US House minority leader McCarthy: More reliance on tech than government for data privacy

(Jul 16, 2019) In an op-ed for The New York Times’ Privacy Project, U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., writes that U.S. citizens seeking more data privacy and security should focus more on technologies than government regulation. McCarthy discusses the calls for "brute government intervention" to solve privacy issues, but adds, "I don’t think we should feel confident that the bureaucratic leviathan has what it takes to develop or enforce nimble responses to rapid change in the technology... Read More

EPIC calls for FTC investigation of video communications provider

(Jul 16, 2019) The Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that calls for an investigation into video communications provider Zoom's cybersecurity practices, Decipher reports. The malpractice claim comes after a security researcher discovered a trio of vulnerabilities with Zoom's video software, including forced video calling. "Zoom intentionally designed their web conferencing service to bypass browser security settings and remotely enable a user’s we... Read More

Hospital executives and HHS at odds on protecting patient data

(Jul 16, 2019) Hospital executives and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are at odds on how to protect patient health information, Politico reports. While hospital executives are calling for more oversight to protect health data, HHS says patients have the right to access and protect their data and are creating rules to that effect. With an onslaught of new health care apps, proponents of federal guidelines are concerned patients may not understand the privacy implications of using those apps an... Read More

Ancestry CEO: Customers should use caution when sharing genetic data

(Jul 16, 2019) Ancestry CEO Margo Georgiadis is urging consumers to be careful when choosing a take at-home DNA test to learn more about their genetic history, Fortune reports. Consumers may not realize their data could be shared with law enforcement, drug companies and, in some cases, app developers. Georgiadis, who spoke at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference earlier this week, said Ancestry “does not cooperate with law enforcement unless compelled by a court order.” In June, Ancestry, 23andMe and Helix for... Read More

Fla. gov. to go forward with school safety database despite criticism

(Jul 12, 2019) Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., has denied recent requests to terminate the state's school safety database and will continue to gather data that tracks students' mental health, Spectrum Bay News 9 reports. DeSantis put out a statement explaining the purpose and use of the database were being misinterpreted by the coalition of 33 organizations. DeSantis said the database functions as "a tool for threat assessment teams to evaluate the seriousness of individual cases and is not being used to label stud... Read More

Are license plate recognition cameras headed to fast-food drive-thrus?

(Jul 12, 2019) Fast-food chains are exploring adding license plate recognition cameras to the drive-thru line, the Los Angeles Times reports. If added, the cameras would identify return customers by linking a customer's car with their credit card and order history, enabling the customer to pay without actually opening their wallets. Meanwhile, State Rep. Mike Beltran, R-Fla., has pledged to sponsor a new privacy law after it was revealed the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles is selling driver’s license and ... Read More

Privacy concerns arise over British Columbia community's security camera program

(Jul 12, 2019) A city security camera program on Vancouver Island has caught the attention of privacy advocates, Global News reports. The city of Parksville is offering residents and businesses a $100 rebate to install cameras on their property. The B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association said both public education and consultation are needed considering the program makes it easy for widespread, unregulated camera use. “It opens it up to make it easy for everyone to just put cameras in their backya... Read More

Researchers urge Scotland Yard to stop using facial-recognition tech

(Jul 11, 2019) Researchers at the University of Essex are calling on Scotland Yard to stop using facial-recognition technology until “significant concerns” of the tech violating human rights laws are addressed, the Independent reports. The call comes after researchers found that four out of five “suspects” are innocent. The independent report, which was commissioned by the Metropolitan Police, raises concerns over watchlist criteria being out of date, operational failures and issues with “consent, public legit... 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

Mistaken identifications raise privacy concerns

(Jul 10, 2019) There are a variety of home surveillance tools that provide homeowners a sense of security when they're not at home. The downside to the surveillance is that some people have been mistakenly identified as criminals, Government Technology reports. In Ohio, a teenager was mistakenly identified as a thief after taking a package off a neighbor's porch. The homeowner posted images of the teenager on social media and reported the incident to the police. It turns out the teenager was picking up a packa... Read More