Data Privacy Digest: March 15, 2019

March 15, 2019

Californians for Consumer Privacy
Data Privacy Digest
3/15/2019
 

This week, Facebook’s shady data practices drew criminal scrutiny. Millions of photos were scraped without user consent for facial recognition purposes. Meanwhile, some good news: Google Chrome is finally hosting the privacy-focused search engine Duck Duck Go.

It’s time for this week’s Data Privacy Digest:

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Facebook’s Data Deals Are Under Criminal Investigation.

"Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, intensifying scrutiny of the social media giant’s business practices as it seeks to rebound from a year of scandal and setbacks.

"A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices, according to two people who were familiar with the requests and who insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential legal matters. Both companies had entered into partnerships with Facebook, gaining broad access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users.

"The companies were among more than 150, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, that had cut sharing deals with the world’s dominant social media platform. The agreements, previously reported in The New York Times, let the companies see users’ friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent. Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years."

[https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/13/technology/facebook-data-deals-investigation.html]


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Facial recognition's 'dirty little secret': Millions of online photos scraped without consent

"Facial recognition can log you into your iPhone, track criminals through crowds and identify loyal customers in stores.

"The technology — which is imperfect but improving rapidly — is based on algorithms that learn how to recognize human faces and the hundreds of ways in which each one is unique.

"To do this well, the algorithms must be fed hundreds of thousands of images of a diverse array of faces. Increasingly, those photos are coming from the internet, where they’re swept up by the millions without the knowledge of the people who posted them, categorized by age, gender, skin tone and dozens of other metrics, and shared with researchers at universities and companies."

[https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/facial-recognition-s-dirty-little-secret-millions-online-photos-scraped-n981921]

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Google Chrome Added a Privacy-Focused Search Engine Called 'DuckDuckGo'

"As it and other technology giants face questions and fines over their practices when it comes to competition and user privacy, Google is adding a new official option to its popular Chrome browser that allows users to search the web using the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo search engine rather than its own platform."

[http://time.com/5551728/google-chrome-duckduckgo/]

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