Privacy advocates are up in arms over reports that the U.S. government is harvesting cell phone and email data from major Internet companies, including Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Through a supposed top secret program codenamed PRISM, the National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI have what appears to be unfettered access to emails, chat logs, voice calls, videos, photographs, documents, and more.
From 2008 to 2010, Google's Street View team collected personal data without consent.
For a company that earned more than $50 billion in consolidated revenues last year, a $7 million fine is the very definition of a slap on the wrist, but hey, it mostly goes to lawyers anyway. That's the amount Google agreed to pay to settle a Street View privacy lawsuit with 37 states and the District of Columbia, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today. In addition to the fine, Google agreed to secure and destroy information it improperly collected from March 2008 to March 2010.
Even the Zuckerbergs aren't immune to Facebook's murky privacy controls.
Facebook co-founder and billionaire whiz-kid Mark Zuckerberg may think that everything's all hunky-dory with his social networking site, but his sister Randi might have a different opinion. A former marketing director at Facebook, Randi posted a picture to her Facebook Timeline of her family reacting to a new "poke" application. A friend saw the photo of the semi-private moment and, much to Randi's dismay, posted it to Twitter.
You can relax, Instagram isn't selling your photos, the service claims.
Normally when someone claims big brother is tracking their every move, we'd recommend rolling an aluminum foil deflector beanie to stay one step ahead of 'the man,' but what happens if they were right all along? Like something out of a suspense thriller, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) got caught in possession of millions of Apple device user IDs, and suddenly everyone is playing dumb. Here's what happened.
Windows 8, for those of you who don’t know, relies on something called SmartScreen Application Reputation to identify and warn users of potentially dangerous desktop apps. According to Microsoft, the operating system uses SmartScreen, which was previously restricted to Internet Explorer, to conduct “an application reputation check the first time you launch applications that come from the Internet.” With SmartScreen providing an additional layer of security to Windows 8 users, they will have a lot less to worry about, right? Wrong, according to Canadian security researcher Nadim Kobeissi, who has a serious issue with the way the feature works.
Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit consumer education and advocacy organization operating out of California, has filed a motion in U.S. District Court opposing Google's $22.5 million settlement with with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier this month. The organization isn't happy with the fine amount, but just as important, it doesn't believe Google should be able to deny any wrongdoing.
Privacy advocates aren't going to like this one, but a 2-1 ruling in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has given law enforcement officials the legal right to track suspects by cell phone in real-time without first obtaining a warrant. The ruling revolves around a case in which Melvin Skinner, a convicted drug trafficker, sought to have his charges dismissed on the basis that his arrest ran afoul of the Fourth Amendment.
In a 3-1-1 vote (three approvals, one dissent, and one not participating), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accepted final terms of a settlement with Facebook to resolve charges that the social networking site engaged in deceptive privacy practices. Terms of the settlement do include a monetary fine, as was the case with Google, which agreed to pay a record $22.5 million penalty to the FTC to settle a different set of alleged privacy violations.
Google has agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle charges with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging the sultan of search placed tracking cookies on computers running Apple's Safari browser that effectively bypassed the browser's built-in privacy measures. It's the largest fine ever handed out by the FTC, and one the government organization hopes will serve as a deterrent to other companies who might look to profit at the expense of privacy.