Dissent

Oct 252014
 

Paul Lewis and Dominic Rushe report:

The chief executive of the “anonymous” social media app Whisper has placed at least two employees on administrative leave, pending an internal investigation by the company.

Earlier this month, the Guardian revealed that Whisper, which promises users anonymity and claims to be “the safest place on the internet”, was tracking the location of its users, including some who had specifically asked not to be followed.

Read more on The Guardian.

Oct 252014
 

Cristina Rendon reports:

A Dublin-area California Highway Patrol officer is under investigation for allegedly sending nude photos of a DUI suspect from her cellphone to his own phone while the young woman was in custody, court records show.

An investigator from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is recommending that 35-year-old CHP Officer Sean Harrington be charged with felony computer theft, according to the court records.

Read more on KTVU.

Oct 252014
 

Cindy Cohn and Andrew Crocker write:

Today EFF filed our latest brief in Jewel v. NSA, our longstanding case on behalf of AT&T customers aimed at ending the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans’ communications. The brief specifically argues that the Fourth Amendment is violated when the government taps into the Internet backbone at places like the AT&T facility on Folsom Street in San Francisco. 

Read more on EFF.

Oct 252014
 

Jonathan Mayer writes:

Over the past couple of days, there’s been an outpouring of concern about Verizon’s advertising practices. Verizon Wireless is injecting a unique identifier into web requests, as data transits the network. On my phone, for example, here’s the extra HTTP header.1

X-UIDH: OTgxNTk2NDk0ADJVquRu5NS5+rSbBANlrp+13QL7CXLGsFHpMi4LsUHw

After poring over Verizon’s related patents and marketing materials, here’s my rough understanding of how the header works.

Read more on Web Policy.

Update: See also this article by Robert Lemos on Ars Technica: Verizon Wireless injects identifiers that link its users to Web requests

Oct 242014
 

Benjamin Herold reports:

A coalition of prominent research universities is receiving federal support to redesign and scale up a massive repository for storing, sharing, and analyzing learning and behavioral data that students generate when using digital instructional tools, demonstrating the continued faith that many personalized-learning proponents have in the power of “big data” to transform schooling.

But the project, which is dubbed “LearnSphere” and in some respects echoes the ill-fated attempt by controversial nonprofit inBloom to facilitate the collection and sharing of large amounts of educational information, also raises raising new questions in the highly charged debate over student-data privacy.

Read more on Government Technology.

Oct 242014
 

Sheri Qualters reports:

A federal appellate court ruled Thursday that self-service movie kiosk company Redbox did not violate the Video Privacy Protection Act by giving an outside customer-service vendor access to its customer database.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed Northern District of Illinois Judge Matthew Kennelly’s August 2013 summary judgment for the company.

Read more on National Law Journal.

Oct 242014
 

Mike Masnick writes:

… A few weeks ago, Nate Hoffelder discovered that Adobe’s ebook reader, Digital Editions 4, was spying on your ebooks, collecting a ton of information about them, and then uploading it all to Adobe’s servers in an unencrypted format, potentially revealing a lot of information about users of the product. Adobe came out with a ridiculously mealy-mouthed response that clearly had been worked over by a crisis team PR person, when what it should have done is say, “Uh, we screwed up.”

Now, a couple of weeks later, Adobe has quietly updated Digital Edition, complete with encryption… and with greatly reduced snooping.

Read more on TechDirt.