privacy

Hannah Kuchler

Facebook is facing a fresh legal challenge on whether it can use children’s images in adverts without the consent of their parents, its latest in a long line of privacy battlesRead more

Tim Bradshaw

Friday’s Personal Tech column reviewed the Narrative Clip, a small wearable camera that takes a photo every 30 seconds. Although it is a well-made product, I encountered some difficulties with the privacy aspects of wearing such a device, and felt that the images it produced were not worth the social awkwardness that it created.

Narrative’s co-founders are a thoughtful bunch and Oskar Kalmaru, the start-up’s chief marketing officer, sent the FT these comments in response: Read more

Mark Zuckerberg accused the US government of bad PR, saying it failed to communicate the balance of security and economic interests behind its internet surveillance efforts – in turn creating a massive PR problem for Facebook.

“I think the government blew it,” he said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. “It’s my job and our job to protect everyone who uses Facebook and the information they share with us. It’s our government’s job to protect all of us and also to protect our freedoms and protect the economy and companies. And I think they did a bad job of balancing those things.” Read more

Federal judges evaluated the privacy and free speech implications of a California law that would create a database of online identities for sex offenders, noting the shift in public sentiment around such data collection since voters passed the law last November and today, as revelations about the US’s monitoring of online communications continue to emerge.

“We’re living in a post-Snowden world,” said Judge Jay Bybee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, referencing the surveillance practices revealed by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden and questioning whether a database of email addresses and online identities intended to help solve sex crimes could be used to monitor people’s political speech.

Mr Bybee was one of three judges hearing oral arguments in a case about Proposition 35, the California law that requires convicted sex offenders to register their email addresses and user names for online news sites and social networks. The initiative was passed by a majority of voters last November, after receiving financial backing from Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief privacy officer between 2005 and 2009. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

Google has lost an appeal in a case about its controversial Street View feature, after a panel of judges rejected its claim that wiretapping laws did not apply to its accidental interception of household WiFi data.

The long-running case came to a head on Tuesday when the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that private Wi-Fi networks could not be considered radio communication. Google had argued household wireless internet should be considered in the same category as radio, as data “readily accessible to the general public”, which would make it exempt from the Wiretap Act.

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(and only one is, can we play with it?)

In a letter to Google chief executive Larry Page, the officials – from the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Israel, Switzerland and three Canadian provinces – have formally raised their concerns about Glass.

Here are their questions and our brief commentary: Read more

The privacy row over Google Glass has forced Google do an unusually Apple-like thing: block applications.

Despite repeated attempts to reassure the public that Google would not include face recognition in its Glass project without the appropriate privacy controls, the search giant has been unable to silence privacy campaigners or curb the aspirations of third party developers who are keen to exploit the new technology. Read more

“Die, my dear doctor? That is the last thing I shall do.” — the last words of former British prime minister Lord Palmerston.

Of course, he never had to worry about leaving behind a Facebook profile, an email account, or other abandoned online haunts.

The question of what happens to our online real estate after we die is a sensitive subject, as people grow concerned that what gets left behind could be used illegally or, even worse, become a source of post-mortem embarrassment.

In an effort to address these issues, Google has rolled out “Inactive Account Manager”, which can be set up to delete an account, send messages, and even share data in the event of an untimely demise.

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More New Year’s resolutions for 2013 and sacrifices for Lent involve cutting down on Facebook.

More than a quarter of US Facebook users said they planned to spend less time on the social network in the coming year, according to new survey results released Tuesday. And almost two-thirds said they have taken a “Facebook Vacation” in the past, logging off the social network for several weeks at a time to get a break from their friends’ gossip and dinner reports.

Being “too busy” was the number one reason for taking the hiatus, while concerns about privacy and advertising ranked low in the explanations offered to surveyors from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Read more

US privacy advocates are urging US government officials not to “stand in the way” of European efforts to strengthen privacy laws in Europe.

On Monday, 18 American consumer and privacy NGOs sent a letter addressed to the US attorney general, secretary of state, and other top Obama administration officials, asking them to pull back on an intense lobbying campaign led by the US technology industry, and instead collaborate on the development of privacy laws in Europe and the US that give consumers more control over the collection and use of personal data over the internet. Read more