Daily Digest (6/5)

Google: Chinese, Iranian Hackers Targeted Trump, Biden Campaigns; News Outlets Seek Access to Ohio Shooter’s School Records; Groups Urge Privacy Measures in Ireland’s COVID Tracing App; 7.2M BHIM App Records Exposed in India. Click “Continue reading” below.

Google: Chinese, Iranian Hackers Targeted Trump, Biden Campaigns

State-backed hackers from China have targeted the presidential campaign of Democrat Joe Biden, a senior Google security official said Thursday.

In addition, Iranian hackers also had recently targeted email accounts belonging to Republican President Donald Trump’s campaign staff, the official said.

Shane Huntley, head of Google’s threat analysis group, made the announcement on Twitter, Reuters reports.

Huntley said “no sign of compromise” of either campaign was detected.

Google declined to offer details beyond Huntley’s tweets, but the unusually public attribution is a sign of how sensitive Americans have become to digital espionage efforts aimed at political campaigns, Reuters said.

“We sent the targeted users our standard government-backed attack warning and we referred this information to federal law enforcement,” a Google representative said.

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News Outlets Seek Access to Ohio Shooter’s School Records

The Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday over whether the school records of the deceased Dayton gunman who killed nine people last year should be available to the public and the press.

Connor Betts, 24, killed nine and injured 27 others last August when he opened fire outside a bar in a Dayton entertainment district. The police shot and killed Betts, Courthouse News Service reports.

In their coverage, news organizations sought to determine whether Betts had any warning signs in his past, and whether they had been properly addressed.

Journalists from several news outlets — including CNN, The Associated Press and Cox Media Group — filed public-records requests with Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local School District.

Betts had graduated from Bellbrook High School in 2013.

The requests were denied by the district’s superintendent and board, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Ohio Student Privacy Act.

The laws bar the release of the records without a student’s consent.

The organizations sought a writ of mandamus from Ohio’s Second District Court of Appeals to compel the school district to produce Betts’ student records.

The court denied the request, prompting an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. 

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed an amicus brief supporting the media companies, arguing that privacy laws do not protect the records of former students who died as adults.

Other outlets backing the news organizations included Columbus television station WBNS-TV, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and 10 other media organizations.

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Groups Urge Privacy Measures in Ireland’s COVID Tracing App

Ireland’s government must build strong data protections into a contact-tracing app designed to stop the spread of coronavirus, privacy advocates and academics said.

The government should reveal the partners that are helping to develop the app and meet European privacy law requirements, advocates, including Digital Rights Ireland and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, said.

The groups, according to Bloomberglaw.com, issued proposed guidelines designed to help the government build consumer confidence in a digital contact-tracing tool under development by health officials.

“Without the public’s trust and buy-in, this app will not be effective,” said Eugenia Siapera, head of the Information and Communications Studies School at University College Dublin.

Information collection must be necessary, proportionate, and effective, according to the guidelines.

Further, a “clear and limited purpose” for technologies to process data must be required, the groups said.

The country’s Data Protection Commission is reviewing the government’s data protection impact assessment required under EU law, said Graham Doyle, the office’s deputy commissioner.

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7.2M BHIM App Records Exposed in India

As many as 7.26 million records containing sensitive information of users of the Bharat Interface for Money app were exposed online, Business Insider reports.

The data included names, birthdates, addresses and Aadhaar identity card details, according to the report.

Security researchers from vpnMentor, which discovered the breach, said the hack exposed “millions” to “potentially devastating fraud, theft and attack from hackers and cybercriminals.”

The National Payments Corp. of India, which offers the BHIM app, denied a breach, saying, “There has been no data compromise.”

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— By DPN Staff