Tag Archives: Online Privacy

Why Procrastinating With Your Tax Return Could Cost You

by Jonnelle Marte, Washington Post

George Thomas / Flickr

“It’s even more important this year to file early,” says Melissa Labant director of tax advocacy for the American Institute of CPAs. “The later [people] wait, the more they increase the chances of having a criminal file on their behalf.” Take a look at what happened last year. On Feb. 5, Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, temporarily stopped processing state tax returns after noticing a surge in suspicious filings. Some states later reported that fraudulent activity had multiplied by nearly 40 times — and it was only a little more than two weeks into the filing season. Read More ›

Internet Providers Want To Know More About You Than Google Does, Privacy Groups Say

by Brian Fung, Washington Post

gareth.net/Creative Commons

“An [Internet service provider] has access to your full pipe and can see everything you do” online if you aren’t taking extra steps to shield your activities, said Chris Hoofnagle, a law professor at the University of California Berkeley. … Privacy and consumer groups are now calling on federal regulators to fast-track rules … governing when and how an Internet provider may gather and share personal information. Read More ›

Smart TVs An ‘Inevitable’ Path For Hackers To Attack Home PCs: Experts

by Herb Weisbaum, NBC News

ETC@USC/Creative Commons

“Smart TVs, like computers, host numerous software programs and apps that are susceptible to being compromised,” [One expert said]. “Both security researchers and criminals have figured out that you can jump from the smart TV or an app on that TV to the laptop or desktop or any other computer on the home network.” … While most users have security software on their computers, there is no anti-virus software specifically made for televisions. Read More ›

Stolen Uber Accounts Worth More Than Stolen Credit Cards

by Harriet Taylor, CNBC

Uber map on smartphone

Uber, PayPal and even Netflix accounts have become much more valuable to criminals, as evidenced by the price these stolen identifiers now fetch on the so-called “deep Web,” according to security company Trend Micro. … A quick search for tweets with the hashtag #uberaccounthacked reveals a number of complaints related to “ghost rides,” in which users claim their Uber accounts have been charged for rides they did not take. These are often in far flung locations across the globe. Read More ›

Our Privacy Is Losing Out To Internet-Connected Household Devices

by David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times

smart home

Roughly 5.5 million devices are hooked up to the Internet of Things every day. … “As with many emerging technologies, security is not effectively built into most connected devices today,” [one online security consultant] said. “The primary development priority for most manufacturers of connected devices is to build functionality first and foremost.” … [Another analyst] predicted that control of smart-device data will be the focus of aggressive industry lobbying in years ahead. “You can see this being painfully legislated,” she said. Read More ›

FTC Is Falling Short In Protecting Consumers’ Data Used By Businesses

by David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times

Camelia.boban / Creative Commons

In California, businesses are required to report a data breach only if it’s “reasonably believed” that unencrypted data has fallen into the hands of hackers. Since 2005, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego, nearly 896 million consumer records have been put at risk by more than 4,700 known data breaches. The actual number of breaches, said Beth Givens, the advocacy group’s executive director, “is almost certainly much higher but never were reported.” The FTC has asked Congress for more authority to regulate privacy matters. So far, Congress has ignored the agency’s requests. Read More ›

Google Is Tracking Students As It Sells More Products To Schools, Privacy Advocates Warn

by Andrea Peterson, Washington Post

gareth.net/Creative Commons

In 2014, 28 student data privacy laws were signed into law across 20 states. … One of the toughest was a California law that bars school vendors from selling student data, using it to target advertisements, or building a profile about them for non-educational purposes. … The Roseville City School District in California [where one concerned parent has struggled to keep his 4th grade daughter out of Google’s data] said the school system is evaluating how the state law will impact their district and its vendors. Read More ›

Few Consequences For Health Privacy Law’s Repeat Offenders

by Charles Ornstein and Annie Waldman, ProPublica

Wikimedia/Creative Commons

ProPublica has reported on loopholes in [the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] and the federal government’s lax enforcement of the law. … The data analyzed for this story show the problem goes beyond isolated incidents, carrying few consequences even for those who violate the law the most. … “Often, when we take a look into those breaches, what we find is that they were not accidents,” [said an OCR director]. “What contributed to the breach of thousands, if not tens of thousands of records, was systemic noncompliance . . . over a period oftentimes of years.” Read More ›

Key To Opting Out Of Personalized Ads, Hidden In Plain View

by Alina Tugend, New York Times

Electronic Frontier Foundation/Creative Commons

Opting out does not necessarily stop companies from tracking users’ information, but it does stop them from targeting those users with what are known as interest-based ads. … If users want to get rid of these targeted ads, they can click on the triangle — its size is small so that it does not use up too much valuable ad real estate — and will then be taken to a page from the advertising network that [a business] paid to place the ad. This page explains what AdChoices does and how to opt out of targeted ads. There is also a page that tells users how many advertising networks are following them …. Read More ›

Consumer Laws Taking Effect In 2016


The following consumer-related legislation was signed into law in 2015 and will take effect January 1, 2016, except as noted. Read More ›

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