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Google’s Nest fiasco harms user trust and invades their privacy

Technology companies, lawmakers, privacy advocates, and everyday consumers likely disagree about exactly how a company should go about collecting user data. But, following a trust-shattering move by Google last month regarding its Nest Secure product, consensus on one issue has emerged: Companies shouldn’t ship products that can surreptitiously spy on users. Failing to disclose that a product can … [Read more...]

The not-so-definitive guide to cybersecurity and data privacy laws

US cybersecurity and data privacy laws are, to put it lightly, a mess. Years of piecemeal legislation, Supreme Court decisions, and government surveillance crises, along with repeated corporate failures to protect user data, have created a legal landscape that is, for the American public and American businesses, confusing, complicated, and downright annoying. Businesses are expected to comply with … [Read more...]

Will pay-for-privacy be the new normal?

Privacy is a human right, and online privacy should be no exception. Yet, as the US considers new laws to protect individuals’ online data, at least two proposals—one statewide law that can still be amended and one federal draft bill that has yet to be introduced—include an unwelcome bargain: exchanging money for privacy. This framework, sometimes called “pay-for-privacy,” is plain wrong. It casts … [Read more...]

Max Schrems: lawyer, regulator, international man of privacy

Almost one decade ago, disparate efforts began in the European Union to change the way the world thinks about online privacy. One effort focused on legislation, pulling together lawmakers from 28 member-states to discuss, draft, and deploy a sweeping set of provisions that, today, has altered how almost every single international company handles users’ personal information. The finalized law of … [Read more...]

Merging Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram: a technical, reputational hurdle

Secure messaging is supposed to be just that—secure. That means no backdoors, strong encryption, private messages staying private, and, for some users, the ability to securely communicate without giving up tons of personal data. So, when news broke that scandal-ridden, online privacy pariah Facebook would expand secure messaging across its Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram apps, a broad community … [Read more...]