Feb 272010
 February 27, 2010  Posted by  Featured News, Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

Beverly Goldberg writes:

The U.S. House of Representatives sent Pres. Obama a bill extending three often-contested provisions of the Patriot Act on the evening of February 26, two days before the sections were due to expire. Approved by a vote of 315–97 the night after the Senate passed the bill by voice vote, H.R.< 3961 extends until February 28, 2011 the surveillance sections, which have prompted repeated statements of concern from library organizations and civil-liberties groups. The president is expected to sign the legislation.

Although several lawmakers introduced reform bills last fall, none of them have yet made it to the Senate floor for consideration. The bills sought to reinstitute privacy protections for U.S. citizens by tightening judicial oversight of Section 215, known as the library provision for authorizing the Justice Department to conduct searches of library and bookstore records, in the investigation of suspected terrorist activity.

Read more on American Libraries.

Feb 262010
 February 26, 2010  Posted by  Misc

The results of Ponemon Institute’s annual Most Trusted Companies for Privacy Study are out. From the press release, the top five most trusted companies were: American Express, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett Packard, and E-Bay:

The rankings were derived from responses given by 6,627 U.S. adults that included more than 38,000 individual company ratings, 229 of which were mentioned at least twenty times. Among the brands that made the top twenty were four not listed in the previous study, including Google, Weight Watchers, Walmart, and AT&T. Of the companies listed last year, Facebook, AOL, and eLoan did not make the 2010 list.


“2009 was a tumultuous year for privacy, as illustrated by Facebook’s drop out of the top twenty in a year when they found themselves at the center of a very public debate over the evolution of their privacy policies and settings,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute. “Facebook draws a great deal of attention because they have chosen to innovate on the issue of privacy in a highly visible manner, and while they were rewarded for their efforts last year, consumers were less kind to them this year, showing just how important privacy protection is as a brand asset.”

More details on the top 20 are included in the full release on MarketWatch.

Feb 262010
 February 26, 2010  Posted by  Court, Online, Youth & Schools

Sarah Platt reports:

A New Berlin teen who pleaded no contest blackmailing his classmates for sex through Facebook was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison. 19-year-old Anthony Stancl apologized during sentencing, saying he has learned to understand what his victims went through.

Stancl was accused of posing as a girl on Facebook and tricking more than 30 male classmates into sending him naked photos of themselves, then using the photos to blackmail them for sex.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

Feb 262010
 February 26, 2010  Posted by  Breaches, Online

Jennifer Valentino-Devries reports:

Facebook Inc. said a glitch with a software update caused some email messages to be sent to the wrong recipients for “a short time” late Wednesday, raising questions about privacy on the site.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company was still investigating the problem and didn’t have specific data on the number of people affected by the glitch.

“During our regular code push yesterday evening, a bug caused some misrouting to a small number of users for a short period of time,” Facebook said in a statement.

Read more on WSJ.