Google's cloud business to stop selling general purpose facial-recognition tech

(Dec 14, 2018) Google announced its cloud business will not sell “general-purpose facial recognition APIs” until more questions about the technology are answered, Bloomberg reports. “Facial recognition merits careful consideration to ensure its use is aligned with our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful outcomes,” Google Head of Global Affairs Kent Walker wrote in a blog post. Walker did not specify the questions Google wants to be answered, nor whether customers such as law enforcement and the... Read More

Molloy: Sharing videos of alleged shoplifters violates PIPEDA

(Dec 14, 2018) Newfoundland & Labrador Privacy Commissioner Donovan Molloy tells businesses to no longer share footage of alleged shoplifters, CBC News reports. Molloy said the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act prohibits entities from sharing any videos or images without the consent of the person appearing in the footage. The commissioner advises businesses to let law enforcement handle investigations on their own. "It's intended to embarrass, in many cases. You're dealing someti... Read More

GCHQ to increase large-scale data hacking

(Dec 13, 2018) In a move that is likely to be considered highly controversial, U.K. intelligence agencies have determined it is necessary to increase their use of large-scale data hacking, the Guardian reports. In a letter from Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime Ben Wallace to Intelligence and Security Committee Chair Dominic Grieve, Wallace noted that due to “current operational and technical realities, GCHQ [has]… determined that it will be necessary to conduct a higher proportion of ongoing o... Read More

Concerns around business use of facial recognition grows

(Dec 13, 2018) The Algorithmic Justice League and the Center of Privacy & Technology at Georgetown University Law Center released the Safe Face Pledge, a call for companies to no longer provide facial-recognition technology to law enforcement unless laws are passed to allow it, Bloomberg reports. The pledge asks for companies to “show value for human life, dignity and rights, address harmful bias, [and] facilitate transparency.” Large tech companies have not signed the pledge, potentially out of fear of lo... Read More

Rapid DNA network rollout raises privacy concerns

(Dec 13, 2018) The Washington Post reports on how a new portable machine is revolutionizing the way DNA samples are analyzed. Roughly the size of a large desktop printer, Rapid DNA can produce a profile of 20 specific loci on a DNA strand in less than two hours instead of days or weeks. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an initiative to create a Rapid DNA network, connecting booking stations around the country so they can check arrestees against the FBI’s combined national DNA database, CODIS. ... Read More

Microsoft's Smith calls for governments, tech companies to address facial recognition

(Dec 7, 2018) Microsoft President Brad Smith writes in a blog post about why the time has arrived to address concerns with facial-recognition technology. Smith believes it is important for governments to adopt laws to regulate facial recognition soon before any problems associated with the technology become too difficult to control. Those issues include the use of facial recognition for surveillance purposes and limiting biased outcomes from its use. “We also believe that while it’s better to address these is... Read More

N&L privacy commissioner releases report on schools' use of video camera

(Dec 7, 2018) Newfoundland & Labrador Information and Privacy Commissioner Donovan Molloy’s office released a report on the use of video cameras in schools, The Aurora reports. Schools must identify the purpose of each individual camera installed in a school or on a school bus under the province’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015. The report also informs schools they must have detailed policies on what will be done with any footage the cameras capture. Molloy said while there are ... Read More

Australia passes controversial encryption law

(Dec 6, 2018) On Thursday, Australia's Parliament passed a bill mandating that technology companies assist the nation's law enforcement to bypass encryption in private messaging apps, Fortune reports. The Assistance and Access Bill will force companies to build so-called backdoors, "but only if the backdoors don't constitute 'systemic weaknesses' in the service's security," the report states. The bill will need royal assent, which, according to the report, is expected before Christmas. The Labor party had tri... Read More

European countries agree to share forensic data to aid law enforcement

(Dec 6, 2018) The information within Ireland’s national DNA Database System will be shared with other European countries in order to assist in law enforcement investigations, reports. The European Council approved the agreement between the EU member states, Iceland and Norway. The countries will share forensic data with one another to combat crime. Minister Charles Flanagan said the agreement will be useful in the prevention of terrorist activities; however, a balance is needed to ensure citizen... Read More

School considers MOU to grant police access to surveillance footage

(Dec 6, 2018) Santa Fe Public Schools are considering entering a memorandum of understanding with law enforcement to allow police access to campus surveillance cameras during emergency situations, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The school’s superintendent explained that currently, a “gentleman’s agreement” exists to allow police in certain situations. Attorney Geno Zamora addressed the school board to raise privacy concerns and speak about the impact such an agreement could have on the Family Education Righ... Read More