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

Category Archives: E-Records

Phones Know Who Went to an Abortion Clinic. Whom Will They Tell? “…Since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, companies across the location-data industry are examining and in some cases revising how they handle data regarding visits to abortion clinics. Some are agreeing voluntarily not to sell the data or say they will store it in ways that mask the location. Some such as Tapestri, which pays consumers for sharing their anonymized location history, delete any health-related location information that they deem to be sensitive. Opponents of the court’s ruling and privacy advocates say personal reproductive health data could be publicized or used to build a legal case against people seeking or providing abortions. “These kinds of requests for user data are going to sharply increase,” said Jennifer Lynch, surveillance litigation director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights advocacy group. A CEO of one location-data firm said the privacy advocates’ fears are overblown, in part because the data is often imprecise and could be challenged in court. Some industry executives and researchers say restricting the collection and use of the data might prohibit other uses, such as studying how people access healthcare. About a dozen states have enacted laws that ban many or most abortions, and several others are expected to pass similar measures. A few states, including Texas, have provided financial incentives for people to bring civil lawsuits against those suspected of aiding abortions. Thus far there have been few, if any, criminal or civil investigations since states’ abortion bans were enacted, in part because abortion providers in those states have generally ceased performing the procedure if there is any ambiguity about its legality…”

Why The Massive China Police Database Hack Is Bad News For Surveillance States Everywhere

TechDirt: “A couple of weeks ago, Techdirt wrote about how an anonymous user had put up for sale the data of an estimated one billion Chinese citizens, probably obtained from the Shanghai police.  Back then, what exactly had happened was a little unclear — not least because the Chinese authorities were shutting down any discussion… Continue Reading

What is end-to-end encryption?

Mashable: “One easy way to up your privacy game and communicate securely online is to start using apps that utilize end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption prevents any bad actors from picking up your messages in between you and the person you’re sending a message to. Basically, end-to-end encryption means that your messages are for your eyes… Continue Reading

These Companies Know When You’re Pregnant—And They’re Not Keeping It Secret

Gizmodo identified 32 brokers selling data on 2.9 billion profiles of U.S. residents pegged as “actively pregnant” or “shopping for maternity products.” “A Gizmodo investigation into some of the nation’s biggest data brokers found more than two dozen promoting access to datasets containing digital information on millions of pregnant and potentially pregnant people across the… Continue Reading

Justice Department investigating data breach of federal court system

Politico: “House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told fellow lawmakers that “three hostile foreign actors” attacked the U.S. Courts’ document filing system as part of a breach in early 2020 causing a “system security failure.” The comments — at a committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department’s National Security Division — were the… Continue Reading

DOJ investigating Trump’s actions in Jan. 6 criminal probe

Washington Post: “The Justice Department is investigating President Donald Trump’s actions as part of its criminal probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, according to four people familiar with the matter. Prosecutors who are questioning witnesses before a grand jury — including two top aides to Vice President Mike Pence — have asked… Continue Reading

FCC Probes Mobile Carriers on Data Privacy Practices

“Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel wrote [July 19, 2022] to the top 15 mobile providers requesting information about their data retention and data privacy policies and general practices. In the letters of inquiry, Chairwoman Rosenworcel asks about their policies around geolocation data, such as how long geolocation data is retained and why and what… Continue Reading

‘A uniquely dangerous tool’: How Google’s data can help states track abortions

Politico: “Many of the states rushing to ban abortion are also the biggest users of a surveillance tool that authorities could use to track women ending their pregnancies — the location data from people’s phones. Supporters of abortion rights are expressing growing alarm about the potential uses that police or prosecutors could find for this… Continue Reading