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Category Archives for "Surveillance"

EU Advocate General Issues Opinion on Consent for Cookies and Intersection with the GDPR

On March 21, 2019, Advocate General Szpunar released his opinion in the Planet49 case, currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The case centers on the use of consent for the processing of personal data and consent for the use of cookies.

In the Advocate General’s view, the pre-ticked box for cookies does not provide a valid active consent under the GDPR nor under the ePrivacy Directive. Moreover, he considers that the ePrivacy Directive’s consent requirement for cookies applies irrespective of whether the collected data qualify as personal data.

Source: EU Advocate General Issues Opinion on Consent for Cookies and Intersection with the GDPR

EU citizens being tracked on sensitive government sites

EU governments are allowing more than 100 advertising companies, including Google and Facebook, to surreptitiously track citizens across sensitive public sector websites, in apparent violation of their own EU data protection rules, a study has found.

Danish browser-analysis company Cookiebot found ad trackers — which log users’ locations, devices and browsing behaviours for advertisers — on the official government websites of 25 EU member states. The French government had the highest number of ad trackers on its site, with 52 different companies tracking users’ behaviour.

Source: EU citizens being tracked on sensitive government sites | Financial Times

How the tragic death of Do Not Track ruined the web for everyone

A decade ago, a simple browser setting – called Do Not Track – promised to make it easy to protect your online privacy from nosy advertisers. To opt out of being tracked, you’d check a box in your browser’s settings.

It was a great idea. Too bad it never came anywhere near to living up to its promise.

For all practical purposes, DNT died years ago. But Apple’s removal of the Do Not Track preference from Safari for Macs and iOS in an update in early February officially signaled the end of what might have been a workable understanding between consumers and the advertisers that rely on ad-tech networks to target them.

Full article: How the tragic death of Do Not Track ruined the web for everyone

Chrome will soon make it harder for websites to spy on you

A new feature coming to Chrome in the near future will allow users to limit the kind of data certain websites collect about them by blocking access to motion and light sensors on their device.

The feature will alert you if you visit a website that wants to access your sensors. A pop-up window will appear saying “This page is using motion or light sensors” and offers you the choice of allowing access to the sensors or blocking access on a page-per-page basis.

Source: Chrome will soon make it harder for websites to spy on you | TechRadar

The US Government Will Use Facial Recognition In Top Airports

US Customs and Border Protection is scrambling to implement “biometric entry-exit system,” with the goal of using facial recognition technology on travelers aboard 16,300 flights per week — or more than 100 million passengers traveling on international flights out of the United States — in as little as two years. This, despite questionable biometric confirmation rates and few, if any, legal guardrails.

Source: The US Government Will Use Facial Recognition In Top Airports

We’re not safe without information privacy

Left unchecked, in ten years, some of the biggest, most influential corporations will know (or have ready access to) not just your name, email address, phone number, age, sex/gender, credit card numbers, family relationships, friends, mother’s maiden name, first car, favorite food, various social media metrics, browsing history, purchase history, as well as a large collection of content authored and curated by you.

That’s already bad enough. But they might add to their dossiers on you such things as your social security number, credit score, criminal record, medical history, voting history, religion, political party, government benefits, and more.

Full article: We’re not safe without information privacy

Is there a way to use Facebook without giving up my privacy?

Facebook is useful for keeping in touch with friends and family, but you do really have to give it all your data?

While you can choose how much information you post on Facebook, and how widely you share it, your friends may already have given Facebook your email address as part of the “find friends” procedure. Some of them may also have posted images of you, mentioned you in comments, or linked to things you posted on other services. As a result, when you sign up, Facebook may already know who most of your friends are.

Full article: Is there a way to use Facebook without giving up my privacy? | Technology | The Guardian

China bans 23m from buying travel tickets as part of ‘social credit’ system

China has blocked millions of “discredited” travellers from buying plane or train tickets as part of the country’s controversial “social credit” system aimed at improving the behaviour of citizens.

Chinese courts banned would-be travellers from buying flights 17.5 million times by the end of 2018. Citizens placed on black lists for social credit offences were prevented from buying train tickets 5.5 million times.

Source: China bans 23m from buying travel tickets as part of ‘social credit’ system | World news | The Guardian

European Court of Human Rights to Reexamine Bulk Collection

On February 5, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) announced that the Grand Chamber will reexamine two cases concerning bulk interception: the joined petitions of Big Brother Watch and Others v. United Kingdom, Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Alice Ross v. the United Kingdom, and 10 Human Rights Organisations v. the United Kingdom (collectively called “Big Brother Watch”), and Centrum för rättvisa v. Sweden (“Centrum”).

Source: European Court of Human Rights to Reexamine Bulk Collection

Second rise for the ‘Do Not Track’

In recent years, the setting has been criticized as being essentially meaningless. But it might have a crucial role to play in enforcing privacy regulations.

In January 2017 the European Commission announced an initiative to update the ePrivacy Regulation, a proposal that would revisit a 15-year-old directive dealing with privacy protections and how users consent to being tracked by cookies (websites served to citizens of the European Union are required to ask for consent for the use of cookies).

Among the goals of the new ePrivacy Regulation was cleaning up “cookie pop-up” mess by requiring some sort of standardized and automatic process that is transparent to users.

Source: A Second Life for the ‘Do Not Track’ Setting—With Teeth

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