Daily Digest (8/6)

Sen. Ron Wyden Introduces Bill to Bar Buying Data From Brokers; NSA: Smartphones Are Leaking Location Data; Rep. Adam Schiff Accused of Aiding FBI Surveillance ‘Dragnet’ ; HK Newspaper Staffers Say Leaked Photos Tied to Chinese Travel Agency; Click “Continue reading” below.

Sen. Ron Wyden Introduces Bill to Bar Buying Data From Brokers

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, Ore., soon plans to introduce legislation that would bar government agencies from purchasing individual data.

Wyden’s “The Fourth Amendment Not for Sale” bill would prevent governments from skirting court orders and buying data from brokers, Business Insider Reports.

“Americans’ constitutional rights should not vanish when the government uses a credit card instead of a court order,” Wyden said in a Verge interview, according to Business Insider. “Surveillance is surveillance.”

Wyden, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was privy to more intel on “shady data brokers” selling American user information.

The general public only knows the “tip of the iceberg,” he said.

Last October, Wyden proposed the “Mind Your Own Business Act,” which would keep tech executives in check by threatening up to 20 years in prison if caught lying to the Federal Trade Commission about privacy violations.

Wyden also made provisions to the 1996 internet law that shields social-media companies from being regulated as third-party content publishers, making them not liable for user’s posts. 

Sources (all external links):

NSA: Smartphones Are Leaking Location Data

The NSA said Wednesday that turning off Find My iPhone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth could help mitigate tracking devices in exposing location data to third-party trackers, Threat Post reports.

In the agency’s August advisory, it disclosed ways mobile phones give up location information and provided tips on how users could limit being tracked.

Cybercriminals use stalkerware, spyware and phishing campaigns to take advantage of smartphones and pinpoint individual locations.

However, the NSA still collects data to aid the U.S. military and the intelligence community — and it was outed for such activities by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.


Rep. Adam Schiff Accused of Aiding FBI Surveillance ‘Dragnet’ 

Nearly a dozen civil-liberties groups accused Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and other Democratic leaders Wednesday of deliberately undermining the online privacy of U.S. citizens and immigrants.

In a letter to congressional leaders of both parties, the groups said alarming statements made by members of House and Senate Intelligence committees raised concerns about potential “unauthorized dragnet surveillance of people in the United States,” Gizmodo reports.

The groups cited federal law-enforcement agencies’ “abuse” of roving wiretaps and other surveillance methods allowed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“Throughout the 2020 debate in Congress on how to reauthorize these authorities, critical questions were spurred as to what surveillance occurred under Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” the groups said in the letter.

In May, Democrats engaged in closed-door negotiations over a proposed amendment to shield U.S. residents from browsing-history seizes by the FBI without a warrant, according to the report.


HK Newspaper Staffers Say Leaked Photos Tied to Chinese Travel Agency

Staffers of a newspaper in Hong Kong have claimed that their photographs were posted to a “doxxing” website — and the headshots came from a Chinese travel agency that processes mainland visas.

Stand News, a local online news service, reported Tuesday that the photos and personal data of Apple Daily staffers recently had been published on the doxxing website, the Hong Kong Free Press reports.

The Apple Daily tabloid is owned by pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who came under fire for supporting last year’s protests against anti-extradition legislation.

The doxxing website, now inaccessible, contained information on more than 100 employees — and the site offered a Hong Kong newspaper $1,000 to 5,000 for tips about “toxic journalists,” the Free Press reports.

One reporter, Alvin Chan, said Monday on Facebook that he believed his headshot came from a photo he took in 2008 that was used once for a mainland travel permit.

“There is only one photo source, that is the mainland Chinese agency,” he wrote in his post.

Apple Daily reported that 40 of the doxxed employees suspected their photos came from their mainland travel permit applications, the Free Press reports.


— By DPN Staff