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Privacy

News and articles relating to consumer privacy by Adam K Levin.


  • What Your Search History Says About You (And How to Shut It Up)Privacy

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    With this week’s revelation that the NSA secretly hacked into the data centers that power Google and Yahoo users’ emails and documents (allowing them to check out users’ files at will and without warrants), one is forced to wonder if Americans are aware of exactly how much personal information the NSA might find there — and how much they agreed to provide. After all, type anything into a Google search and its auto-complete function provides […]

  • Could Facebook’s New Privacy Rules Endanger Your Kids?Social Media, Blog, Privacy, Technology

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    Not a week goes by without another story of an adult doing something colossally stupid on social media and paying the price. So why in the world did Facebook think it advisable to allow 13-year-old kids to make their pictures and status updates public? In a widely-decried move, Facebook announced last week that underage users — those between 13 and 17, as kids younger than 13 are technically not allowed to open accounts — would […]

  • The 5 Deadly Clicks: The Links You Should Never TouchPrivacy

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    Here’s a scary scenario. You’re innocently surfing the Web, maybe on an unfamiliar site, not paying close attention. Suddenly your computer screen fills with illegal pornographic images of minors. You try to navigate away, but a warning screen branded by the National Security Administration’s Internet Surveillance Program pops up with the message: “Your computer has been locked due to suspicion of illegal content downloading and distribution.” You are then offered a sort of Hobson’s choice: […]

  • 7 Steps to Deal With HR Looking at Your Credit ReportBlog, Personal Finance, Privacy, Money

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    Employers don’t like surprises. They want to know everything there is to know about you, which is why you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that many look at prospective employees’ credit reports as part of their application process. One 2010 study from the Society of Human Resource Management estimates that 60 percent of companies checked some (or all) job applicants’ credit reports. This is a practice that many people understandably find objectionable – some find […]

  • 9 Household Items That Could Be Spying on YouBlog, Privacy

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    For Americans concerned about their privacy, the NSA data grabs are daunting, but what about the data grabs happening inside your own home, perpetrated not by the government but by your coffee machine? Consider every appliance and every piece of home electronics that you own. Does it gather data about how you use it? Does it connect to the Internet? If so, it could be used to spy on you. Your mobile devices, your TV, […]

  • Is Your State Selling Your Medical History For Pennies?Privacy

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    Unfortunately, the answer to the question in the headline is probably yes. More than half the states release some identifying information about your health records, making it more likely that your privacy can be exploited, according to a report that Bloomberg News ran a few weeks back. I’ll explain what’s going on in detail in a minute, even though I’m deeply embarrassed as a citizen that I even have to. When I first read the […]

  • 5 Places Where You Should Never Give Your Social Security NumberBlog, Privacy, Identity Theft

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    Every time you go to a new doctor or dentist and they give you a clipboard brimming with documents to fill out and sign, notice how they always ask for your Social Security number? Do you dutifully give it up? Did you ever wonder if they really need it? I once asked a doctor why he wanted it. His response: “I don’t really know. I guess it’s because we’ve always asked for it.” (In actuality, […]

  • The 10 Dumbest Risks You Can Take With a SmartphoneBlog, Privacy, Technology

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    If you think of your smartphone as just a phone, rather than a very powerful mini-computer that happens to make phone calls, you may be cruising for a world of pain. That’s because the amount of sensitive data many of us store on our phones is truly staggering. A smartphone provides us direct access to our savings and checking accounts. It may store our passwords to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, even our email accounts. The phone […]

  • When Your Identity Is Tossed Out the Window… LiterallyData Security, Blog, Privacy, Identity Theft

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    The scene of the crime is the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year was spectacular — great entertainment with many new balloons and floats. Fall was in the air and so, too, was the confetti. This year, however, some of it was comprised of shredded confidential documents, floating to the ground, courtesy of the Nassau County Police Department. You see, the confetti strips dumped on the parade route at 65th Street and Central Park […]

  • 94 Million Exposed: The Government’s Epic Fail on PrivacyGovernment, Blog, Privacy, Identity Theft

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    When you hear a number like “94 million” in the news, it’s usually because somebody won the lottery. This time around, no such luck. This 94 million is the number of Americans’ files in which personal information has been exposed, since 2009, to potential identity theft through data breaches at government agencies. Go ahead, count the zeroes: 94,000,000. That’s like releasing the personal data of every man, woman and child in California, Texas, New York, […]

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