Category: News

A Company’s Biggest Privacy Threat? Insiders

By Patrick W. Dunne

Earlier this year, Tesla Inc. sued an alleged malicious user who “conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage” on the company.

The lawsuit contended that the accused made several destructive changes to Tesla’s source code and exported gigabytes of data to sell to a third party. 

However, the disturbance did not come from a hacker group. It came from inside the company, based in Palo Alto, Calif.

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In Uganda, the President and a Dissident Square Off Over a Twitter Block

By Jeff Benson

Last year, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had a thorn in his side.

A Harvard student, Hillary Innocent Taylor Seguya, had been calling him a dictator and criticizing his posts on Twitter.

So, Museveni, who’s been in power since 1986, did what any irritated private citizen would do: He blocked Seguya, effectively preventing him from seeing or commenting on his posts.

But according to Seguya, Museveni wasn’t using his platform as a private citizen — and, thus, shouldn’t be allowed to use the platform’s privacy features.

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Experts: COVID’s Financial Fallout May Require More Data Than Ever

By Joanne Cleaver 

As Americans emerge from sheltering in place, the privacy view from the front door may still be foggy. 

Grace periods that allowed homeowners and renters to skip, reduce or delay monthly housing payments won’t last forever.

But the financial fallout might, housing-finance experts told Digital Privacy News, might force Americans to reveal more personal data than ever to restructure their own housing stability.

The extra $600 a week in unemployment compensation flowing from the federal CARES Act expires next month.

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Experts: UK’s 20-Year Retention of Health Data Violates Law

By Robert Bateman

The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) has set up a “Test and Trace” program to help track the spread of COVID-19. 

The program, rolled out May 28, involves “contact-tracing” — gathering information about COVID-19 patients and those with whom they have been in contact, with an aim to slow the spread of the virus.

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Chinese Drone Donations Sow Rift Between Police, Legislators

By Christopher Adams

As relations between the United States and China become increasingly strained, the pervasive use of Beijing-manufactured drones by American government agencies and public-safety forces have come under fire because of privacy concerns.

Da Jiang Innovations (DJI), the dominant player in the drone market, recently donated several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to more than 40 U.S. law-enforcement agencies.

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In India, Mandatory COVID App Raises Privacy and Data-Theft Issues

By Aishwarya Jagani

The government of India last month took several steps to allay some privacy fears over its official COVID-19 contact-tracing app, Aarogya Setu.

The app’s terms of service now says the government will accept “limited liability” for data collected by the app, which had not been the case. The device also is now open-sourced, allowing independent coders and researchers to check for security flaws.

But Aarogya Setu, announced in April by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, still remains under fire: The device is mandatory for many Indian citizens, as well as for central government employees and those traveling by air or train.

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Ease of Voice Recognition Technology Brings Great Risks

By Brittany VanDerBill

Technology brings increased convenience and other benefits to users. Voice recognition technology provides the added ease of operating smartphones and other devices orally. 

But this convenience could come at the cost of privacy, experts tell Digital Privacy News.

“Voice recognition technology is actually quite advanced and capable of a lot of privacy violations that people might not even think of,” said Brian Green, director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in California.

Green’s views mirror the results of a study last year by the University of Michigan and National Science Foundation, which found how voice recognition technology could be exploited with lasers and audio signals to hack into and use smart devices.

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New AMA Privacy Principles Seek to Build Public Trust

By Myrle Croasdale

Physicians expect to field patients’ medical questions. Nowadays, however, they also can expect questions on what health-related apps and websites are safe to use.

“I see it all the time in my own practice,” Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, an anesthesiologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and American Medical Association (AMA) board member, told Digital Privacy News. “I get lots of questions from my patients on how safe it is.

“Like the hospital patient portal or the pharmacy app to manage their own prescriptions,” Ehrenfeld posed. “Right now, it’s hard to provide good guidance to patients about what the apps are and are not doing, because there’s no transparency.”

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Freelancers Wary After Ohio Data Breach of Pandemic Jobless Aid Program

By Joanne Cleaver

When Karen Anderson saw that self-employed workers could qualify for financial assistance through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) section of the federal CARES Act, the California freelance editor thought that — just maybe — freelancers might catch a break this year. 

Then Anderson heard of the data breaches in Ohio, Illinois, and Colorado, all resulting from faulty PUA payment systems quickly built and introduced by Deloitte, the U.K.-based consulting and accounting giant. 

“It discourages people who are qualified,” Anderson told Digital Privacy News of such glitches. “They’re afraid to apply.”

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U.K. Government Urged to Publish Details of COVID Datastore Contracts

By Robert Bateman

The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) is creating a “COVID-19 datastore” with the help of such tech firms as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Silicon Valley artificial intelligence company, Palantir.

In a March blog post detailing the project, Matt Gould, chief executive of government unit NHSX, said the goal was to provide “secure, reliable and timely data — in a way that protects the privacy of our citizens — in order to make informed, effective decisions.”

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