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Category Archives for "Technology"

To Track Virus, Governments Weigh Surveillance Tools That Push Privacy Limits

As the country scrambles to control the virus, government agencies are putting in place or considering a range of tracking and surveillance technologies that test the limits of personal privacy.

The technologies include everything from geolocation tracking that can monitor the locations of people through their phones to facial-recognition systems that can analyze photos to determine who might have come into contact with individuals who later tested positive for the virus.

Source: To Track Virus, Governments Weigh Surveillance Tools That Push Privacy Limits – WSJ

Ring’s work with police lacks solid evidence of reducing crime

Amazon pushes Ring as a crime-fighting tool. Data from three of Ring’s earliest police partnerships doesn’t back up that claim.

The data shows that crime continued to fluctuate, and analysts said that while many factors affect crime rates, such as demographics, median income and weather, Ring’s technology likely wasn’t one of them.

Source: Ring’s work with police lacks solid evidence of reducing crime – CNET

Study ranks the privacy of major browsers. Here are the findings

Upstart Brave browser gets the highest ratings. Chrome, Firefox and Safari fall between.

Microsoft Edge received the lowest privacy rating in a recently published study that compared the user information collected by major browsers. Yandex, the less-popular browser developed by the Russian Web search provider Yandex, shared that dubious distinction. Brave, the upstart browser that makes privacy a priority, ranked the highest.

Source: Study ranks the privacy of major browsers. Here are the findings | Ars Technica

Android surveillanceware operators jump on the coronavirus fear bandwagon

Researchers have uncovered a mobile surveillance campaign that has used more than 30 malicious Android apps to spy on targets over the past 11 months. Two of the most recent samples are exploiting the coronavirus by hiding off-the-shelf surveillanceware inside apps that promise to provide information about the ongoing pandemic.

One of the apps, “corona live 1.1,” is a trojanized version of “corona live,” a legitimate app that provides an interface to data found on tracker from Johns Hopkins University. Buried inside the spoofed app is a sample of SpyMax, a commercially available piece of surveillanceware that gives attackers real-time control of infected devices.

A second app used in the same campaign is called “Crona.” The campaign, which has been active since April 2019 at the latest, was discovered by researchers from mobile-security provider Lookout.

Source: Android surveillanceware operators jump on the coronavirus fear bandwagon | Ars Technica

Google Chrome 82 to Enhance Privacy via New Cookie Settings

Google is making progress on expanding the control users have over cookies in the Chrome browser with a new flag in Canary that enables an improved interface with more buttons and information.

The new Cookies user interface in Canary for Android shows four controls instead of just two currently available in the stable version of the browser. One option can prevent websites from reading and saving cookie data when browsing in incognito mode. The other option allows you to block all cookies.

Source: Google Chrome 82 to Enhance Privacy via New Cookie Settings

France issues first legal decision on facial recognition

The Administrative Court (TA) of Marseille has made its decision regarding the use of facial recognition technology at two French high schools.

In a hearing before the TA, with La Quadrature du Net, The Human Rights League, the FCPE and CGT Educ’Action des Alpes Maritimes, the installation of a facial recognition system at the entrance of two French high schools were discussed.

TA ruled against the installation of the technology, stating that its deployment violated the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as students were not able to provide consent “to the collection of personal data in a free and informed manner.”

Additionally, the court ruled that the technology was a disproportionate measure to manage the high school, especially with other alternative measures being available and less detrimental to students’ rights.

Source: #Privacy: France issues first legal decision on facial recognition

Google launches Verily site for coronavirus tests, sparking health privacy concerns 

Service requires users to sign in with personal accounts, but Google promises limits to sharing data.

Critics have questioned the data collection policies of the Verily site, including the need to use a Google account to sign into the program. Data privacy advocates like Ana Milicevic, principal and co-founder of Sparrow Advisors, a digital consulting firm, said the coronavirus site could collect sensitive personal information that could later be used in ways participants never intended.

Source: Google launches Verily site for coronavirus tests, sparking health privacy concerns | Ad Age

Proposed US law is “Trojan horse” to stop online encryption, critics say

Child-exploitation bill could dissuade companies from using end-to-end encryption.

Two Republicans and two Democrats in the US Senate have proposed a law that aims to combat sexual exploitation of children online, but critics of the bill call it a “Trojan horse” that could harm Americans’ security by reducing access to encryption.

The EARN IT (Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies) Act “would create incentives for companies to ‘earn’ liability protection for violations of laws related to online child sexual abuse material,” an announcement by the bill’s supporters said.

Source: Proposed US law is “Trojan horse” to stop online encryption, critics say | Ars Technica

China Develops Facial Recognition Tech to Identify People Wearing Coronavirus Masks

A major client of the Beijing-based Hanwang Technology Ltd, which developed this technology, is the Ministry of Public Security, which runs the police.

A Chinese company says it has developed the country’s first facial recognition technology that can identify people when they are wearing a mask, as most are these days because of the coronavirus, and help in the fight against the disease.

China employs some of the world’s most sophisticated systems of electronic surveillance, including facial recognition. But the coronavirus, which emerged in Hubei province late last year, has resulted in almost everyone wearing a surgical mask outdoors in the hope of warding off the virus, posing a particular problem for surveillance.

Source: China Develops Facial Recognition Tech to Identify People Wearing Coronavirus Masks

Clearview AI facial recognition app maker sued by Vermont

The complaint alleges that the facial recognition company’s scraping of images for its database violates state privacy laws.

Vermont’s complaint alleges Clearview AI violates the state’s Consumer Protection Act by collecting facial recognition data of Vermont residents, including children, without their consent. It also alleges that the “screen scraping” Clearview AI uses to collect the data violates the state’s new Data Broker Law, which targets companies that collect and sell data on consumers.

Source: Clearview AI facial recognition app maker sued by Vermont – CNET

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