Month: May 2020

Online Payment Programs — Easy, Solid, Mundane — Carry Big Privacy Risks

By Peter A. McKay

Of all the things tech companies know about you, your spending habits are perhaps among the most sensitive — and the most overlooked by users.

Chalk the latter up to the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, which since has thrown a bright spotlight on potential abuses of social-networking data in particular, with Facebook arguably taking the brunt of criticism for the entire technology industry. 

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Jussie Smollett Warrants Threaten Digital Privacy Rights, Experts Say

By Matthew Scott

The warrants granted recently in the special investigation of former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s alleged faked hate crime last year highlight law enforcement’s expanding ability to gain access to vast amounts of personal data and the potential risks that poses to the digital privacy rights of Americans.

“There are tremendous risks to individuals’ privacy from the collection of data on this scale and also law enforcement access to information on this scale,” Mark Rumold, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), warned to Digital Privacy News. 

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Online Test Proctoring Raises Privacy Questions Among University Faculty, Students

By Samantha Cleaver

The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) switched from in-person to online classes in March because of COVID-19.

Students were about to take quarterly final exams, and professors were given the option to use ProctorU, an online test-proctoring company.

The service was new to many faculty, Claudio Fogu, associate professor of Italian studies, told Digital Privacy News.

But Fogu and other faculty members read through ProctorU’s privacy policy and raised concerns about what data was collected, how it was used and whether students could opt out.

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A ‘New Normal’?

What Does COVID-19 Surveillance Portend for Privacy?

By Charles McDermid

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified fears of a stricter surveillance environment in a world already troubled by huge data breaches and privacy violations, as well as the increasing power of Big Tech. 

Experts now hope the new reality brought on by coronavirus includes heightened awareness and stronger government protections, rather than apathy from a public possibly frustrated by the slow burn of constant data-privacy fears.

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PlayStation’s New DualSense Controller Has Built-In Privacy Concerns

By Gregory Austin

Gamers across the world are eagerly awaiting the release of the PlayStation 5 this holiday season.

But one of the device’s most popular add-ons, the new DualSense wireless controller, likely will incorporate a higher level of data-collection that could infringe upon user privacy, experts told Digital Privacy News.

The DualSense’s built-in, headset-free microphone and upgraded hand sensors could leave users vulnerable to a hack like PlayStation’s enormous network breach in 2011.

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Q&A: Orchid VPN Co-Founder Steven Waterhouse

A Privacy Solution That Combines Decentralization and Cryptocurrency

By Jackson Chen

With the market for virtual privacy networks growing to more than $25 billion last year, a field of established brand-name providers has dominated the market.

As major virtual private network (VPN) providers all include their own vulnerabilities, one platform seeks to offer a decentralized privacy solution that runs off cryptocurrency. 

Orchid, a peer-to-peer privacy network that uses its own cryptocurrency — OXT — for payment, was launched in December.

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Travel Industry Weighs Privacy, Safety in Re-Opening Polices

By Joanne Cleaver 

As travel resumes, what health and itinerary information will be attached to individuals’ documents?  

The travel industry has its gloved hands full as it rethinks and reorganizes its mission, functions, design and operations.

A top priority for a consortium of industry trade groups, led by the U.S. Travel Association, includes new types of identifications and related processes for ticketing, check-ins and payments.

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Patients May Benefit From Infrared Location Tracking, But at What Cost?

By Myrle Croasdale

Infrared tracking technology now is adding to the data-privacy discussion.

A Johns Hopkins University clinical and engineering team recently released a study that used detailed patient-mobility data to predict lengths of stay, the level of care patients needed when discharged and the likelihood of them being readmitted within 30 days.

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Q&A: Data 4 Black Lives’ Yeshimabeit Milner

‘Data Can Be Used to Create Social Movements’

By Terry Collins

The race is on for Data 4 Black Lives co-founder Yeshimabeit Milner, who admits time is of the essence.

She’s desperately seeking critical information on how many African Americans have contracted and died from COVID-19.

Mostly known as a privacy advocate seeking to abolish big data that she believes leads to social and political oppression, Milner’s group of engineers, data scientists and community leaders are making a hard pivot.

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