Over the past several years, online DNA testing has exploded as millions of Americans seek to learn more about their origins or locate relatives. My sister sure appreciated receiving one of these kits as a Christmas gift last year. In submitting samples to companies like Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and FamilyTreeDNA, they open themselves up to unearthing family secrets. But should they also unwittingly forfeit their constitutional protection against unreasonable searches? My home state of Utah says no. Long a bastion of genealogical study — Ancestry.com is based in Lehi — the Beehive State is now a bulwark of digital privacy and a model for the rest of the country to emulate. In March, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law a first of its kind privacy bill, HB 57, which prevents law enforcement officials from obtaining user data from third-party providers such as Family Tree, Google, or Facebook just by asking. The new law says anyone who sends personal electronic … [Read more...] about Utah is the model for a new age of digital privacy
California’s sweeping new privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act, has forced Congress to seriously consider comprehensive federal privacy legislation for the first time. With House and Senate panels beginning to develop principles for privacy regulation, and tech companies embracing the possibility of federal privacy regulation after years of resistance, the battle to shape federal regulation is underway. If Congress wants to ensure that consumers are protected, though, it should take care not to repeat the mistakes of the past by stripping states of their power to protect privacy. The support of Facebook, Google and others has come with a catch: The industry wants a federal law that would be based on voluntary and flexible standards instead of binding rules and that would overrule stronger laws enacted by the states. The companies argue that complying with a patchwork of 50 different state rules would be … [Read more...] about With digital privacy law, don’t repeat mistakes of the past
This was not a good year for our data. In fact, like the previous year, it saw some of the most egregious breaches of our data in history. By far the most infamous one was the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal. In March 2018 it was revealed that in 2015 the Trump campaign firm paid for the scraped Facebook data of at least 87 million users so that it could better influence voters in elections. But while Cambridge Analytica was the most-reported data scandal of the year, it was hardly the biggest. And apart from the unauthorized breaches—that is, the breaches we know about—virtually every tech company in the world continued to suck up as much of your data as possible in 2018, from Google to Facebook to your ISPs, which can now sell your browsing data to advertisers. And that’s not to mention governments around the world who throughout 2018 continually pressured tech giants to weaken privacy features like encryption. In short, you may feel like you are … [Read more...] about 7 digital privacy tools you need to be using now
How concerned are you about your digital privacy? To the best of your knowledge, has your online privacy ever been breached or compromised? In the article “In a Stumble for Apple, a FaceTime Bug Lets iPhone Users Eavesdrop,” Brian X. Chen writes: The iPhone as an eavesdropping device? Watch out. It can happen. On Monday, Twitter and other social networking sites lit up with anxious Apple users after the news site 9to5Mac reported on a strange glitch in the company’s iPhones. The issue: It turns out that an iPhone user can call another iPhone user and listen in on that person’s conversations through the device’s microphone — even if the recipient does not answer the call. The problem was the result of a bug and involves Apple’s FaceTime app for placing video and audio calls over an internet connection. The bug could also give a caller access to a live feed of the recipient’s camera. On Monday night, Apple said it had disabled Group … [Read more...] about Do You Worry About Your Digital Privacy?
How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Matt Apuzzo, an investigative correspondent in Brussels, discussed the tech he’s using. What are the most important tech tools for you as an investigative journalist? As with most people these days, my go-to device is my phone, which in my case is an iPhone X. I don’t use it for anything particularly unique to journalism, except maybe document scanning. Sometimes, I might have only a minute to see a key document, and having it can mean the difference between breaking a story and not. For years I have used an app called TurboScan Pro, and I love it. Tech is great, but there’s no substitute for personal relationships. I prefer face-to-face conversations whenever possible, and I almost never record them. I use small, discreet notebooks like the Moleskin pocket journal. A lot of my interviews are over coffee, drinks or meals, and I want something as unobtrusive as possible at … [Read more...] about Digital Privacy Is a Big Concern in Europe. For This Reporter, Too.