapist in the Raynor v. State of Maryland case where prosecution rested on DNA swiped from the armrests of an interrogation-room chair. Glenn Raynor’s genetic material was collected and tested without his knowledge or consent after he agreed to an interview at a police station as part of a criminal investigation. The police didn’t have […]

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Is Your Samsung Smart TV Spying on You?

Samsung’s Smart TVs have come under scrutiny recently after people learned the company’s privacy policy hinted that things we say within earshot of our televisions may be recorded and uploaded to third-party transcription services. While executives for the company have worked to calm people’s fears, a privacy group is now asked federal regulators to take a look into the matter. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a complaint with […]

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U.S. and UK’s Mass Surveillance Sharing Program was Illegal

A UK tribunal ruled on Friday that intelligence sharing between GCHQ and the NSA before December 2014 was not lawful because of a lack of transparency. This is the first time the secretive Investigative Powers Tribunal, which oversees the actions of the UK’s intelligence services GCHQ, MI5 and MI6, has ever upheld a complaint against an agency and it follows a ruling in December that the UK intelligence operation was […]

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GCHQ Unlawfully Spied on UK citizens, Rules Secret Court

According to a new ruling handed down today by a secret UK court, GCHQ—essentially the UK equivalent of the NSA—unlawfully spied on British citizens. The ruling pertains to the intelligence sharing between the USA and UK, where GCHQ had access to the NSA’s PRISM and UPSTREAM programs. Basically, because the rules that governed the UK’s access to PRISM and UPSTREAM were kept secret, GCHQ contravened two Articles of the European […]

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Canary Watch Tracks Government Requests for Your Information Online

Years ago, canaries were carried into mines to warn of dangerous gases. Canaries are more sensitive to small amounts of lethal gases than are humans. If the canary died, it was a warning to the miners to get out of the mine immediately. Now the Electronic Freedom Foundation has developed an “electronic canary” that monitors government requests for information about a company’s customers. The concept is very simple. The Patriot […]

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