Daily Digest (11/17)

EU Privacy Activists File Complaint Against Apple; Facebook, Twitter CEOs to Testify on 2020 Election Handling; Wearable COVID Trackers Are Latest Trend in Contact-Tracing; 350,000 Items of Personal Data Hacked in Capcom Breach.

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EU Privacy Activists File Complaint Against Apple

The European privacy group, NOYB: European Center for Digital Rights, filed a complaint Monday with German and Spanish regulators against Apple over its use of software to track the behavior of iPhone users.

The Vienna-based group, founded by privacy activist and lawyer Max Schrems, said that it had asked data-protection authorities to examine the legality of Apple’s tracking codes, The Associated Press reports.

The group alleged that the tracking codes, known as Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), illegally enabled Apple to store user data without their consent, according to Reuters.

NOYB claimed that the iOS operating system created unique codes for each iPhone, allowing Apple and other third parties to “identify users across applications and even connect online and mobile behavior.”

“Tracking is only allowed if users explicitly consent to it,” Stefano Rossetti, an NOYB lawyer, told AP.

Apple dismissed the claims, saying in a statement that they were “factually inaccurate — and we look forward to making that clear to privacy regulators should they examine the complaint.

“Apple does not access or use the IDFA on a user’s device for any purpose,” the company said.

Spain’s privacy protection agency confirmed that it had received a complaint but declined to comment, Reuters reports. Officials in Berlin did not comment.

Sources (all links external):

Facebook, Twitter CEOs to Testify on 2020 Election Handling

The CEOs of Twitter and Facebook have been summoned to testify before Congress next week on how they handled electoral “disinformation” issues during the 2020 presidential election, even as lawmakers continue to debate the integrity of the election.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, which is chaired by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C., The Associated Press reports.

The CEOs promised lawmakers last month that they would aggressively guard their platforms from being manipulated.

Both companies were bitterly attacked by Republicans and Democrats during the election season, AP reports.

Wearable COVID Trackers Are Latest Trend in Contact-Tracing

Colleges, large corporations and sports leagues have been adopting wearable trackers in the latest effort to monitor the exposure to and spread of COVID-19.

Some sports leagues, factories and nursing homes already have deployed the devices, The New York Times reports.

In Plano, Texas, for instance, employees at the Rent-A-Center headquarters have started wearing proximity detectors that log close contacts with one another, potentially alerting the wearer to virus exposure.

Employers and colleges have adopted virus-screening tools, but some companies and industry analysts argued that the wearable trackers filled an important gap in pandemic safety.

“Everyone is in the early stages of this,” Laura Becker, a research manager at International Data Corp., told the Times.

“If it works, the market could be huge because everyone wants to get back to some sense of normalcy.”

But civil rights and privacy advocates countered that the spread of such wearable monitoring devices could lead to new forms of surveillance, possibly creating a chilling effect.

“It’s chilling that these invasive and unproven devices could become a condition for keeping our jobs, attending school or taking part in public life,” said Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP) nonprofit in Manhattan.

“Even worse, there’s nothing to stop police or ICE from requiring schools and employers to hand over this data.”

350,000 Items of Personal Data Hacked in Capcom Breach

Capcom Co. Ltd., a Japan-based videogame developer and publisher, confirmed Monday that it was victimized by a ransomware attack.

The company, headquartered in Osaka, said that 350,000 items of personal data were stolen from company servers — including the names and addresses of customers and former employees, Video Games Chronicle (VCG) reports.

The company confirmed a VGC report last week saying that it had been targeted by the Ragnar Locker hacker group.

Initial reports claimed that more than 1TB of data had been stolen and that the group was demanding $11 million in bitcoin for return of the files.

Files from the leak already are being actively circulated online, VGC reports.

Capcom said Monday that it had reported the incident to police, had shut down its servers and had called in a third-party security company for inspections.

The company also said that it has been reaching out to those whose information was compromised.

By DPN Staff