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Online privacy in 2019: a legislative review

For decades, the United States treated data privacy like an aging home, patching individual leaks and drafts only when a new storm hit. The country passed a law protecting healthcare-related information, and not much else. It then passed a law protecting video rental information, and not much else. It continued this way, repeatedly passing sector-specific laws while failing to address a problem … [Read more...]

New Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) would empower American users

Despite the already dizzying number of comprehensive data privacy proposals before the US Senate—nearly 10 have been introduced since mid-2018—yet another bill has entered the conversation: the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act. This time, the bill, called COPRA for short, is sponsored by a Democratic Senator from Washington whose name has rarely been cited in the country’s ongoing debate as … [Read more...]

Would ‘Medicare for All’ help secure health data?

DISCLAIMER: This post is not partisan, but rather focuses on risk assessment based on history and what threats we are facing in the future. We do not endorse any healthcare plan style in any way, outside of examining its data security risk. For many folks, the term ‘Healthcare for All’ brings up an array of emotions ranging from concern to happiness, and with the changes that come with this … [Read more...]

“Data as property” promises fix for privacy problems, but could deepen inequality

In mid-November, Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang unveiled a four-prong policy approach to solving some of today’s thornier tech issues, such as widespread misinformation, technology dependence, and data privacy. Americans, Yang proposed, should receive certain, guaranteed protections for how their data is collected, shared, and sold—and if they choose to waive those rights, they should … [Read more...]

IoT bills and guidelines: a global response

You may not have noticed, but Internet of Things (IoT) rules and regulations are coming whether manufacturers want them or not. From experience, drafting up laws which are (hopefully) sensible and have some relevance to problems raised by current technology is a time-consuming, frustrating process. However, it’s not that long since we saw IoT devices go mainstream—right into people’s homes, … [Read more...]

ACCESS Act might improve data privacy through interoperability

Data privacy is back in Congressional lawmakers’ sights, as a new, legislative proposal focuses not on data collection, storage, and selling, but on the idea that Americans should be able to more easily pack up their user data and take it to a competing service—perhaps one that better respects their data privacy. The new bill would also require certain tech companies, including Facebook, … [Read more...]

Cybersecurity for journalists: How to defeat threat actors and defend freedom of the press

When you’re a journalist or work for the press, there may be times when you need to take extra cybersecurity precautions—more so than your Average Joe. Whether a reporter is trying to crowd-source information without revealing their story or operating in a country where freedom of the press is a pipe dream, cybersecurity plays an important role for any journalist producing work online—which is … [Read more...]

How to protect yourself from doxing

“Abandon hope all ye who enter.” This ominous inscription affixed atop the gates to Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy applies peculiarly well to describe the state of the Internet today. It’s hard to draw a parallel to the utility that the Internet has offered to modern civilization—perhaps no other technological innovation has brought about greater change. Yet, one of its many consequences is … [Read more...]

Growing rate of robocalls threatens user privacy

When a person sees a call from an unknown number and picks up to hear a recorded voice on the other end, they’ve received a robocall. Some are helpful, such as reminders of upcoming doctor’s appointments or school announcements. However, the vast majority are from unsolicited parties trying to convince people to purchase products or services, or to disclose personal information. … [Read more...]

For Cybersecurity and Domestic Violence Awareness months, we pledge to fight stalkerware

Starting today, two hallmark holidays are upon us. No, it’s not Halloween and Thanksgiving. It’s both Cybersecurity Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s no coincidence these two awareness campaigns overlap. What were once seen as separate realities—the physical and the digital—are increasingly blurred as our offices, schools, and hospitals move from paper to screen. Our … [Read more...]