Washington Metro proposing new tracking for passengers

(Sep 17, 2019) The Electronic Privacy Information Center reports the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has proposed a new tracking system for its Metro line. The proposal includes sensors attached to digital advertising screens that detect nearby mobile devices. According to a contracting document, "WMATA has already begun to develop a network of digital display units and seeks to expand that network through digital place-based and location-based devices and programs."Full Story... Read More

Congress to bar Chinese contractor over fears of 'spy trains'

(Sep 16, 2019) The New York Times reports the U.S. Congress is preparing legislation that would ban Chinese subway manufacturer CRRC Corporation from taking contracts in the U.S. following concerns about Chinese spying through technology and artificial intelligence tools. Lawmakers and CRRC critics are speculating that technology within the company's subway cars could be used to track passengers' faces, movement, conversations or phone calls. While Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said ... Read More

Alabama's Crimson Tide loyalty app raises privacy concerns

(Sep 16, 2019) A loyalty app used to keep students in their seats until the end of Alabama Crimson Tide games is raising privacy concerns, The New York Times reports. The Tide Loyalty Points app gives points to students who attend games and additional points to those who stay the entire game. The app uses location-tracking technology to track the students once they are inside the football stadium. Alabama's athletic director said privacy concerns were not an issue when the program was first discussed with othe... Read More

Music service requests data location for premium plan users

(Sep 13, 2019) Spotify's updated terms and conditions for its premium family plan is raising privacy concerns, CNET reports. The updated terms require plan subscribers to "provide location data 'from time to time'" to verify all users on the plan are actually family members. "We do not store their location data or track their location at any time," a Spotify spokesperson said. Privacy advocates say this overlooks families who aren't living together and raises privacy concerns with giving away location data. "A... Read More

Brazil to investigate Google over children's data collection

(Sep 11, 2019) ZDNet reports Brazil's Ministry of Justice and Public Safety will probe Google over potential children's privacy violations. The investigation will focus on allegations that Google has been collecting children's data for targeted advertising. The ministry's review comes while the National Consumer Secretariat continues an investigation from August that is looking into potential breaches of privacy by Google through location data.Full Story... Read More

Judge rules class-action against Facebook related to Cambridge Analytica can proceed

(Sep 10, 2019) U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco will allow parts of a class-action suit against Facebook over third-party data sharing to continue, Reuters reports. Chhabria ruled that users can try to hold Facebook liable under federal or state laws for letting app developers and business partners, such as Cambridge Analytica, gather personal data without consent. In his decision, Chhabria wrote Facebook's motion to dismiss was "littered with assumptions" regarding user privacy expect... Read More

Hong Kong protesters take down smart lampposts

(Aug 26, 2019) The South China Morning Post reports protesters in Hong Kong have torn down 20 smart lampposts over fears of government surveillance. The government previously noted the cameras in the lampposts were used for traffic monitoring and other simple monitoring functions, not for keeping tabs on citizens. “August 24 was a dark day for Hong Kong’s innovation and technology,” Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung said. “Some people ignored facts and used conspiracy theories to... Read More

Report shows spike in unlawful data use, access by Chinese apps

(Aug 22, 2019) Caixin Global reports a new half-year study in China has revealed that a large portion of mobile apps are illegally using and accessing personal information. National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China analyzed 1,000 Chinese apps, each requiring an average of 25 permissions, while 30% of apps demand access to call logs despite that data being unrelated to their operations. The apps also averaged 20 collected data items relating to individuals or their... Read More

Carmaker use of tracking sensors raises privacy concerns

(Aug 21, 2019) CNN reports Mercedes-Benz is using sensors to track and repossess vehicles. According to a spokeswoman for Mercedes, drivers agree to location tracking when they purchase the car. Privacy advocates have raised concerns about the practice citing it may expose the information to hackers or exploitation. As of March 2018, all new cars built in the European Union must come with location sensors that can transmit data to emergency services if an accident occurs. Meanwhile, MediaPost reports two Color... Read More

Bail bondsman obtains location data with fake calls to carriers

(Aug 20, 2019) A Colorado bail bondsman coaxed Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon into providing him with the location data of bail jumpers through illegal phony calls, The Daily Beast reports. Matthew Marre posed as law enforcement when he contacted the phone carriers, which were told Marre was a member of the Colorado Public Safety Task Force dealing with an emergency that required location data on certain individuals. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a privacy critic of phone carriers, took issue with the carriers' p... Read More