Nov 302016
 November 30, 2016  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Govt, Surveillance, U.S.

I had covered the government’s filing over on a few weeks ago, but this article by Jerry Brito is something more people should read – even if you’ve never used bitcoin and don’t envision yourself using it:

It is understood and accepted that, if someone is investigated for tax evasion, a bank or brokerage may be required to turn over private financial records to the government. However, Americans would be shocked if the IRS asked a financial institution in good regulatory standing to turn over the names, addresses and shopping histories of millions of customers just because the IRS thought there might be some tax cheats among them. But that’s exactly what the IRS did in a recent court filing against the bitcoin exchange Coinbase.

The IRS has petitioned a court to let it serve what is known as a “John Doe” summons, which requires a business to turn over information about any of its customers that match specific criteria. The summons applies as long as the government can’t get the information elsewhere and has “a reasonable basis for believing that such person or group or class of persons may fail or may have failed to comply with any provision of the tax laws.”

In this case, the specific criteria are not very specific at all. The government is seeking the information on every U.S. customer who used the exchange between 2013 and 2015 – a class so broad that it encompasses millions.

Read more on American Banker.

h/t, Joe Cadillic

Nov 302016
 November 30, 2016  Posted by  Breaches, Business, Govt

From the FTC:

The Federal Trade Commission has closed the book on a data broker operation that the agency alleges got personal information from people who thought they were applying for payday loans online, and sold it to a scam that tapped consumers’ bank accounts and credit cards without their consent.

A stipulated order against Jason A. Kotzker resolves charges the FTC brought in August 2015, alleging that he and his co-defendants, instead of passing the information to legitimate payday lenders, sold it to companies like Ideal Financial Solutions Inc., which raided consumers’ accounts for at least $7.1 million. The FTC also alleged that the defendants helped Ideal Financial hide the fraud from banks.

The order prohibits Kotzker from selling or disclosing consumers’ sensitive personal information, making misrepresentations about any financial or other product or service, and profiting from consumers’ personal information and failing to dispose of it properly. It imposes a judgment of more than $7.1 million that will be partially suspended upon payment of $45,000, which represents virtually all of Kotzker’s assets.

Under settlement orders entered last year in this case, Paul T. McDonnellTheresa D. Bartholomew, and her son, John E. Bartholomew, Jr., also are prohibited from selling or otherwise benefitting from customers’ personal information. The order against the Bartholomews imposed a $7.1 million judgment that was suspended upon payment of $15,000. The order against McDonnell imposed a judgment of more than $3.7 million, which was suspended due to his inability to pay. For all of the defendants, the full judgments will become due immediately if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

The court entered a default judgment against the corporate defendants, Sequoia One LLC and Gen X Marketing Group LLC.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final order against Krotzker was 3-0. The order was entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada on November 3, 2016. The stipulated final orders against the Batholomews and McDonnell were entered on August 13, 2015. The default judgment against Sequoia One and Gen X Marketing Group was entered on November 14, 2016.

NOTE: Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission

Nov 302016
 November 30, 2016  Posted by  Business, Non-U.S., Online

Raissa Campagnaro reports:

In October, 2016, Brazil’s Federal Prosecutor filed a public civil suit against Google, claiming that the search engine had failed to comply with the country’s internet law, the Internet Bill of Rights. The suit argues that during a previous prosecution investigation, through a civil inquiry, Google had made it public that it scans the content of emails exchanged by Gmail users. According to the Federal Prosecutor, this violates Brazilian data protection standards.


Through the present suit, the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor seeks (i) suspension of Google’s email content analysis, that is, scanning of emails of Gmail users where express consent has not been received ; (ii) an obligation to obtain express and consent from users before scanning or analysing the content of emails and (iii) ensuring the possibility of consent withdrawal.

Read more on Legally India.

Nov 302016
 November 30, 2016  Posted by  Surveillance

Ed Pilkington reports:

The campaign to persuade Barack Obama to allow the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to return home to the US without facing prolonged prison time has received powerful new backing from some of the most experienced intelligence experts in the country.

Fifteen former staff members of the Church committee, the 1970s congressional investigation into illegal activity by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, have written jointly to Obama calling on him to end Snowden’s “untenable exile in Russia, which benefits nobody”. Over eight pages of tightly worded argument, they remind the president of the positive debate that Snowden’s disclosures sparked – prompting one of the few examples of truly bipartisan legislative change in recent years.

Read more on The Guardian.