Uber's internal investigators 'overworked, underpaid, emotionally traumatized' with 1,200 cases a week: 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."
We just released our most recent transparency report, available at https://t.co/c09TN6WC6I. This will replace our #warrantcanary. The final version of the canary is available at https://t.co/VPzkLXDkWh. The transparency report will be updated every six months.
— SpiderOak (@SpiderOak) August 3, 2018
Don't be mad at the company! The canary worked exactly as it was supposed to. Read the rest
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 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
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
Well, that's one way to get around a federal gag order. Read the rest
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
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:
Read the rest
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.”
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
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
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
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
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
After at least four years of lying about its rubberstamp takedown process for prison authorities and omitting prison takedowns from its transparency reports, Facebook is finally bringing a crumb of due process to its treatment of prisoners. Read the rest