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Privacy

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


  • The Great iPhone ID Caper: What Really Happened?Blog, Privacy, Technology

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    If you’re someone who cares about your privacy, these are indeed strange times. When everything from your iPhone to your iPad (and every derivation in between) is secretly tracking your every move from behind its colorful screen, when advertisers gather enough information about you to know you’re pregnant even before your parents do, it’s clear that we are living in a twilight zone. What we think we know about staying safe, and what we actually […]

  • For Ransom: Your Medical RecordsData Security, Blog, Privacy

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    It started out as a data breach like many others. The hackers penetrated the computer network of a small medical practice in a wealthy suburb of northern Illinois, The Surgeons of Lake County, and broke into a server containing email and electronic medical records. But instead of sneaking out undetected and selling the stolen data on the black market, they took a novel tack — encrypting the data and posting a message demanding a ransom […]

  • The Profound Failure of Congress on Cybersecurity (and Why You Should Care)Data Security, Government, Blog, Privacy, Technology

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    On August 2, Congress did it again. They acknowledged the looming threat of cyberwarfare while discussing the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, and then they “kicked the can down the road.” It’s what they do best. The “Party of No” hurt us all on a critically necessary piece of cyber-security legislation, and continued the U.S. Senate’s proud tradition of failing to do anything to deal with our absolute vulnerability to an attack by state-sponsored hackers and […]

  • Did Facebook’s Privacy Problems Foretell the IPO?Blog, Privacy, Identity Theft, Technology

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    For anyone who plays the stock market — and I confess I do from time to time — the drama that unfolded over the past couple of weeks surrounding the Facebook IPO reminded me of the “give them bread and circuses philosophy” of the Roman Empire, except this time the Empire kept the bread. The whole thing is so, well… Facebook. We should have seen it coming. Facebook’s approach to its IPO was consistent with […]

  • The New American Pie: Breached, Tracked and Strip SearchedData Security, Blog, Privacy, Identity Theft, Technology

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    For those of us who care about privacy, these past seven days have truly sucked. With relatively little fanfare in the midst of a cacophonous (that means “noisy,” Senator Santorum) parade of news, three significant events seriously undermined our constitutional right to privacy and highlighted (in a muted sort of way) the extent to which new business practices and perhaps the second oldest human inclination (criminality) have continued the relentless assault on our individual rights […]

  • Hey, Get Out of My Face(book)Social Media, Privacy

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    Over the past few months there’s been a growing hue and cry over reports that some employers ask job applicants for their Facebook login and password information as part of the vetting process. They are hardly alone, though it’s not easy to know just who’s doing it and who’s not.  But this is not new–some state and local government agencies, particularly law enforcement agencies, have been doing it for years. To wit, the job application […]

  • Google’s New Privacy Policy: Close But No CigarData Security, Blog, Privacy

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    Last week was a pretty good one for the notion of privacy in America, which has increasingly become forlorn and tattered as a result of the advancement of digital technology. First, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Jones that warrantless GPS tracking of a criminal suspect by the FBI was unconstitutional, and then later in the week Google announced its new privacy policy, a model of simplicity and fairness with one sizeable flaw. […]

  • The Next Osama Bin Laden Already Has Your Social Security NumberData Security, Blog, Privacy

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    A massive cyber attack on American infrastructure is the 21st-century equivalent of the neutron bomb. All buildings remain standing but systems inside them are rendered useless. Human beings aren’t killed on a large scale, but few, if any, are left standing either. And while this sounds pretty dire, it’s quite likely some segment of this nation will at some time be shut down by cyber terrorists. Late last month Janet Napolitano, Obama’s homeland security chief, […]

  • If You’re Worried About Medical Privacy, Better Take Some XanaxBlog, Privacy

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    It was announced recently that nearly 5,000,000 patient records of military personnel were stolen. There was no elaborate hacking, and no technical skill was required on the part of the thieves — some tapes containing these records were stolen from a car belonging to an employee of SAIC who was prosaically transporting them between federal facilities in San Antonio Texas. The data included not only sensitive medical information, including prescription records, but also the names, […]

  • The Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Breach: Losing Client Data the Old Fashioned WayData Security, Blog, Privacy

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    A few days ago, a friend of mine received several letters dated June 24, 2011 from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where he has kept brokerage accounts for himself and his children for many years. It began with the now familiar, “we care about you” phrase: “At Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, client satisfaction and information security are critical priorities.” Then it segues into the sickeningly familiar, “but perhaps not enough” phrase: “We are writing to inform […]

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