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Students Are Rebelling Against Eye-Tracking Exam Surveillance Tools

Invasive test-taking software has become mandatory in many places, and some companies are retaliating against those who speak out.

he software turns students’ computers into powerful invigilators—webcams monitor eye and head movements, microphones record noise in the room, and algorithms log how often a test taker moves their mouse, scrolls up and down on a page, and pushes keys. The software flags any behavior its algorithm deems suspicious for later viewing by the class instructor.

Students’ and educators’ objections to exam proctoring software go beyond the privacy concerns around being watched and listened to in their bedrooms while they take a test. As more evidence emerges about how the programs work, and fail to work, critics say the tools are bound to hurt low-income students, students with disabilities, students with children or other dependents, and other groups who already face barriers in higher education.

Source: Students Are Rebelling Against Eye-Tracking Exam Surveillance Tools

MEPs raise concerns on EU plans for police facial recognition database

MEPs on the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee have questioned EU plans to establish a bloc-wide facial recognition database for use by police authorities, citing the potential abuse of data as well as the likelihood of false positives.

As part of a planned extension of the EU’s 2008 Prum Decision, which allows for the exchange of DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data, member states have proposed that police authorities be given powers that permit them to share facial images.

Source: MEPs raise concerns on EU plans for police facial recognition database – EURACTIV.com

Twitter Sued Over ‘Inadvertent’ Use Of Phone Numbers For Advertising

Twitter has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly drawing on users’ phone numbers to serve them with targeted ads.

Complaintant claims Twitter violated a Washington state law regarding the unlawful procurement of telephone numbers. Complaint comes almost one year after Twitter said it “inadvertently” allowed marketers to target people based on phone numbers and emails collected for security purposes.

Source: Twitter Sued Over ‘Inadvertent’ Use Of Phone Numbers For Advertising 09/23/2020

TikTok unclear on how old EU data will be transferred to new Irish data centre

TikTok has admitted that it will not retroactively transfer all EU personal data to its new data site in Ireland when the facility is completed next year, in a decision that could provoke concern among data protection activists in Europe.

The company currently stores EU personal data at sites in the United States and Singapore, but has plans to construct a €420 million site in Ireland in 2021, as a means to allay some of the worries related to the transmission of personal data from the EU, to countries with less stringent data protection regimes.

Source: TikTok unclear on how old EU data will be transferred to new Irish data centre – EURACTIV.com

Facebook Testing Implications of Privacy-Invading Tech By Invading People’s Privacy

Project Aria will send scores of Facebook workers into the world to record everything around them.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced a new project: the company would send out a hundred employees and contractors equipped with glasses that would record every piece of audio, visual, and spatial information possible in public and private spaces.

During its Facebook Connect livestream, the company dubbed this effort part of “Project Aria,” a new attempt to research augmented reality and help Facebook understand potential ethical or privacy-related problems with AR and AR glasses. It will also have the incidental benefit of freely extracting and analyzing staggering amounts of data to ostensibly train algorithms powering this future project.

Source: Facebook Testing Implications of Privacy-Invading Tech By Invading People’s Privacy

Instagram Sued For Privacy Violations Over Unauthorized Camera Access

On Thursday in the Northern District of California, Brittany Conditi filed a class-action complaint against Instagram and its parent company Facebook for invasion of privacy alleging that Instagram accessed users’ smartphone cameras when not using features that would require camera access, despite the defendants’ representations to the contrary.

According to the complaint, Instagram “has access to a user’s smartphone camera for the limited purpose of allowing users to directly take a photograph or video and then post that content to its platform.” Furthermore, Instagram “claims to only access users’ smartphone cameras with user permission, such as when a user is interacting with the Instagram application’s…camera feature.” According to the complaint, Instagram stated it does not access a user’s camera when the camera feature is not in use. However, the plaintiff proffered that Instagram “does more than it claims.”

Source: Instagram Sued For Privacy Violations Over Unauthorized Camera Access – Tech

US bans WeChat and TikTok

On September 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced detailed sanctions relating to the mobile applications WeChat and TikTok.

These prohibitions were issued in accordance with President Trump’s Executive Orders issued on August 6, 2020, imposing economic sanctions against the platforms. These orders, if they become fully effective, will (1) prohibit mobile app stores in the U.S. from permitting downloads or updates to the WeChat and TikTok mobile apps, (2) prohibit U.S. companies from providing Internet backbone services that enable the WeChat and TikTok mobile apps; and (3) prohibit U.S. companies from providing services through the WeChat mobile app for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments to or from parties.

However, U.S. Department of Commerce has suspended its prohibitions relating to TikTok downloads and updates for seven days (until September 27).

Source: Department of Commerce Notices on Prohibited Transactions Relating to WeChat and TikTok

EU Commission fears UK data protection regime ‘may change in the future’

The European Commission has concerns that certain aspects of the UK’s data protection regime may change in the future and negatively impact the safety of EU personal data when transferred to the country.

The EU executive is conducting an assessment of the UK’s data protection landscape as part of a so-called ‘adequacy-decision,’ in order to determine if EU data can safely be transferred to the UK after Brexit.

“While the UK applies EU data protection rules during the transition period, certain aspects of its system may change in the future, such as rules on international transfers,” a Commission source told EURACTIV on Tuesday (22 September).

Source: Commission fears UK data protection regime ‘may change in the future’ – EURACTIV.com

Facebook denies it will pull service in Europe over data transfer ban

Facebook’s head of global policy has denied the tech giant could close its service to Europeans if local regulators order it to suspend data transfers to the U.S. following a landmark Court of Justice ruling in July that has cemented the schism between U.S. surveillance laws and EU privacy rights.

However, he also warned of “profound effects” on scores of digital businesses if a way is not found by lawmakers on both sides of the pond to resolve the legal uncertainty around U.S. data transfers — making a pitch to politicians to come up with a new legal “sticking plaster” for EU-U.S. data transfers now that a flagship arrangement, called Privacy Shield, is dead.

Source: Facebook denies it will pull service in Europe over data transfer ban | TechCrunch

Shopify reports ‘rogue’ employees stole some customer data

The company’s software enables online shopping for other businesses, and in a blog post it revealed that two employees were caught “in a scheme to obtain customer transactional records of certain merchants.”

It’s unclear how much data they actually stole, which the blog post said came from fewer than 200 merchants. The information access included stuff like contact information as well as order details of what was purchased, but for now, the company says it did not include payment information like credit card or account numbers.

Source: Shopify reports ‘rogue’ employees stole some customer data | Engadget

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