Illinois Supreme Court to hear Six Flags BIPA case

(Oct 16, 2018) The Illinois Supreme Court will hear a case to determine whether Six Flags Entertainment violated the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act, Bloomberg Law reports. The plaintiff alleges Six Flags gathered her 14-year-old son's thumbprint without her consent when he entered the amusement park in Gurnee, Illinois. An Illinois appeals court ruled last December the plaintiff did not have standing to sue due to her failure to show any form of injury as a result of the biometric collection. “If th... Read More

Op-ed: How the 'internet of bodies' could be perilous

(Oct 16, 2018) In a column for The Washington Post, Mary Lee, a mathematician for the RAND Corporation, warns that "the line between human and machine is blurring — and creating new concerns about consumer safety and privacy rights." This wave of new health care technology will essentially connect the human body to the internet. She notes, "If retroactive privacy laws for the internet have taught us anything, we should consider establishing rules to govern the legal, privacy and ethical issues that are already... Read More

Research shows difficulty with anonymizing genetic data

(Oct 12, 2018) New research shows that people can be identified without ever participating in DNA testing or sharing their personal information by simply drawing results from DNA testing others have shared online, The Wall Street Journal reports. The studies were conducted by separate sets of researchers and serve to highlight the privacy issues surrounding such testing. Michael Edge, a population geneticist at the University of California, Davis, and author one of the reports, said, “It is really hard to anon... Read More

EFF voices concern over proposed surveillance ordinance in Chicago

(Oct 10, 2018) The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that the organization has joined other privacy groups in voicing concern over a proposed amendment to Chicago’s municipal code that would allow businesses to employ surveillance systems that could impact people’s biometric and location privacy. The EFF writes that, in addition to the consequences to people’s digital liberties, they claim ordinance would violate the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. BIPA, which requires companies to obtain inf... Read More

Survey: 50 percent of US citizens oppose retail stores' use of facial-recognition tech

(Oct 9, 2018) A survey conducted by the Brookings Institution found 50 percent of U.S. citizens oppose the use of facial-recognition software in retail stores to prevent theft. Of the 2,000 individuals polled, 44 percent was against the use of the technology in airports to establish identity, and 44 percent did not want facial recognition to be used in stadiums for security purposes. The study revealed 46 percent of women disapprove of facial-recognition technology compared to 40 percent of men. When asked ab... Read More

Suspect forced to unlock iPhone X with his face

(Oct 1, 2018) Forbes reports on the first known case where law enforcement forced an iPhone X user to unlock his phone with his face. Grant Michalski, a suspect in a child abuse case who would later be arrested for possessing child pornography, was served a warrant by a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agent requiring him to put his face in front of the device in order to access information necessary for the investigation. Michalski complied with the request, and the investigator was able to gather Kik Me... Read More

Researchers argue 'smart' pills pose greater risk than reward

(Sep 28, 2018) Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a digital-ingestion-tracking-system drug in 2017, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago caution that it is premature for providers to use such "smart" pills in clinical settings, Health Data Management reports. The researchers state there is no evidence that such technology is beneficial to patients, and, instead, they argue it poses a danger to the patient-provider relationship. In a paper published in "The American Jour... Read More

India's Supreme Court rules Aadhaar constitutional with limits

(Sep 26, 2018) Aadhaar, India's controversial biometric identity system serving 1 billion citizens, is constitutional, according to a new ruling from the nation's Supreme Court. However, there are limits to its scope, according to BBC News, including mandatory use of it for bank accounts, mobile connections and school admissions. In a 3-2 vote, the court wrote, "Aadhaar gives dignity to the marginalised. Dignity to the marginalised outweighs privacy. ... One can't throw the baby out with the bathwater." Reacti... Read More

Spotify now offers DNA-inspired playlists

(Sep 25, 2018) Spotify announced a new partnership with Ancestry to give users the ability to create DNA-inspired playlists, Noisey reports. Users will be able to input their DNA results to create playlists based on the geography of one's ancestors. In an interview with Quartz, Ancestry Executive Vice President Vineet Mehra said, "How do we help people experience their culture and not just read about it? Music seemed like an obvious way to do that." A representative for Ancestry explained DNA test results are ... Read More

UMass Memorial settles data breach case

(Sep 24, 2018) After the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office claimed UMass Memorial Health Care violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Consumer Protection Act, and Massachusetts Data Security Law, the hospital agreed to pay a $230,000 settlement, Becker's Hospital Review reports. The complaint alleged UMass Memorial was aware that two former employees improperly accessed patient data and had failed to investigate or take action. Meanwhile, a class-action lawsuit was filed in Illi... Read More