Daily Digest (9/2)

Facebook: FBI Tip Discloses Russian Trolls Hiring Journalists for News Site; US to Collect Noncitizens’ Personal Information Using Facial Scans; Court Rulings Find Geofence Warrants Unconstitutional; Shifts in Privacy Rules Hurt Tech Firms Filing to Go Public. Click “Continue reading” below.

Facebook: FBI Tip Discloses Russian Trolls Hiring Journalists for News Site

Facebook said Tuesday that Russian internet trolls have launched a news website, hiring American journalists and others as freelancers.

The news site, Peace Data, was launched this year with a focus on the environment and political corruption, NBC News reports.

Facebook learned about the site through the FBI, which disclosed in a tip that people who were formerly associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency (RIRA) started Peace Data.

The former RIRA associates started Facebook and Twitter accounts to inflame political tensions during the 2016 presidential election, according to NBC.

“It confirms what I think we’ve all thought: Russian actors are trying to target the 2020 elections and public debate in the U.S. — and they’re trying to be creative about it,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity, told the network.

Twitter said Tuesday that it also had suspended five accounts connected to Peace Data.

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US to Collect Noncitizens’ Personal Information Using Facial Scans

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it would begin collecting more personal information from noncitizens as part of its immigration enforcement.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) would use iris and facial scans, voice prints and other DNA for immigrants who seek to live or work in the country, The Associated Press reports.

DHS provided no further details, but BuzzFeed News obtained a draft report said that personal data would be required from anyone applying for immigration benefits, according to AP.

DHS said in a statement that new policy applicants might need to submit DNA when the agency had insufficient “documentary evidence.”

“This is a remarkable expansion of surveillance, especially the idea that immigrants could be called in at any point to give these biometrics,” Sarah Pierce of the Migration Policy Institute told AP.

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Court Rulings Find Geofence Warrants Unconstitutional

In three opinions, two federal judges have ruled that a geofence warrant violated the Fourth Amendment.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a brief this summer in a case with the San Francisco Superior Court arguing that a new warrant violated the Fourth Amendment, breaching individual privacy.

In addition, two rulings from the federal district court in Chicago recently were unsealed, providing a detailed analysis that aligns with constitutional arguments made against geofence warrants, EFF reports.

The court decisions were returned on Monday, according to EFF.

Geofence warrants are an investigative tool used by law enforcement to help identify criminal suspects. Unlike ordinary warrants for electronic records, geofence picks up location data from every device in a geographic area during the time of the incident, the foundation reports.

Geofence warrants allow police to examine data from anyone, whether they are connected to a crime or not.

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Shifts in Privacy Rules Hurt Tech Firms Filing to Go Public

The European Union’s strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could force the company to alter products and services, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“We may be unable to make such changes and modifications in a commercially reasonable manner or at all,” Palantir Technologies, a data-mining company said in a statement to federal regulators.

“Our ability to fulfill existing obligations, make enhancements, or develop new platforms and features could be limited,” the company said.

Tech companies like Facebook and Roku acknowledged that these changing privacy laws posed risks to their businesses as they planned to go public.

Digital-privacy experts said this terrain had undergone a seismic shift in recent years with the California Consumer Privacy Act and other laws, according to the Journal.

“We’re at a point where there’s more uncertainty and risk than ever before,” Brian Hengesbaugh, chairman at the Baker McKenzie law firm, told the newspaper. “This won’t get any better in the next three-to-five years.”

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— By DPN Staff