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(Apr 28, 2015) In a piece for The Christian Science Monitor, Evan Selinger discusses the newly released Crystal app, which aims to give users real-time insight into the recipients of their emails, determining the recipient’s online data trail and turning it into a detailed personality profile to help inform users how to better communicate with the recipient. That kind of predictive algorithm worries Selinger, who writes that “the little and seemingly harmless digital breadcrumbs that we’ve left here and there can be aggregated to form a portrait that’s too revealing and too accessible.” Such algorithms as the Crystal app threaten “privacy by obscurity,” Selinger adds. Read More

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Educator: Protect Student Data, But Don’t Limit Access to Tech Tools

(Apr 28, 2015) Federal policy-makers are turning their attention to the use of technology in classrooms, and new laws are being proposed. One bill “would add new regulations to the collection and use of student data” while yet another would update the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Kerry Gallagher writes for The Hill. She writes that protecting student privacy is important, but notes, “any changes to federal law and any new regulations that follow must ensure that teachers can still access the tool... Read More

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Phishing Attacks Hit Email Service, Healthcare System

(Apr 28, 2015) Email delivery and management service Sendgrid, whose clients include Pinterest, Airbnb and Uber, says it’s been breached, Help Net Security reports. “On April 8, the SendGrid account of a Bitcoin-related customer was compromised and used to send phishing emails,” said the company’s CEO. While the company hasn’t found customer lists or contact information was stolen, it is implementing a system-wide password reset. Meanwhile, hackers have accessed the personal information of about 25,000 custome... Read More

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De-Identification: There’s a Better Way

(Apr 28, 2015) A new study suggests a “health data de-identification policy frontier can provide a broader range of options than a current, popular algorithm,” Health IT Security reports. The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, suggests “rule-based policies can be mapped to a utility (U) and re-identification risk (R) space. Then, they can be searched for a collection, or frontier, of policies that systematically trade off between these goals,” the report ... Read More

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EFF Concerned About Passenger-Detection Program

(Apr 28, 2015) Xerox has developed a system called Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection aimed at stopping the misuse of carpool lanes, I4U reports, and, “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) raises a privacy red flag on this technology.” The system can identify the number of occupants per vehicle with 95-percent accuracy—even at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, and the quality of the video allows those passengers to be identified, the report states. “In short,” the EFF cautions, “the technology is looking at your image, the image of the people you're with, your location and your license plate.” Read More

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Remembering Google X Privacy Lead Dan Fredinburg, 33

(Apr 27, 2015) Amidst the tragedy still unfolding in the earthquake-stricken nation of Nepal, a member of the privacy profession died while climbing Mount Everest. Google engineer and self-described adventurer Dan Fredinburg was among at least 17 climbers killed when an avalanche set off by Saturday’s massive earthquake struck their base camp. Fredinburg had previously described his job at Google in part as driving “the creation of data protection and lifecycle management systems to defend the liberties of our users." This post for The Privacy Advisor brings together some of the responses to Fredinburg’s untimely death and his work in privacy at Google. Read More

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Roundup: The U.S., France, Australia and Canada

(Apr 27, 2015) This week’s Privacy Tracker weekly roundup includes updates on U.S. cybersecurity bills, including two complementary bills passed in the House late last week. Also in the U.S., the Illinois House passed a license-plate reader data protection bill, and the Illinois Senate passed a breach notification bill; Florida’s Senate passed a drone privacy bill, and New York is considering a data security bill. In the EU, a proposed antiterrorism bill in France is getting criticism for its impact on privacy, and internal documents from an EU official propose the creation of a new regulator to oversee Internet companies. Plus read about recent developments in Canada and Australia. (IAPP member login required.) Read More

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Pasquale on Why the EU Needs a Digital Regulator

(Apr 27, 2015) Maryland Law Prof. Frank Pasquale reacts to leaked documents from the office of EU Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger in which the regulator called for “a central EU-wide body with the power to monitor platforms’ use of data, and to resolve disputes between the operators and the businesses they serve.” In a column for The Guardian, Pasquale writes, “This is far-sighted, important planning,” adding, “The new economy demands a new regulatory body, with the ability to continually monitor the law-like power now assumed by major digital platforms to themselves.” Additionally, he said, such an agency is “desperately needed” to ensure such platforms “play fair.” Read More

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Will Consumers Give It Up for a Personalized In-Store Experience?

(Apr 27, 2015) A column for The Huffington Post reports on a recent project at Harvard Business School that looked into consumer privacy perspectives of in-store personalization through technology such as iBeacons. A survey of approximately 200 consumers found differences in consumers’ online and offline privacy preferences. Unlike online interactions, “traditional trust-building mechanisms were not sufficient to mitigate respondents’ concerns in sharing their personally identifiable information,” the project’... Read More

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App Lets Users Sell Their Own Data

(Apr 27, 2015) Technical.ly Brooklyn reports on a new app called TwoSense that tracks—with permission—all the personal data on a user’s phone, from where users spend their time to the routes they take and more. But it guards the data rather than sharing it with third parties and allows the user to make decisions on to whom the data is sold. Developer Dawud Gordon says users could make between $50 and $100 a month off of their own data. “Bringing users into the personal data economy is an idea that’s ready,” Gordon said. “There has to be privacy, utility and monetization. The first company to get all three of those things is going to win.” Read More

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