Email Privacy Act Could Bypass Debate

(Jul 31, 2015) With 291 cosponsors, the Email Privacy Act, which would modernize the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), is in a position to bypass debate and move straight to approval, Multichannel reports. "When ECPA was written, the Internet as we understand it did not exist," said Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), author of the Email Privacy Act. "Only 340,000 Americans even subscribed to cell-phone service. Mark Zuckerberg was only two years old. But as our society and technology has evolved, our di... Read More

Google Appeals CNIL’s RTBF Order

(Jul 31, 2015) Google is appealing the CNIL’s formal notice that the company honor right-to-be-forgotten requests globally. In a blog post, Google Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer writes, “We’ve worked hard to implement the right-to-be-forgotten ruling thoughtfully and comprehensively in Europe, and we’ll continue to do so … But as a matter of principle, we respectfully disagree with the idea that a national data protection authority can assert global authority to control the content that people can acce... Read More

GAO Tells Congress To Revisit Facial-Recognition Tech

(Jul 31, 2015) The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report on facial-recognition technology, specifically on its commercial uses, privacy issues and the applicable federal law. Although the report does not put forth any recommendations, it proposes that Congress look into “strengthening the consumer privacy framework” to keep up with emerging technology such as facial recognition. TechCrunch reports that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) announced the new report and issued a press release on it, ... Read More

Google, Silent Circle Pair Up on Next Version of Blackphone

(Jul 31, 2015) The Wall Street Journal reports on a partnership between Google and Silent Circle, the maker of a privacy-centric Blackphone. Through this partnership, the next version of the Blackphone will come equipped with Google’s Android for Work software, which allows users to compartmentalize personal and professional use and also “collects huge amounts of user data to sell advertising,” the report states, asking, “So why would Silent Circle, which is intensely concerned with privacy, team up with the l... Read More

Using Synthetic Data To Protect Census Data

(Jul 31, 2015) Since the first U.S. Census was carried out in 1790, the Census Bureau has expanded its mission and now collects information about occupation, education, income and other personal data. The datasets are useful, but confidentiality becomes harder to preserve, Nextgov reports. A research team led by a Duke University Prof. Jerry Reiter and Cornell University Prof. John Abowd has developed an approach to solving this problem by using synthetic data or “simulated data generated from statistical mode... Read More

White-Hat Hacker Discovers OnStar Vulnerability

(Jul 31, 2015) A white-hat hacker has discovered a vulnerability in the mobile app for General Motors’ (GM’s) OnStar vehicle communications system that can permit hackers to "locate, unlock and remote-start" participating cars, Reuters reports. In response, General Motors is developing a patch for the bug that is “days away” from release and working to quell fears. "We believe the chances of replicating this demonstration in the real world are unlikely,” said GM’s Terrence Rhadigan. “In addition, the action in... Read More

RNC Offers Voter File to Presidential Candidates

(Jul 31, 2015) The Republican National Committee (RNC) has offered to share its voter file with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Yahoo Politics reports. The RNC has the names, voting history and consumer data of roughly 250 million Americans, the report states. The Trump campaign’s attorneys are reviewing the data-sharing agreement, which has been offered to all 17 of the Republican presidential candidates, 11 of whom signed off on it. The RNC said every indication points to Trump entering into the agreem... Read More

Trade Group, Privacy Advocates Launch Public-Facing Campaigns

(Jul 31, 2015) Beginning next week and until August 28, trade group ACT-IAC is collecting recommendations from academia and the public and private sectors on ways to strengthen federal security, Nextgov reports. In September, the groups will submit the recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget and will release a public report outlining its findings. Meanwhile, operators behind the viral campaign “Operation: #FaxBigBrother” announced that concerned Internet users have generated more than 6.1 millio... Read More

White House To Release Vendor Data Policy

(Jul 30, 2015) The White House will release a new policy that aims to create consistency amongst vendors and their storage of government data, Nextgov reports. “The increase in threats facing federal information systems demand that certain issues regarding security of information on these systems is clearly, effectively and consistently addressed in federal contracts," an Office of Management and Budget notice states. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has chosen Leidos to handle the modernization of its electronic healt... Read More

Lawmakers Look Into Data Security

(Jul 30, 2015) A House Judiciary Committee hearing examined the deluge of new Internet-of-Things devices that are proliferating in the marketplace and whether government needs to step in with new legislation, Nextgov reports. “The time of the ‘Dick Tracey’ watch is here,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX). As automobiles, transportation systems and other devices increase the amount of data they collect, Rep. Jarrold Nadler (D-NY) cautioned that “unless cities integrate strong security … (they are) vulnerable to attack.... Read More