Articles about Privacy

VTech fondleslabs for kids 'still vulnerable' despite sanctions

New InnoTab child learning devices still have the same security flaw first found by researchers at Pen Test Partners two years ago. The issues persist even after manufacturer VTech was fined $650,000 by US watchdogs at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) via a ruling published earlier this week. The settlement deal came after …
John Leyden, 18 Jan 2018
tinfoil hat (shutterstock)

HTML5 may as well stand for Hey, Track Me Longtime 5. Ads can use it to fingerprint netizens

Usenix Enigma HTML5 is a boon for unscrupulous web advertising networks, which can use the markup language's features to build up detailed fingerprints of individual netizens without their knowledge or consent. In a presentation at Usenix's Enigma 2018 conference in California this week, Arvind Narayanan, an assistant professor of computer …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jan 2018

UK's Just Eat faces probe after woman tweets chat-up texts from 'delivery guy'

A customer of takeaway delivery firm Just Eat has alleged a driver from an eatery used her phone number to ask her for a date. Michelle Midwinter claimed that, after using Just Eat to order a takeaway, she had received an uninvited WhatsApp message from someone she didn’t know. According to screenshots shared on Twitter, the …
Rebecca Hill, 16 Jan 2018
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OnePlus Android mobes' clipboard app caught phoning home to China

UPDATE OnePlus has admitted that the clipboard app in a beta build of its Android OS was beaming back mystery data to a cloud service in China. Someone running the latest test version of OnePlus's Oreo-based operating system revealed in its support forums that unusual activity from the builtin clipboard manager had been detected by a …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Jan 2018
Max Schrems

Max Schrems: The privacy bubble needs to start 'getting sh*t done'

Interview "The problem we have in the privacy bubble is that we're great at saying how evil and bad everything is... but we're not that great at getting shit done." Max Schrems, the privacy activist known for reducing the Safe Harbor data-sharing deal to tatters, is making one final attempt to spur the community he's been at the heart …
Rebecca Hill, 10 Jan 2018
editorial only image of Whitehall. Pic Daniel Gale/Shutterstock

UK Data Protection Bill tweaked to protect security researchers

The United Kingdom has revealed amendments to its Data Protection Bill to de-criminalise research into whether anonymised data sets are sufficiently anonymous. The legislation, first floated in August 2017, gave rise to worries that researchers would commit a crime if they broke whatever measures were used to anonymise …

VTech hack fallout: What is a kid's privacy worth? About 22 cents – FTC

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today agreed to a settlement deal with a children's electronic toymaker it had accused of collecting kids' personal information and then failing to properly secure that data. The government watchdog said VTech will pay $650,000 and agree to a set of privacy and security requirements in …
Shaun Nichols, 8 Jan 2018

Supremes asked to mull legality of Silicon Valley privacy 'slush funds'

Analysis Nothing expresses Silicon Valley's cynicism about privacy like its fondness for rewarding its friends from privacy class-action settlements – while class members get nothing. Now the US Supreme Court has been invited to consider whether such settlements are fair. These so-called cy pres settlements exploit a legal quirk, ("as …
CCTV camera trained on a garden. Photo by Shutterstock

CCTV commish: Bring all surveillance systems under code of practice

The UK's surveillance camera commissioner has told the British government to adopt a "common sense position" and bring all bodies using surveillance camera systems under its code of practice. Tony Porter, whose term as commissioner was in 2017 extended for another three years, used his annual report, published yesterday, to …
Rebecca Hill, 8 Jan 2018
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US border cops told to stop copying people's files just for the hell of it

With device searches at American border crossings reaching an all-time high, the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) this week tightened its rules for when agents can pull data from phones and computers. The updated directive [PDF] amends the 2009 CBP border search guidelines to require that agents at least have "reasonable …
Shaun Nichols, 5 Jan 2018
Confused lost-looking driver with map. Photo by SHutterstock

Wannabe W1 DOW-er faked car crash to track down reg plate's owner

A man from Bristol, England, lied to a government agency to get his hands on a private number plate reading "W1 DOW", a court has heard. In a hearing at Bristol Magistrates' Court, Miles Savory – director of Accident Claims Handlers – yesterday pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining the personal information of the plate's owner …
Rebecca Hill, 4 Jan 2018
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Comms-slurping public bodies in UK need crash course in copy 'n' paste

The UK's public authorities slurped up more than 750,000 items of communications data during 2016, with more than 1,000 reported errors – of which 29 were deemed serious. The figures were revealed today in the Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office (IOCCO) annual report. Although Commissioner Stanley Burnton …
Rebecca Hill, 20 Dec 2017

Facebook flashes ramped-up face-recog tech. Try not to freak out

Analysis In an effort to make facial recognition technology more appealing to members of its clicky commerce club, social ad network Facebook on Tuesday said it will begin notifying people when they appear in the pictures posted by other people, sometimes. Facebook already offers a related form of notification for those tagged in other …
Thomas Claburn, 19 Dec 2017
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Facebook: Who needs millennials? The cops love us more than ever!

Facebook says police and government agents' requests for users' information as well as takedown demands are increasing. The social network's latest transparency report, published Monday and covering the first half of 2017, noted that, compared to the back half of last year… Law enforcement requests for account data climbed …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Dec 2017

SCOLD WAR: Kaspersky drags Uncle Sam into court to battle AV ban

Embattled Russian security software maker Kaspersky Lab has taken the American government to a US federal court to overturn Uncle Sam's ban on its antivirus tools. The Moscow-based developer claimed the US Department of Homeland Security acted illegally when, back in September, the department publicly told federal agencies …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Dec 2017

Mozilla's creepy Mr Robot stunt in Firefox flops in touching tribute to TV show's 2nd season

Updated Mozilla automatically installed a weird add-on to Firefox on people's computers – an add-on that turned out to be a marketing promotion for the hit telly show Mr Robot. The open-source non-profit dev house secretly slipped the oddity, dubbed Through the Looking Glass, into browser installations as a shield study. These special …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Dec 2017
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No hack needed: Anonymisation beaten with a dash of SQL

Governments should not release anonymised data that refers to individuals, because re-identification is inevitable. That's the conclusion from Melbourne University's Dr Chris Culnane, Dr Benjamin Rubinstein and Dr Vanessa Teague, who have shown that the Medicare data the Australian government briefly published last year can be …
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UK.gov told: Your frantic farming of pupils' data is getting a little creepy

Plans to expand the vast National Pupil Database to include information on why kids leave mainstream education have been slammed by privacy campaigners. The government's stated aim is to better understand how and why pupils end up with alternative provision (AP) by adding more detail to the information collected in the annual …
Rebecca Hill, 13 Dec 2017

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