New Reports Reveal Unsettling Facts About Voice Assistants

Microsoft reports that 41 percent of those using voice assistants are concerned about “trust, privacy and passive listening.” Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft, the major voice assistant providers, rely on humans to review collected voice data — although most people are unaware of this. Bloomberg also delved into Amazon’s Alexa team following a report that the company reviews audio clips from commands. Five employees familiar with the program revealed they can “in some cases easily find a customer’s home address.” Continue reading New Reports Reveal Unsettling Facts About Voice Assistants

TikTok to Pay Record Fine After Violating Children’s Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission just inked a settlement with video social network TikTok (which merged with Musical.ly last year) over the charge that its app illegally collected children’s personal information. A large percent of users are under 13, and the personal information collected — without asking for parental permission — included email addresses, names and schools. The site refused to delete video and other data when requested by some parents. The FTC said the $5.7 million settlement is a record for a child privacy violation. Continue reading TikTok to Pay Record Fine After Violating Children’s Privacy

Facebook Lists its Privacy Principles as EU’s Data Laws Loom

Before the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25, Facebook plans to debut a new privacy center that will be a hub for all its privacy settings. The company also published its “privacy principles” for the first time, with details of how it handles user information. Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says the result will be a “good foundation” for meeting GDPR’s requirements. The GDPR limits how technology companies collect, store and utilize users’ personal information. Continue reading Facebook Lists its Privacy Principles as EU’s Data Laws Loom

Google Developing New Service for Paying Bills Within Gmail

Google is working on a project called “Pony Express,” which plans to enable Gmail users to receive and pay bills within their email. The service — whether it is named Pony Express or something else — is reportedly slated to launch in the fourth quarter. Google is working with vendors that provide billing services for insurance and telecom companies, utilities, etc. It is not clear whether the company plans to monetize the service, but it could provide Google with data for entering new industries and targeting advertisements. Continue reading Google Developing New Service for Paying Bills Within Gmail

Apple Pay Mobile Payments Service Experiences Growth in Fraud

Banks are scrambling to tighten security measures as Apple’s mobile payments service experiences a growing incidence of fraud. Criminals are lifting credit card numbers and stealing identities through Apple Pay by reportedly exploiting vulnerabilities in the verification process. Some banks may make it too easy for customers to authenticate numbers when adding cards. According to one expert, fraud may account for about 6 percent of Apple Pay transactions, compare to only 0.1 percent of credit card-swiping transactions. Continue reading Apple Pay Mobile Payments Service Experiences Growth in Fraud

Why Analysts Are Concerned About the JP Morgan Data Breach

In an era of system hacks becoming more common, JP Morgan is the latest to report a massive breach of customer information. While the company believed a few weeks ago that only one million accounts were affected, it now reports that 76 million households and 8 million small businesses were part of the data breach. While recent breaches have largely involved retailers, some analysts are more concerned about the JP Morgan case, especially since banks tend to have more sensitive data about their customers. Continue reading Why Analysts Are Concerned About the JP Morgan Data Breach

Apple’s Open Letter Explains Privacy Tips, Security Methods

Following the iCloud security breach involving controversial celebrity photos, Apple is trying to regain consumer trust by encouraging users to utilize their new and pre-existing security features. The company revealed how it encrypts messages and offered tips for protecting user data in a newly-launched website. In the open letter, Apple CEO Tim Cook takes a swing at Google for monetizing users’ private data and reassures Apple users that their data is safe from the government. Continue reading Apple’s Open Letter Explains Privacy Tips, Security Methods

Verizon Settlement is Largest in FCC History Involving Privacy

Following an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission regarding the use of customer information for marketing campaigns, Verizon has agreed to pay a settlement to the federal government. The FCC investigated allegations that Verizon used personal information without notifying customers or obtaining their consent. To end the investigation, Verizon will pay $7.4 million to the U.S. Treasury and notify its customers of their opt-out rights on every bill for the next three years. Continue reading Verizon Settlement is Largest in FCC History Involving Privacy

Facebook Changes News Feed Results, Apologizes to Users

Earlier this week, Adam D. I. Kramer, the Facebook data scientist in charge of a study about the impact of news feed content, posted a public apology on his Facebook page for the anxiety caused by recent research. The study sparked a public outcry when users discovered that Facebook had manipulated the news feed results of over 500,000 randomly selected users. The company changed the number of positive and negative posts users saw to study how emotions are spread on social media. Continue reading Facebook Changes News Feed Results, Apologizes to Users

Facebook Updates Privacy Policy, Details Use of Personal Data

Facebook announced that it is updating its privacy policy to remind users that their data can be used by advertisers. Facebook has made changes to two legal documents in order to make it clear that users grant Facebook the right to share their name, profile picture and content with advertisers. While Facebook’s policy has never been a secret, Facebook hopes to make their rules more explicit for users who may have been confused. Continue reading Facebook Updates Privacy Policy, Details Use of Personal Data