Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Privacy

How Fiction Becomes Fact on Social Media

The New York Times: “…In the coming weeks, executives from Facebook and Twitter will appear before congressional committees to answer questions about the use of their platforms by Russian hackers and others to spread misinformation and skew elections. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook sold more than $100,000 worth of ads to a Kremlin-linked company, and Google sold more than $4,500 worth to accounts thought to be to the Russian government. Agents with links to the Russian government set up an endless array of fake accounts and websites and purchased a slew of advertisements on Google and Facebook, spreading dubious claims that seemed intended to sow division all along the political spectrum — “a cultural hack,” in the words of one expert. Yet the psychology behind social media platforms — the dynamics that make them such powerful vectors of misinformation in the first place — is at least as important, experts say, especially for those who think they’re immune to being duped. For all the suspicions about social media companies’ motives and ethics, it is the interaction of the technology with our common, often subconscious psychological biases that makes so many of us vulnerable to misinformation, and this has largely escaped notice. Skepticism of online “news” serves as a decent filter much of the time, but our innate biases allow it to be bypassed, researchers have found — especially when presented with the right kind of algorithmically selected “meme.”…”

What Happens to Your Email After You Die?

NextGov: “Life keeps us so busy writing emails that most of us haven’t considered what happens to our electronic communications when we’re dead. Can they be accessed by your family, or by a representative you designated in life? What if you leave no will and people need to know what you wanted done with your… Continue Reading

Consumer Protection Principles: Consumer-authorized financial data sharing and aggregation

CFPB Outlines Principles For Consumer-Authorized Financial Data Sharing and Aggregation – Bureau Seeks to Ensure a Workable Data Aggregation Market That Gives Consumers Protection and Value See also: “Consumer-authorized access and use of consumer financial account data may enable the development of innovative and improved financial products and services, increase competition in financial markets, and… Continue Reading

Common Internet of Things Devices May Expose Consumers to Cyber Exploitation

From FBI News Release, October 17, 2017: “In conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the FBI is re-iterating the growing concern of cyber criminals targeting unsecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The number of IoT devices in use is expected to increase from 5 billion in 2016 to an estimated 20 to 50 billion… Continue Reading

NIST – Passphrases are the new way to protect your digital world

NIST Blog, Mike Garcia: “…First, I’m going to share the takeaways from our new password guidance. Simply put: Use passphrases, not passwords. Then, I’m going to explain the absolute most important thing to know about passwords: Try not to use them at all. And if you do, don’t rely on passwords, or even passphrases, alone.… Continue Reading

EPIC Urges Congress To Hold Equifax Accountable, Update Data Protection Law

“EPIC has sent statements to Congress ahead of hearings in the House and Senate on the Equifax data breach. EPIC underscored the risk to American consumers of data breaches which are increasingly severe. EPIC urged Congress to require prompt data breach notification, data minimization, and privacy enhancing techniques. In 2011 EPIC testified in the House… Continue Reading

Google – Updating our Transparency Report and electronic privacy laws

“Today, we are releasing the latest version of our Transparency Report concerning government requests for user data. This includes government requests for user data in criminal cases, as well as national security matters under U.S. law. Google fought for the right to publish this information in court and before Congress, and we continue to believe… Continue Reading

Report – Phish For the Future

“This report describes “Phish For The Future,” an advanced persistent spearphishing campaign targeting digital civil liberties activists at Free Press and Fight For the Future. Between July 7th and August 8th of 2017 we observed almost 70 spearphishing attempts against employees of internet freedom NGOs Fight for the Future and Free Press, all coming from… Continue Reading

Most Americans think government could be monitoring phone calls and emails

Pew – “Seven-in-ten U.S. adults say it is at least somewhat likely that their own phone calls and emails are being monitored by the government, including 37% who believe that this type of surveillance is “very likely,” according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February. Just 13% of the public say it is… Continue Reading

Paper – Lawyers’ Abuse of Technology

Preston, Cheryl B., Lawyers’ Abuse of Technology (August 11, 2017). Cornell Law Review, Forthcoming; BYU Law Research Paper No. 17-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3037079 “The Article is a thorough analysis of how the current scheme for regulating lawyers has failed to adapt to technology and why that failure is disastrous. It discusses (1) why technology,… Continue Reading

Are VPNs really protecting your privacy and security?

An Analysis of the Privacy and Security Risks of Android VPN Permission-enabled Apps. MC 2016, November 14-16, 2016, Santa Monica, CA. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2987443.2987471. “Millions of users worldwide resort to mobile VPN clients to either circumvent censorship or to access geo-blocked con- tent, and more generally for privacy and security purposes. In practice, however, users have… Continue Reading

The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

FTC – “If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies. Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through… Continue Reading