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(Jul 31, 2015) Microsoft’s release this week of a free Windows 10 upgrade for consumers was met by a number of media pieces criticizing choices the company made within its concurrent new privacy policy. Horrible, right? Hardly, argues Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, in this post for Privacy Perspectives. These responses are indicative of a new world where privacy increasingly always matters, and that’s great news for the privacy professional and companies that have made privacy a priority. Read More

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Email Privacy Act Could Bypass Debate

(Jul 31, 2015) With 291 cosponsors, the Email Privacy Act, which would modernize the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), is in a position to bypass debate and move straight to approval, Multichannel reports. "When ECPA was written, the Internet as we understand it did not exist," said Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), author of the Email Privacy Act. "Only 340,000 Americans even subscribed to cell-phone service. Mark Zuckerberg was only two years old. But as our society and technology has evolved, our digital privacy laws remain stuck in 1986. With our bill now receiving the support of a veto-proof majority of the House of Representatives, the time has arrived to fix that.” Read More

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Google Appeals CNIL’s RTBF Order

(Jul 31, 2015) Google is appealing the CNIL’s formal notice that the company honor right-to-be-forgotten requests globally. In a blog post, Google Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer writes, “We’ve worked hard to implement the right-to-be-forgotten ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe, and we’ll continue to do so … But as a matter of principle, we respectfully disagree with the idea that a national data protection authority can assert global authority to control the content that people can acce... Read More

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New Crime-Fighting Law May Have Privacy Cost

(Jul 31, 2015) Erick Iriarte of Iriarte & Asociados writes for Privacy Tracker about a new law decreed by Peru’s executive branch under delegated powers. The law requires telecommunications companies to collect and retain consumer geolocation data and make it available to law enforcement without a warrant. According to the decree, its purpose is to “regulate the access of the specialized unit of the National Police of Peru, in cases of flagrante delicto, to the location and geolocation of mobile phones or electronic devices of similar nature.” Iriarte outlines the main provisions of the law, noting its “worthy” intentions; however, he goes on to call it a law “with a dramatic effect but not effective” and asks how it will improve “the delayed coordination between the police, prosecutors and judges.” (IAPP member login required.) Read More

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GAO Tells Congress To Revisit Facial-Recognition Tech

(Jul 31, 2015) The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report on facial-recognition technology, specifically on its commercial uses, privacy issues and the applicable federal law. Although the report does not put forth any recommendations, it proposes that Congress look into “strengthening the consumer privacy framework” to keep up with emerging technology such as facial recognition. TechCrunch reports that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) announced the new report and issued a press release on it, writing that “what we really need are federal standards that address facial-recognition privacy by enhancing our consumer privacy framework.” Read More

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De-Identify Data for Research’s Sake

(Jul 31, 2015) The de-identification of healthcare data permits research innovation while not sacrificing patient privacy, HealthITSecurity reports, noting, “both the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries are beginning to adopt this approach.” Eli Lily Office of Medical Transparency Director Ben Rotz notes, “As we have a set of rules that are followed, as we start to see standards in place for how the data are collected, then we're going to start to see more and more technologies emerge that allow for a sta... Read More

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Google, Silent Circle Pair Up on Next Version of Blackphone

(Jul 31, 2015) The Wall Street Journal reports on a partnership between Google and Silent Circle, the maker of a privacy-centric Blackphone. Through this partnership, the next version of the Blackphone will come equipped with Google’s Android for Work software, which allows users to compartmentalize personal and professional use and also “collects huge amounts of user data to sell advertising,” the report states, asking, “So why would Silent Circle, which is intensely concerned with privacy, team up with the l... Read More

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Using Synthetic Data To Protect Census Data

(Jul 31, 2015) Since the first U.S. Census was carried out in 1790, the Census Bureau has expanded its mission and now collects information about occupation, education, income and other personal data. The datasets are useful, but confidentiality becomes harder to preserve, Nextgov reports. A research team led by a Duke University Prof. Jerry Reiter and Cornell University Prof. John Abowd has developed an approach to solving this problem by using synthetic data or “simulated data generated from statistical models,” the report states. “A query that can be asked of the confidential data can also be asked of the synthetic data,” Abowd said. Read More

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White-Hat Hacker Discovers OnStar Vulnerability

(Jul 31, 2015) A white-hat hacker has discovered a vulnerability in the mobile app for General Motors’ (GM’s) OnStar vehicle communications system that can permit hackers to "locate, unlock and remote-start" participating cars, Reuters reports. In response, General Motors is developing a patch for the bug that is “days away” from release and working to quell fears. "We believe the chances of replicating this demonstration in the real world are unlikely,” said GM’s Terrence Rhadigan. “In addition, the action involves one user at a time, and would impact only that specific user’s account." This comes on the heels of Fiat Chrysler’s recent voluntary recall of 1.4 million vehicles after the Jeep Cherokee was found susceptible to hacking. Read More

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RNC Offers Voter File to Presidential Candidates

(Jul 31, 2015) The Republican National Committee (RNC) has offered to share its voter file with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Yahoo Politics reports. The RNC has the names, voting history and consumer data of roughly 250 million Americans, the report states. The Trump campaign’s attorneys are reviewing the data-sharing agreement, which has been offered to all 17 of the Republican presidential candidates, 11 of whom signed off on it. The RNC said every indication points to Trump entering into the agreement. The RNC offer runs in contrast to the decision by political operation Freedom Partners, which denied Trump access to its voter data. Read More

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