E.U. Privacy Rule Would Rein In the Hunt for Online Child Sex Abuse

“The grooming of children for sexual purposes is always about a child on the verge of or in the midst of abuse,” said John Shehan, a vice president at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the U.S. federal clearinghouse that works with technology companies and law enforcement agencies around the world.

As of September, according to the clearinghouse, 1,020 reports of grooming had come from the European Union. Cases of grooming were reported in all 27 E.U. countries and contained many examples of “sextortion” — when an adult poses as a minor to solicit photos or videos, then uses the imagery as blackmail to further exploit the child.

Diego Naranjo, head of policy at European Digital Rights in Brussels, an advocacy group, said the subject was fraught because anyone who questioned the tech companies’s practices was cast as “somebody who doesn’t care about the children.”

Even so, he

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Microsoft Makes Changes To Productivity Score Tool After Privacy Backlash


 Microsoft on Tuesday said employers will no longer have access to data on individual employees through its Productivity Score tool, after privacy experts criticized the feature as invasive workplace monitoring software.  

Key Facts

Launched earlier this month, Productivity Score let companies with a Microsoft 365 business subscription see how individual employees were using Microsoft products, allowing bosses to see how many hours workers spent on Microsoft Teams or the number of times their camera was on in meetings in the last month, for example.

After widespread criticism, Microsoft 365 Corporate Vice President Jared Spataro said in a blog post the company will remove individual employee monitoring altogether, saying “no one in the organization will be able to use Productivity Score to access data about

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California passed Prop. 24. Here’s what that means for your privacy.

On its surface, the premise of Proposition 24 is simple: to protect California’s existing consumer privacy laws by preventing companies from being able to collect and share your personal data without prior consent or knowledge.

It also guarantees the implementation of a state agency costing $10 million a year that will enforce privacy protection laws, and creates new classifications of sensitive information such as race and sexual orientation, explicitly barring companies from accessing such data.

Voters passed the measure in this year’s general election with a 56.2% majority vote. However, critics aren’t so sure it will fulfill its promise.

Prop. 24 began as the California Consumer Privacy Act, a ballot initiative introduced by Alastair Mactaggart, who is a real estate developer based in San Francisco. He was inspired to write the initiative in 2017 after a conversation he had with a Google engineer at a cocktail party in the Oakland

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Apple Trashes Facebook After Groups Lament App Privacy Delay

Illustration for article titled Apple Defends Delay of iOS 14 Feature Limiting App Tracking, Blasts Facebook

Photo: Ming Yeung (Getty Images)

Earlier this year, human rights and privacy groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Human Rights Watch wrote to Apple, asking why it was delaying the introduction of a feature that would force apps to receive explicit opt-in from iPhone users before tracking them. Apple responded, according to Bloomberg, with a letter slamming Facebook.

Apple rolled out the privacy-enhancing feature in iOS 14 in September but hasn’t made it mandatory for developers to enable yet. The groups wrote in a letter to the tech giant stating the delay was ill-advised in the “critical weeks leading up to and following the 2020 U.S. elections, when people’s data can be used to target them with personalized political ads.”

In the letter, Apple’s global head of privacy, Jane Horvath, responded to the groups by trashing Facebook and its business model.


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Microsoft: These are the new privacy steps we’re taking to protect your data

Microsoft says it is the first company in the world to respond to recommendations by Europe’s privacy watchdogs following a decision by Europe’s top court over data being shipped to the US. 

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in July struck down the EU-US Data Privacy Shield, throwing into question how companies – in particular US tech giants, but also thousands of European businesses – would send data across to the US without contravening Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Julie Brill, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer, boasts that the maker of Windows 10, Office, and Azure is the first entity in the world to meet recommendations outlined by Europe’s data-protection heads last week. 

“Today, we’re announcing new protections for our public sector and enterprise customers who need to move their data from the European Union, including a contractual commitment to challenge government requests for data and a

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Apple remains ‘fully committed’ to privacy features like anti-tracking in iOS 14 [u]

Apple remains committed to implementing anti-tracking features in iOS 14 and further privacy improvements down the road, the company’s privacy chief said in a letter.

The iOS 14 feature, dubbed App Tracking Transparency (ATT), makes cross-app and website tracking opt-in, and gives users additional information and context. In September, Apple delayed the rollout of the privacy feature until 2021.

Shortly after Apple announced the delay, a coalition of digital civil rights groups penned a letter expressing their “disappointment” that it wouldn’t be available during the initial iOS 14 rollout. On Nov. 19, Apple sent a letter back in response.

“We delayed the release of ATT to early next year to give developers the time they indicated they needed to properly update their systems and data practices, but we remain fully committed to ATT and to our expansive approach to privacy protections,” wrote Jane C. Horvath, Apple’s Senior Director of Global

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OSOM to offer ‘premium products’ focused on privacy from late 2021

  • Former Essential employees have founded a new startup.
  • OSOM is focused on giving users more control over their personal data.
  • The first software and hardware products are expected in late 2021.

After Essential officially shut down earlier this year, the company’s former employees have founded a new startup focused on privacy. Out of Sight, Out of Mind – or OSOM – wants to give users control over their personal data. The news first broke in September, with founder Jason Keats announcing the venture. Now, we have a better idea of what the company might offer its users.

Speaking to CNET, Keats didn’t explicitly call OSOM a smartphone maker. While the company now employs nine people, eight of which previously hail from Essential, OSOM isn’t planning to follow in the old company’s footsteps.

“Essential had 80% of a great idea,” Keats says. “But we needed to come up with what

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Contractor on failed high-speed internet project violated customers’ privacy, City of Morden alleges

a close up of a person using a laptop computer: A contractor is suing the City of Morden over the failed Morenet project to provide high-speed internet to residents. In a countersuit, the city alleges he breached his agreement by 'conducting unauthorized surveillance and monitoring of internet traffic through Morenet,' and violated the privacy of customers.

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A contractor is suing the City of Morden over the failed Morenet project to provide high-speed internet to residents. In a countersuit, the city alleges he breached his agreement by ‘conducting unauthorized surveillance and monitoring of internet traffic through Morenet,’ and violated the privacy of customers.

A contractor hired to develop high-speed internet service for a southern Manitoba community violated customers’ privacy by installing “unauthorized surveillance and monitoring software,” the City of Morden alleges in court documents.

The allegation is made in a counterclaim filed by the city in October, in response to a lawsuit by Sergii Polishchuk and a former Morden city engineer over the cancelled Morenet project.

The counterclaim alleges Polishchuk not only failed to develop the internet service, but also carried out inappropriate surveillance activities under both the Morenet agreement and a separate agreement he had to provide IT services to the city.

Polishchuk, with

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We Must Protect Our Privacy, Even During Times Of Crisis

Reduced liberty may be the price we need to pay for increased security.

In a March 2020 Pew Research Center survey, the American public named the spread of infectious diseases as the greatest threat to the country. For the first time, this surpassed the threat of terrorism: 79 percent of Americans named outbreaks of disease as a major threat to the country, compared to 73 percent of Americans who saw terrorism as a major threat. Counterterrorism measures nonetheless provide an important context for examining the trade-offs between reduced civil liberties and increased security. Following high-impact events such as terrorist attacks, public concerns regarding government intrusions on privacy tend to decrease. After the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and San Bernardino, California, in 2015,

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Apple responds to privacy concerns over Mac software security process

Last week, a number of Mac users had trouble opening apps — a problem that seemed to be caused by an Apple security protocol responsible for checking that software comes from trusted sources. The slow-down prompted some to criticize Apple for collecting too much information about users’ activities; criticism which the company has now responded to with promises that it will change how these security protocols work in future.

Apple announced the changes via its support pages, adding a new “Privacy protections” section to a page entitled “Safely open apps on your Mac” (as spotted by iPhone in Canada). Apple says a service known as Gatekeeper “performs online checks to verify if an app contains known malware and whether the developer’s signing certificate is revoked.” It goes on to clarify how Apple currently uses the data, and outlines new safeguards that are being introduced over the next year.

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