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Tag Archives for " tracking "

Google and Apple are banning technology for sharing users’ location data

Google and Apple are trying to put a stop to X-Mode Social’s code that may be in some of the apps on your phone, tracking and selling your location data.

X-Mode works by giving developers code to put into their apps, known as an SDK, which tracks users’ location and then sends that data to X-Mode, which sells it. In return, X-Mode pays the developer a certain amount based on how many users the app has.

Now, Google and Apple have told developers to remove X-Mode’s code from their apps, or risk getting them pulled from their respective app stores.

Source: Google and Apple are banning technology for sharing users’ location data – The Verge

France fines Google $120M and Amazon $42M for dropping tracking cookies without consent

France’s data protection agency, the CNIL, has slapped Google and Amazon with fines for dropping tracking cookies without consent.

Google has been hit with a total of €100 million ($120 million) for dropping cookies on Google.fr and Amazon €35 million (~$42 million) for doing so on the Amazon .fr domain under the penalty notices issued on December 10.

The regulator carried out investigations of the websites over the past year and found tracking cookies were automatically dropped when a user visited the domains in breach of the country’s Data Protection Act.

Source: France fines Google $120M and Amazon $42M for dropping tracking cookies without consent

Amazon’s new health band is the most invasive tech ever tested by Washington Post

Amazon approached some aspects of Halo data more carefully than it has other recent products. The Halo does not send Amazon recordings of your voice, like its Echo smart speakers. Instead, it sends recordings to your phone for analysis, and then deletes the recordings from both. Your body fat photos are sent to Amazon’s cloud for processing, then deleted from its systems. 

The Halo privacy policy says Amazon won’t sell your data, share it without your explicit permission or use it to target you with sales pitches.

But that still leaves open plenty of other ways for Amazon to profit from your information. In an anonymized way, it can data mine the heart rate, activity, sleep and tone patterns of Halo owners, using the information to tailor its health algorithms and learn about human bodies. Make no mistake: Disrupting medicine is the next goal for big tech.

Full article: Amazon’s new health band is the most invasive tech we’ve ever tested

Apple takes aim at adtech hysteria over iOS app tracking change

Apple has used a speech to European lawmakers and privacy regulators today to come out jabbing at what SVP Craig Federighi described as dramatic, “outlandish” and “false” claims being made by the adtech industry over a forthcoming change to iOS that will give users the ability to decline app tracking.

The iPhone maker had been due to introduce the major privacy enhancement to the App Store this fall but delayed until early 2021 after the plan drew fire from advertising giants.

Source: Apple takes aim at adtech hysteria over iOS app tracking change

Feds logged website visitors in 2019, citing Patriot Act authority

The federal government gathered up visitor logs for some websites in 2019, the Office of Director of National Intelligence disclosed in letters made public this week. And the feds cited authority derived from a provision of the Patriot Act to do it.

The exchange begins with a May 20 letter from Wyden to the ODNI asking then-director Richard Grenell to explain if and how the federal government uses section 215 of the Patriot Act to obtain IP addresses and other Web browsing information.

As it turns out, one of those 61 orders did indeed result in the FBI gaining access to “information that could be characterized as information regarding ‘Web browsing.'” Specifically, federal investigators collected log entries for “a single, identified US Web page” showing IP addresses that accessed it from “a specified foreign country.”

Source: Feds logged website visitors in 2019, citing Patriot Act authority | Ars Technica

San Diego Plans for Military-Grade Drone to Catch Speeding Drivers

San Diego was supposed to be the site this year of a major drone project intended to show off the civilian capabilities of military-grade technology for monitoring things like wildfires and infrastructure. The players involved in the test flight obscured its other purpose: catching drivers who speed.

Office of Homeland Security had been supportive of General Atomics, a local defense contractor, in its attempt to open the skies above San Diego to new forms of surveillance.

Source: San Diego Kept Quiet on Plans for Military-Grade Drone to Catch Speeding Drivers — Voice of San Diego

Secret Amazon Reports Expose Company Spying on Labor, Environmental Groups

Leaked documents reveal Amazon’s reliance on Pinkerton operatives to spy on workers and its extensive monitoring of labor unions and social movements.

The documents show Amazon analysts closely monitor the labor and union-organizing activity of their workers throughout Europe, as well as environmentalist and social justice groups on Facebook and Instagram. They also indicate, and an Amazon spokesperson confirmed, that Amazon has hired Pinkerton operatives—from the notorious spy agency known for its union-busting activities—to gather intelligence on warehouse workers.

Source: Secret Amazon Reports Expose Company Spying on Labor, Environmental Groups

Microsoft Developing Workplace Surveillance System to ‘Score’ Meeting Productivity

A recent patent application reveals Microsoft is developing a “meeting insight computing system” that would monitor body language, facial expressions, and other features of participants in order to assign a “quality score” to workplace meetings.

According to the filing, the system could be applied both to in-person and remote meetings. Microsoft also introduced a “Productivity Score” last month which would have allowed organizations to monitor employees’ use of Microsoft products.

Source: EPIC – Microsoft Developing Workplace Surveillance System to ‘Score’ Meeting Productivity

Most Americans Object to Government Tracking of Their Activities Through Cellphones

A new survey found widespread concern among Americans about government tracking of their whereabouts through their digital devices, with an overwhelming majority saying that a warrant should be required to obtain such data.

A new Harris Poll survey indicated that 55% of American adults are worried that government agencies are tracking them through location data generated from their cellphones and other digital devices. The poll also found that 77% of Americans believe the government should get a warrant to buy the kind of data.

Source: Most Americans Object to Government Tracking of Their Activities Through Cellphones – WSJ

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

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