Usage-based car insurance drives some privacy concerns

(Oct 9, 2018) CNBC reports on how some auto insurance companies are utilizing driver data to calculate a quote based on a driver’s actual driving history and the corresponding privacy issues that arise from that kind of tracking. Progressive Insurance's James Haas, however, says usage-based programs can benefit consumers and encourage safer driving. Similarly, Root Insurance says it tries to be upfront with consumers about the monitoring and that users can manually turn off tracking features once the trial pe... Read More

White House, industry reveal more details on US privacy framework

(Sep 25, 2018) Movement toward a U.S. privacy framework is gaining steam this week as lobbying efforts in Washington intensify ahead of the release of White House document outlining an initial approach to consumer privacy and a highly anticipated Congressional hearing Wednesday in which privacy professionals from several major tech companies will testify.  An "unpublished Notice by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration," an arm of the Department of Commerce, has appeared on the Federa... Read More

How bike thieves use app data to target victims

(Sep 24, 2018) reports on how bike thieves are turning to data to discover and target their next victims. After cyclist Adam Jones reported five bikes stolen, totaling nearly 12,500 GBP, he learned thieves are making a correlation between quick times reported on Strava and the likelihood of better, more expensive bikes. Jones said, “I just hadn't made the connection of what was happening and of course since the bikes were stolen all my friends were saying, ‘did you have your privacy settings 'on,' on S... Read More

China on path toward a 'digital dictatorship'?

(Sep 20, 2018) Providing an in-depth look into China’s “social credit” system, ABC News reports that if successful, it will result in “the world’s first digital dictatorship.” Following citizens as they navigate the pilot program, the report examines what influences a person’s social score and the associated risks and benefits it carries for a person's future. While Dandan Fan, who scored 773 out of 800, sees no ill effect of constant surveillance and social ranking, Investigative Reporter Liu Hu warns of the ... Read More

Op-ed: Using surveillance to ID criminals is flawed

(Sep 13, 2018) In an op-ed for Bloomberg, Leonid Bershidsky explains why the use of surveillance cameras to identify a pair of Russian military intelligence agents who attempted to assassinate former Col. Sergei Skripal highlights flaws when using the technology to identify culprits. While the U.K. was eventually able to identify the suspects, the process took months as law enforcement agencies pored over massive amounts of footage. “If everyone is tracked, no one is, so the cameras can only perform their func... Read More

Arizona attorney general to investigate Google's location-tracking practices

(Sep 12, 2018) Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office will conduct an investigation of Google’s alleged practice of tracking Android users’ location data, The Washington Post reports. A public filing states the attorney general’s office has hired an outside law firm to conduct an inquiry into an unnamed tech company and its “storage of consumer location data, tracking of consumer location, and other consumer tracking through ... smartphone operating systems, even when consumers turn off 'location serv... Read More

European Commission sides with Google in RTBF case

(Sep 12, 2018) As the Court of Justice of the European Union heard arguments in the right-to-be-forgotten case between Google and France’s data protection authority, the CNIL, the European Commission ended up siding with the tech company on parts of the issue, The Wall Street Journal reports. The commission, as well as countries such as Ireland and Greece, believes a global application of the right to be forgotten would end up stretching EU privacy laws past their intended design. While the commission agreed w... Read More

Research shows apps share location data without user knowledge

(Sep 11, 2018) Ars Technica reports on how some iOS and Android apps broadcast precise location data with developers and, in some cases, share the information via unencrypted formats. Recent research released by Sudo Security’s Guardian mobile firewall team supported this finding, highlighting 24 apps in a random sampling of the App Store’s top free offerings shared location data with firms without users’ knowledge. The article states that while GPS-based location services can be easily managed on iOS devices,... Read More

Big Brother Watch releases 'The State of Surveillance in 2018' report

(Sep 6, 2018) Big Brother Watch has released its report, “The State of Surveillance in 2018.” In the report, the advocacy group covers a number of topics related to the effects surveillance has had on different groups in the U.K., including efforts targeting protesters and marginalized groups, the increased surveillance of children, and the ways surveillance laws harm journalists and lawyers. “The rapid emergence of new surveillance technologies is being matched by their fast and often lawless adoption by pri... Read More

ACLU: Carpenter ruling could inform state-level cases

(Sep 6, 2018) In a blog post, the American Civil Liberties Union looks at the ruling from the Carpenter v. United States case and how it could potentially impact a group of cases in Massachusetts and Maine. The Massachusetts and Maine Supreme Judicial Courts are hearing cases involving whether law enforcement needs to obtain warrants to track cellphone location data in real time and access location data from an ankle monitor, as well as whether constitutional rights would be violated if an ankle monitor shoul... Read More