The ACLU reports that the IRS claims in an internal document that it has the authority to access citizens' online communications without a warrant. The IRS claimed in a 2009 document that "the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." It still retains that position even after the 2010 case of US v Warshak which determined that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications. [more inside]
The concept behind VoyURL is simple: A browser plugin records your every click, which you can then choose to share publicly in a real-time feed. Their website analyzes and shows you your online history in customized infographics, to identify patterns, recommend content and help you learn more about the way you use the internet. You can see the browsing history of all users in one giant timeline or follow a specific user. The service is currently in beta, but you can slip in here or here. [more inside]
"In almost all cases it is not possible to bring a civil action against" a website that hosts your nude images posted without your consent.
This past July, Forbes blogger Kashmir Hill posted a three-part series about "online defamation and involuntary nudity." The first entry focused on an offender: Hunter Moore, owner of IsAnyoneUp.com (Link is NSFW.) The second entry focused on a victim: Paul Syiek, whose company was defamed by a disgruntled ex-employee on the consumer website Rip-off Report. The third profiled a Senior Copyright attorney at Microsoft, Colette Vogele, who co-founded a side project this year to help victims: WithoutMyConsent.org. [more inside]
The Wall Street Journal's What They Know blog is charged with determining what information marketers are capable of learning about internet users through tracking technology. This weekend, they took aim at Facebook, after their investigation discovered that many popular apps on the social-networking site, including those by Zynga, have been transmitting identifying information in the form of User ID's to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, even if a user has enabled strict privacy settings. Additional analysis. Response post on Facebook's Developer Blog. Forbes' blogger Kashmir Hill asks if the WSJ is overreacting, and Techcrunch notes that the severity and risks of UID transferral are still being debated.
In California, a registered sex offender uses the Megan's Law database as a source for potential dates. He searched for men in the database, and then sent several men a letter looking for sex or friendship, explaining how they could look up his profile in the same system. Turns out that it is illegal for a registered sex offender to access the database of registered sex offenders. (first FPP for me)
The DOJ wants to tap your IMs, your email, your VOIP calls, and your Web browsing -- and they want you to pay for it. The Justice Department is seeking to expand its ability to monitor online traffic by forcing broadband providers to make their services "wiretap-friendly," and a petition filed with the FCC this week says you will foot the bill. Get ready for CALEA 2.0. "As a means of espionage, writs of assistance and general warrants are but puny instruments of tyranny and oppression when compared with wire tapping," the prescient Justice Brandeis observed in 1928.
Privacy makes strides online. I'm actually pretty amazed by the ruling - while I think this is a great thing, could it be used for evil?