Pew Surveys Americans’ Trust in Use of Facial Recognition

Although numerous U.S. municipalities have decried facial recognition technologies as “coercive and oppressive,” 56 percent of ordinary U.S. citizens trust law enforcement to use the technologies responsibly. That’s one of the findings of the Pew Research Center, which also learned that 73 percent of those polled believe facial recognition can accurately identify people. The level of trust in law enforcement is surprising given recent incidents in which people have been incorrectly identified, even as terrorists. Continue reading Pew Surveys Americans’ Trust in Use of Facial Recognition

Facebook, FBI Face Brewing Conflict Over Data Collection

Facebook, which has been under scrutiny for its privacy policies, just settled with the U.S. government for a record $5 billion fine. But the FBI has now complicated that picture by more aggressively monitoring potential threats on all social media platforms. Last month, the FBI asked for third party vendors to submit proposals by August 27 for examining public data to “proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests” on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Continue reading Facebook, FBI Face Brewing Conflict Over Data Collection

Microsoft Calls On Congress to Regulate Facial Recognition

Microsoft is calling for regulation of facial recognition technology, with president Bradford Smith writing a blog post detailing its potential misuse, and comparing it to medicine and cars, both of which are highly regulated. He urged Congress to act, saying that, “government needs to play an important role in regulating facial recognition technology,” and that, “a world with vigorous regulation of products that are useful but potentially troubling is better than a world devoid of legal standards.” Continue reading Microsoft Calls On Congress to Regulate Facial Recognition

New Legislation Increases Government Access to Online Data

Congress quietly passed controversial legislation last week that was folded into the massive $1.3 trillion spending deal signed by President Trump. The CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act) enables U.S. investigators to access information stored on overseas cloud servers. New legislation could bring an end to the ongoing battle between law enforcement and major tech players. However, a number of civil liberty and privacy rights groups believe the law could also make it easier for other governments to spy on dissidents and collect data on U.S. citizens. Continue reading New Legislation Increases Government Access to Online Data

Experts Ponder Implications of IoT Vulnerabilities and Risks

The Internet of Things is now made up of approximately 8.4 billion devices, in cars, voice-activated assistants, home security systems, personal fitness trackers and health-monitoring devices. Much of the “connection” is behind the scenes and involves machine learning-enhanced communication. But an increasing number of IoT products are embedded in the things of daily life, from toothbrushes and dental floss to baby monitors, umbrellas and remote-controlled pet food dispensers. Security and safety issues are now a focus. Continue reading Experts Ponder Implications of IoT Vulnerabilities and Risks

CalECPA: California Governor Signs Landmark Privacy Law

California Governor Jerry Brown last week signed a new law designed to protect digital privacy rights. The California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA) mandates that a warrant is required in order for state law enforcement agencies or investigators to compel businesses to turn over metadata or digital communications such as emails, texts, and cloud-stored documents. Additionally, it requires a warrant for the tracking or searching of electronic devices. The White House, meanwhile, has backed down on its battle with tech companies over encrypted data of digital devices. Continue reading CalECPA: California Governor Signs Landmark Privacy Law

Tech Industry Urges President to Not Weaken Encryption Tech

Tech companies including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft joined Internet security experts and civil liberties organizations this week to draft a letter to President Obama warning that a “backdoor” for U.S. law enforcement could also serve as a backdoor for hackers and other governments. The Obama administration has been considering whether companies should only be allowed to use encryption that provides law enforcement with unscrambled access (or a “backdoor”). Critics are concerned about weakening encryption tech that protects Internet communications. Continue reading Tech Industry Urges President to Not Weaken Encryption Tech

NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

According to top-secret 2011 documents released by Edward Snowden, the NSA is collecting online images of people for its facial recognition programs. As estimated in the documents, the agency intercepts about 55,000 images that have facial-recognition quality. Civil liberties advocates are concerned that these technologies could result in an invasion of privacy. However, neither privacy nor surveillance laws protect against the government’s use of facial images. Continue reading NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

Expect an Emphasis on Privacy and Security at SXSW Festival

The SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Festival kicks off in Austin, Texas today. The interactive portion of the conference, now in its 21st year, has grown to hundreds of sessions. Privacy, security, wearable tech, the Internet of Things and 3D printing are expected to be hot topics. On Monday, the show will host a conversation between NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (via videoconference) and Christopher Soghoian of the American Civil Liberties Union. Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, is also scheduled to speak. Continue reading Expect an Emphasis on Privacy and Security at SXSW Festival

Phone Companies Begin Selling Customer Data to Marketers

Major phone companies have begun selling data related to their subscribers’ locations, travels, interests and Web browsing habits. The availability of such data provides a long-anticipated and powerful tool for marketers, but not surprisingly raises a number of privacy concerns. Mining data for profit marks a shift in the relationship between carriers and subscribers, similar to what is typically expected today with services such as Google and Facebook. Continue reading Phone Companies Begin Selling Customer Data to Marketers