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Category Archives for "Surveillance"

Amazon faces backlash over using Sidewalk for neighborhood networks

Amazon customers are being automatically opted in to Sidewalk, a feature set to launch later this year that the company says will connect Alexa devices to nearby WiFi networks, even those owned by someone else.

Sidewalk uses Alexa devices, including Echo and Ring video doorbells, to create a “shared network” meant to help “devices work better,” Amazon said in an email to device owners. It allows nearby devices to use a portion of a neighbor’s WiFi bandwidth so devices can have more range.

Source: Amazon faces backlash over using Sidewalk for neighborhood networks – Business Insider

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

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

Apple hits out at campaign group’s ‘inaccurate’ privacy complaint

Apple has strongly denied claims from privacy campaigners that it has breached Europe’s ePrivacy directive through its Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA).

The non-profit campaign group Noyb said that the Apple operating system on iPhones creates IDFA without the user’s knowledge or consent, thereby breaching Europe’s Privacy Directive.

However a spokesperson for Apple, responding to the allegations, said: “The claims made against Apple in this complaint are factually inaccurate and we look forward to making that clear to privacy regulators should they examine the complaint. Apple does not access or use the IDFA on a user’s device for any purpose.

Source: Apple hits out at campaign group’s ‘inaccurate’ privacy complaint

How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps

A Muslim prayer app with over 98 million downloads is one of the apps connected to a wide-ranging supply chain that sends ordinary people’s personal data to brokers, contractors, and the military.

The U.S. military is buying the granular movement data of people around the world, harvested from innocuous-seeming apps, Motherboard has learned. The most popular app among a group Motherboard analyzed connected to this sort of data sale is a Muslim prayer and Quran app that has more than 98 million downloads worldwide. Others include a Muslim dating app, a popular Craigslist app, an app for following storms, and a “level” app that can be used to help, for example, install shelves in a bedroom.

Source: How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps

Apple hit with privacy complaints over iPhone tracking tool

A privacy group Noyb has filed complaints with the German and Spanish data protection authorities under the EU’s Cookie Law against Apple over a tool in iOS 14 that allegedly tracks iPhone user behaviour without consent.

The group claims that Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) activates when a user sets up an iPhone without offering a chance to consent or even notifying them of its existence.

Source: Apple hit with privacy complaints over iPhone tracking tool | IT PRO

Rights Activists Slam EU Plan for Access to Encrypted Chats

Digital rights campaigners on Monday criticized a proposal by European Union governments that calls for communications companies to provide authorities with access to encrypted messages.

“Anyone who finds an open back door into my house can enter it, the same is true for back doors in software,” German Left party lawmaker Domscheit-Berg said. “The proposed EU regulation is an attack on the integrity of digital infrastructure and therefore very dangerous.”

Source: Rights Activists Slam EU Plan for Access to Encrypted Chats | SecurityWeek.Com

EU inches closer to ban on end-to-end encryption

The Council of the European Union appears to have a near-completed resolution that would propose a ban on the use of end-to-end encryption on off-the-shelf apps such as WhatsApp and Signal, according to a leaked document.

The memo, dated 6 November and addressed to representatives from EU member states, reveals that strong encryption remains a priority for lawmakers but that the availability of end-to-end encryption has made it overly difficult for law enforcement to conduct investigations.

Source: EU inches closer to ban on end-to-end encryption | IT PRO

Leaks and lawsuits blight Russia facial recognition

The rise of cloud computing and AI technologies have popularised the technology globally, with supporters saying it promises greater security and efficiency.

With more than 105,000 cameras, Moscow boasts one of the world’s most comprehensive surveillance systems. It became fully operational this year and authorities say it has cut crime and helped the city enforce coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

But the backlash is growing, too, as critics say benefits come at the cost of lost privacy and increased surveillance. The rights activists say cameras have been used to monitor political rallies and a lack of clear rules allows for abuse.

Full article: Leaks and lawsuits blight Russia facial recognition

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