A Google engineer was recently fired for spying on several teens
through their GTalk, Gmail, and Google Voice accounts. He accessed contact lists and chat transcripts, and in one case quoted from an IM that he'd looked up behind the person's back... In another incident, Barksdale unblocked himself from a Gtalk buddy list even though the teen in question had taken steps to cut communications with the Google engineer.
confirming the shenanigans.
posted by swift
on Sep 15, 2010 -
"The meteoric rise of Facebook raises four general questions . . . How is it possible for a teenager, however brilliant, to create a multibillion-dollar online business in such a short time? How likely is such a business to flame out? What, if any, legal protection from competition should be given to the ideas that power these businesses? And how far will social networking erode privacy or have other social consequences, good or bad?" Richard Posner (the federal judge and University of Chicago law professor best known as one of the pioneers of the "law and economics" movement [Wikipedia]
) answers these questions in his brief history and critique of Facebook. (This is a printer-friendly version that may cause a print dialogue box to pop up, but it's the only link that will work unless you subscribe to The New Republic. The article is nominally a book review but spends barely any time talking about the book that's supposed to be reviewed.)
posted by Jaltcoh
on Aug 5, 2010 -
The Wall Street Journal investigates web snoops. The 50 sites installed a total of 3,180 tracking files on a test computer used to conduct the study. Only one site, the encyclopedia Wikipedia.org, installed none. Twelve sites, including IAC/InterActive Corp.'s Dictionary.com, Comcast Corp.'s Comcast.net and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.com, installed more than 100 tracking tools apiece in the course of the Journal's test. [more inside]
posted by chavenet
on Jul 30, 2010 -
The ACLU of Maryland
Anthony Graber for violating Maryland wiretap laws because he recorded a video
of a plain clothes officer drawing a gun during a traffic stop without first identifying himself as a police officer. The Maryland State Police raided Graber's parents' after learning of the video on YouTube. Another person has since been similarly charged under the same statute. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges
on Jul 27, 2010 -
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against a fourth amendment claim of a right against an employer search of texts on a work pager.
The decision, City of Ontario v. Quon, rejected the claims, by the officer and by others who texted him on the device, that the employer city and the city's service provider violated their rights by reviewing transcripts of the text messages. Justice Kennedy's decision
assumed the officer had a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, he said, the city’s search was not unduly intrusive. There was a “legitimate work-related purpose” for the audit, Justice Kennedy wrote. The city “had a legitimate interest in ensuring that employees were not being forced to pay out of their own pockets for work-related expenses, or on the other hand that the city was not paying for extensive personal communications.” Interestingly, the officer's direct supervisor had told him
that he could use the pager for personal messages, as long as he paid their cost. Kennedy nonetheless opined for the Court that he likely only had a "limited privacy interest." The Court did not reach the question of whether there is an employee privacy interest in email on work servers, or conversations on work telephones.
posted by bearwife
on Jun 17, 2010 -
Facebook's Gone Rogue; It's Time for an Open Alternative [I]n December, with the help of newly hired Beltway privacy experts, it reneged on its privacy promises and made much of your profile information public by default. That includes the city that you live in, your name, your photo, the names of your friends and the causes you’ve signed onto.
This spring Facebook took that even further. All the items you list as things you like must become public and linked to public profile pages. If you don’t want them linked and made public, then you don’t get them — though Facebook nicely hangs onto them in its database in order to let advertisers target you.
posted by mecran01
on May 9, 2010 -
Do you have a life-changing medical condition? Patientslikeme (mentioned previously in a 2008 post on mood conditions)
is a way for you share information online with other people who have the same condition. Some of the conditions with groups established already are epilepsy, depression, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Started by 3 MIT engineers who had personal experiences with ALS (Lou Gherig's disease), the site is funded by partnerships with healthcare providers
who have access to anonymised data about the member base. The stated goal in their Openness Policy
has a plain-English description of what happens to information that members share.
posted by harriet vane
on Mar 16, 2010 -
Changes to Orphan Works copyright legislation in the US began to crumble
in 2008 when the NPPA and a grassroots initiative finally gained momentum. Still, the ASMP has a FAQ
outlining their position on the 2008 Orphan Works bill stating that it is inevitable legislation and they should take advantage of a favourable congress to retain as positive a position for photographers as possible.
It seems that new laws are close to coming into effect in the UK government seemingly nationalising orphan works
and in a separate action (same article) banning non-consentual photography making street photography essentially impossible. [via]
posted by michswiss
on Feb 25, 2010 -
In 2006 some Italian teenagers filmed themselves assaulting a youth with Down Syndrome and uploaded the video to Google Video Italia. It was pulled from the site within hours, but that did not satisfy the Italian Down Syndrome support group named Vivi Down
, who filed a complaint that resulted in a two-year investigation. That lead to charges and indictment of four Google executives, who were never aware of the video until after it had been removed, for violating Italy’s privacy code.
Today the Italian court ruled
that three of the four - chief legal officer David Drummond, global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer and former CFO George Reyes - are guilty, and sentenced them to 6 months to a year of jail-time. The fourth, Arvind Desikan, former head of Google Video in London, was acquitted. [more inside]
posted by BeerFilter
on Feb 24, 2010 -
8 Million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight.
"Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with its customers' (GPS) location information over 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009. This massive disclosure of sensitive customer information was made possible due to the roll-out by Sprint of a new, special web portal for law enforcement officers."
posted by chunking express
on Dec 3, 2009 -
Wikipedia is being sued for publishing the names of two convicted killers.
Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber killed well-known German actor Walter Sedlmayr
in 1990. They were convicted of the crime in 1993 and sentenced to prison, and recently released. Under German law, publishing the name of a criminal after he has served his sentence is considered an undue infringement of privacy, and is illegal. Accordingly, the German Wiki removed the names of the killers off the page discussing the murder --- but the English language version of wiki, based in the US and operating under the First Ammendment, has not. Now the killers' lawyer has sued the Wikimedia foundation to get them to remove the names. [more inside]
posted by Diablevert
on Nov 13, 2009 -
This morning, Google launched
a new feature called "Google Dashboard
" that lets users view (and in some cases control,) what data is being stored on a range of more than 20 Google services, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, Orkut, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts and Latitude. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 5, 2009 -
What the Internet knows about you.
"This project was started by a small group of Web developers and security researchers in order to highlight the problem of Web browser history detection
-- a problem which can dramatically affect the Web and hurt many people, if not solved quickly. Our direct goal is to educate the mainstream public and show them the direct consequences of allowing this aspect of Web browser behavior, as well as provide some solutions which mitigate the problem. However, since there are no existing satisfactory solutions
, our other objective is to point the attention of browser developers to this issue and strongly encourage them to implement the necessary and long-overdue fixes." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Sep 3, 2009 -
Everybody knows about the Google Van now, some love it
, some hate it
, but it has become an assumed condition now that, if you're near a street, Google Maps might have your picture (I'm at work!
). Living further off the path might seem like a solution to avoid detection, but Google has stepped off the roadway and into more scenic routes with the Google Tricycle
. Being unpowered and smaller allows Google to get their 360° photographs from vantage points other than the curb in front of your house. Google Street Views won't just include streets anymore: they plan to cover national parks, bicycle paths, college campuses
, theme parks, any any other public place which isn't exactly van-friendly.
posted by AzraelBrown
on Jul 15, 2009 -
Neurosecurity: security and privacy for neural devices.
"An increasing number of neural implantable devices will become available in the near future due to advances in neural engineering. This discipline holds the potential to improve many patients' lives dramatically by offering improved—and in some cases entirely new—forms of rehabilitation for conditions ranging from missing limbs to degenerative cognitive diseases. The use of standard engineering practices, medical trials, and neuroethical evaluations during the design process can create systems that are safe and that follow ethical guidelines; unfortunately, none of these disciplines currently ensure that neural devices are robust against adversarial entities trying to exploit these devices to alter, block, or eavesdrop on neural signals. The authors define 'neurosecurity'—a version of computer science security principles and methods applied to neural engineering—and discuss why neurosecurity should be a critical consideration in the design of future neural devices." [Via Mind Hacks]
posted by homunculus
on Jul 8, 2009 -
In an 8-1 ruling,
the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that school officials violated an Arizona teenager's rights by strip-searching her for prescription-strength ibuprofen, declaring that U.S. educators cannot force children to remove their clothing unless student safety is at risk. Clarence Thomas demurred
, suggesting that panties would become the new drug underground.
posted by dejah420
on Jun 25, 2009 -