Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Results for “data broker”

China’s Surveillance State Is Growing

Muyi Xiao, Paul Mozur, Isabelle Qian, and Alexander Cardia of the New York Times put together a haunting short documentary about the state of surveillance in China. It shows a complete loss of privacy, and any attempt to maintain one’s sense of self is regarded as suspicious. From my limited perspective, I cannot imagine making […]

How Period-Tracker Apps Treat Your Data

Nicole Nguyen and Cordilia James, Wall Street Journal: Different types of data, including information that can be subpoenaed from period trackers, can create an extremely detailed profile of you when combined. Prof. Fowler says she thinks it is likely that user data will have greater importance if more places criminalize abortion. While period trackers collect and store […]

U.S. Senate Bill Would Ban Data Brokers From Sharing Location and Health Data

Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica: A bill introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would prohibit data brokers from selling Americans’ location and health data, Warren’s office said Wednesday. “Largely unregulated by federal law, data brokers gather intensely personal data such as location data from seemingly innocuous sources including weather apps and prayer apps—oftentimes without the consumer’s […]

CMA Report on Mobile Ecosystems

Dimitrios Katsifis, writing in the Platform Law Blog, published by a British–Belgian law firm: On 10 June 2022, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its Final Report on its year-long market study into mobile ecosystems — namely mobile operating systems, app stores, and web browsers. The CMA found that Apple and Google have […]

American Data Privacy and Protection Act

Issie Lapowsky, Protocol: Every single pig in the D.C. metro area took flight Friday when three key bipartisan lawmakers unveiled a draft of their actual, real-life, long-promised, but rarely materializing comprehensive privacy bill. The draft of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act represents a crucial compromise between Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., Cathy McMorris Rodgers […]

Email and Password Exfiltration Before Form Submission

Leaky Forms is a new study by Asuman Senol, Gunes Acar, Mathias Humbert, and Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius (emphasis theirs): Email addresses — or identifiers derived from them — are known to be used by data brokers and advertisers for cross-site, cross-platform, and persistent identification of potentially unsuspecting individuals. In order to find out whether access […]

The CDC Paid for Location Data From Millions of Phones Collected by Safegraph

Joseph Cox, Vice: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bought access to location data harvested from tens of millions of phones in the United States to perform analysis of compliance with curfews, track patterns of people visiting K-12 schools, and specifically monitor the effectiveness of policy in the Navajo Nation, according to CDC […]

Anomaly Six’s Surveillance Powers

Sam Biddle and Jack Poulson, the Intercept: Anomaly Six software lets its customers browse all of this data in a convenient and intuitive Google Maps-style satellite view of Earth. Users need only find a location of interest and draw a box around it, and A6 fills that boundary with dots denoting smartphones that passed through […]

Data Brokers on ‘Last Week Tonight’

I have written an awful lot about data brokers for years now and others have been covering this industry for much longer. Yet it persists, and I am glad it is getting the kind of spotlight that John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” can throw on it. It is a good high-level overview, accurately covering many […]

Catalogue Music’s Dominance Extends to Streaming Platforms

Ted Gioia, the Honest Broker: I had a hunch that old songs were taking over music streaming platforms — but even I was shocked when I saw the most recent numbers. According to MRC Data, old songs now represent 70% of the US music market. […] I can understand the frustrations of music lovers getting […]

Who Is Policing the Location Data Industry?

Alfred Ng and Jon Keegan, the Markup: There is an estimated $12 billion market of companies that buy and sell location data collected from your cellphone. And the trade is entirely legal in the U.S. Without legislation limiting the location data trade, Apple and Google have become the de facto regulators for keeping your whereabouts […]

Life360 Says It Will Stop Selling Precise Location Data

Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng, the Markup: The family safety app Life360 announced on Wednesday that it would stop selling precise location data, cutting off one of the multibillion-dollar location data industry’s largest sources. The decision comes after The Markup revealed that Life360 was supplying up to a dozen data brokers with the whereabouts of millions […]

Lawmakers Propose Legislation to ‘Ban Surveillance Advertising’

Joseph Cox, Vice: “The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act does what its title suggests. The legislation prohibits advertising facilitators (e.g., Facebook, Google DoubleClick, data brokers) from targeting ads with the exception of broad location targeting to a recognized place (e.g., municipality),” a press release announcing the proposed legislation reads. “The bill also prohibits advertisers from targeting […]

Life360 Is Selling Precise Location Data on Its Tens of Millions of Users

Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng, the Markup: Life360, a popular family safety app used by 33 million people worldwide, has been marketed as a great way for parents to track their children’s movements using their cellphones. The Markup has learned, however, that the app is selling data on kids’ and families’ whereabouts to approximately a dozen […]

The Amazon Lobbyists Fighting Against Consumer Privacy Protections

Jeffrey Dastin, Chris Kirkham, and Aditya Kalra, Reuters: Amazon’s lobbying against privacy protections aims to preserve the company’s access to detailed consumer data that has fueled its explosive online-retailing growth and provided an advantage in emerging technologies, according to the Amazon documents and former employees. The data Amazon amasses includes Alexa voice recordings; videos from […]

Police Mine Tech Companies for Individuals’ Information With Broad Warrants

Johana Bhuiyan, the Guardian: Geofence location warrants and reverse search warrants such as the ones McCoy dealt with are increasingly becoming the tool of choice for law enforcement. Google revealed for the first time in August that it received 11,554 geofence location warrants from law enforcement agencies in 2020, up from 8,396 in 2019 and […]

Every Streaming Company Not Named Apple Receives a Lousy Grade on Privacy

Common Sense Media recently completed an assessment of ten streaming video services and five dedicated devices, and has some concerns (PDF): Many viewers know that free streaming apps are most likely selling their personal information, but most viewers may not know that most paid subscription streaming apps are also selling users’ data. Even more expensive […]

What We Talk About When We Talk About Privacy

I would hate to begin any post here in the way that some first-year college student would start an essay: with a definition. But the meaning of “privacy” so variable that I invite you to see how different entities explain it. NIST has a few different explanations, while the NTIA has a much longer exploration. […]