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(Feb 5, 2016) Much of the setting of Cory Doctorow’s dystopian novel Little Brother takes place in a San Francisco under complete and total lockdown. The city has been attacked by terrorists, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is history, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has taken over. Perhaps previously the liberal bastion of the U.S., Doctorow’s San Francisco has now shifted to a surveillance state. Luckily, no such event has hit the beautiful West Coast city. Yet, with the NFL in town to ce... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Podcast: Making sense of the Privacy Shield

(Feb 5, 2016) On Tuesday, the European Commission and U.S. Department of Commerce jointly announced a new data-transfer framework, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, to replace the invalidated Safe Harbor agreement. What are the next steps for the new framework and the role of the Article 29 Working Party, the European Parliament and the U.S. administration? Join IAPP VP of Research and Education Omer Tene as he interviews a panel of experts, analyzing the new agreement and talking about practical steps international organizations should be taking as the details fall into place. Read More

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The download on encryption from the Westin Center

(Feb 5, 2016) Encryption shows up in self-regulatory guidelines, best practices and pieces of legislation all over the world. It’s thought to be one of the best ways to protect data — particularly from cyber-attacks; however, it draws a fair amount of ire from some government agencies and law-enforcement regimes, as it can hamper investigations into criminal and terrorist activities. If you’re not a techie, it can also be somewhat intimidating to implement. This IAPP Westin Research Center Practice Guide offers a great way to get the basics on what encryption is, how it works, and what it can do for you. (IAPP member login required.) Read More

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UK won’t opt in to portion of GDPR

(Feb 5, 2016) In a statement posted to the U.K. Parliament website yesterday by Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the U.K. government has made it known that it will not choose to opt-in to Article 43a of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation. House of Lords member Neville-Rolfe is Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the department that now houses the Information Commissioner’s Office. IAPP Publications Director Sam Pfeifle looks at what this means in this report for The P... Read More

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FTC reaches settlement with Vulcun over app installation

(Feb 5, 2016) Technology firm Vulcun has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission under charges that it unfairly installed apps on users’ phones without permission, potentially putting consumers’ privacy at risk, according to an FTC press release. The founders of Vulcun purchased a popular Google Chrome browser extension game with 200,000 users. Vulcun then replaced the extension with its own, bypassed the permission process in the Android operating system, and bombarded users with advertisements. FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich said, “We’re very pleased we were able to stop these practices.” Because the extension bypassed the permission process, the FTC alleges it could have accessed a user’s contact list, photos, location, and device identifiers. Read More

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Adblocking dispute fundamental privacy battle, says PGP co-founder

(Feb 5, 2016) It’s neither encryption back doors nor government mass surveillance that sets the battleground for the most fundamental privacy dispute, says Pretty Good Privacy Co-founder Jon Callas in a report for ZDNet. It’s the adblocking war, and he says, “It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.” Callas continues: “You are not giving up your information; you’re basically selling it. … We now know that the main privacy issue is with the ad companies, not with the government.” With a rise in use of adblockers, nearly 41 percent, the Internet Advertising Bureau’s Randall Rothenberg has said it cost the industry nearly $22 billion in 2015. “The ad people are absolutely right in that their business models aren’t going to work when there are no advertisements,” Callas added. Read More

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OPM director grilled by House Oversight Committee

(Feb 5, 2016) Office of Personnel Management Director Beth Cobert faced new scrutiny from the House Oversight Committee on Thursday, The Hill reports. On Wednesday, less than 24 hours before her testimony, the committee issued the embattled government agency a subpoena requesting more documents related to the massive hacks of more than 20 million individuals’ personal data. Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said, “it is troubling the House Oversight Committee had to resort to a subpoena.” Cobert defended the agency, however, saying it wants a healthy dialogue with the committee. “We have produced hundreds, thousands of documents, and we’re going to continue to be as cooperative as we can be,” she said. Read More

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Microsoft purchases artificial intelligence startup for $250 million

(Feb 5, 2016) In an apparent bid to jump into the burgeoning world of artificial intelligence, Microsoft is buying British start-up Swiftkey for $250 million, The Washington Post reports. Swiftkey is best known for its smart keyboard app that accurately predicts the next words a user wants in a given sentence. The software uses machine learning to get to know the user so that it can offer personalized keyboard offerings. According to the report, “under Microsoft, Swiftkey’s technology stands to spread into pr... Read More

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