Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Personal Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates

A future in which everything you do — the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV — may help determine how much you pay for health insurance. With little public scrutiny, the health insurance industry has joined forces with data brokers to vacuum up personal details about hundreds of millions of Americans.

The companies are tracking your race, education level, TV habits, marital status, net worth, and more. They’re collecting what you post on social media, whether you’re behind on your bills, what you order online. Then they feed this information into complicated computer algorithms that spit out predictions about how much your health care could cost them.

Continue reading

Metropolitan London Police’s Facial Recognition Technology is 98% Inaccurate

Police officers have just begun testing facial recognition software in London. So far, it has accurately identified… nobody.

However, it generate lots of erroneous leads, usually called “false positives.”

Privacy campaigners said the “intrinsically Orwellian” facial recognition software should be scrapped, while a senior academic warned that governments faced “grave challenges” in preventing potential abuse of the technology. Silkie Carlo, director of the Big Brother Watch pressure group, which is to launch a campaign on the issue on Tuesday, said:

“Police must immediately stop using real-time facial recognition if they are to stop misidentifying thousands of innocent citizens as criminals. It is an intrinsically Orwellian police tool that has resulted in ordinary people being stopped and asked for their ID to prove their innocence.”

You can read more at: https://ind.pn/2KVPNnD.

When your TV Starts Watching You, It’s Time to Demand Greater Privacy

From an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times:

New assaults on privacy pop up every day. For example, Verizon-owned Oath, the owner of AOL and Yahoo!, is telling users who wade through the legalese that it is giving itself permission to snoop through and store their emails, instant messages, posts, photos and message attachments and share that data, including personal banking information.

If there’s a data breach at Oath, hackers could wind up with a gold mine.

Oath also says if you don’t like how it uses your data, you can’t sue but must instead go to arbitration, where the cards typically are stacked against you.

But that’s not all:

Continue reading

Ready to Ditch Your Old Flash Drive? Don’t Just Erase and Recycle

An article by Rob Pegoraro in the USA Today web site contains an important warning for owners of flash drives: erasing a flash drive doesn’t really delete its contents. He writes, “The safest way to wipe the slate clean is actually to encrypt it — and that’s not as hard as it sounds.”

The fact is that several utilities are available for both Windows and Macintosh that will “unerase” a drive. Rob Pegoraro’s article describes several ways a hacker might retrieve your private data from a supposedly-erased drive of any sort, including flash drives. His article then goes on to suggest ways of actually deleting the information so that your secrets will not fall into the hands of anyone who retrieves your flash drive in the future.

Continue reading

Yet ANOTHER Facebook App Exposed the Personal Data of 120 Million Users

Is there no end to these stories?

“Right when Facebook’s last data controversy seemed to be dying down, another one took its place this week when a security researcher discovered that a popular quiz app called “Nametests” exposed the data of over 120 million users.

“The researcher, Inti De Ceukelaire, uncovered the flaw that would’ve allowed anyone to pull information for all of the app’s users, even if they had deleted it. Nametests was responsible for many popular quizzes on Facebook, like “what nationality do I look like?”, “What kind of woman are you?”, and hundreds of other quizzes you often see making the rounds on Facebook. However, these seemingly-innocent questions could’ve come with a steep price.”

You can read the details in an article in the Facecrooks web site at: https://tinyurl.com/y72ogh7a.

California Governor Signs Data Privacy Law

California governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill placing new data privacy restrictions on companies like Google and Facebook that will go into effect in 2020.

The approval of the law heads off a ballot measure on the same issue that was moving toward a statewide vote in the November election — its supporters agreed to pull the measure if the law was approved. The law allows consumers to ask companies about the data collected on them and to demand that it be deleted. It also includes provisions meant to protect consumers in the event of a data breach.

Real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart, the prime backer of the privacy ballot measure, said that the law was “the strictest privacy bill, grants consumers the most rights, ever achieved in this country.”