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Category Archives: E-Records

Tax filing websites have been sending users’ financial information to Facebook

The Verge co-published with The Markup: “Major tax filing services such as H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer have been quietly transmitting sensitive financial information to Facebook when Americans file their taxes online, The Markup has learned. The data, sent through widely used code called the Meta Pixel, includes not only information like names and email addresses but often even more detailed information, including data on users’ income, filing status, refund amounts, and dependents’ college scholarship amounts. The information sent to Facebook can be used by the company to power its advertising algorithms and is gathered regardless of whether the person using the tax filing service has an account on Facebook or other platforms operated by its owner Meta.  Each year, the Internal Revenue Service processes about 150 million individual returns filed electronically, and some of the most widely used e-filing services employ the pixel, The Markup found.  When users sign up to file their taxes with the popular service TaxAct, for example, they’re asked to provide personal information to calculate their returns, including how much money they make and their investments. A pixel on TaxAct’s website then sent some of that data to Facebook, including users’ filing status, their adjusted gross income, and the amount of their refund, according to a review by The Markup. Income was rounded to the nearest thousand and refunds to the nearest hundred. The pixel also sent the names of dependents in an obfuscated — but generally reversible — format. TaxAct, which says it has about 3 million “consumer and professional users” also uses Google’s analytics tool on its website, and The Markup found similar financial data, but not names, being sent to Google through its tool.”

See also ProPublica: Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free Using lobbying, the revolving door and “dark pattern” customer tricks, Intuit fended off the government’s attempts to make tax filing free and easy, and created its multi-billion-dollar franchise.

Colorado Springs Shooting Suspect Had History of Domestic Violence

Follow up to previous posting, Red flag laws and the Colorado LGBTQ club shooting – questions over whether state’s protection order could have prevented tragedy – See Weaponized – Why are we still ignoring this crucial red flag? Caroline Orr Bueno“…The failure to bring forth charges and the lack of public records meant that Aldrich… Continue Reading

Apple Device Analytics Contain Identifying iCloud User Data, Claim Security Researchers

From the, “There is really no privacy on every technology, application and device you use,” via BeauHD: “A new analysis has claimed that Apple’s device analytics contain information that can directly link information about how a device is used, its performance, features, and more, directly to a specific user, despite Apple’s claims otherwise. MacRumors reports:… Continue Reading

What Are the Pros and Cons of Data Redundancy?

MakeUseOf: “Data redundancy is like a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it can enhance your application; on the other hand, it can distort it. This raises concerns about implementing data redundancy in database management. Understanding data redundancy helps you maximize its benefits and mitigate its risks for healthy database management, which is why you… Continue Reading

EFF’s Atlas of Surveillance Database Now Documents 10,000+ Police Tech Programs

EFF: “This week, EFF’s Atlas of Surveillance project hit a bittersweet milestone. With this project, we are creating a searchable and mappable repository of which law enforcement agencies in the U.S. use surveillance technologies such as body-worn cameras, drones, automated license plate readers, and face recognition. It’s one of the most ambitious projects we’ve ever… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, November 19, 2022

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, November 19, 2022 – Privacy and cybersecurity issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the… Continue Reading

Legal document assembly system for introducing law students with legal drafting

Marković, M., Gostojić, S. Legal document assembly system for introducing law students with legal drafting. Artif Intell Law (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10506-022-09339-2 – “In this paper, we present a method for introducing law students to the writing of legal documents. The method uses a machine-readable representation of the legal knowledge to support document assembly and to help… Continue Reading

No, an indictment wouldn’t end Trump’s run for the presidency – he could even campaign or serve from a jail cell

Via LLRX – No, an indictment wouldn’t end Trump’s run for the presidency – he could even campaign or serve from a jail cell – Donald Trump announced his 2024 run for the presidency on Nov. 15. In his address he railed against what he perceived as the “persecution” of himself and his family, but made… Continue Reading

Data, the New Cotton

Arnett, Chaz, Data, the New Cotton (June 6, 2022). Just Tech: Social Science Research Council (May 25, 2022), U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2022-07, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4129512 “The early transformation of the United States into an industrial power is often attributed to our innovative capitalist system. “Capitalism” is a convenient abstraction… Continue Reading

The Best Firefox Extensions Everyone Should Use

Lifehacker: “If you use Firefox, you can make it a better browser by installing add-ons. Yes, that’s what Mozilla calls them—they’re talking about what everyone else knows as “extensions.” Whatever you call them, there are good ones out there that can help you do everything from improving your privacy to getting around restrictions you’ll encounter… Continue Reading

AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not

“Google agreed to pay $391.5M to settle a lawsuit with 40 U.S. states over allegations that the tech giant was tracking user location data even when users had opted out. A 2018 Associated Press (AP) investigation found that the tracking issue affected as many as two billion people using Google Android devices and hundreds of millions… Continue Reading

The Myth of Online Privacy: Risks, Dangers, and Solutions

MakeUseOf: “Privacy these days means something completely different than it did even a decade ago. And the only things we have to blame for this are the internet and ourselves. In the age of the internet, we’re only as “private” as the tools we use allow us to be, which isn’t much. While you rejoice… Continue Reading