Month: July 2020

Groups Suing Police for Transparency on Stingray Surveillance Use

By Jackson Chen

More advocacy groups are suing law-enforcement agencies to get more information about their surveillance use of cell-site simulator technology.

The California-based Oakland Privacy citizens group in June accused the City of Vallejo of allegedly breaking the state’s privacy law in allowing its police department to spend $766,018 for a cell-site simulator device, also known as Stingrays.

The group’s court action noted that the city should have first approved a usage policy in a public setting — and that the posted policy on the city’s website just days after the purchase violated state requirements for getting a warrant prior to the device’s use.

“If we prevail, I hope it’ll set a good precedent,” Michael Katz-Lacabe, Oakland Privacy’s research director, told Digital Privacy News. “I see this as a warning shot to cities to take implementation of their policies that are complying with state law very seriously.”

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UK Government Admits Failing to Assess ‘Test and Trace’ Privacy Risks Properly

By Robert Bateman

The U.K. government has admitted that its COVID-19 “test and trace” program was begun in May without an appropriate “data-protection impact assessment” (DPIA) in place, with experts telling Digital Privacy News that the omission represented a serious breach of privacy law.

The revelation came in a July 15 letter from the government’s legal department, shared with Digital Privacy News via a news release from U.K. campaigning organization the Open Rights Group.

A DPIA is required under U.K. law before commencing any project carrying a high risk to individual privacy. The government claimed to have conducted several DPIAs covering aspects of the program but admitted it should have completed an overarching assessment before it launched on May 28.

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Why China’s New ‘Security Law’ Is a Dangerous Threat to Privacy in Hong Kong

By Patrick McShane

First of a series.

Last month, China imposed a sweeping new “security law” on Hong Kong — threatening the personal privacy of more than 7.5 million citizens and sending shivers throughout the global business community, which includes more than 1,500 U.S. companies. 

In this series of weekly reports, Digital Privacy News examines the ramifications of Beijing’s actions — beginning with today’s discussion of the historical events leading to China’s decision.

Twenty-three years ago this summer, the former British colony of Hong Kong was returned to Chinese sovereignty.

However, this extraordinary international event — popularly described as “The Hong Kong Handover” — only came about after more than a dozen years of often acrimonious negotiations between London and Beijing. 

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COVID Forcing Small Businesses to Address Privacy Issues

By Joanne Cleaver

One of the first things Stephanie Genkin did as a new certified financial planner was establish her business-financial accounts separate from her personal accounts. 

That’s a proactive step she fears some last-minute entrepreneurs might overlook in the scramble to earn extra income to get through the economic crisis induced by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“No matter what deal you get for your personal finances, don’t mix that with business,” the Brooklyn-based planner told Digital Privacy News.

That goes for credit cards, bank accounts and, currently, loans through U.S. government programs intended to aid households and small businesses.

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Q&A: Psychologist Elaine Kasket

How Your Death Affects Your Privacy

By Bree Brouwer

Speaker and psychologist Elaine Kasket is a longtime scholar of death in the digital age.

Her recent book — “All the Ghosts in the Machine: The Digital Afterlife of Your Personal Data” — addresses modern privacy challenges from birth to beyond death.

Kasket told Digital Privacy News that privacy proponents should know everything possible about their digital afterlife and how to manage it.

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