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Category Archives: E-Mail

Google’s Location Data Policy Update

EPIC: “In December 2023, Google announced an update to its location data policy to provide users with more control over their sensitive location information. While this seems like a promising step in the right direction, we should be mindful of Google’s long history of failing to uphold its privacy obligations and vigilant in monitoring Google’s follow-through on its commitments….Location data can reveal a lot about us. Records of a person’s physical movements through the world can divulge sensitive information: a health condition inferred from a person’s visits to a dialysis clinic, someone’s religious affiliation inferred from their attendance at a mosque, or an individual’s sexuality inferred from his attendance at a gay speed dating event. Some location information may seem innocuous in isolation, but when these data points are collected over time, they can form a detailed profile of a person. Apps, phone providers, mobile ad companies, and other platforms collect our location data and often sell it to data aggregators and data brokers. These profiles can be used in harmful ways, including to target advertisements at us. Even worse, location data may be retained indefinitely, opening it to increased risk of access by law enforcement. While location data can reveal the most intimate details of our lives, it is far from the only type of information that can leave us vulnerable to privacy harms. For example, search query histories—records of terms entered into a search engine by a person—can be deeply revealing, even more so when taken together with location data. If a person searches “HIV treatment near me,” finds an address, and routes himself to that address, the resulting records will enable a clear and reliable inference about his HIV status. This information together may offer a more certain profile of a person than either search query history or location information alone. Because of this, it is important that Google—like any company—limit its collection of such sensitive information to what is strictly necessary to provide the product or service requested by a user. In the wake of Dobbs, Google’s excessive retention of personal information—including location history and search query history—can cause grave harms to its users. Location data may reveal whether someone visited an abortion clinic, how long they stayed at the clinic, and where they obtained follow-up care. Location data may reveal whether a person drove someone across state lines to receive abortion care. Google’s retention of this information can leave people vulnerable to undue criminal punishment because it means that the records are subject to law enforcement access. Indeed, the harms of location data retention can manifest in many ways: a pregnant person who refuses to seek care because they are afraid of criminalization; a physician forced to practice under the constant thread of legal sanction; a mother who nervously drives her child to receive abortion care; a person wrongfully jailed for having a miscarriage; or a citizen who refrains from researching the current state of abortion laws in their state before an election out of fear…”

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, January 13, 2024

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, January 13, 2024 – Privacy and cybersecurity issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, finance, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, January 6, 2024

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, January 6, 2024– Privacy and cybersecurity issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, finance, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and… Continue Reading

Thomas privately pushed for a higher salary and to allow Supreme Court justices to take speaking fees

PrpPublica: “In early January 2000, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was at a five-star beach resort in Sea Island, Georgia, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. After almost a decade on the court, Thomas had grown frustrated with his financial situation, according to friends. He had recently started raising his young grandnephew, and Thomas’… Continue Reading

Why It’s So Hard to Search Your Email

The Atlantic [read free]: “Searching your email can sometimes feel basically impossible. Typing in a mix of search terms goes only so far. At some point, it almost feels personal, like the software is purposefully not showing you a conversation you absolutely remember having…An email inbox can’t quite be searched in the same way, because… Continue Reading

Proton Mail Now Has a Desktop App

How to Geek: “Proton now makes a whole suite of software geared towards privacy and security enthusiasts, following the strictest standards of encryption, but it all had its start back when the company launched Proton Mail. It was the company’s first product back in 2013, but there still hasn’t been a true desktop client. That’s… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, December 9, 2023

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, December 9, 2023 – Privacy and cybersecurity issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, finance, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on… Continue Reading

A Bold New Plan for Preserving Online Privacy and Security

IEEE Spectrum: “…We’re all hoping that companies will keep us safe, but it’s increasingly clear that they don’t, can’t, and won’t. We should stop expecting them to.” To ensure that cloud services do not learn more than they should, and that a breach of one does not pose a fundamental threat to our data, we… Continue Reading

Gmail’s AI-powered spam detection is its biggest security upgrade in years

Ars Technica: “The latest post on the Google Security blog details a new upgrade to Gmail’s spam filters that Google is calling “one of the largest defense upgrades in recent years.” The upgrade comes in the form of a new text classification system called RETVec (Resilient & Efficient Text Vectorizer). Google says this can help… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, November 25, 2023

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, November 25, 2023 – Privacy and cybersecurity issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, finance, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex… Continue Reading