Empirical review of privacy policies reveals that they are "incomprehensible" drivel

Writer and data journalist Kevin Litman-Navarro subjected 150 privacy policies from leading online services to programmatic analysis for complexity (the Lexile test), and found them to be an incomprehensible mess second only to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in their lack of clarity. Read the rest

Maine's new ISP privacy law has both California and New York beat

The Great State of Maine, having jettisoned its far-right lunatic "government" and replaced it with a responsive, progressive, evidence-based one, is now set to pass the nation's most stringent ISP privacy law, going further than both New York and California. Read the rest

Facebook execs are worried that Zuck's emails show he never took his FTC privacy obligations seriously

In 2012, Facebook settled an FTC privacy investigation by promising a host of privacy protections (that they never delivered on); now, the FTC is probing Facebook's noncompliance and they've demanded that the company let them look at Zuck's email, which prompted the company's legal team to have a look therein, and they really didn't like what they saw. Read the rest

Mary Meeker's 2019 Internet Trends: stalled growth, security dumpster-fires, more online education and fear of regulation

Every year, VC Mary Meeker (previously) publishes her must-read Internet Trends Report, which comes as a powerpoint deck with hundreds of slides (you can watch her power through them in 30 minutes flat at the Re-Code conference). Read the rest

A deep dive into stalkerware's creepy marketing, illegal privacy invasions, and terrible security

Stalkerware -- spyware sold to people as a means of keeping tabs on their romantic partners, kids, employees, etc -- is a dumpster fire of terrible security (compounded by absentee management), sleazy business practices, and gross marketing targeted at abusive men who want to spy on women. Read the rest

Blood testing giant Quest Diagnostics lost 12,000,000 patients' personal, financial and medical data

Quest Diagnostics is one of America's biggest medical testing companies; they have warned securities regulators that they lost 12,000,000 customer records (credit card numbers, bank account information, medical information, Social Security Numbers, and other personal information) due to a breach at ACMA, a collection agency they used. Read the rest

The New York Privacy Act goes even farther than California's privacy legislation

In 2015, California enacted groundbreaking privacy legislation and in 2018, the state took up the matter again with even tougher rules that have been fought tooth-and-nail by Big Tech companies, many of whom are headquartered in the state. Read the rest

Apple to limit third-party tracking in children's apps

You can't trust tech companies' word that the privacy controls they say they're implementing will protect you and your children.

A Wall Street Journal study of 80 apps in Apple’s App Store shows that most apps, including ones selected and featured by Apple editors, are tracking you in ways you would not expect, and cannot avoid. Read the rest

Study: Popular iOS apps use 'background app refresh' to send your location and IP address

You're browsing a news app on your phone in bed, alone, late at night. Did you know your physical location and IP address are being shared with the app maker? Read the rest

Germany demands an end to working cryptography

Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer -- a hardliner who has called for cameras at every "hot spot" in Germany -- has announced that he will seek a ban on working cryptography in Germany; he will insist that companies only supply insecure tools that have a backdoor that will allow the German state to decrypt messages and chats on demand. Read the rest

Snap employees used the company's internal 'SnapLion' tool to access Snapchat user data

Abuse happened at Snapchat a "few times," staff tells Motherboard

Los Angeles! Come see me at Exposition Park library tonight talking about Big Tech, monopolies, mind control and the right of technological self-determination

From 6PM-730PM tonight (Thursday, May 23), I'm presenting at the Exposition Park Library (Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library, 3900 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90062) on the problems of Big Tech and how the problems of monopolization (in tech and every other industry) is supercharged by the commercial surveillance industry -- and what we can do about it. It's part of the LA Public Library's "Book to Action" program and it's free to attend -- I hope to see you there! Read the rest

Nominations are open for EFF's Barlow/Pioneer Awards

Every year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation presents its Pioneer Awards (previously); now renamed the Barlow Award in honor of EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow, who died last year. Read the rest

Americans believe that they should own the mountains of data produced by their cars, but they don't

Your car is basically a smartphone with wheels, and it gathers up to 25gb/hour worth of data on you and your driving habits -- everything from where you're going to how much you weigh. Cars gather your financial data, data on the number of kids in the back seat, and, once they're connected to your phone, data on who you call and text. Read the rest

How can spies from democracies compete with spies from autocracies?

Economist international editor Edward Lucas devotes 4,000+ words in the new issue of Foreign Policy to the changing landscape of state espionage in the 21st century; it's not particularly well-organized (if there's a reason for the order in which his thoughts are laid out, I couldn't find it), but despite that, it's well worth a read, even if there's lots I don't agree with here. Read the rest

Google will now delete your account activity on a rolling basis

Google has augmented its preferences for personal data retention; in addition to choosing to have all your data stored until you delete it, or having no data stored (thus depriving you of the benefits of personalization), the company has a new intermediate option: a rolling deletion program, which lets you specify that any data older than either 3 or 12 months should be autodeleted. That way, if you suffer a breach (or if authorities demand your data from Google), only your recent activity will be exposed. Read the rest

Facebook hands hundreds of contractors in India access to its users' private messages and private Instagram posts in order to help train an AI

Facebook gave "as many as" 260 contractors at Wipro, Ltd in Hyderabad, India access to users' private messages and private Instagram posts so that the contractors could label them prior to their inclusion in an AI training-data set. Read the rest

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