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Category Archives for "Surveillance"

Kindle Collects a Surprisingly Large Amount of Data

Reading a book on a Kindle sends Amazon a lot of data about reading habits. How fast pages are turned, font sizes and views, and device details.

The Kindle sends device information, usage metadata, and details about every interaction with the device (or app) while it’s being used. All of this is linked directly to the reader account.

Opening the app, reading a book, flipping through a few pages, then closing the book sends over 100 requests to Amazon servers.

Full article: Kindle Collects a Surprisingly Large Amount of Data

The Case Against Google Analytics for Organizations Collecting Personal Data

Almost 30 million website owners choose Google Analytics to gather data about their visitors. But even if you trust Google’s data privacy policies, Google Analytics still may not be the best option.

The biggest cost lies in how the data Google Analytics collects is used and shared. From Google Analytics, the data ends up all over the world for use in Google’s advertising products.

Full article: The Case Against Google Analytics for Organizations Collecting Personal Data – CPO Magazine

CBP Now Has a Massive Searchable Database for Devices Seized at the Border

The US border agency will be able to sift through data extracted from travelers’ laptops and cellphones for up to 75 years.

Every year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents seize tens of thousands of cell phones, laptops, and other devices from travelers at or near the country’s borders, often without charging them with a specific crime. Those seizures give the agency access to massive amounts of highly personal information—data that CBP will now upload to a searchable, agency-wide surveillance database and maintain for up to 75 years, according to a privacy assessment recently published by the agency.

Source: CBP Now Has a Massive Searchable Database for Devices Seized at the Border

Facebook says Apple’s new privacy rules could spare its own apps but hit smaller companies

Facebook warned that privacy changes coming from Apple could hurt smaller developers such as gaming companies disproportionately but will likely leave its own apps mostly unscathed.

Facebook said it was making a change to its own apps – which in addition to its flagship app also include WhatsApp and Instagram – that would likely spare them from having to ask iPhone users for data-tracking permissions that many advertising industry insiders believe users will refuse.

Source: Facebook says Apple’s new privacy rules could spare its own apps but hit smaller companies – Reuters

Surveillance Scandal Involving U.S. Intelligence Hits Denmark

Denmark has been rocked by a surveillance scandal in which private citizens’ data was allegedly collected by military intelligence and then shared with foreign powers.

The revelations, brought forward by a whistle-blower, have already resulted in several high-level dismissals at the agency.

Source: Surveillance Scandal Involving U.S. Intelligence Hits Denmark

Lincolnshire Police to trial new CCTV tech that can tell if you’re in a mood

New facial-recognition technology enabling people’s moods to be picked up by CCTV is set to be trialled by Lincolnshire Police.

Officers will be able to enter searches for people wearing hats and glasses – and can even find those showing a certain mood or expression.

Source: Lincolnshire Police to trial new CCTV tech that can tell if you’re in a mood – Lincolnshire Live

Security leak reveals Chinese government surveillance of more ethnic minorities

Ms Markson, on her program on Sky News, has revealed how Chinese activists have now uncovered a new facial recognition database targeting an ethnic minority group.

The Chinese Communist Party has previously used facial recognition to target minority groups including the Uighurs and Tibetans, by using high-tech surveillance which is then mobilized to imprison dissidents in indoctrination camps.

Source: Security leak reveals Chinese government surveillance of more ethnic minorities | Sky News Australia

Popular fertility app Premom shared data without user consent

The popular fertility app Premom asks users to upload details about their sexual health to receive personalized, remote analysis to help predict how to get pregnant.

But Premom’s app for Android was also collecting a broad swath of data about its users and sharing it without their permission with three Chinese companies focused on advertising.

While many apps use third parties to collect analytics or target ads, IDAC researchers say Premom users had no way of opting out of this tracking by both the app and the third parties that received their data, which IDAC contends was a violation of Google’s rules.

Source: Popular fertility app Premom shared data without user consent, researchers say – The Washington Post

Secret Service Bought Phone Location Data from Apps, Contract Confirms

An internal Secret Service document describes the purchase of Locate X, a product that uses location data harvested from ordinary apps.

The sale highlights the issue of law enforcement agencies buying information, and in particular location data, that they would ordinarily need a warrant or court order to obtain. This contract relates to the sale of Locate X, a product from a company called Babel Street.

Source: Secret Service Bought Phone Location Data from Apps, Contract Confirms

How Smartphone Location Tracking Works, and What You Can Do About It 

Smartphone location data, often used by marketers, has been useful for studying the spread of the coronavirus. But the information raises troubling privacy questions.

The fact that companies are collecting, storing and selling location information about individuals at all presents risks. Hackers or people with access to raw location data could identify or follow a person without consent, by pinpointing, for example, which phone regularly spent time at that person’s home address.

Full article: How Smartphone Location Tracking Works, and What You Can Do About It – The New York Times

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