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July 31, 2013

Magic Lantern: The Hidden Truth

Magic Lantern

The Federal Bureau of Investigation or the FBI, as they are more commonly known, is notorious for their covert surveillance activities which have frequently caused public outcries. The Bureau’s history with Magic Lantern is one such example. Soon after the arrest of crime boss Nicodemo S. Scarfo in 1999, the agency, which was previously thought to have the best interest of citizens at heart, began development of Magic Lantern when it realized it needed a more comprehensive monitoring solution to aid in their investigations of harassment, extortion and identity theft. read more

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November 29, 2011

Facebook Reaches Settlement Agreement With FTC

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Facebook Logo with PhoneFacebook and the FTC have finally reached an agreement in regards to privacy uses which the governmental agency believes Facebook violated as the company shared more information with advertisers than their members originally agreed to allow.

In charges dating back to 2009 when Facebook changed its privacy settings so private “friends only” message became visible to everyone (such as friends lists) the FTC said:

“They didn’t warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.”

Under the agreed upon settlement Facebook must have users “opt-in” to any new changes made to the company’s privacy policy which would change the way in which a users privacy is shared. The new system replaces the company’s “opt-out” system which changed privacy settings for all users and then gave them the opportunity to opt-out through a confusing interface of user settings.  read more

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November 28, 2011

Facebook To Receive EU Sanctions In January

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Facebook PrivacyThe European Commission in January is going to make it harder for social networking company Facebook to share a users personal information with advertisers unless they opt-in to that type of sharing.

According to The Telegraph officials are preparing to update already in existence data protection laws, making it harder for Facebook to give away for example a users location based information and political beliefs.

Speaking about their new system of checks and balances Viviane Reding, the vice president of European Commission says:

“I call on service providers – especially social media sites – to be more transparent about how they operate,” and “Users must know what data is collected and further processed [and] for what purposes.” read more

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November 17, 2011

Facebook Vs. Google – Privacy and Security Infographic

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Google vs FacebookWith Google attempting to play catch up in the social networking space many issues have arisen over who has the better Privacy and Security protocols in place when compared to Facebook.

What the Veracode designed infographic below shows is that regardless of what system you use they tend to operate in the same type of privacy and security space, both offering virtually identical protocol options with only a few small changes to their platform.

One glaring problem with Google’s system; they store data for 18 months after you delete your account however unlike Facebook they also offer HTTPS (Secured connections) as a default option rather than a Facebook opt-in request (not all Apps on Facebook work in HTTPS mode).

Here’s the Infographic so you can judge which network is better for privacy and security: read more

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October 21, 2011

20 Legal Facts Every Blogger Should Know

Courthouse ImageWhen it comes to legal issues, most bloggers are either unaware or misinformed about the laws that they operate under. Unless you studied to be a journalist, publisher or a lawyer, you most likely didn’t get an overview of mass media law. That’s unfortunate because now, with blogging and social media, everyone is a journalist and/or a publisher, at least from a legal perspective.

With that in mind, there is simply way too much to ever cover in one article. However, here is a brief overview of some of the facts that you need to know in order to stay safe online. Obviously, this won’t be in-depth and, if you want more information you should consult an attorney (or at least do further research).

But this should give you an idea of what you should be looking for and what questions you should be asking.

Also, it’s worth noting that these facts are based on U.S. law, if you are outside the country, obviously the situation is going to change.

On that note, here’s a look at 20 legal facts every blogger needs to know: read more

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October 7, 2011

5 Ways Your Site is Probably Breaking the Law Right Now

Handcuffs ImageMost sites don’t try to break the law. Only a few actively make an effort to violate any kind of law and most of those are generally shut down fairly quickly, either by aggressive hosts or, in worst-case scenarios, law enforcement.

But this doesn’t mean everyone is perfect either. Most sites, at the very least, bend the law and sometimes outright break it.

This isn’t because they are run by bad people but because of the nature of the law itself. Sometimes it’s poorly-written law that is almost impossible to not break (at least technically) and sometimes it’s lack of knowledge about the law itself.

So what are some of the ways you’re probably breaking the law online? There are too many to choose from but here are five you should definitely take a look at. read more

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September 30, 2011

5 Legal Problems Raised By Mobile Blogging

Cell Phone in CrowdBlogging, as well as almost all media, is become much more mobile. Not only are people reading and consuming news on the go, but they are also recording, writing and photographing it as well.

This move stems directly from the rise in both smartphones, which often include high-definition video/still cameras, as well as other portable recording and Internet-connected devices. From Flip cameras to laptops, you can run an entire multimedia empire without ever sitting in an office.

However, all of this mobility comes with it a series of new legal questions and issues that desktop-only bloggers don’t have to face. When you’re recording audio and video on the street, you have some additional concerns to worry about.

Fortunately, they are legal questions that you can easily address and deal with, so long as you’re aware of them and take steps to avoid them before you step out the door. read more

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September 23, 2011

Blogging, Privacy and the New Facebook

Over the course of this column, we’ve talked a great deal about privacy, both legally and ethically, and how it intersects with blogging. We’ve looked at the problems with anonymous blogging, privacy and email and even some of the false privacy-related legal threats a blogger might face.

However, privacy is a very thorny issue, even more so than most areas of law online. The reason is that much of what we think of as privacy law is actually decided on a state level, meaning in the U.S. alone there is effectively 50 interpretations of privacy law. This says nothing, obviously, about the international implications.

But privacy issue for bloggers is about to get a lot thornier than even that, or at least a lot more visible. At its F8 conference, Facebook announced a new API that is going to make it easier for people to share more things with their Facebook friends, including sharing things that they did not decide, at least on an individual level, to put out there.

Combine this with its already-promised new buttons for websites, including “read”. “watch”, etc. and it’s easy to see how the issue of privacy will likely be brought into focus again for bloggers.

So, no matter what you think of the new Facebook features and tools, it’s important to be aware of the potential legal and ethical implications of using them and, to that end, it’s worth taking another look at privacy. read more

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August 5, 2011

5 Legal Guides Every Blogger Should Read

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Image of Law BooksAs we’ve discussed previously on this site, being a blogger can be very risky legally. With a slew of potential legal issues including copyright, defamation, trademark, privacy and much more, there are many ways a well-meaning blogger can find themselves being sued.

To make matters worse, there’s a great deal of conflicting and confusing information on the Web and what good information there is, generally, is scattered across multiple pages and sites. This makes learning about the law difficult and means you can spend a great deal of time just trying to keep yourself out of court.

Fortunately, several bloggers and blogging-related organizations have worked hard to produce legal guides that give you a good breadth of information in a simple, single work that you can easily read or search through.

With that in mind, here are five of the best of those guides, what’s in them and how they can be useful in helping you protect yourself and your rights. read more

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July 24, 2011

Social Media Background Checks Are Becoming More Common

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Twitter Logo

The next time you post a message about your drunken nights on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks it might be worth taking a step back and figuring out how those messages may affect your future and even current employment.

The number of employers gathering social network information according to a recent study are on the climb and the information they are gathering might surprise some users, including posts, feeds and even photos.

Evan Urbania of Chatterbox told CBS Local:

“We know that the software and technology and tools that are out there started kind of really recording and logging the social space, going back to about 2005 and 2006 when social media really started to take shape.” read more

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