Big Tech’s Shift to Privacy

(Jul 18, 2019) An overview of the technology sector’s public expressions of privacy initiatives and values. Privacy is top-of-mind for technology companies and their consumers. Since Facebook’s data-sharing practices came under scrutiny following reporting on Cambridge Analytica, consumers and legislators have sharpened their interest in big tech’s use of data. In response, many companies continue to review, refine, and clarify their data practices for the benefit of consumers. Some of that clarification come... Read More

Verizon exec: Federal US privacy law needed to address 5G concerns

(Jul 17, 2019) Fortune reports Verizon Media Group CEO Guru Gowrappan said a federal U.S. privacy law is needed to address concerns around 5G technology. As Verizon begins to roll out 5G across the country, it is also aware of the privacy issues users may raise about the increased amount of data their devices will be able to collect. Gowrappan said a law similar to the EU General Data Protection Regulation or the California Consumer Privacy Act can help to remediate the problem; however, any regulation passed ... Read More

AT&T seeks arbitration for location privacy suit

(Jul 16, 2019) MediaPost reports AT&T has filed a motion with the U.S. District Court in Maryland to have a lawsuit regarding geolocation data disclosure sent to arbitration. Just as T-Mobile did last week with a class-action suit on location privacy, AT&T said in its motion that the claim filed by the plaintiff is covered in the arbitration agreement found in the phone carrier's user contracts. "That provision states that it 'is intended to be broadly interpreted,' and requires arbitration of 'all dis... Read More

OPC asked to investigate vehicle data collection

(Jul 12, 2019) The Freedom of Information and Privacy Association has asked the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to investigate the data collection practices of vehicles within the country, the Vancouver Sun reports. In addition to the complaint, the group also sent the OPC a new version of its 2015 “The Connected Car” report. The study examined the privacy practices of 36 vehicle manufacturers to see what data they collected and how it was used. “Some things are better than they were,” said Vincen... Read More

NSW to consider facial recognition for public transport despite privacy backlash

(Jul 11, 2019) The Guardian reports the New South Wales government wants citizens to use facial-recognition software instead of swipe cards to access public transport. “In the transport space we’ll use facial recognition technology to scan customers who’ve ‘opted in’ and linked their Opal account,” NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said. “No more gate barriers – just a smooth journey … It’s all about making the journey easier and faster for people. I am confident we will also see frictionless transport p... Read More

Hawaii gov. vetoes location privacy bill

(Jul 11, 2019) Gov. David Ige, D-Hawaii, has vetoed Bill HB 702 HD1 SD2. The bill would have been the first in the U.S. to prohibit the sale of location data gathered by satellite-navigation-equipped devices without user consent. In his letter to the state legislature, Ige wrote he vetoed the bill “because it attempts to regulate a complex national industry without sufficient and appropriate wording to ensure consistent compliance and enforcement. The lack of clarity in this bill as currently drafted will lead... Read More

T-Mobile claims customers unable to sue for disclosing location data

(Jul 10, 2019) MediaPost reports a class-action claim against T-Mobile for location data disclosures is being held up in federal court after the phone carrier said it previously agreed to arbitrate all disputes to avoid a trial. T-Mobile filed a motion at a U.S. District Court in Maryland to either dismiss or stay the matter, saying "plaintiffs are contractually required to arbitrate individually, rather than litigate their claims in federal court, much less in a putative class action." The motion is in refere... Read More

Coalition calls for DHS to ban facial recognition ahead of hearing

(Jul 10, 2019) Privacy and civil liberties organizations have banded together and are pushing for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to halt its use of facial-recognition software, BuzzFeed News reports. Fight for the Future and the Electronic Privacy Information Center were among the organizations to launch campaigns against the DHS's surveillance tactics. The calls come as DHS is set to hold a hearing regarding the broad, unregulated use of facial-recognition tech by the Transportation Security Adminis... Read More

Researchers: More than 1K Android apps collect data even when permission is denied

(Jul 9, 2019) Researchers from the International Computer Science Institute found more than 1,000 Android apps gathers data from devices "even after people explicitly denied them permission," reports CNET. The apps used workarounds hidden in code that took personal data from Wi-Fi sources and metadata stored in phones, and in some cases accessed unprotected files on a device’s SD card. Google and the Federal Trade Commission were notified about the issues last September. Google said the issues would be addres... Read More

CEO: Email management app will stop tracking location

(Jul 9, 2019) Just days after privacy concerns were raised about Superhuman’s use of pixel tracking, CEO Rahul Vora promised the email management app will stop the practice, reports The Verge. Superhuman will remove tracking location, delete location data, turn read statuses off by default and build an option to disable remote images. “When we built Superhuman, we focused only on the needs of our customers,” Vohra apologized in a blog post and on Twitter. “We did not consider potential bad actors. I wholehear... Read More