Not only is Google's auto-delete good for privacy, it's also good news for competition

Earlier this month, Google announced a new collection of auto-delete settings for your personal information that allows you balance some of the conveniences of data-collection (for example, remembering recent locations in Maps so that they can be intelligently autocompleted when you type on a tiny, crappy mobile device keyboard) with the risks of long-term retention, like a future revelation that you visited an HIV clinic, or a political meeting, or were present at the same time and place as someone the police have decided to investigate by means of a sweeping "reverse warrant." Read the rest

Americans lack basic digital security and privacy knowledge, survey finds

Most U.S. adults answer fewer than half questions correctly on digital know-how quiz, and many struggle with cybersecurity and privacy

Civil rights groups call for a stop to Amazon's doorbell surveillance partnerships with cops

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "More than 30 civil rights organizations, including Fight for the Future, Color of Change, National Immigration Law Center, and CAIR, have signed an open letter calling for elected officials to investigate Amazon Ring’s business practices and put an end to all Amazon-police surveillance partnerships. This is the first major action taken by groups to pressure lawmakers to address these partnerships and the threats they pose to privacy, civil liberties, and democracy. Our elected officials are supposed to protect us, both from abusive policing practices and corporate overreach. These partnerships are a clear case of both. If you're concerned about Amazon's surveillance partnerships, there's a petition you can sign to your local elected officials here." Read the rest

Identity theft's newest target: your face

A lot of companies struggle with bias in the workplace, but for many big tech companies, the problem is a bit more extreme. Why, because it's not just the human beings that are racist, a lot of their algorithms are biased too. This is the problem that Google reportedly was trying to solve when they got themselves into their latest privacy scandal, tricking black and brown “volunteers” to submit to 3D face scans. Read the rest

Google will now allow you to set your data history to self-destruct

Google has long allowed you to delete all the data it's stored on you, or to turn off collection, but turning off collection altogether made its services a lot less useful (for example, it made the auto-suggested locations in the Maps app of your phone worse, forcing you to do more typing on a tiny keyboard while on the go), and otherwise you had to remember to periodically open Google's privacy dashboard and delete your stored history. Read the rest

Don't hold your breath for that U.S. online privacy bill

No new bill on online privacy expected expected to show up in Congress before the end of the year, Reuters reports, citing three unnamed sources on Capitol Hill. Read the rest

Amazon wants to draft model facial recognition legislation

Between its line of Ring-brand surveillance doorbells and its "Rekognition" facial recognition product (both of which are used in law-enforcement and immigration-enforcement contexts), Amazon is at the center of the controversy over facial recognition technology. Read the rest

Doordash's breach is different

One important detail from this week's admission from Doordash that they'd suffered (and remained silent about) a breach of 4.9 million records: Doordash, by its nature, includes the home addresses of people who otherwise avoid disclosing where they live. Read the rest

DoorDash data breach: 4.9 million customers, workers, and merchants' info stolen

Another data security disaster for 'food delivery on demand' startup DoorDash, and it's not their first. The company confirms a data breach, and says sensitive information belonging to 4.9 million individual customers, delivery workers, and merchants -- all stolen by hackers. Read the rest

Permanent Record: Edward Snowden and the making of a whistleblower

I will never forget the moment on June 9, 2013, when I watched a video of a skinny, serious, unshaven man named Edward Snowden introduce himself to the world as the source of a series of blockbuster revelations about US spy agencies' illegal surveillance of the global internet. Please, I thought, be safe. And Please, don't turn out to be an asshole. Read the rest

In Cambridge Analytica clean-up, Facebook says it killed 'Tens of Thousands' of apps

Of course they announced it at the end of the day on Friday, that's what you do with bad news. Read the rest

This is your smartphone on feminism

Maria Farrell admits that comparing smartphones to abusive men (they try to keep you from friends and family, they make it hard to study or go to work, they constantly follow you and check up on you) might seem to trivialize domestic partner violence, but, as she points out, feminists have long been pointing out both the literal and metaphorical ways in which tech replicates misogyny. Read the rest

Majority of period-tracking app share incredibly sensitive data with Facebook and bottom-feeding analytics companies

It has been 0 days since Facebook's last privacy scandal. Read the rest

Things that people who bought Edward Snowden's "Permanent Record" also bought on Amazon

I'm looking forward to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's memoirs, Permanent Record, (previously) and just pre-ordered a copy on Amazon. Given the title, I thought it might be interesting to share what Amazon represented as "Frequently bought together" with it and put in its "Customers who viewed this item also viewed" carousel.

Under "Frequently bought together" are Randall Munroe's How To, a collection of "absurd scientific advice" offered by the cartoonist's famous stick-figure characters, and Talking To Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell's ill-received latest.

In the "Customers who viewed this item also viewed" carousel are books from Glenn Greenwald, Philip Mudd and Snowden himself, all on similar topics. Books dominate the section, in fact, and Amazon reports that viewers of Permanent Record only checked out three things that were not to be read: Sarotti Scho Ka Kola, described as a "famous German chocolate", 20 orange snappy handles, which go on thin metal bucket handles to make them easier to carry, and the Old Smokey Jumbo Grill, pictured above.

If you click the links in this post, our permanent records will be forever entwined in Amazon's database, and I'll get my cut. Read the rest

Why haven't cyberinsurers exerted more pressure on companies to be better at security?

For decades, people (including me) have predicted that cyberinsurers might be a way to get companies to take security seriously. After all, insurers have to live in the real world (which is why terrorism insurance is cheap, because terrorism is not a meaningful risk in America), and in the real world, poor security practices destroy peoples' lives, all the time, in wholesale quantities that beggar the imagination. Read the rest

Vancouver health system ignored warnings that its wireless paging system transmits sensitive patient data in the clear

The Canadian activist group Open Privacy Research Society has discovered that Vancouver, BC hospitals routinely wirelessly broadcast patient telemetry and admissions data, without encryption to doctor paging systems. It is trivial to intercept these transmission. Read the rest

Purism starts shipping its Librem 5 open/free phone

Purism (previously) is a company that crowdfunds free/open laptops and phones whose design goal is to have no proprietary software, even at the lowest levels. The company is best known for its Purism laptops, and I'm very fond of mine (it didn't end up replacing my Thinkpad, only because I'm addicted to the trackpoint for mousing, and trackpads give me raging RSI) (that said, getting any GNU/Linux to run on a current-model Thinkpad is so hard and results in such a rotten experience that I'm reconsidering whether to switch back). Read the rest

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