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

FaceApp's viral return comes with data security concerns

(Jul 18, 2019) FaceApp, an artificial intelligence–powered photo-editing app, recently resurfaced and brought privacy issues with it, TechCrunch reports. The app has possible vulnerabilities related to its consent mechanism, along with unclear details regarding data uploads. Users are allowed to block the app from accessing their phones' camera rolls, but the app has the ability to override the mechanism. The Russian-based app does not clearly state if the data processing goes on locally. U.S. Senate Minority ... 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

Personal information of 1.6M people potentially exposed by Md. government

(Jul 17, 2019) The Washington Post reports the Maryland State Department of Education potentially exposed the personal information of more than 1.4 million students and 200,000 teachers due to improper data storage. An audit of the agency revealed that the names and Social Security numbers of the victims were left unencrypted, which is a violation of Maryland's information security policy. “Appropriate information system security controls need to exist to ensure that this information is safeguarded and not imp... 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

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

Review shows Australian telecoms receiving more metadata requests

(Jul 11, 2019) While publishing their annual reports, three Australian government agencies revealed increases in metadata requests by law enforcement and other government entities, iTnews reports. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission had a 44% increase in requests for prospective metadata and 25% for historic metadata. Meanwhile, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission's overall requests rose 11%, and the New South Wales Crime Commission saw increases of 153% for historic metadat... 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

TikTok denies India's claims of improper data sharing

(Jul 3, 2019) Business Standard reports video-sharing app TikTok has rejected allegations out of India that it is taking citizens' data and relaying it back to China. TikTok said claims made by Senior Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha were "untrue," according to a company statement. "The privacy and security of our users is a top priority for TikTok, and we abide by local laws and regulations in the markets where we operate," TikTok said. "TikTok does not operate in the People's Republic of China an... Read More

ICO investigating TikTok for handling of UK children's data

(Jul 3, 2019) U.K. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has confirmed an investigation into video-sharing app TikTok and its practices for handling children's data, the Guardian reports. According to Denham, her office's investigation began in February after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission fined TikTok $5.7 million for infractions related to the collection of personal information of users 13 and under. “We are looking at the transparency tools for children,” Denham said Tuesday. “We’re looking at the m... Read More