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Tag Archives for " data "

How an ICE Contractor Tracks Phones Around the World

Venntel, a government contractor that sells location data of smartphones to U.S. law enforcement agencies including ICE, CBP, and the FBI, gathers information through a highly complex supply chain of advertising firms, data resellers, and ultimately innocuous-looking apps installed on peoples’ phones around the world.

Although it’s not clear if Venntel ultimately provides all data generated from this specific supply chain to agencies such as ICE, the documents provide much deeper and previously unreported insight into how data moves from apps, middlemen companies, and through to data brokers. In this case, Venntel.

Source: How an ICE Contractor Tracks Phones Around the World

ICE Is Trying To Force BuzzFeed News To Divulge Its Sources

Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators issued a subpoena this week demanding BuzzFeed News identify its sources — an extraordinary attempt by the government to interfere with a news outlet acting under the protections of the First Amendment.

The subpoena appears to be an escalation of the Trump administration’s efforts to track down the identities of people who provide information to news outlets.

Source: ICE Is Trying To Force BuzzFeed News To Divulge Its Sources

Researchers Explore Privacy Techniques to Protect Against Re-Identification of Genomic Information

It’s the stuff of science fiction: adversaries extract DNA information from a cup of coffee or postage stamp and use it infer one’s most private traits.

However, a recently released study entitled, “Data Sanitization to Reduce Private Information Leakage from Functional Genomics” discusses how this can be achieved, along with privacy measures that the life sciences and research community can use to help limit the risks to identifiable health information.

Source: Researchers Explore Privacy Techniques to Protect Against Re-Identification of Genomic Information

CBP proposes to require mug shots of all non-US citizen travelers

CBP issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that wouldn’t apply to US citizens, but would require all non-US citizens, including permanent US residents (green-card holders) to be photographed whenever they enter or leave the US by any means: air, land, or sea.

This proposed rule is for collection of biometrics from international travelers at airports, cruise ports, and land borders. There’s a separate pending proposal for collection of biometrics including fingerprints and DNA samples, in advance of travel, from visa applicants, other would-be US visitors, and their US sponsors.

Source: CBP proposes to require mug shots of all non-US citizen travelers – Papers, Please!

IRS Could Search Warrantless Location Database Over 10,000 Times

The IRS was able to query a database of location data quietly harvested from ordinary smartphone apps over 10,000 times, according to a copy of the contract between IRS and the data provider obtained by Motherboard.

The document provides more insight into what exactly the IRS wanted to do with a tool purchased from Venntel, a government contractor that sells clients access to a database of smartphone movements. The Inspector General is currently investigating the IRS for using the data without a warrant to try to track the location of Americans.

Source: IRS Could Search Warrantless Location Database Over 10,000 Times

DHS Plans to Start Collecting Eye Scans and DNA

US Department of Homeland Security is planning to collect unprecedented levels of biometric information from immigration applicants and their sponsors — including U.S. citizens.

While some types of applicants have long been required to submit photographs and fingerprints, a rule currently under consideration would require practically everyone applying for any kind of status, or detained by immigration enforcement agents, to provide iris scans, voiceprints and palmprints, and, in some cases, DNA samples. A tangled web of defense and surveillance contractors, which operate with little public oversight, have already begun to build the infrastructure that would be needed to store these records.

Source: DHS Plans to Start Collecting Eye Scans and DNA

Disaster apps share personal data in violation of their privacy policies

Madelyn Sanfilippo – professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – and a team of experts tracked the personal data sent by popular disaster apps and examined whether those practices conformed to their own privacy policies and government regulations.

The research team looked at 15 apps, selected based on their popularity or the fact that they were recommended in news articles or promoted by app markets. Researchers found that many of them ignore their own privacy policies, capture location data as the default setting as soon as the apps are launched and don’t identify all third parties that might receive personal data.

Source: Disaster apps share personal data in violation of their privacy policies

DEA Pursues Vast Expansion of Patient Surveillance

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is looking to expand its anti-diversion surveillance infrastructure by being able to search and analyze myriad patient behaviors for the vast majority of controlled and scheduled drug prescriptions—all accompanied by a rapid process for legally unveiling personally identifying information.

In early September, the agency requested proposals for the creation of software capable of searching at least 85 percent of all US residents’ controlled-substance prescriptions for certain patient behaviors, as well as prescriber and pharmacist practices.

Source: DEA Pursues Vast Expansion of Patient Surveillance

Tim Berners-Lee launches enterprise-friendly decentralised web platform in move to ‘restore power on the web’

Tim Berners-Lee has launched an enterprise-friendly decentralised web platform using the open-source technology, Solid, to “restore power” on the web.

On November 9, founding father of the World Wide Web, Berners-Lee – in collaboration with John Bruce – launched Enterprise Solid Server, the enterprise-friendly infrastructure that supports the company’s decentralised web platform, Inrupt.

The premise of the technology is straightforward: store your personal information separately in a personal “pod” (personal online data store) and share only what is necessary with services only when you are using them.

Source: Tim Berners-Lee launches enterprise-friendly decentralised web platform in move to ‘restore power on the web’

Forensic Genealogy Cracks Cold Cases Amid Privacy Concerns

Millions of people will unwrap at-home ancestry testing kits this holiday season and eagerly swab their cheeks and mail in the saliva, hoping their DNA will unlock clues about their heritage or reveal long-lost relatives.

The tests, which can cost as little as $59, offer entertainment and a chance to uncover family secrets. But with law enforcement increasingly mining the DNA databases to solve cold cases, as in the arrest last week of a Lehigh County man suspected in the 1969 murder of a San Diego woman, experts say consumers should think about their privacy when they hand over their DNA.

Source: Forensic Genealogy Cracks Cold Cases Amid Privacy Concerns | Pennsylvania News | US News

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