UK test and trace data can be handed to police, reveals memorandum – that mission crept quickly

As if things were not going badly enough for the UK’s COVID-19 test and trace service, it now seems police will be able to access some test data, prompting fear that the disclosure could deter people who should have tests from coming forward. As revealed in the Health Service Journal (paywalled), Department for Health and Read more about UK test and trace data can be handed to police, reveals memorandum – that mission crept quickly[…]

Remember when Zoom was rumbled for lousy crypto? Six months later it says end-to-end is ready – but it’s not

The world’s plague-time video meeting tool of choice, Zoom, says it’s figured out how to do end-to-end encryption sufficiently well to offer users a tech preview. News of the trial comes after April 2020 awkwardness that followed the revelation that Zoom was fibbing about its service using end-to-end encryption. As we reported at the time, Read more about Remember when Zoom was rumbled for lousy crypto? Six months later it says end-to-end is ready – but it’s not[…]

Five Eyes governments, India, and Japan make new call for encryption backdoors – insist that democracy is an insecure police state

Members of the intelligence-sharing alliance Five Eyes, along with government representatives for Japan and India, have published a statement over the weekend calling on tech companies to come up with a solution for law enforcement to access end-to-end encrypted communications. The statement is the alliance’s latest effort to get tech companies to agree to encryption backdoors. Read more about Five Eyes governments, India, and Japan make new call for encryption backdoors – insist that democracy is an insecure police state[…]

Google is giving data to police based on search keywords: IPs of everyone who searched a certain thing. No warrant required.

There are few things as revealing as a person’s search history, and police typically need a warrant on a known suspect to demand that sensitive information. But a recently unsealed court document found that investigators can request such data in reverse order by asking Google to disclose everyone who searched a keyword rather than for Read more about Google is giving data to police based on search keywords: IPs of everyone who searched a certain thing. No warrant required.[…]

Europe’s top court confirms no mass surveillance without limits

Europe’s top court has delivered another slap-down to indiscriminate government mass surveillance regimes. In a ruling today the CJEU has made it clear that national security concerns do not exclude EU Member States from the need to comply with general principles of EU law such as proportionality and respect for fundamental rights to privacy, data Read more about Europe’s top court confirms no mass surveillance without limits[…]

The IRS Is Being Investigated for Using Bought Location Data Without a Warrant – Wait there’s a company called Venntel that sells this and that’s OK?

The body tasked with oversight of the IRS announced in a letter that it will investigate the agency’s use of location data harvested from ordinary apps installed on peoples’ phones, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Motherboard. The move comes after Senators Ron Wyden and Elizabeth Warren demanded a formal investigation into Read more about The IRS Is Being Investigated for Using Bought Location Data Without a Warrant – Wait there’s a company called Venntel that sells this and that’s OK?[…]

Facebook revenue chief says ad-supported model is ‘under assault’ – boo hoo, turns out people like their privacy

Facebook Chief Revenue Officer David Fischer said Tuesday that the economic models that rely on personalized advertising are “under assault” as Apple readies a change that would limit the ability of Facebook and other companies to target ads and estimate how well they work. The change to Apple’s identifier for advertisers, or IDFA, will give Read more about Facebook revenue chief says ad-supported model is ‘under assault’ – boo hoo, turns out people like their privacy[…]

Who watches the watchers? Samsung does so it can fling ads at owners of its smart TVs

Samsung brags to advertisers that “first screen ads”, seen by all users of its Smart TVs when they turn on, are 100 per cent viewable, audience targeted, and seen 400 times per TV per month. Some users are not happy. “Dear Samsung, why are you showing Ads on my Smart TV without my consent? I Read more about Who watches the watchers? Samsung does so it can fling ads at owners of its smart TVs[…]

Blowback Time: China Says TikTok Deal Is A Model For How It Should Deal With US Companies In China

We’ve already covered what a ridiculous, pathetic grift the Oracle/TikTok deal was. Despite it being premised on a “national security threat” from China, because the app might share some data (all of which is easily buyable from data brokers) with Chinese officials, the final deal cured none of that, left the Chinese firm ByteDance with Read more about Blowback Time: China Says TikTok Deal Is A Model For How It Should Deal With US Companies In China[…]

Spain’s highway agency is monitoring speeding hotspots using bulk phone location data – is that even allowed here?

Spain’s highways agency is using bulk mobile phone data for monitoring speeding hotspots, according to local reports. Equipped with data on customers handed over by local mobile phone operators, Spain’s Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) may be gathering data on “which roads and at what specific kilometer points the speed limits are usually exceeded,” according to Read more about Spain’s highway agency is monitoring speeding hotspots using bulk phone location data – is that even allowed here?[…]

Firefox usage is down 85% despite Mozilla’s top exec pay going up 400%

Mozilla recently announced that they would be dismissing 250 people. That’s a quarter of their workforce so there are some deep cuts to their work too. The victims include: the MDN docs (those are the web standards docs everyone likes better than w3schools), the Rust compiler and even some cuts to Firefox development. Like most Read more about Firefox usage is down 85% despite Mozilla’s top exec pay going up 400%[…]

Facebook says it may quit Europe over ban on sharing data with US

Facebook has warned that it may pull out of Europe if the Irish data protection commissioner enforces a ban on sharing data with the US, after a landmark ruling by the European court of justice found in July that there were insufficient safeguards against snooping by US intelligence agencies. In a court filing in Dublin, Read more about Facebook says it may quit Europe over ban on sharing data with US[…]

Trump Pushes to Reap Extensive Biometric Data From Immigrants, Americans, never delete them

Six million would-be U.S. immigrants face expanded collection of their biometric data, including iris scans, palm-, and voice-prints, facial recognition images, and DNA, under a proposed federal rule. The Department of Homeland Security also for the first time would gather that data from American citizens sponsoring or benefiting from a visa application. Years in the Read more about Trump Pushes to Reap Extensive Biometric Data From Immigrants, Americans, never delete them[…]

Facebook Accused of Watching Instagram Users Through Cameras. FB claims “bug”

Facebook is again being sued for allegedly spying on Instagram users, this time through the unauthorized use of their mobile phone cameras. Bloomberg reports: The lawsuit springs from media reports in July that the photo-sharing app appeared to be accessing iPhone cameras even when they weren’t actively being used. Facebook denied the reports and blamed Read more about Facebook Accused of Watching Instagram Users Through Cameras. FB claims “bug”[…]

Google bans stalkerware apps from Android store. Which is cool but… why were they allowed in the first place?

In an update to its Android Developer Program Policy, Google on Wednesday said stalkerware apps in its app store can no longer be used to stalk non-consenting adults. Stalkerware, which the web giant defines as “code that transmits personal information off the device without adequate notice or consent and doesn’t display a persistent notification that Read more about Google bans stalkerware apps from Android store. Which is cool but… why were they allowed in the first place?[…]

The Weather Channel app settles suit over selling location data of 49m people without consent

IBM and the Los Angeles city attorney’s office have settled a privacy lawsuit brought after The Weather Channel app was found to be selling user location data without proper disclosure. The lawsuit was filed last year, at which point the app had 45 million active users. IBM has changed the way that users are informed, Read more about The Weather Channel app settles suit over selling location data of 49m people without consent[…]

Italy is investigating Apple, Google and Dropbox cloud storage services

Italy’s competition watchdog is investing Apple, Google and Dropbox, TechCrunch reports. In a press release, the AGCM announced that it opened six investigations into the companies’ cloud storage services: Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox. The authority is concerned that the services fail to adequately explain how user data will be collected and used for commercial Read more about Italy is investigating Apple, Google and Dropbox cloud storage services[…]

Australia starts second fight with Google and Apple, this time over whether app stores leak data, gouge devs, steal ideas and warp markets

Australia, already embroiled in a nasty fight with Google and Facebook over its plan to make them pay for news links, has opened an inquiry into whether Apple and Google’s app stores offer transparent pricing and see consumers’ data used in worrying ways. The issues paper [PDF] outlining the scope of the inquiry names only Read more about Australia starts second fight with Google and Apple, this time over whether app stores leak data, gouge devs, steal ideas and warp markets[…]

7 years later, US court deems NSA bulk phone-call snooping illegal, possibly unconstitutional, and probably pointless anyway

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled [PDF] that the National Security Agency’s phone-call slurping was indeed naughty, seven years after former contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the tawdry affair. It’s been a long time coming, and while some might view the decision as a slap for officials Read more about 7 years later, US court deems NSA bulk phone-call snooping illegal, possibly unconstitutional, and probably pointless anyway[…]

After Facebook Balks, Apple Delays “Privacy” (ie only Apple spies on you) Feature

In June, Apple unveiled plans for an iOS 14 privacy update that forces developers to gather users’ consent before tracking their activities across third-party apps and websites. Needless to say, giving users more control over how their information is gathered and trafficked is expected to bruise advertisers—especially Facebook, which uses that information to narrow its Read more about After Facebook Balks, Apple Delays “Privacy” (ie only Apple spies on you) Feature[…]

Private Intel Firm Buys Location Data to Track People to their ‘Doorstep’ sourced from innocuous seeming apps

A threat intelligence firm called HYAS, a private company that tries to prevent or investigates hacks against its clients, is buying location data harvested from ordinary apps installed on peoples’ phones around the world, and using it to unmask hackers. The company is a business, not a law enforcement agency, and claims to be able Read more about Private Intel Firm Buys Location Data to Track People to their ‘Doorstep’ sourced from innocuous seeming apps[…]

COVID-19 tracing without an app? Google and Apple will ram it down your throat

Google and Apple have updated their COVID-19 contact-tracing tool to make it possible to notify users of potential exposures to the novel coronavirus without an app. The new Exposure Notifications Express spec is baked into iOS 13.7, which emerged this week and will appear in an Android update due later this month. This is not, Read more about COVID-19 tracing without an app? Google and Apple will ram it down your throat[…]

US Border Patrol Says They Can Create Central Repository Of Traveler Emails, calendar, etc, Keep Them For 75 Years

The U.S. government has taken the opportunity during the global pandemic, when people aren’t traveling out of the country much, to roll out a new platform for storing information they believe they are entitled to take from people crossing the border. A new filing reveals how the U.S. Border Patrol will store data from traveler Read more about US Border Patrol Says They Can Create Central Repository Of Traveler Emails, calendar, etc, Keep Them For 75 Years[…]

235 Million Instagram, TikTok And YouTube User Profiles Exposed In Massive Data Leak

it was such an unsecured database that the Comparitech researchers, led by Bob Diachenko, discovered on August 1, leaving the personal profile data of nearly 235 million Instagram, TikTok and YouTube users up for grabs. The data was spread across several datasets; the most significant being two coming in at just under 100 million each Read more about 235 Million Instagram, TikTok And YouTube User Profiles Exposed In Massive Data Leak[…]

Securus sued for ‘recording attorney-client jail calls, handing them to cops’ – months after settling similar lawsuit and charging more than 100x normal price for the calls. Hey, monopolies!

Jail phone telco Securus provided recordings of protected attorney-client conversations to cops and prosecutors, it is claimed, just three months after it settled a near-identical lawsuit. The corporate giant controls all telecommunications between the outside world and prisoners in American jails that contract with it. It charges far above market rate, often more than 100 Read more about Securus sued for ‘recording attorney-client jail calls, handing them to cops’ – months after settling similar lawsuit and charging more than 100x normal price for the calls. Hey, monopolies![…]