Posts Tagged ‘Financial Privacy’

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Facebook Claims It Can Use Kids’ ‘Likes’ As it Likes, Wants Class Action Tossed

August 9, 2011

Facebook asked a federal judge to dismiss a class action accusing it of exploiting children, claiming that Facebook users’ “like” statements qualify as matters of public interest.
“Expressions of consumer opinion, such as the plaintiffs’ Like statements challenged here, have repeatedly qualified as matters of public interest under the First Amendment,” Facebook claimed in a motion seeking “more definite statement or dismissal.”

Source Facebook Claims It Can Use Kids’ ‘Likes’ As it Likes, Wants Class Action Tossed

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iPhone keeps record of everywhere you go

April 21, 2011

Security researchers have discovered that Apple’s iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner’s computer when the two are synchronised.

The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone’s recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner’s movements using a simple program.

For some phones, there could be almost a year’s worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple’s iOS 4 update to the phone’s operating system, released in June 2010.

“Apple has made it possible for almost anybody – with access to your phone or computer to get detailed information about where you’ve been,” said Pete Warden, one of the researchers.

Source iPhone keeps record of everywhere you go

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Designing an Insecure Internet

September 28, 2010

If there were any doubt that the 90s are back in style, witness the Obama administration’s attempt to reignite the Crypto Wars by seeking legislation that would force Internet services to redesign their networks and products to provide a centralized mechanism for decrypting user communications.

First, while the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) already requires phone and broadband providers to build in interception capacity at their network hubs, this proposed requirement—at least going on the basis of the press description, since there’s no legislative text yet—is both broader and more drastic. It appears that it would apply to the whole panoply of online firms offering secure communication services, not just big carriers, imposing a greater relative burden. More importantly, it’s not just mandating that already-centralized systems install a government backdoor. Rather, if I understand it correctly, the proposal would insist on a centralized (and therefore less secure) architecture for secure communications, as opposed to an end-to-end model where encryption is handled client-side. In effect, the government is insisting on the right to make a macro-design choice between competing network models for thousands of companies.

Second, they are basically demanding that providers design their systems for breach. This is massively stupid from a security perspective. In the summer of 2004, still unknown hackers exploited surveillance software built in to one of Greece’s major cell networks to eavesdrop on high government officials, including the prime ministers. The recent hack of Google believed to originate in China may have used a law-enforcement portal to acquire information about dissidents. More recently, we learned of a Google engineer abusing his access to the system to spy on minors.

Third, this demand has implications beyond the United States. Networks designed for interception by U.S. authorities will also be more easily tapped by authoritarian governments looking to keep tabs on dissidents. And indeed, this proposal echoes demands from the likes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that their Blackberry system be redesigned for easier interception. By joining that chorus, the U.S. makes it more difficult for firms to resist similar demands from unlovely regimes.

Finally, this demand highlights how American law enforcement and intel agencies have been circumventing reporting requirements designed to provide information on this very problem. As the Crypto Wars of the 90s drew to a close, Congress amended the Wiretap Act, which creates strong procedural protections when the government wants to use intrusive electronic surveillance, to add a requirement that agencies report each instance in which they’d encountered encryption. The idea was to get an objective measure of how serious a problem this posed. The most recent report, however, cited only one instance in which encryption was encountered, out of 2,376 wiretap orders. Why, then, are we now being told encryption is a huge problem? Almost certainly because law enforcement and intelligence agencies aren’t using the Wiretap Act to intercept electronic communications—preferring, instead, to avail themselves of the far more lax standards—and spare reporting requirements—provided by the Stored Communications Act. It’s always easier to claim you need sweeping new powers from Congress when you’ve managed to do an end-run around the provisions Congress put in place to keep itself informed about how you’re using your existing powers, after all.

Source

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New “reform” law destroys financial privacy

July 21, 2010

Hallelujia! We’ll now have another “Reform!” law — this one designed to “reform” our “financial services” industry to prevent any further meltdowns such as that which struck in 2008 and continues to cripple segments of our economy two years later. The president himself could hardly contain his hyperbole in describing the legislation he is today set to sign into law; he calls it “innovative” and “creative.” Yet, lurking within its hundreds of pages of fine print, are provisions that will essentially destroy what little financial privacy remains for virtually every consumer of financial services in the country. In that respect, yes, the legislation certainly is ”creative”; but that is one kind of creativity we can do without.

But it’s really too late. Thanks to this financial services “reform” law, federal bureaucrats will have ready access to virtually every financial transaction that will take place in the country — from the largest bank acquisition to the smallest ATM withdrawal. The guise under which federal regulators will be able to gather and data-base such detailed financial transaction information will be the responsibility given them in this new law to ensure that every “financial product or service” is “fair, transparent and competitive.” And, of course, the reasoning goes, in order for the government to figure out if the system is running “fairly, transparently and competitively,” it has to be able to monitor all the myriad services and transactions which banks and other financial services entities offer.

Does it give you a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing that your private financial transactions will be collected by a new “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection?”

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