In August, The Associated Press published an investigation into how Google handles the data it collects, following a curious discovery by a graduate researcher at U.C. Berkeley. For years, the company has allowed users to control their “location history,” which stores a detailed record of where they’ve been, based primarily on their activity in Google Maps. This, the researcher suggested -- and The A.P. confirmed -- did not work as advertised. “Some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking,” the reporters found.
This week, 23andMe shut down external apps’ access to its anonymized genomic data through its application programming interface. 23andMe was the first DNA testing company to open an API, back in 2012, and the idea at the time was to “allow authorized developers to build a broad range of new applications and tools for the 23andMe community.”
The latest survey from the Census Bureau shows that most Americans are not that concerned about online privacy…but the government agency that commissioned the research seems to be misinterpreting its own data. Since 1994, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has regularly commissioned the U.S. Census Bureau to conduct surveys on Internet use and adoption.
U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia said in a statement to the AP that if a Google user disables the setting, called Location History, it is "perfectly reasonable for that person to expect that apps will not continue tracking their location." Warner said the fact it does not is a "frustratingly common" experience for technology users.
Is Google following your every move? As it turns out, even when you opt to limit Google's ability to track your location when using its search function or apps, some of your time-stamped location data is still being automatically stored.
If there is one single matter that worries tech leaders today it is the difficulty in conciliating innovation and regulation. Most companies, from tech giants to startups, are still trying to adjust to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and yet more of the same is coming. The next step will be the adoption of the EU’s ePrivacy Regulation, which will be published toward the end of 2018 or early 2019.
The data offered a strikingly complete picture of the voting histories and political leanings of the American electorate laid out in an easily downloadable format, said cybersecurity researcher Chris Vickery. He discovered the unprotected files of 198 million voters in a routine scan of the Internet last week and alerted law enforcement officials.
They’re all pretty much as bad as Onavo, and some are arguably much worse. The cliché “If you aren’t paying for the product you are the product” really isn’t true these days, given how many companies now hoover your private data whether you sign up for a paying service or not, but it’s absolutely true that “free” VPNs are little more than scams.
In recent months, new privacy rules have gone into effect in the European Union and have been adopted by state of California. Is it time for U.S. privacy legislation at the federal level? On July 26, the Center for Technology Innovation hosted a panel of experts from think tanks, industry, and trade groups to consider this question.
The paper addresses the most pressing concerns critics have raised about tech companies in recent months: the spread of disinformation, protecting users' privacy and competition among tech companies, according to Axios.