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Website privacy options aren’t much of a choice since they’re hard to find and use

Many sites offer the ability to ‘opt out’ of targeted advertisements, but doing so isn’t easy. Simplifying and standardizing opt-outs would help improve privacy on the web.

Privacy policy language is inconsistent and ambiguous. Key terms aren’t standardized across privacy policies on different sites. That makes it difficult for users to scan or search for key words or phrases that might help them understand their options.

Once someone does manage to opt-out, it’s not always clear what will happen. Even when the choices are clear, the pages are not always easy to use.

Full article: Website privacy options aren’t much of a choice since they’re hard to find and use

The NSA says it stopped tracking cellphone locations without a warrant

Last year the Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that a search warrant is required for law enforcement to perform cellphone tower searches to track someone’s location.

A letter sent by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to Senator Ron Wyden affirming that ever since that Carpenter decision, the “Intelligence community” has not sought cell-site location data or GPS records without a warrant.

Source: The NSA says it stopped tracking cellphone locations without a warrant | Engadget

Amid privacy backlash, China’s DJI unveils drone-to-phone tracking

China’s DJI, the world’s largest commercial drone maker, said it is developing technology that would allow the public to track the registrations of drones in flight using just a smartphone, amid a broader industry push to make such data available.

The push for remote identification technology comes amid regulatory calls for greater oversight of drone flight, on fears that untraceable, unmanned aircraft could be used for spying or accidentally disrupt commercial flights.

Source: Amid privacy backlash, China’s DJI unveils drone-to-phone tracking – Reuters

Facebook Earns $132.80 From Your Data per Year

The newly released files indicate that between 2013 and 2015, moves that Facebook touted as protecting consumer privacy—like stopping Six4Three and other companies from accessing the names, photos, and likes of their users’ Facebook friends—were really about safeguarding the economic value of consumers’ data.

Leaked documents reveal that Facebook’s average revenue per user in the United States and Canada totaled $132.80 in the past four quarters—seven times more than the $18.70 average revenue per U.S. and Canadian user in 2013. But more importantly, Facebook executives worried that new social networks and messaging apps could get started using Facebook’s data as a jumping-off point.

 

Source: Facebook’s Six4Three Pikinis lawsuit emails explain why your data is so valuable.

Google restricts contextual ad targeting

Google has taken steps to limit data sharing for targeted adverts as it comes under increasing pressure to do more to protect the privacy of users.

The changes to its advertising technology follow an intervention from the European Union and mean that Google will no longer inform advertisers about the type of content where their ad could appear.

Source: Google restricts contextual ad targeting | The Drum

The Risks Of Law Enforcement Use Of Facial Recognition Software

Facial recognition is truly a one-of-a-kind technology — and we should treat it as such. Our faces are central to our identities, online and off, and they are difficult to hide.

the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement is particularly problematic due to its invasiveness and increasing pervasiveness. Americans are losing due-process protections, and even law-abiding citizens cannot confidently engage in free association, free movement and free speech without fear of being tracked.

Full article: Who Stole My Face? The Risks Of Law Enforcement Use Of Facial Recognition Software | Above the Law

US court rules against warrantless searches of phones, laptops

A federal court in Boston has ruled that warrantless U.S. government searches of the phones and laptops of international travelers at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment.

Tuesday’s ruling in U.S. District Court came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.

Source: Court rules against warrantless searches of phones, laptops

Inherently identifiable: Is it possible to anonymize health and genetic data?

Nearly 25 million people have taken an at-home DNA testing kit and shared that data with one of four ancestry and health databases.

With this proliferation of genetic testing and biometric data collection, there should be an increased scrutiny of the practices used to deidentify this data. Biometric data, namely genetic information and health records, is innately identifiable.

But can biometric data ever truly be anonymized, what are the methods of deidentification and best practices, and the current state of biometric data under the EU General Data Protection Regulation?

Full article: Inherently identifiable: Is it possible to anonymize health and genetic data?

DNS-over-HTTPS will eventually roll out in all major browsers

All six major browser vendors have plans to support DNS-over-HTTPS (or DoH), a protocol that encrypts DNS traffic and helps improve a user’s privacy on the web.

The DoH protocol has been one of the year’s hot topics. It’s a protocol that, when deployed inside a browser, it allows the browser to hide DNS requests and responses inside regular-looking HTTPS traffic.

Source: DNS-over-HTTPS will eventually roll out in all major browsers, despite ISP opposition | ZDNet

ICO concerned by mass health data-sharing with advertisers

The UK’s data regulator has expressed deep concerns over reports that some of the most popular health websites are sharing sensitive data with advertisers across the world.

The majority of prominent health websites embed tracking cookies in users’ browsers without explicit consent to allow third-party companies to track them while surfing the internet.

This data is then transmitted to a swathe of advertising platforms including Amazon and Facebook, with the majority of data sent to Google’s DoubleClick targeted ad platform. This includes information like medical symptoms, diagnoses, drug names and fertility information.

Source: ICO concerned by mass health data-sharing with advertisers | IT PRO

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