Tag: News

Uproar in UK Over Police Getting COVID Self-Isolation Data

By Robert Bateman

Police in England will receive the personal information of people told to self-isolate because of COVID-19, as part of a policy that aims to increase compliance with pandemic emergency laws.

But experts in epidemiology, social psychology — even policing — told Digital Privacy News that the practice ultimately could harm efforts to fight COVID.

“Collective pandemic response is completely dependent on public trust,” said Deepti Gurdasani, senior lecturer in clinical epidemiology and statistical genetics at Queen Mary’s University of London.

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‘Basis of a Lie’

Facebook Begins Controversial Integration of Messenger, Instagram

By Robert Bateman

Facebook has begun the long-planned integration of its Messenger and Instagram platforms, as governments and regulators show increasing concern about its market dominance.

The change will allow Facebook and Instagram users to send private messages to one another between platforms. Facebook also plans to include its WhatsApp platform in the integration.

Antitrust regulators in the U.S. and European Union have scrutinized Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. Some experts told Digital Privacy News that Facebook’s plans might be designed to disrupt regulators’ activities.

Continue reading “‘Basis of a Lie’”

Synthetic Identity Fraud Is Growing, Federal Reserve Says

By Lisa Rabasca Roepe

One of the fastest-growing financial crimes, synthetic identity fraud, often is undetected by banks and consumers — costing U.S. lenders as much as $6 billion a year, though experts said that losses might be much higher because schemes are miscategorized as credit losses.

That’s because synthetic identity fraud uses real information, such as a stolen Social Security number, with fictional information — a name, address or birth date — to open new lines of credit.

Over time, fraudsters can build up lines of credit, only to max it out and then walk away, forcing banks to write off millions of dollars in losses, according to the Federal Reserve.

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China Gets First Law for Data-Protection: Tech Giants Take Note

By Charles McDermid

China is fast-tracking the country’s first law to protect privacy and personal data, a long-awaited move heralded by pro-Beijing media but questioned by experts for not restricting state surveillance and for forcing economies to pick a side in the escalating tech war with the U.S.

The National People’s Congress, China’s powerful legislative body, last week released for public review the first draft of the Personal Information Protection Law.

If approved in the coming weeks, as expected, it would become China’s first unified national law on the protection of personal information.

No similar legislation exists in the United States.

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‘Fired Up on All Sides’

Experts: Political Affiliations, Generally Private, May Cause Bias in the Workplace

By Nora Macaluso

Americans have the right to keep their political opinions to themselves, should they wish — but as anyone who’s done a Google search knows, it’s not hard to find hints online as to someone’s party affiliation or political leanings.

That’s concerning to some who follow workplace issues.

The current U.S. election cycle, which peaks with nationwide voting Tuesday, has made for even more of a minefield — with politics taking center stage in a highly polarized environment.

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Q&A: CDT’s William Adler

Even a Small Breach in Election Security Can Sow Distrust

By Mary Pieper

William T. Adler, senior technologist in elections and security at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, recently participated in a news briefing on election security.

With record early voting leading into Tuesday’s election, Adler and his colleagues explained what election officials were doing to prevent security breaches. They also discussed online misinformation and voting suppression.

In a follow-up interview, Adler told Digital Privacy News that, while election officials had made numerous security improvements, vulnerabilities still existed.

An attack on just one voting machine could create widespread doubts about overall election security, he said.

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Palestinian Groups Say COVID Emergency Law Being Used by Authorities to Curb Rights

By Dalia Hatuqa

Countries worldwide are facing an unprecedented challenge in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

The measures being put in place, while timely and often necessary, have had a real impact on democratic practices and processes — including those in the digital sphere, rights groups have told Digital Privacy News.

The Palestinian territories are no different.

As the pandemic rages throughout the West Bank and Gaza —54, 060 confirmed cases, 561 deaths as of Sunday — digital-rights groups told Digital Privacy News of an increase in violations of human rights online by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

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UK’s Privacy Law Overhaul Could Damage Post-Brexit Economy

By Robert Bateman

The U.K. government is planning a significant overhaul of its privacy laws in a move that experts told Digital Privacy News risked damaging the country’s economy and relations with the European Union.

The government’s national data strategy, published last month, says that the U.K. “will control its own data protection laws and regulations in line with its interests” after the country’s transition out of the EU.

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Experts Split on Calif.’s Prop 24

By Patrick W. Dunne

California residents will vote Tuesday on a divisive privacy initiative: Prop 24, also known as the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act.

Alastair Mactaggart, the San Francisco developer, wrote and financed Prop 24 to enhance or adjust provisions of his previous initiative, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA).

Prop 24 would require businesses to provide customers with an opt-out regarding the collection of their private data and would limit how that information is used and stored.

“Prop 24 aims to give California privacy-first protection like Europe has under the General Data Protection Regulation since 2016,” Mactaggart told Digital Privacy News.

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CEOs Queried Again Amid Rift in Bipartisan Moves to Control Big Tech

By Jackson Chen

Big Tech CEOs again are testifying before Congress — this time on Wednesday — about how they run their companies, but now they are in front of a Republican-led panel of the U.S. Senate.

CEOs from Twitter, Google and Facebook will be questioned by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on the liability shield that companies operate under, as well as its content-moderation practices and effect on consumer privacy.

Specifically, the session will discuss how Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act offers online platforms immunity from the content that’s published by its users and if it has allowed tech giants to enable unintended behavior. 

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