Month: August 2020

More Than a Checkbox: School Districts Face Attendance Issues With COVID

By Samantha Cleaver

The Kentucky Department of Education released its plan last month to monitor attendance for this school year.

Instead of taking daily attendance in class, Kentucky districts will record student participation in the learning management system Infinite Campus.

As districts across the country announced plans for the 2020-2021 school year amid COVID-19, many — including large districts like Los Angeles and Charlotte, N.C. — plan to start the year with virtual instruction.

This poses a challenge for how to track attendance.

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Can US Tech Firms Hold Out on Handing Over Data to Hong Kong?

Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang testifying before Congress in 2007 on giving data to China.

By Patrick McShane

Second of a series.

In June, 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. Today’s report asks whether U.S. tech giants can resist any demands to turn over data to Hong Kong officials.

In late 1997, a young Taiwan-born, California-raised entrepreneur named Jerry Yang made his second visit to Hong Kong as the founder of the then-fledgling Yahoo search engine.

Three years earlier, Yang had launched his company on the New York Stock Exchange. The listing grossed $480 million and was over-subscribed many times over.

Having conquered the United States, Yang and Yahoo arrived in Hong Kong, determined to set up Yahoo Asia.

The fluent Mandarin-speaker, however, just 29, was resolved not to simply translate material from his U.S. website to Asia. He insisted on creating original sites offering specific topics that matched the interests and tastes of the people in China.

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Fake Unemployment Claims Spiking With COVID, FBI Says

By Sheryl Nance-Nash

It’s bad enough when you lose your job. Right now, though, chances are your bad luck may not end there.

Complaints of fraudulent unemployment insurance claims are spiking because of COVID-19, according to the FBI, and the claims use stolen personally identifiable information (PII).

In congressional testimony in June, Scott Dahl, a recently retired inspector general at the U.S. Labor Department, said that so far this year the agency was investigating more than 400 cases of unemployment insurance fraud.

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Q&A: Georgetown Law’s Clare Garvie

Face Technology Could Stymie First Amendment-Protected Activities

By C.J. Thompson

“You are probably in a criminal face-recognition network,” is a chilling statement from “The Perpetual Line-Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America,” a 2016 report by the Center on Privacy & Technology at the Georgetown University School of Law.

Given the high participation and law-enforcement surveillance at recent demonstrations against police brutality, the statement likely is true now for even more people.

As the report documented, facial-recognition regulation is spotty to nonexistent across the growing number of police departments that employ it.

The document included 30 recommendations that have served as a reference for lawmakers as demands for regulation and oversight have increased.

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Companies Turn to Social-Distancing Wristbands for COVID, Raising Employee Privacy Concerns

By Linda Childers

As companies across the country gradually reopen in the wake of COVID-19, many have implemented safety protocols designed to keep employees healthy.

One technological solution being marketed to businesses are social-distancing and contact-tracing wristbands.

They are designed to enforce the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines of maintaining a six-feet distance from others to try to mitigate risks of contagion.

The wristbands might sound like a benign way to keep employees safe, but experts told Digital Privacy News that the technology might add another layer of surveillance to workplaces and could be used to penalize employees for spending the workday outside of designated areas.

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