Month: March 2020

Protecting Your Privacy During Tax Season

By Aisheh Barghouti

Americans now have an extra 90 days to file their 2019 federal taxes because of the coronavirus — but protecting your important information is critical, particularly if filing online.

The IRS has been a regular target of data breaches in recent years.
In 2015, an investigation by the agency found that hackers sought to access more than 200,000 accounts — and about half of these attempts were successful.

The IRS processed more than 81 million tax returns as of March 20. Of these, over 65 million filers received refunds, averaging $2,936, the agency said.

Here are five ways to protect your information during tax season.

Continue reading “Protecting Your Privacy During Tax Season”

Daily Digest (3/30)

Microsoft Quits AnyVision, Facial-Recognition Investments

Microsoft Corp. will no longer invest in facial-recognition companies after the fallout from its support of controversial Israeli startup AnyVision.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, WA, said it would sell its minority stake and implement a new investment policy for such companies.

Money from Microsoft’s venture fund was part of $74 million in financing AnyVision raised last June.

The Israeli company had come under fire for allegedly surveilling Palestinians in the West Bank.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder led an audit financed by Microsoft that found AnyVision’s technology in use at the border between the West Bank and Israel but not for surveillance.

Source:
www. marketwatch.com/press-release/anyvision-closes-74-million-series-a-with-new-participation-from-m12-and-dfj-growth-2019-06-18

Zoom App Sends Data to Facebook

In an app analysis by Motherboard (Vice), the Zoom iOS App sends information to Facebook about your use of the app — even if you do not have a Facebook account.

According to the analysis: “The Zoom app notifies Facebook when the user opens the app, details on the user’s device such as the model, the time zone and city they are connecting from, which phone carrier they are using, and a unique advertiser identifier created by the user’s device which companies can use to target a user with advertisements.”

This is in addition to privacy issues with Zoom that have been pointed out by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in particular, how an “administrator” has access to such information as the location of any participants, as well as access to any recordings by administrators.

(Update: After Motherboard’s coverage, Zoom announced on Friday that it had removed this backdoor)

Sources:
www. vice.com/en_us/article/k7e599/zoom-ios-app-sends-data-to-facebook-even-if-you-dont-have-a-facebook-account
www. eff.org/deeplinks/2020/03/what-you-should-know-about-online-tools-during-covid-19-crisis

Advertisers Request Delay of CA Privacy Act

The Association of National Advertisers has asked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for a “brief” delay in implementing of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), for another six months until next year. Their argument is that “COVID-19 has substantially encumbered businesses’ ability to operationalize the draft rules.”

Source:
www. ana.net/getfile/29876