The Email Privacy Act, a law that would prohibit government searches of emails without a warrant, has been reintroduced to Congress after many delays.The bipartisan law addresses a loophole in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The much-criticized 1986 law allowed law enforcement to search emails and electronic communications like Dropbox files without a warrant as long as the communications are more than 180 days old. The proposed law will require a warrant regardless of how old the data is.“This session, Congress needs to close this loophole and extend fundamental privacy protections to electronic communications,” said Kate Tummarello of digital rights nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). She added that lawmakers must ignore any opposition to the bill that calls for certain agencies to be exempt from the law on warrants.Representatives Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., saw their bill pass the House unanimously last year with a … [Read more...] about Oft-delayed Email Privacy Act is back for another go-round with Congress
Protecting student privacy act
Facebook and privacy – now those are two words that look uncomfortable next to one another. But for WhatsApp, the wildly popular global messaging app just purchased by the social network behemoth for the unfathomable sum of $19 billion , the privacy relationship is entirely different. In fact, most accounts peg WhatsApp as one of the most privacy-conscious services out there, at least among those that have 450 million active users. The question, then, is, what will happen to WhatsApp user privacy now that the messaging service is owned by a company that has repeatedly brushed privacy concerns into the background? The short answer, of course, is that we just don’t know – and it’s likely the teams at Facebook and WhatsApp don’t know yet either. So let’s dig into what we do know, and see if we can’t get a sense of where this train is headed. “We don’t save any messages on our servers, we don’t store your chat history.”“Nobody should have the right to eavesdrop, or you become a … [Read more...] about As Facebook plants its flag in WhatsApp, will it pillage or protect user privacy?
For about 31 years now, our electronic data — such as our email messages — has been protected by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). That’s just about forever in technology, and the ECPA was thus enacted long before the internet became such a widespread phenomenon.Since 2011, privacy-minded individuals and organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, along with a number of technology companies, have been calling for the ECPA to be revised to bring it in line with modern privacy considerations. Now, the United States House of Representatives has passed a new Email Privacy Act that could address some concerns with the aging ECPA, as PCWorld reports.The Email Privacy Act is primarily concerned with revising how law enforcement agencies can gain access to users’ electronic records, and seeks to protect data no matter how long it’s existed. Its mission is to address the ECPA provision that affords more protection to newer data, … [Read more...] about U.S. House of Representatives approves Email Privacy Act, Senate up next
A virtual private network is a must-have for anyone who is serious about online privacy. By encrypting your traffic and routing it through private servers, a VPN keeps prying eyes off of your sensitive information and hides your IP address from tracking websites, advertisers, and nosy internet service providers. Monthly subscription fees for these services can be a turn off, but if you’ve been considering a VPN service, you can currently get a lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited from the DT Shop for a one-time payment of $39.VPN Unlimited works on iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices, along with Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems, for compatibility across virtually all of your devices. This is particularly useful if you are on the go a lot and frequently use shared or public Wi-Fi networks, as the VPN will completely encrypt your connection and re-route your traffic through secure servers.Along with enhanced privacy and online security, VPN Unlimited gives you … [Read more...] about Protect your privacy with this VPN Unlimited deal: Just $39 for lifetime access
No one wants their private information falling into the wrong hands, but this is especially true of the younger generation, as they lack the resources to address such a compromise directly, and parents often don’t think to monitor their child’s personal records or usage.Yet, student information is out there, though, which means, personally identifiable information (PII) about children is as much in jeopardy of being compromised as the data collected around any other group.Despite the fact that all data is at risk, legislation safeguards the collection, storing, and sharing of student data more than any other public sector; however, they need strict regulations to protect everyone’s private information, not just that of students.According to FierceGovernmentIT, senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) reintroduced the Protecting Student Privacy Act which will, if passed, set forth requirements for collecting student data, but what are the risks … [Read more...] about Whose privacy matters most?
The Information Commissioner has called for the updating of the national Privacy Act, including the introduction of mandatory data breach laws, to cope with the impact of technology on the privacy of Australians.In a submission on the government's Issues Paper investigating changes to the Privacy Act (PDF) the Commissioner said recent developments in technology mean that additional ways of protecting individuals' privacy should be considered in Australia."[The OAIC] considers recent developments in technology mean that consideration should be given to providing for additional ways of protecting individuals' privacy in Australia," the submission reads."In addition to legislative amendments to enhance privacy regulation to include entities and practices not currently covered by the Privacy Act, mandatory data breach notification could be introduced which would assist in minimising the impact and damage of breaches -- it would ensure that privacy breaches are investigated and that … [Read more...] about Information Commissioner Calls for Privacy Act Changes
Microsoft and other companies that provide education technologies and services to U.S. schools aim to assuage parents’ concerns about the collection and handling of student data with a pledge to protect that data.The companies signing the pledge are, however, only a small section of providers to the kindergarten to 12th grade education sector. The pledge may also be an attempt to propose self-regulation as an alternative to tighter federal laws.The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a think tank in Washington, D.C., and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), who announced the pledge late Monday, described the 14 companies who have signed the pledge as an “initial leadership group.”Microsoft and the 13 other companies have promised not to sell student information or behaviorally target advertising. They pledge, among other things, to be transparent about the collection and use of data, to adopt comprehensive security standards to protect student data … [Read more...] about Microsoft and other firms take pledge to protect student privacy
When Harvard researchers aggregated Facebook data and supposedly anonymized it, then no one should have been able to identify those users. That was not the case, however, and the "privacy meltdown" caught Harvard researchers in a net of ethical turmoil. The right or wrong of data mining social networks for social-science studies is a bone of contention between privacy watchdogs and researchers. While one social scientist called all the data that can be collected from social networks a "wet dream," one privacy scholar said if it can easily be de-anonymized then it's an "ethical concern." When your data is collected from social networks, allegedly anonymized, and then published for a study, are you an injured party if you can later be identified? Is it a question of ethics when social-science researchers aggregate and publish studies?The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at the "promise and peril" of when sociologists study social network data, focusing on when Harvard researchers … [Read more...] about Did Harvard Researchers Breach Students’ Privacy?
Parents expect schools to keep track of their kids. But in the digital era, keeping track is vastly different than it was a generation ago, thanks to Big Data analytics.According to its advocates, this is a very good thing. Gathering individual information on students can lead to “personalized” and “adaptive” learning platforms. If technology can help students become more successful, what’s not to like?A lot, say privacy advocates, since the collection of information on students goes well beyond data used to shape individual curriculums.That data collection is, “out of control,” according to Khaliah Barnes, director of the student privacy project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).[ Securing big data off to slow start ]In a recent blog post in the New York Times, Barnes said data collection is not just about attendance, grades, disciplinary records and learning aptitudes.“Data gathering includes health, fitness and … [Read more...] about Schools Keep Track of Students’ Online Behavior, But Do Parents Even Know?
The Email Privacy Act, a persistent attempt to update the antiquated U.S. electronic privacy law, has returned to Capitol Hill for the third time since 2013. The bill aims to amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, which created a legislative framework that impacts internet communications to this day.Amongst the provisions of the 1986 law is one which allows government agencies to obtain the electronic communications of U.S. citizens without a warrant, so long as the sought-after communications are at least 180 days old. The Email Privacy Act would change the rules and require those agencies to obtain a warrant, a process which requires more judicial oversight.Under the ECPA, "emails older than 180 days are considered abandoned and not subject to a reasonable expectation of privacy," said James Koons, chief privacy officer at email marketing company dotmailer. "These days, storage is cheap and users can save email almost indefinitely, certainly well beyond 180 … [Read more...] about Is A Third Time In Congress The Charm For The Email Privacy Act?