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Preview: Privacy.org - The Source for News, Information, and Action

Privacy.org - The Source for News, Information, and Action



Privacy.org is the site for daily news, information, and initiatives on privacy. This web page is a joint project of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Privacy International.



Published: 2011-04-07T22:41:46-05:00

 



Help Fix Google Privacy Campaign: Submit Your Comments

2011-04-07T22:41:46-05:00

The FTC is seeking public comment on its proposed Agreement with Google regarding Google Buzz, and EPIC wants your voice to be heard! Use the form below to help build your comments. EPIC will send your comments and information to the FTC and use them to help us write our own comprehensive recommendations to the FTC.




Justice Department to Monitor Polls in 18 States on Election Day

2010-11-01T09:08:29-05:00

On Election Day, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division will deploy more than 400 federal observers to monitor polls in 18 states. Staff at the Civil Rights Division will be available to take complaints regarding problems with voters accessing the polls throughout Election Day at 1-800-253-3931 (TTY line 1-877-277-8971). Complaints may also be filed on line at the Department's website. For more information regarding the Civil Rights Division's role in protecting voting rights, see http://www.justice.gov/crt/voting/.




EPIC releases 2010 E-Deceptive Campaign Practices Report

2010-10-27T14:20:30-05:00

The Electronic Privacy Information Center released the 2010 update to its "E-Deceptive Campaign Practices: Technology and Democracy 2.0" report, first published in 2008. The report reviews the potential for abuse of Internet-based technology in the election context, and makes recommendations on steps that should be taken by Election Administrators, voters, and those involved in Election Protection efforts. E-Deceptive campaigns are internet-based attempts to misdirect targeted voters regarding the voting process, and include false statements about poll place hours, election dates, voter identification rules, or voter eligibility requirements. For more information, see EPIC: Voting.




EPIC Launches Privacy 2010 Campaign

2010-10-13T16:30:29-05:00

EPIC, joined by the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the Liberty Coalition launched the Privacy 2010 campaign at a press conference today on Capitol Hill. The organizations set out a Privacy Platform with recommended positions on 10 key privacy issues. Privacy 2010 also has a Facebook Cause page. As part of the Privacy 2010 campaign, EPIC said that it will release a Privacy Report Card for the Obama administration with grades on medical privacy, cyber security, consumer privacy, and civil liberties.




EPIC, Joined by 13 Organizations, Sends Statement on NSTIC

2010-10-01T10:42:37-05:00

EPIC, joined by the American Library Association, Liberty Coalition, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and the Center for Media and Democracy, among others, sent a statement to the Department of Homeland Security responding to the Administration's call for comments regarding its National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace Creating Options for Enhanced Online Security and Privacy (NSTIC) draft policy. The coalition's comments press the Administration for a clearer definition of the problems that the policy intends to solve. The coalition further advocates for the maintenance of a free and open Internet that protects the creative content of users, assures privacy, and creates accountability and oversight of government activity, especially as it relates to law enforcement and surveillance. For more, see EPIC's Cybersecurity and Privacy.



Tracking Children Online Intensifies

2010-09-20T10:19:29-05:00


As a result of an ongoing investigation into online privacy, the Wall Street Journal has found evidence that the 50 top websites directed toward children placed 30% more tracking cookies on those sites than the 50 top websites directed toward adults. Google placed the most cookies of the companies investigated. Many of the other popular sites are small companies with widely varying privacy polices. Two sites directed toward teens have sold the information gathered about the users and at least one other site has ties to a pornography site. The dependence by these sites on advertising accounts for the significant amount of tracking technology used. Even though many of the sites claimed not to collect personally identifying information, at least one required an email address to register on the site. There are federal regulations requiring parental consent to collect personally identifying information from minors under the age of 13. The Federal Trade Commission is currently considering whether changes to the law should be made.


On the Web, Children Face Intensive Tracking, Steve Stecklow, wsj.com, September 17, 2010




Georgia's Voter Verification Program Approved by DOJ

2010-09-17T14:43:17-05:00


The Help America Vote Act requires states to verify the identities of first time voters by inspecting a current and valid photo identification, copy of a utility bill, paycheck or other government issued document that shows the address and name of the voter. The Georgia Voter Verification Program exceeds that mandate by requiring proof of citizenship. The DOJ twice declined to preclear Georgia's proposal. In 2009 the DOJ found the proposed procedures to be "seriously flawed." In February 2010, the DOJ again concluded that Georgia had not carried its burden of showing that the verification procedures would not have a discriminatory purpose or discriminatory effect. In July 2010, GA sought a declaratory judgment from the DC Circuit. In August, the DOJ dropped its objection without public explanation or opportunity for intervenors to be heard.


Georgia Allowed To Continue Voter Verification, Kathy Lohr, npr.org, September 14, 2010




Ringleader Digital's Use of HTML5 Databases on Mobile Devices Leads to Class Action Lawsuit

2010-09-17T13:09:44-05:00

A class action lawsuit has been filed in California federal District Court against Ringleader Digital. The New York based advertising agency uses HTML5 database storage to tracks Mobile Safari users. The lawsuit takes aim at the persistent monitoring of users, without their consent, across webpages. Unlike cookies, the HTML5 database storage cannot be deleted from the user's mobile device. Companies using Ringleader's Media Stamp technology include Surfline, WhitePages.com, The Travel Channel, CNN Money, Go2 and Merriam-Webster's dictionary site. These companies are also named as defendants in the suit.


Lawsuit Targets Mobile Advertiser Over Sneaky HTML5 Pseudo-Cookies, David Kravets, wired.com, September 16, 2010




U.S. Third Circuit Rules Cell Phone Location Searches Do Not Require Probable Cause

2010-09-15T13:33:58-05:00

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a U.S. Magistrate Judge's ruling that prosecutors seeking cell site location information (CSLI) need probable cause to get a warrant for those records. In an opinion filed on September 7, 2010, the Court found that the Stored Communications Act (SCA) allows law enforcement to access cell phone users locations if they meet a lower standard. To satisfy the burden for issuing an order to produce those records, prosecutors need only make a showing of "specific and articulable facts...that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the information sought ...[is] relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation." Judge Delores Sloviter remanded the case to the Magistrate, finding that the Magistrate had not analyzed whether the government had made this showing. The Court also held that, after the government has satisfied its burden of proof, the Magistrate may still conclude that a warrant is necessary. If the warrant is necessary, then the government will be held to a probable cause standard.


Third Circuit rules warrant may be required to collect cell phone location data, Ann Riley, jurist.org, September 8, 2010




Burglars Use Facebook Statuses to Target Victims

2010-09-13T15:07:11-05:00

A burglary ring in Nashua, N.H. targeted victims by monitoring their status updates on Facebook. The ring was uncovered when an off-duty police officer, alerted to the fact that a specific type of fireworks was among the stolen property, heard the fireworks and investigated. Police recovered between $100,000 and $200,000 worth of stolen property, including ammunition and electronics. More arrests are expected.

Police: Thieves Robbed Homes Based on Facebook, Social Media Sites, wmur.com, September 12, 2010




Hospital Network to Explain Proposed New Federal Privacy Rule

2010-08-09T19:10:33-05:00

The American Hospital Association will host two teleconference calls to explain the proposed changes to federal rules regarding their obligation to protect the patient medical records privacy. Among the proposed changes are new rules third parties who may gain access to or collect patient information must protect patient privacy. Many non-health care providing entities that collect medical information claim to be "HIPAA compliant," which means they elect to adopt policy that reflect federal regulations that HIPAA covered entities must follow.


AHA to Explain Proposed Privacy Rule




Apple Moves to Protect Privacy of iPhone Users

2010-06-24T11:52:05-05:00

iPhone SDK changes would restrict access to customer personal data collected by third party applications that had been sharing customer data with analytics companies. Apple's privacy policy outlines the purpose for data collection, retention, use, and limitations on sharing to purposes related to the product or services sought by customers. It further states that the company "safeguard[s] your personal information against loss, theft, and misuse, as well as against unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction." The Apple statement on the issue suggests that application developers for the Apple iPhone possibly used code from existing application developer programs, which contained third party data sharing instructions.

Jobs: iPhone ad SDK changes for user privacy, not anti-competitive, Daniel Eram Dilger, Apple Insider, June 2, 2010




Senators Propose ID Requirements to Purchase Pre-paid Phones

2010-06-22T11:27:51-05:00

Senators Schumer (D-NY) and Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Mobile Device Identification Act that if passed would require all pre-paid phone users to provide an ID as a condition of purchase. The bill targets users of pre-paid cellphones and would require phone companies to keep the information on file, as they are required do now for land line users. Abuse of telephone land line users' call detail information of the past include pretexting, where individuals pretending to be the user gains access to information or the warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency raise questions regarding the protection of the data collected. The bill is a reaction to the Time Square attempted car bomb attacker who used a pre-paid cellphone to purchase the car.


New proposal would require identification to buy prepaid cellphones
, By Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, Wednesday, May 26, 2010; 4:00 PM




PI Says Google Had Criminal Intent in SpyFi

2010-06-09T14:01:16-05:00

Google Street View according to Privacy International after reviewing audit logs engaged in criminal intent to collect and store all unencrypted wireless computer network information. Google is under investigation in several countries including the United States for using its Street View project to all so collect information on unprotected wireless computer networks.

Google Wi-Fi audit reveals criminal intent by the company, by Privacy International, June 9, 2010




Federal Court Ruled that Not Public Facebook Content is Protected

2010-06-09T13:46:10-05:00

A California federal court ruled that nonpublic Facebook communications and content is protected by the Stored Communications Act and cannot be access by a civil subpoena. The ruling gives added privacy protection to Facebook users who set privacy settings to not share with the public. The question settled by the court arose from a copyright dispute regarding artwork. The court left the question to a lower court of whether the content was publicly available or not.

Can You Subpoena Someone's Facebook Page in a Civil Case? [Revisited], by Venkat Balasubramani, Spamnotes,