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The Senate Is Mad as Hell at Facebook—Again

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Toward the end of Thursday’s hearing on Facebook and teen mental health, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) alluded to the Chinese government’s recent decision to impose strict limits on kids’ video game time. “They have told teenagers to take a real break,” he said, addressing Facebook’s head of global safety, Antigone Davis. “Do you think the […]

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Explosion in Geofence Warrants Threatens Privacy Nationwide

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Police around the country have drastically increased their use of geofence warrants, a widely criticized investigative technique that collects data from any user’s device that was in a specified area within a certain time range, according to new figures shared by Google. Law enforcement has served geofence warrants to Google since 2016, but the company […]

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The NYPD Had a Secret Fund for Surveillance Tools

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New York City police bought a range of surveillance tools—including facial-recognition software, predictive policing software, vans equipped with x-ray machines to detect weapons, and “stingray” cell site simulators—with no public oversight, according to documents released Tuesday. In all, the documents show that the NYPD spent at least $159 million since 2007 through a little-known “Special […]

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French Spyware Executives Are Indicted for Aiding Torture

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Earlier this week, French authorities indicted four former executives of the surveillance firm Nexa Technologies, formerly called Amesys, for complicity in torture and war crimes. Between 2007 and 2014, the firm allegedly supplied surveillance tools to authoritarian regimes in Libya and Egypt. A coalition including the Interational Federation for Human Rights, the Cairo Institute for […]

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GameStop FOMO Inspires a New Wave of Crypto Pump-and-Dumps

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Discord is a perfect vehicle for these pumps, as a semi-public forum that allows users to advertise servers broadly, ping users about coordinated buy-ins, and discuss strategy. I’m a longtime Discord user, and anecdotally I’ve seen an enormous uptick in activity. Between early April and May, I received 47 invitations to join crypto pump groups […]

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ISPs Funded 8.5 Million Fake Comments Opposing Net Neutrality

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The largest Internet providers in the US funded a campaign that generated “8.5 million fake comments” to the Federal Communications Commission as part of their fight against net neutrality rules during the Trump administration, according to a report issued Thursday by New York state attorney general Letitia James. Ars Technica This story originally appeared on […]

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Groups Call for Ethical Guidelines on Location-Tracking Tech

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As smartphone apps track our every move, a group of technologists in the US and UK this week offered guidelines for the ethical uses of location data. Leaders of the American Geographical Society and Britain’s mapping agency, the Ordnance Survey, want companies to commit to 10 principles, including minimizing data collection and actively seeking consent […]

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Lawmakers Take Aim at Insidious Digital ‘Dark Patterns’

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In 2010, British designer Harry Brignull coined a handy new term for an everyday annoyance: dark patterns, meaning digital interfaces that subtly manipulate people. It became a term of art used by privacy campaigners and researchers. Now, more than a decade later, the coinage is gaining new, legal, heft. Dark patterns come in many forms […]

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How Your Digital Trails Wind Up in the Police’s Hands

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Michael Williams’ every move was being tracked without his knowledge—even before the fire. In August, Williams, an associate of R&B star and alleged rapist R. Kelly, allegedly used explosives to destroy a potential witness’s car. When police arrested Williams, the evidence cited in a Justice Department affidavit was drawn largely from his smartphone and online […]