January 16, 2013
While the courts have said police can't slap a tracking device on a suspect's car without a warrant, there's no law preventing advertisers and other businesses from logging every move made by someone with a smartphone. Far from fighting this privacy intrusion, millions of cellphone users actually help make it possible by enabling their phone's mobile tracking software with just the tap of a touchscreen. But the growing sophistication of the gadgets that Americans tote most places - including their bedsides each night - has triggered a welcome look by Washington policymakers at new privacy protections.
December 6, 2012 |
How much privacy can anyone expect while surfing the Internet? How much special protection should be provided to children and their families? Those are key questions underlying a little-noticed proceeding in Washington that could have major reverberations for online commerce and the future of the Web: the first update in 12 years of rules enforcing the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Industry and public-advocacy groups have been pushing hard - often at cross-purposes - over the update under way at the Federal Trade Commission.
December 6, 2012
Apps for smartphone privacy can hunt down malware, find a lost phone, hide files, and boost security for online accounts. All these are free, and most are for Android and Apple devices. Lookout by Lookout Inc. has useful, even entertaining functions that will check your phone for malicious software, tell you whether you're on a secure WiFi connection, and track down your device if it gets taken or misplaced. If your phone is lost or stolen, Lookout offers several options, though they require you to have GPS activated before the device goes missing.
December 4, 2012 |
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Breaking their silence for the first time, the family of the woman shot and killed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher said Monday their "hearts are truly broken" and asked for privacy while they grieve the loss of two loved ones. Belcher shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, at their Kansas City home Saturday before driving to Arrowhead Stadium, where Belcher committed suicide in the practice facility's parking lot, police said.
December 3, 2012
The Petraeus affair has helped Americans understand the sweeping power federal authorities have to snoop around in e-mail. Another way Americans may unknowingly expose their personal affairs to law-enforcement eyes is through their cellphones. In 2011, cellphone providers reported handing 1.3 million requests from law enforcement for data about customers, according to the New York Times. You might think that police would need a warrant to get at those records. Not so, at least as far as the U.S. Constitution is concerned.
November 18, 2012 |
Like all tragedies, the Petraeus saga is a tale of how things get beyond your control. It began as a sexual affair that, if of questionable morality, was at least not illegal. But with the speed of e-mail, it shot out runners where no one could have predicted. The FBI investigated. A CIA head resigned. A big military nomination was frozen. Reputations and perhaps families were riven. E-mail was key. It's vulnerable to surveillance - even when you try to hide it, as Gen. David Petraeus and his biographer/paramour, Paula Broadwell, did. Petraeus and Broadwell used a clever ruse to hide their contact: They shared a Gmail account under a pseudonym.
October 27, 2012 |
CHICAGO - The federal government is quietly removing full-body X-ray scanners from seven major airports and replacing them with a different type of machine that produces a cartoonlike outline instead of the naked images that have been compared to a virtual strip search. The Transportation Security Administration says it is making the switch in technology to speed up lines at crowded airports, not to ease passenger privacy concerns. But civil liberties groups hope the change signals that the equipment will eventually go to the scrap heap.
October 18, 2012 |
September 29, 2012 |
WASHINGTON — More than a third of Americans worry their privacy will suffer if drones like those used to spy on U.S. enemies overseas become the latest police tool for tracking suspected criminals at home, according to an Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll. Congress has directed the Federal Aviation Administration to come up with safety regulations that will clear the way for routine domestic use of unmanned aircraft within the next three years. The government is under pressure from a wide range of interests to open U.S. skies to drones.
August 3, 2012 |
When Microsoft Corp. unveils a new version of its Web browser, users will be able to traverse sites as always, but with one significant difference: The company plans to make "do not track" the default setting. That means Internet Explorer 10, expected to launch in the fall, will automatically curtail the personal information garnered as users surf - data shared by third-party companies to serve up targeted advertising. The move puts Microsoft out in front of a process to set new Internet privacy standards - and puts it at odds with the $31 billion online advertising industry.