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(Aug 23, 2016) The Turkish government has been criticized for how it handles social media within its borders, as in 2014 when Twitter and YouTube were censored. At the time, writes Yusuf Mansur Özer, the co-founder of Turkish technology law initiative Statjus.com, the frequent censoring gave rise to citizens’ use of anonymous browsing. “Today,” he writes in this post for Privacy Perspectives, “we are witnessing the rise of private communications.” Since the recent coup attempt, and the corresponding arrests around the country, “people have started to care deeply about the tools they use for the purposes of communication,” adding, “After all, observation does change behavior.” Read More

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FTC notice workshop agenda announced

(Aug 23, 2016) The Federal Trade Commission has released its agenda for its Sept. 15 workshop entitled, “Putting Notices to the Test,” the agency said in a press release. The free event will feature 22 different presentations and remarks by FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and FTC Chief Technologist Lorrie Cranor, CIPT, among others. The workshop will begin with a presentation of cognitive models and then split into six topic areas: “methods and procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of disclosures; whether and ... Read More

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Study: Business email compromise costs $3B in damage worldwide

(Aug 23, 2016) A new report from Trend Micro reveals an oft-underreported scam has bilked more than $3 billion from businesses around the world, The Hill reports. “Business email compromise” — a method by which adversaries use email to trick employees into wiring company funds — has affected approximately 22,000 organizations, according to the FBI, since the beginning of 2015. Trend Micro tracked more than 2,000 BEC incidents in the U.S. and found that attackers often closely research a given target. An adversary may research a company’s legal settlement and imitate the law firm’s email account, for example. Trend Micro Chief Cybersecurity Officer Ed Cabrera said, “BEC doesn’t fall in line with data breach laws — it’s just a digital con game. And unlike other attacks, it does not cause a loss of operational time.” Read More

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Study: More than one third of transmitted health care data left unencrypted

(Aug 23, 2016) The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s Cybersecurity Survey found that 35 percent of hospitals and 52 percent of non-acute providers do not encrypt their transmitted data, ITworld reports. Additionally, 61 percent of acute providers and 48 percent of non-acute providers encrypt resting data, the report adds. The study also found that many health care facilities do not use firewalls. Researchers cautioned that where there is tech, there are opportunities for breaches or ranso... Read More

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WikiLeaks compromised privacy of hundreds of vulnerable people

(Aug 23, 2016) Associated Press reports that data dumps promulgated by transparency organization WikiLeaks have compromised the privacy of hundreds of innocent people, including survivors of sexual abuse, children who are sick, and the mentally ill. In the last year, WikiLeaks has disclosed medical files of hundreds of citizens, and in two extreme cases, named teenaged rape victims and outed a Saudi Arabian citizen. Homosexuality is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. “They published everything: my phone, add... Read More

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Tech groups criticize DHS social media screening plans

(Aug 23, 2016) A trade group representing companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter has criticized the White House for a proposal that would prompt foreign travelers to reveal what social media sites they use along with their user names, Politico reports. The plans are intended to locate potential terrorist activity, but the companies fear it could “have a chilling effect on use of social media networks, online sharing, and, ultimately, free speech online,” the group stated. The U.S. Department of Homelan... Read More

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AI company Genee now a Microsoft property

(Aug 23, 2016) Microsoft has purchased virtual assistant startup Genee for an undisclosed sum, USA TODAY reports. “We consider Microsoft to be the leader in personal and enterprise productivity, AI, and virtual assistant technologies, so we look forward to bringing our passion and expertise to a team that is committed to delivering cutting-edge language and intelligence services," wrote Genee co-founders Ben Cheung and Charles Lee in a blog post. However, critics wonder if the acquisition is just another example of a large company collecting AI-gleaned data for mysterious uses. Microsoft has already faced these questions, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation censuring the company last week for its Windows 10 privacy practices. Read More

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Investors pour $92.5M into Washington-hubbed cybersecurity firms

(Aug 23, 2016) Bessemer Venture Partners has begun investing in PhishMe, Distil Networks and Virtru, three Washington-based cybersecurity firms, The Washington Post reports. “The engineers in Silicon Valley don’t really understand the anatomy of a cyberattack,” said Bessemer partner David Cowan. “There are people around [Washington] who invented the anatomy of a cyberattack. The only place to find people with operational cyber expertise is within driving distance of [the National Security Agency’s building at]... Read More

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New teen-targeted Facebook app raises privacy concerns

(Aug 23, 2016) Facebook has released a new app — called Lifestage — designed to connect high school-aged children. Lifestage allows students to share videos and connect locally, but some have alleged a lack of privacy controls, The Guardian reports. “Please note: Everything you post in Lifestage is always public and viewable by everyone, inside and outside your school,” the app disclaimer states in the Apple App Store. The platform does have some safety measures built in, including requirements that users be u... Read More

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Will IoT authenticate via body shape?

(Aug 23, 2016) Researchers from Northwestern Polytechnic University have proposed a new form of Internet of Things authentication: body-shape identification through Wi-Fi signals, Motherboard reports. Dubbed “FreeSense,” the method has a success rate of “upwards of 90 percent,” the report states. “Due to the difference of body shapes and motion patterns, each person can have specific influence patterns on surrounding Wi-Fi signals while she moves indoors, generating a unique pattern on the CSI time series of the Wi-Fi device,” the researchers write in their paper. “FreeSense … is nonintrusive and privacy-preserving compared with existing methods [of human identification].” Read More

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