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Category Archives: Privacy

Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2021 Annual Data Breach Report Sets New Record for Number of Compromises

“Today, the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC), a nationally recognized nonprofit organization established to support victims of identity crime, will release its 16th Annual Data Breach Report, supported by Sontiq, a TransUnion company, at the Identity, Authentication, and the Road Ahead Policy Forum hosted by the Better Identity Coalition (BIC), FIDO Alliance and the ITRC. According to the 2021 Annual Data Breach Report, the overall number of data compromises (1,862) is up more than 68 percent compared to 2020. The new record number of data compromises is 23 percent over the previous all-time high (1,506) set in 2017. The number of data events that involved sensitive information (Ex: Social Security numbers) increased slightly compared to 2020 (83 percent vs. 80 percent). However, it remained well below the previous high of 95 percent set in 2017. The number of victims continues to decrease (down five (5) percent in 2021 compared to the previous year) as identity criminals focus more on specific data types rather than mass data acquisition. However, the number of consumers whose data was compromised multiple times per year remains alarmingly high. Other findings in the 2021 Annual Data Breach Report include:

  • Ransomware-related data breaches have doubled in each of the past two years. At the current rate, ransomware attacks will surpass phishing as the number one root cause of data compromises in 2022.
  • There were more cyberattack-related data compromises (1,603) in 2021 than all data compromises in 2020 (1,108).
  • Compromises increased year-over-year (YoY) in every primary sector but one – Military – where there were no data breaches publicly disclosed. The Manufacturing & Utilities sector saw the largest percentage increase in data compromises at 217 percent over 2020.
  • The number of data breach notices that do not reveal the root cause of a compromise (607) has grown by more than 190 percent since 2020.”

Download the ITRC’s 2021 Annual Data Breach Report

How to Download Everything Amazon Knows About You (It’s a Lot)

Likehacker – “Alexa has been keeping tabs on you. Here’s how to see what it knows. Here’s a fun thought experiment; picture the amount of personal data you think tech companies keep on you. Now, realize it’s actually way more than that (hmm, maybe this isn’t that fun). Even as privacy and security become more talked… Continue Reading

Can People Tell When You’ve Blocked Them on Texting or Social Media Messaging Apps?

Consumer Reports: “Here’s what they’ll see on text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, LinkedIn, Signal, Twitter, and WhatsApp. If you’ve ever been bombarded with incessant messages on your phone or favorite social media app, or received even just one message from someone you’d rather not hear from, blocking the sender might seem like the obvious decision. … Continue Reading

Google deceived consumers about how it profits from their location data, attorneys general allege in lawsuits

Washington Post: “Attorneys general from D.C. and three states sued Google on Monday, arguing that the search giant deceived consumers to gain access to their location data. The lawsuits, filed in the District of Columbia, Texas, Washington and Indiana, allege the company made misleading promises about its users’ ability to protect their privacy through Google… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, January 22, 2022

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, January 22, 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

EPIC Urges Postal Service to Reverse Plans to Expand Law Enforcement Access to Customer Data

“In comments to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), EPIC urged the agency to reverse a system of records expansion that would pull data from U.S. Postal Service customers for use by the law enforcement wing of the Postal Service. The proposed modification would give the USPIS access to information used for package tracking and other services,… Continue Reading

IRS Will Require Facial Recognition Scans to Access Your Taxes

Gizmodo: “Online tax filers will soon be required to submit a selfie to a third-party identity verification company using facial recognition tech in order to file their taxes or make IRS payments online. Starting this summer, users with an IRS.gov account will no longer be able to log in with a simple username and password.… Continue Reading

The ‘Brussels Effect’ of the EU’s ‘AI Act’ on Data Privacy Outside Europe

Greenleaf, Graham, The ‘Brussels Effect’ of the EU’s ‘AI Act’ on Data Privacy Outside Europe (June 7, 2021). (2021) 171 Privacy Laws & Business International Report 1, 3-7, UNSW Law Research, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3898904 “The European Commission’s publication of a proposal for a Regulation on Artificial Intelligence (also described as an ‘AI Act’) is… Continue Reading

The true cost of Amazon’s low prices

Vox/Recode: “On the heels of yet another year of record sales, Amazon is dealing with a couple of unwelcome updates in the new year. The Senate Judiciary Committee has announced it will soon be marking up the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, an antitrust bill targeting Amazon and other Big Tech companies. This follows… Continue Reading

Law Enforcement and Technology: Using Social Media

CRS Report – Law Enforcement and Technology: Using Social Media, January 11, 2022: “As the ways in which individuals interact continue to evolve, social media has had an increasing role in facilitating communication and the sharing of content online—including moderated and unmoderated, user-generated content. Over 70% of U.S. adults are estimated to have used social… Continue Reading

5 free privacy tools for protecting your personal data

PC World: “Ideally, protecting your privacy shouldn’t require hours of time or gobs of money. Instead of having to meticulously manage all the personal data that’s floating around on the internet, you should be able to minimize data collection automatically or proactively. If you value privacy like I do, you’ll want to check out the… Continue Reading