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(May 22, 2015) At the IAPP Asia Privacy Forum in Singapore, Google Legal Privacy Director Keith Enright, CIPP/G, CIPP/US, gave a closing keynote address that spoke to the opportunity facing Asia as it develops its privacy regulations. How can the region fuel tech innovation? By embracing privacy and using it as the underpinning for rapid technological development to bring new tools and services to the world at large. It is incumbent on the region’s regulators, he argued, to work in concert with industry and consumers to finely tune the privacy dials so that companies can delight consumers with new and exciting products and consumers can feel confident in using them. Read More

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FTC: “Enhancing Permissions Through Contextual Integrity”

(May 22, 2015) In a new blog post, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Division of Privacy and Identity Protection’s Nithan Sannappa writes that “improving the usability and efficacy of permission systems remain important challenges to address.” Sannappa examines how “mobile operating systems can help users make informed decisions regarding access requests and minimize information flows that defy user expectations.” In a separate post, the FTC has unveiled the agenda for next month’s workshop on The Sharing Eco... Read More

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Mega Dating Site Compromised; mSpy Admits Data Breach

(May 22, 2015) BBC News reports that mSpy, which had not responded to previous reports it had been compromised, has now said it was hacked but no data was stolen. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office said it is “aware of the breach and is trying to find out where the company is based.” Meanwhile, one of the largest online dating sites in the world—with more than 64 million members—has confirmed that data including sexual preference, marital status, birth dates and other contact information may ... Read More

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House Committee Supports 21st Century Cures; HIPAA Audits To Continue

(May 22, 2015) In a move to hasten research “that could lead to the availability of promising medical treatments and devices,” the House Committee on Energy and Commence has voted unanimously in favor of the 21st Century Cures bill, which looks to remove the patient consent requirement for covered entities to use protected health information (PHI) for academic purposes, GovInfo Security reports. The move has raised concerns, however. "The patient control is being relaxed, yet it's unclear to me where the data ... Read More

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Experts Call for Data Collection Regulations

(May 22, 2015) A lack of regulation for the data that products like smart watches and fitness trackers collect could translate into discrimination in the future and experts are calling for regulations, Computerworld reports. Santa Clara University’s Irina Raicu, CIPP/US, said, “The broader privacy concern is that information collected from various sources is increasingly being combined to create profiles from individual users and draw inferences about their future actions, preferences, etc." Forrester’s Fatemeh Khatibloo said regulations are needed “to encompass … egregious and discriminatory uses of data.” She added, “It has to be a government role; I don't think self-regulating trade bodies will do that effectively.” Read More

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Mozilla Moves to Browsing-Based Ad Tiles

(May 22, 2015) Mozilla has launched a new program that aims to combine advertisements based on users’ browsing histories while also protecting their privacy, TechCrunch reports. The “Suggested Tiles” program will allow an advertising service to see browsing histories to figure out users’ interests by comparing them to sets of URLs that align with certain categories. “With Suggested Tiles, we want to show the world that it is possible to do relevant advertising and content recommendations while still respecting... Read More

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For Bankrupt Companies, Selling Customer Data Is Lucrative—And Risky

(May 22, 2015) The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) deems bankruptcy an exception to its prohibition on the selling of data, making said information a potential source of revenue—and liability—for dying companies, The Wall Street Journal reports. The idea is to balance a consumer’s privacy rights with the best interests of a debtor’s estate and its creditors in a bankruptcy proceeding, the report states, citing comments by the FTC’s Jamie Hine. Referencing comments by MIT’s Barbara Wixon, the report ... Read More

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Finding Solutions for Encrypted Data in the Cloud

(May 22, 2015) University of Wisconsin Prof. Thomas Ristenpart describes the traditionally dicey enterprise of encrypting data in the cloud without breaking cloud applications, likening it to pounding square pegs into round holes. “Back in 2009,” he writes, he and other researchers “flipped the problem around.” He and his team created “format-preserving encryption” that can “solve the key usability issues of making it easy to specify a ‘peg size’.” Ristenpart adds, “It’s gratifying to see emerging security technologies bring these types of academic breakthroughs to the cloud security market.” Read More

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Bitcoin Releases Privacy Rating Report

(May 22, 2015) The Open Bitcoin Privacy Project (OBPP) has released what it’s calling the Spring 2015 Wallet Privacy Rating Report to assess the effectiveness of the top 10 most popular Bitcoin wallets in protecting users’ privacy, according to CoinReport. The wallets underwent 38 privacy tests that were grouped into five categories, and each test was assigned classifications in relation to usability, quality and feedback. Overall, Darkwallet ranked first among the major Bitcoin wallets and was the first to be “explicitly devoted to privacy as a primary design goal,” the report states. Armory ranked second, followed by Mycelium and Bitcoin Wallet. Read More

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Markey Wants Info on Law Enforcement Data Requests

(May 22, 2015) Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) has sent letters to the seven major wireless carriers in the U.S., seeking information on the number of law enforcement requests each received in 2013 and 2014, according to a press release. Additionally, Markey wants to know what type of user data law enforcement has been requesting. “America is in the middle of an historic national debate about the legal, constitutional and privacy implications of the mass collection of our telephone information,” he said, adding, “As mobile phones have become 21st-century wallets, personal assistants and navigation devices—tracking each click we make and step we take—we need to know what information is being shared with law enforcement.” Read More

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