Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Results for “data broker”

The Data Broker Industry Is Spending Big Bucks on Lobbying Efforts

Alfred Ng and Maddy Varner, the Markup: All in all, we found 25 companies whose combined spending on federal lobbying totaled $29 million in 2020. Many of the top spenders were not pure data brokers but companies that nonetheless have massive data operations. Oracle, which has spent the past decade acquiring companies that collect data, spent […]

Snap Has Explored Tracking Groups of Users Without Consent

Patrick McGee and Hannah Murphy, Financial Times: According to recent internal documents seen by the Financial Times, Snap wanted to gather data from companies that analyse whether people have responded to ad campaigns, including aggregated IP addresses, the labels that identify devices connected to the internet. It hoped it could take that data and cross-reference […]

Apple and Google Require Developers to Remove X-Mode From Their Apps

Byron Tau, Wall Street Journal: Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google will ban the data broker X-Mode Social Inc. from collecting any location information drawn from mobile devices running their operating systems in the wake of revelations about the company’s national-security work. The two largest mobile-phone platforms told developers this week that they must remove […]

For Sale: Millions of Back Doors

There is a remarkable series of stories that Joseph Cox of Motherboard has been reporting over the past couple of months, describing the ways location data, IP addresses, and other private information is being sold to vendors and, eventually, law enforcement. I think these articles are best presented together, for the fullest context. Here’s the […]

Banning Facial Recognition Misses the Point

Bruce Schneier, in an op-ed for the New York Times: Regulating this system means addressing all three steps of the process. A ban on facial recognition won’t make any difference if, in response, surveillance systems switch to identifying people by smartphone MAC addresses. The problem is that we are being identified without our knowledge or […]

Why Not Both? Or: Privacy Laws Won’t Fix Everything and That’s Okay

There’s a silly dismissal of privacy laws that goes something like this: because these laws require that data processors get opt-in consent from users, they empower Facebook and Google, which means these laws are failures on a grand scale. I thought this argument was absurd when it first appeared last year in relation to Europe’s […]

State DMVs Earn Millions by Selling Personal Data to Brokers and Marketing Firms

Adam Walser, ABC Tampa Bay: I-Team Investigator Adam Walser obtained records showing the state sold information on Florida drivers and ID cardholders to more than 30 private companies, including marketing firms, bill collectors, insurance companies and data brokers in the business of reselling information. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles raked in […]

Tim Cook’s Time Magazine Editorial on Privacy

Tim Cook in Time: Meaningful, comprehensive federal privacy legislation should not only aim to put consumers in control of their data, it should also shine a light on actors trafficking in your data behind the scenes. Some state laws are looking to accomplish just that, but right now there is no federal standard protecting Americans […]

Talking About Big Tech Monolithically Is Missing the Big, More Complex Picture

David McCabe and Scott Rosenberg, Axios: For several years it has made sense, in some quarters, to lump together the tech giants — chiefly Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, sometimes also including Netflix or Microsoft. But talking about “big tech” is beginning to offer diminishing returns. […] As different pressures come to bear on each […]

European Regulators Try to Rein in Data Brokers

Aliya Ram and Madhumita Murgia, Financial Times: Data brokers mine a treasure trove of personal, locational and transactional data to paint a picture of an individual’s life. Tastes in books or music, hobbies, dating preferences, political or religious leanings, and personality traits are all packaged and sold by data brokers to a range of industries, chiefly banks […]

Facebook’s Corporate Partnerships Allowed Unregulated Private Data Sharing Without Explicit Consent

Gabriel J.X. Dance, Michael LaForgia and Nicholas Confessore, in an astonishing investigation for the New York Times: For years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules, according to internal records and interviews. […]

The Danger of Data Brokers

The New York Times editorial board (via Sarah Jeong): But search engines put the home addresses of the entire nation a few keystrokes away. And there’s an entirely legal industry that peddles that and other personal information for a price. Search for a name in Google, and you may very well find a number of […]

Triangulating and De-Anonymization

Olivia Solon, the Guardian: Nameless New York taxi logs were compared with paparazzi shots at locations around the city to reveal that Bradley Cooper and Jessica Alba were bad tippers. In 2017 German researchers were able to identify people based on their “anonymous” web browsing patterns. This week University College London researchers showed how they […]