"transparency reports"

EFF to Facebook: enforce your rules banning cops from creating sockpuppet accounts and be transparent when you catch cops doing it

Dave Maass from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "Facebook’s practice of taking down these individual accounts when they learn about them from the press (or from EFF) is insufficient to deter what we believe is a much larger iceberg beneath the surface. We often only discover the existence of law enforcement fake profiles months, if not years, after an investigation has concluded. These four changes are relatively light lifts that would enhance transparency and establish real consequences for agencies that deliberately violate the rules." Read the rest

Uber's internal investigators 'overworked, underpaid, emotionally traumatized' with 1,200 cases a week: Report

"A single suicide by an Uber investigator who posts that they could not 'take' the job demands any longer will be fodder for the national if not international news media," the memo said.

"Smart home" companies refuse to say whether law enforcement is using your gadgets to spy on you

Transparency reports are standard practice across the tech industry, disclosing the nature, quantity and scope of all the law enforcement requests each company receives in a given year. Read the rest

SpiderOak warrant canary to be replaced by 'transparency report'

SpiderOak is a cloud backup service with a warrant canary: a formal statement that assured users that the company and its operators had never been made to secretly cooperate with the government, law enforcement or other surveilling authority. The canary reportedly disappeared this weekend, then reappeared, along with a statement saying it was being replaced by a "transparency report."

Don't be mad at the company! The canary worked exactly as it was supposed to. Read the rest

Wikimedia's transparency report is a joy

Like many of the most popular websites, Wikimedia -- which oversees Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons among other sites and services -- publishes a transparency report in which it details commercial and governmental requests for surveillance and content removal. Read the rest

Amazon's useless "transparency reports" won't disclose whether they're handing data from always-on Alexa mics to governments

Amazon was the last major tech company to issue a "transparency report" detailing what kinds of law-enforcement requests they'd serviced, and where; when they finally did start issuing them, they buried them on obscure webpages deep in their corporate info site and released them late on Friday afternoons. Read the rest

More than 4,000,000 attempts to read US law have failed since a court ordered Public Resource to take it down

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "In keeping with best practices for major Internet providers to issue periodic transparency reports, Public Resource would like to issue two reports. Read the rest

Reddit can't talk about National Security Letters and warrant canaries, but ACLU can, in a Reddit AMA, LOL

Well, that's one way to get around a federal gag order. Read the rest

Reddit's Warrant Canary just died

In early 2015, Reddit published a transparency report that contained heading for National Security Requests, noting, "As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information." Read the rest

The mystery listings Airbnb "purged" before transparency report

Airbnb's New York data report—ostensibly an anonymized listing of all its hosts in the city—was intended to make the company look honest and to make its hosts look like normal, everyday homeowners. This effort seems to have fallen apart as journalists scrutinize what turns out to be a manicured view of its business.

Matt Buchanan writes that the most revealing thing about the 'purge' of bad listings is the fact it let the Airbnb landlords with multiple NYC properties stay on the service, albeit with less listings:

Perhaps most clearly indicative of Airbnb’s intentions, though—I mean, beyond its longstanding refusal to implement any real measures to curb illegal listings or to provide the city with what it needs to do so—is that “most hosts affected by the purge were left with some ‘inventory’ on the Airbnb site, indicating that Airbnb did not kick the ‘worst actors’ off the platform.” On average, “most hosts were left with 0.8 Entire Home listings, although the three hosts with the most Entire home listings (with 10, 11 and 12 Entire Homes at November 1, 2015) lost all of their Entire home listings by November 20, 2015.”

Read the rest

Secret surveillance laws make it impossible to have an informed debate about privacy

James Losey's new, open access, peer-reviewed article in the Journal of International Communication analyzes how secret laws underpinning surveillance undermine democratic principles and how transparency from both companies and governments is a critical first step for supporting an informed debate.. Read the rest

23andme & Ancestry.com aggregated the world's DNA; the police obliged them by asking for it

When 23andme and Ancestry.com began their projects of collecting and retaining the world's DNA, many commentators warned that this would be an irresistible target for authoritarians and criminals, and that it was only a matter of time until cops started showing up at their doors, asking for their customers' most compromising data. Read the rest

UC Berkeley issues first-ever university transparency report

April writes, "The University of California-Berkeley has become the first university in the United States to publish a set of transparency reports that detail government requests for student, faculty, and staff data." Read the rest

Ulysses pacts and spying hacks: warrant canaries and binary transparency

As the world's governments exercise exciting new gag-order snooping warrants that companies can never, ever talk about, companies are trying out a variety of "Ulysses pacts" that automatically disclose secret spying orders, putting them out of business. Read the rest

Twitter snoop-requests from UK cops/gov't more than double in 2015

In the first six months of 2015, UK government agencies and police departments made 299 "requests for information" of Twitter, compared to 116 in the 6 months previous. Read the rest

When it comes to censorship, WordPress has your back

Automattic, WordPress's parent company, has a new transparency report that shows that they've bounced 43% of their 2015 copyright censorship demands for being frivolous or invalid. Read the rest

EFF's new certificate authority publishes an all-zero, pre-release transparency report

EFF, Mozilla and pals are launching Let's Encrypt, an all-free certificate authority, in September -- but they've released a transparency report months in advance. Read the rest

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