On Wednesday, New York City unveiled a new surveillance system powered by Microsoft that would provide near-real-time analysis of camera footage across the city. In its press release, the City boasts that the system features “the latest crime prevention and counterterrorism technology.” The security-minded among us may cheer this development as providing heightened protections against terrorism and other planned acts of violence, but for those of us who are more interested in privacy, this announcement reeks of “Big Brother.”
Articles Posted in Privacy
In an outrageous misunderstanding of students’ off-campus free speech rights, an Indiana school district expelled a high school senior just three months shy of his graduation for tweeting an F-bomb from home at 2:30 AM.
Austin Carroll says that he sent the offending F-bomb tweet from home, from his own computer. He concedes that he agrees with the district that his tweet was inappropriate, but says he “just did it to be funny.” The Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community School District (the ‘District’) was not amused, claiming that he tweeted from school.
The school says that it reportedly learned about Austin’s tweet when he was online in school.
Even if the tweet was made off campus, it still doesn’t appear to have violated the school district’s “Responsible Use Policy” (the ‘Policy’) that is largely focused on integrating technology into classroom instruction, and making students pay for repairing damaged school notebooks and iPads (read it below).
Yahoo! Mail user Albert Rudgayzer sued the Silicon Valley web portal yesterday, charging that Yahoo’s revelation of users first and last names when they send email violates the portal’s own Terms of Service (‘TOS’), constituting a breach of contract. He seeks relief under federal and California state law.
Rudgayzer, a New York lawyer, alleges that he began using Yahoo email around October 2011. He filed the lawsuit in a pro se capacity in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (read the lawsuit below).
A new federal class action lawsuit (see below) charges that a host of well-known social media, app, and mobile device companies stole “literally billions of contacts” from users’ personal address books by illegally ‘harvesting’ personal data on the sly, without their knowledge or consent.
The 152-page complaint seeks monetary damages under both federal and Texas state law that could be enormous, injunctive relief, equitable relief “to mandate fixes to these mobile devices and apps” to stop alleged privacy violations, as well as attorneys fees and expenses.
The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday that it warned six (6) mobile app “marketers” that their background screening products may violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act if the makers of the products had reason to believe the reports generated by these products were being used for employment screening, housing, credit, or related purposes.
Yesterday’s press release (see PDF below) however, did not list the names of the either the companies marketing the apps, nor the names of any mobile applications over which the FTC expressed concern.
Repeated inquiries by Justia to the FTC, however, apparently prompted the agency to name them today.
Facebook and Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna filed lawsuits today (see below) accusing affiliate marketer Adscend Media, LLC along with company co-founders Jeremy Bash and Fehzan Ali of engaging in ‘likejacking’ a/k/a ‘clickjacking’ to deceive and trick users into giving out their personal information.
“Likejacking” describes the sleazy practice of tricking Facebook users into clicking a Facebook “Like” button that triggers a malicious activity, like posting a status update in order to spam them and their friends.
Amazon.com faces a class action lawsuit (below) over cyber theft of personal account data from more than 24 million customers that did business with the company’s Zappos.com unit.
A Kentucky law firm filed the lawsuit against Zappos.com just one day after the footwear e-tailer’s servers storing customer account information were hacked.
According to Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh, customers’ names, e-mail addresses, the last 4 digits of their credit card numbers, birthdays, billing and shipping addresses, phone numbers, and cryptographically scrambled passwords were stolen.
A Freedom of Information Act (‘FOIA’) lawsuit (below) by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (‘EPIC’) reveals that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security paid contractors to monitor Facebook, Twitter other social networks, blogs, and comments on news media websites.
The documents (below) disclose that the federal government paid at least $1.16 million to private contractor General Dynamics to monitor social networks, blogs, and news media sites for “public reaction to major governmental proposals with homeland security implications.” That’s government bureaucratic-speak for public dissent.
The legal implications of U.S. social networking surveillance programs tracking dissent of its own citizens, even with open source tools, are deeply disturbing.
Another New York trial court judge recently denied a defense discovery request for access to plaintiffs’ Facebook profiles.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Philip G. Minardo, sitting on Staten Island, ruled in Temperino v. Turner Construction Co., et al. that “[t]he mere claim that plaintiffs were members of FACEBOOK, in and of itself, is not a sufficient basis” for the court to issue a subpoena for the opposing parties’ Facebook records. (Read the complete decision below)
Carrier IQ, a mobile phone software and data analytics company that gives telecoms business intelligence on connections, dropped calls and user behavior was hit with at least eleven consumer class-action lawsuits alleging privacy and Federal Wiretap Act violations.
The lawsuits accuse the telecom software analystics company of variously recording Android or Apple mobile phone users’ text messages, e-mails and keystrokes, but a number of reports seriously question such claims.