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Category Archives: Privacy

Political spam is out of control. Now Gmail is about to make it worse.

Washington Post: “Brace for a potential midterm meltdown in your inbox. Emails from certain federal candidates, parties and political action committees will soon be allowed to bypass the spam filters on Gmail and go straight into your inbox. To banish them, you’ll need to click a new unsubscribe button on each and every sender. (I’ll show you how in this video.) Google says it’s a pilot program — so far, not being used by any other email providers — to surface campaign emails that some people might want to see. But this plan is outrageously hostile to the majority of us, who could be forced to dig through a lot more political spam. Who even asked for this? Why, politicians, of course. Democracy depends on a free flow of information. But in our inboxes and on our phones, democracy is becoming annoying — and dangerous. We the users don’t want to be overwhelmed by unwanted political emails, text messages and robocalls — nor do we want to be targeted with misinformation and misleading fundraising appeals. Google’s plan to help politicians spam you gives us an opportunity to rethink what’s gone awry about campaigning online. “The spam finds its way into my inbox, too,” said Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub (D) of the Federal Election Commission, who helps police America’s campaigns. “The politicians who write the rules have exempted themselves from a lot of the rules that could apply,” she told me. How do we fight back? Rather than give politicians special end runs to our attention, we need to find ways to make politicians more accountable for how they treat our inboxes and our data — and what they say in direct communications with us…”

Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights

White House: “To advance President Biden’s vision, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has identified five principles that should guide the design, use, and deployment of automated systems to protect the American public in the age of artificial intelligence. The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights is a guide for a… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cybersecurity issues – October 2, 2022

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cybersecurity issues – October 2, 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 increasingly complex… Continue Reading

How TikTok Tracks You Across the Web, Even If You Don’t Use the App

Consumer Reports: “Almost every website you visit collects information about what you’re doing and sends it off into the tech industry’s data analyzing machinery, where it is used for online advertising. For years, Google and Facebook (now known as Meta) have dominated that advertising business, and conducted a lot of the data gathering. But lately,… Continue Reading

How to scrub your phone number and address from Google search

Washington Post: “From a simple Google search, strangers can dig up your phone number, physical address or other personal information. You might not want that floating around the internet — or its presence could be putting you in danger. Now, Google says it’s making it easier to request that information be removed from search results.… Continue Reading

Open-Source ‘Consent-O-Matic’ Tool Lets Anyone Automatically Stop Websites From Tracking Them

Vice: “Nobody really likes being tracked around the web, but rejecting cookies in a pop-up window every time you’re presented with the option can be exhausting. Now, there’s a tool that will do it for you automatically, and it’s called Consent-O-Matic.  Despite it being four years since Europe’s GDPR data protection and privacy law was… Continue Reading

The Best VPNs to Protect Yourself Online

Wired: It won’t solve all of your privacy problems, but a virtual private network can make you a less tempting target for hackers. “A virtual private network (VPN) is like a protective tunnel you can use to pass through a public network, protecting your data from outside eyes. Whether you’re worried about hiding your browsing… Continue Reading

FCC Targeting and Eliminating Unlawful Text Messages

“The Federal Communications Commission today proposed new rules to fight back against malicious robotext campaigns. The agency will take public comment on ideas to apply caller ID authentication standards to text messaging and require providers to find and actively block illegal texts before they get to consumers…The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released today proposes and… Continue Reading

GAO – Federal Agencies Lack Senior Leadership to Effectively Implement Privacy Programs

EPIC: “A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, prepared in consultation with privacy experts including EPIC Senior Counsel John Davisson, canvassed 24 federal government agencies and found that most have failed to fully implement statutory privacy requirements. The GAO found that despite the massive amount of personally identifiable information (PII) collected by these agencies and the… Continue Reading