Spying on everyone to combat COVID-19 will further erode civil liberties just like 9/11, privacy advocates warn

Tracking entire populations now with electronic surveillance, facial recognition, and biosecurity sensors to combat the coronavirus pandemic will inevitably mean even more invasive forms of government spying later, privacy advocates warn. Read the rest

Australia sues Facebook, says Cambridge Analytica scandal violated privacy of over 300,000 Australians

“Facebook’s default settings facilitated the disclosure of personal information, including sensitive information, at the expense of privacy.”

Investors used Clearview AI app as a personal toy for spying on public

“Before Clearview Became a Police Tool, It Was a Secret Plaything of the Rich.” That's the title of the New York Times piece, and that's the horrifying reality of how artificial intelligence and facial recognition are already being used in ways that violate your expectations of privacy in the world. Read the rest

ICE ran facial recognition searches on millions of Maryland drivers' photos without court approval; activists say they're targeting immigrants

ICE has done facial recognition searches on millions of photos Maryland drivers without court approval. They appear to be targeting immigrants who sought driver’s licenses after 2013. Read the rest

AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon face FCC fines after probe finds they failed to protect user location data

AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon are among the telecommunications carriers facing hundreds of millions of dollars in fines from the Federal Communications Commission after a federal investigation found the companies didn't do enough to protect the location data of users. Read the rest

Canada investigating facial recognition company Clearview AI over privacy, security concerns

Canada's privacy authorities on Friday said they are investigating New York-based Clearview AI over concerns the facial recognition technology may not comply with Canadian privacy law. Read the rest

Google users in UK will soon lose EU data protection: Report

Post-Brexit, Google plans to move UK user accounts out of the control of European Union privacy regulators, and will place them under U.S. jurisdiction instead, where privacy protections are weaker, reports Joseph Menn at Reuters. Read the rest

Databases leak exposed 900K plastic surgery records with nude photos

Leaked images, many of them graphic nude photos, were from imaging firm NextMotion in France

US charges 4 Chinese spies with hacking Equifax

• The Equifax breach was disclosed in 2017, exposed financial records of 150M Americans

FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich: “This is the largest theft of sensitive PII by state-sponsored hackers ever recorded.” Read the rest

Coronavirus exposes China's surveillance state

The so-called Wuhan Coronavirus has killed more than 700 people, mostly in Mainland China, and the outbreak continues to spread with new cases on new continents. In China, Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV is also exposing the surveillance state -- apps show locations of the infected, heat-sensing cameras spot feverish disease suspects, and identify them even with ubiquitous paper face masks on. Read the rest

Wacom tablet drivers track apps you open

Robert Heaton actually read the license agreement Wacom whas users of its tablets sign up for. Alarmed by the expansive, vague clauses therein, he set about intercepting the data going between the gadget's drivers and Wacom's servers. They track every application you open. [via fnordius]

I suspect that Wacom doesn’t really think that it’s acceptable to record the name of every application I open on my personal laptop. I suspect that this is why their privacy policy doesn’t really admit that this is what that they do. I imagine that if pressed they would argue that the name of every application I open on my personal laptop falls into one of their broad buckets like “aggregate data” or “technical session information”, although it’s not immediately obvious to me which bucket.

It’s well-known that no one reads privacy policies and that they’re often a fig leaf of consent at best. But since Wacom’s privacy policy makes no mention of their intention to record the name of every application I open on my personal laptop, I’d argue that it doesn’t even give them the technical-fig-leaf-right to do so. In fact, I’d argue that even if someone had read and understood Wacom’s privacy policy, and had knowingly consented to a reasonable interpretation of the words inside it, that person would still not have agreed to allow Wacom to log and track the name of every application that they opened on their personal laptop.

The wildest thing is Wacom seems to have noticed he was doing tests on their servers that would expose the data collection, and turned it off for a while. Read the rest

In this email scam, Iran-linked hackers pose as journalists

Reuters today published a report about an email hacking operation targeting journalists and their connected sources, and the scam appears to be associated with Iran. Read the rest

Facebook pays $550m settlement over illegally-collected facial recognition data

Facebook has agreed to pay $550m to users in Illinois who sued it over its storing of biometric data without consent. This allowed the social network to automatically tag photographs—and to build a vast database of facial recognition data. It also contravenes the state's privacy laws, reports the BBC:

The case has been ongoing since 2015, and the settlement was announced in its quarterly earnings. It comes as facial recognition use by the police, and in public spaces, comes under intense scrutiny. The lawsuit against Facebook was given the go-ahead in 2018 when a federal judge ruled it could be heard as a class action (group) case. The appeals court disagreed with Facebook's attempts to stop this, and in January the Supreme Court also declined to review its appeal.

Facebook made the facial recognition feature opt-in a few months after the state Supreme Court left them on the hook.

Mike Isaac at The New York Times reports a "major victory" for privacy campaigners.

“The Illinois law has real teeth. It pretty much stopped Facebook in its tracks,” said Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit group that filed a brief in the Facebook case. “Tech firms and other companies that collect biometric data must be very nervous right now.”

Since the Illinois law was enacted in 2008, it has vexed companies that market voice assistants, doorbell cameras, photo labeling and other technology that may collect biometric details from people without their knowledge or consent.

Read the rest

The answer to the Clearview AI scandal is better privacy laws, not anti-scraping laws

Clearview AI (previously) is a grifty facial recognition company that sells untested, secretive tools to police departments, claiming that they can identify people from security camera footage by matching the pictures those scraped from big social media sites. Read the rest

London cops announce citywide facial recognition cameras

In 2018, London's Metropolitan Police Force announced trials of a facial recognition system that could be married to the city's legendarily invasive CCTV thicket; the tests failed 98% of the time and led to arrests of people who opted out by covering their faces. Read the rest

Clearview AI founder linked to Trump world and Far-Right, NYPD denies facial recognition firm's boast that it helped catch terrorist suspect

Hoan Ton-That, founder of facial recognition tech firm Clearview AI, previously connected to Trump world figures and online hate extremists, reports Buzzfeed News

Chuck Johnson, Mike Cernovich, and Rudy Giuliani are among the linked figures named in Buzzfeed report

NYPD disputes facial recognition firm Clearview AI's claim that it identified a terrorism suspect Read the rest

Twitter tells facial-recognition app maker to stop scraping photos, Clearview AI used by 600+ US law enforcement agencies

Clearview AI app used by 600+ law enforcement agencies, from local police departments to FBI, DHS

Twitter told law enforcement app maker Clearview AI that its scraping of Twitter images for facial recognition databases violated Twitter policies. Read the rest

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