Press review

The press review RSS feed

The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.

[TheGuardian] WhatsApp backdoor allows snooping on encrypted messages

[TheGuardian] WhatsApp backdoor allows snooping on encrypted messages

Privacy campaigners said the vulnerability is a “huge threat to freedom of speech” and warned it can be used by government agencies to snoop on users who believe their messages to be secure. WhatsApp has made privacy and security a primary selling point, and has become a go to communications tool of activists, dissidents and diplomats. [...]

The security backdoor was discovered by Tobias Boelter, a cryptography and security researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. He told the Guardian: “If WhatsApp is asked by a government agency to disclose its messaging records, it can effectively grant access due to the change in keys.” [...]

Professor Kirstie Ball, co-director and founder of the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy, called the existence of a backdoor within WhatsApp’s encryption “a gold mine for security agencies” and “a huge betrayal of user trust”. She added: “It is a huge threat to freedom of speech, for it to be able to look at what you’re saying if it wants to. Consumers will say, I’ve got nothing to hide, but you don’t know what information is looked for and what connections are being made.” [...]

[WashingtonPost] A lawyer rewrote Instagram’s terms of use ‘in plain English’ so kids would know their privacy rights

[WashingtonPost] A lawyer rewrote Instagram’s terms of use ‘in plain English’ so kids would know their privacy rights

[...] Members of “Generation Z” can spend up to nine hours a day sharing photos on Instagram, consuming “content” on YouTube and talking to friends on Snapchat. (Just don’t ask them to get excited about Facebook.)

But how much do these teens understand what they’ve agreed to give up when they start an account with those sites ? [...]

Most of those children have no idea what their privacy rights are, despite all of them agreeing to terms and conditions before starting their social media accounts, Afia said. The task force, which included experts from the public and private sector, worked for a year and released its report Wednesday. [...]

[Wired] This Is the Year Donald Trump Kills Net Neutrality

[Wired] This Is the Year Donald Trump Kills Net Neutrality

2015 was the year the Federal Communications Commission grew a spine. And 2017 could be the year that spine gets ripped out.

Over the past two years, the FCC has passed new regulations to protect net neutrality by banning so-called “slow lanes” on the internet, created new rules to protect internet subscriber privacy, and levied record fines against companies like AT&T and Comcast. But this more aggressive FCC has never sat well with Republican lawmakers.

Soon, these lawmakers may not only repeal the FCC’s recent decisions, but effectively neuter the agency as well. And even if the FCC does survive with its authority intact, experts warn, it could end up serving a darker purpose under President-elect Donald Trump. [...]

[WashintonPost] It’s begun: Internet providers are pushing to repeal Obama-era privacy rules

It’s begun: Internet providers are pushing to repeal Obama-era privacy rules

Some of the nation's biggest Internet providers are asking the government to roll back a landmark set of privacy regulations it approved last fall — kicking off an effort by the industry and its allies to dismantle key Internet policies of the Obama years.

In a petition filed to federal regulators Monday, a top Washington trade group whose members include Comcast, Charter and Cox argued that the rules should be thrown out. [...]

Information such as your Web browsing history, your geolocation logs and even the content of your emails offer service providers a rich source of potential advertising revenue. That data, along with your health and financial information, can also be sold to marketers and data brokers interested in building a profile of you as a consumer. The FCC's rules restricted Internet providers' ability to use and share this information, in what privacy advocates hailed as a historic victory. [...]

[Politico] Why EU may battle May over the Snooper’s Charter

[Politico] Why EU may battle May over the Snooper’s Charter

In finally passing her surveillance bill, Britain’s PM just made Brexit even more complicated. [...]

The British prime minister set out the proposal, dubbed the Snooper’s Charter by critics, a year ago when she was home secretary and has twisted arms to get the bill through parliament. The bill allows government security services to hack people’s computers and smartphones, snoop on browsing history going back a year and track millions of devices simultaneously at the request of the home secretary. The government believes the legislation is needed to tackle organized crime and terrorism and May told parliament back in March that privacy is “hardwired” into the bill. However privacy advocates call it Orwellian, “the most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy.”

The powers are fated to trigger a legal and political conflict between the U.K. and the EU over privacy – similar to the one Brussels has waged with the U.S. since Edward Snowden — revealed mass spying practices by the American government. [...]

[TheTelegraphUK] UK privacy watchdog to crack down on tech giants amid Facebook and Yahoo investigations

[TheTelegraphUK] UK privacy watchdog to crack down on tech giants amid Facebook and Yahoo investigations

The new head of the UK’s privacy watchdog plans to crack down on major technology companies, promising to “delve deeper” into the sector and push to align the UK with strict new EU data laws after Brexit.

In her maiden speech as information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham warned companies that deal with vast amounts of customer data that they could face investigation under her new regime and, if found to be mishandling information, potentially strict penalties. [...]

Since Ms Denham took on the new position 10 weeks ago she has already launched investigations into Facebook and Yahoo, following a controversial change in WhatsApp's privacy policy and Yahoo's loss of millions of users’ information. [...]

Ms Denham also said that she will be push for the UK to adopt new data protection legislation that is in line with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which requires mandatory data breach disclosure, gives consumers more powers of consent over how companies can use their data, and introduces the power for regulators to levy fines of up to 4pc of global annual turnover. [...]

[Morningconsult] FCC’s Final Internet Privacy Rules Will Likely Align With FTC

FCC’s Final Internet Privacy Rules Will Likely Align With FTC

In a shift from an earlier proposal, the Federal Communications Commission’s final rules to regulate the privacy practices of internet service providers are expected to be in line with the Federal Trade Commission’s approach, according to telecom and agency sources. [...]

The FTC filed comments with the FCC this summer saying the agency supports the FCC’s general focus on privacy, but its officials also offered a bevy of suggestions. Significantly, they suggested allowing ISPs to use consumer data that isn’t sensitive on an opt-out basis. That would mean that customers can explicitly say they don’t want the company to use their information, but the firm wouldn’t need to ask permission before using it. This is similar to the FTC’s way of regulating privacy among web entities in their jurisdiction such as or Facebook. [...]

Criticism of the FCC’s proposed rules has centered on how the agency’s new rules would require companies to receive explicit consent to use all consumer data. [...]

[Bloomberg] Indian Students Score a Partial Win in Facebook Privacy Dispute

[Bloomberg] Indian Students Score a Partial Win in Facebook Privacy Dispute

Two Indian students scored a partial victory over Facebook Inc. in a closely watched legal battle over privacy, though they failed to get the internet giant to reverse policies they say threaten the rights of millions of users.

WhatsApp revised its privacy policy last month to share data with owner Facebook and allow targeted ads and messages from businesses, laying the groundwork for the free messaging service to begin making money. Students Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, 19 and 22 respectively, then filed a public-interest litigation -- akin to a class action -- seeking to block those changes. They wanted a rollback of those updates, in a lawsuit that’s attracted attention as a test case for how legal authorities around the world may respond.

The Delhi High Court on Friday ruled that WhatsApp has to delete all data on users who choose to stop using the service before Sept. 25, when the new policy takes effect. Also, it can only share data collected after that date. However, going forward, WhatsApp is free to share information on users who haven’t opted out. [...]

[TheIntercept] A Walking Tour of New York’s Massive Surveillance Network

Earlier this month, on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the lower tip of Manhattan was thronged with soldiers in uniform, firefighters marching with photos of lost friends pinned to their backpacks, and tourists bumbling around the new mall at the World Trade Center. Firetrucks and police cars ringed Zuccotti Park and white ribbons adorned the iron fence around the churchyard on Broadway. Trash cans were closed up, with signs announcing “temporary security lockdown.” [...]

In her book, Burrington, a writer and artist, has sketched the pieces of the internet that are visible on and above the streets of the city, and has explained the business interests and politicking behind their installation. Her book is designed to make the internet tangible, and with that in mind, Burrington (who I first met when she worked on a software project for The Intercept) agreed to take me and a friend on a tour of what she found in the financial district. [...]

Burrington points out that infrastructure is often designed to be ignored. The field guide, with its cheerful drawings of manhole covers and cable markings, turns the infrastructure into something ordinary and familiar, not intimidating, and not some magical process by which videos and images appear in your phone. [...]

[Wired] Norway Is Right to Be Pissed at Facebook Over Photo Censorship

Norway is really pissed at Facebook.

This week, the world’s largest social network banned an iconic photo taken during a napalm attack during the Vietnam war, because it includes a naked nine-year-old girl. Facebook claimed the photo violated its ban on nudity, and especially child nudity. When Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, reported the ban and included the photograph in its story, Facebook also banned the story. So the paper published an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, accused him of abusing his power. And then the Norwegian Prime Minister got involved. She tried to pub the photo to Facebook, accusing the company of censorship and curbing freedom of expression, and Facebook deleted that too. [...]

Facebook likely relies on a combination of algorithms and human labor–much of it provided by contractors–to block pornography, videos of beheadings, and other unsavory things from the site. But what those algorithms look for and what policies are in place for its human moderators remains a mystery. Yes, it has its community standards page that explains that hate speech, nudity, and graphic violence are banned. But who exactly decides whether, say, photos of dead soldiers counts as graphic violence, or whether an iconic photo violates the nudity ban? What criteria do they use to make that decision? How much is human and how much is tech? What role to the algorithms really play? [...]

While Zuckerberg himself probably isn’t sitting around his office dictating which breastfeeding photos to ban, he still bears ultimate responsibility for Facebook’s policies. Facebook might not be a news organization, but it’s definitely an editorial organization, and an extremely powerful one at that. And as Facebook’s influence over what we see online grows, so too does the need to hold it accountable.

Syndicate content