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Category Archives: Privacy

Tim Berners-Lee – future of the web is dimming

theguardian uk: “Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s optimism about the future of the web is starting to wane in the face of a “nasty storm” of issues including the rollback of net neutrality protections, the proliferation of fake news, propaganda and the web’s increasing polarisation. The inventor of the world wide web always maintained his creation was a reflection of humanity – the good, the bad and the ugly. But Berners-Lee’s vision for an “open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries” has been challenged by increasingly powerful digital gatekeepers whose algorithms can be weaponised by master manipulators. “I’m still an optimist, but an optimist standing at the top of the hill with a nasty storm blowing in my face, hanging on to a fence,” said the British computer scientist. “We have to grit our teeth and hang on to the fence and not take it for granted that the web will lead us to wonderful things,” he said. The spread of misinformation and propaganda online has exploded partly because of the way the advertising systems of large digital platforms such as Google or Facebook have been designed to hold people’s attention. “People are being distorted by very finely trained AIs that figure out how to distract them,” said Berners-Lee…”

Google Genomics – big data collection, genomic patient info and privacy

“Google Genomics helps the life science community organize the world’s genomic information and make it accessible and useful. Big genomic data is here today, with petabytes rapidly growing toward exabytes. Through our extensions to Google Cloud Platform, you can apply the same technologies that power Google Search and Maps to securely store, process, explore, and… Continue Reading

Court Recognizes First Amendment Right to Anonymity Even After Speakers Lose Lawsuits

Aaron Mackey – EFF: “Anonymous online speakers may be able to keep their identities secret even after they lose lawsuits brought against them, a federal appellate court ruled last week. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Signature Management Team, LLC v. John Doe is a victory for online… Continue Reading

Google Street View photos provide detailed accurate neighborhood demographics

Washington Post – “A team of computer scientists has derived accurate, neighborhood-level estimates of the racial, economic and political characteristics of 200 U.S. cities using an unlikely data source — Google Street View images of people’s cars. Published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the report details how the scientists extracted 50 million photographs… Continue Reading

Pushed beyond breaking: US newsrooms use mobile alerts to define their brand

Columbia Journalism Review – “The aim of this research is to provide a comprehensive overview of how U.S. news outlets are using mobile push alerts to reach their audiences. Its objectives are to better understand how and why news outlets are using mobile push alerts, the decision-making process and workflows behind their use, how metrics… Continue Reading

NPR – Supreme Court Considers Cellphones And Digital Privacy

NPR – “A Supreme Court case, a big one for cellphone users, examines whether police must obtain a warrant in order to get historical cell-site location information from cellphone providers.” SCOTUSBlog: Argument analysis: Drawing a line on privacy for cellphone records, but where? The Supreme Court heard oral argument this morning in an important privacy-rights… Continue Reading

Class Action Campaign Against Google Seeks Compensation For iPhone Privacy Violations

The Telegraph: “Google could be forced to pay over five million iPhone users £2.7 billion in compensation as it is accused of selling their data without their consent. A new consumer campaign called “Google You Owe Us” is launching a class action against the web giant over allegedly unlawfully harvesting the browsing histories of iPhone users… Continue Reading

Staggering Variety of Clandestine Trackers Found in Popular Android Apps

The Intercept: “Researchers at Yale Privacy Lab and French nonprofit Exodus Privacy have documented the proliferation of tracking software on smartphones, finding that weather, flashlight, ride-sharing, and dating apps, among others, are infested with dozens of different types of trackers collecting vast amounts of information to better target advertising. Exodus security researchers identified 44 trackers… Continue Reading

Google Study Says Phishing Attacks Are the Biggest Threats to Web Users

DeepDotWeb: “A study by Google discovered that phishing attacks through fake emails were as effective as compared to data breaches that exposed usernames and passwords. Cyber criminals or cyber groups manage to steal over 25,000 valid sets of web credentials for Gmail accounts every week, painting a picture of the extent this problem has reached.… Continue Reading

No boundaries: Exfiltration of personal data by session-replay scripts

Freedom to Tinker – “This is the first post in our “No Boundaries” series, in which we reveal how third-party scripts on websites have been extracting personal information in increasingly intrusive ways. by Steven Englehardt, Gunes Acar, and Arvind Narayanan. Update: we’ve released our data — the list of sites with session-replay scripts, and the… Continue Reading

Princeton Researchers – Over 400 of the World’s Most Popular Websites Record Your Every Keystroke

Motherboard – Session replay scripts” can be used to log (and then playback) everything you typed or clicked on a website: “Most people who’ve spent time on the internet have some understanding that many websites log their visits and keep record of what pages they’ve looked at. When you search for a pair of shoes… Continue Reading

New Federal Data Protection Requirements Impact Higher Education Institutions

“In July 2017, Deloitte and EDUCAUSE convened an expert panel to discuss the implications for higher education institutions in protecting controlled unclassified information (CUI) received from the federal government in institutional information technology systems. Chief information officers and chief information security officers from American University, Coppin State University, George Washington University, Montgomery College, and Virginia… Continue Reading