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The Internet Has Made Dupes—and Cynics—of Us All

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Online fakery runs wide and deep, but you don’t need me to tell you that. New species of digital fraud and deception come to light almost every week, if not every day: Russian bots that pretend to be American humans. American bots that pretend to be human trolls. Even humans that pretend to be bots. […]

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Cop Gets $585K After Colleagues Snooped on Her DMV Data

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In 2013, Amy Krekelberg received an unsettling notice from Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources: An employee had abused his access to a government driver’s license database and snooped on thousands of people in the state, mostly women. Krekelberg learned that she was one of them. When Krekelberg asked for an audit of accesses to her […]

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The Next Big Privacy Hurdle? Teaching AI to Forget

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When the European Union enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) a year ago, one of the most revolutionary aspects of the regulation was the “right to be forgotten”—an often-hyped and debated right, sometimes perceived as empowering individuals to request the erasure of their information on the internet, most commonly from search engines or social […]

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All the Ways Google Tracks You—And How to Stop It

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You’re probably aware that Google keeps tabs on what you’re up to on its devices, apps, and services—but you might not realize just how far its tracking reach extends, into the places you go, the purchases you make, and much more. It’s an extensive set of data, but you can take more control over what […]

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Facial Recognition Has Already Reached Its Breaking Point

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As facial recognition technologies have evolved from fledgling projects into powerful software platforms, researchers and civil liberties advocates have been issuing warnings about the potential for privacy erosions. Those mounting fears came to a head Wednesday in Congress. Alarms over facial recognition had already gained urgency in recent years, as studies have shown that the […]

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We Are Tenants on Our Own Devices

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A decade ago, Amazon abruptly deleted copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from the Kindles of its American customers. The move instantly evoked the “memory holes” in the novel’s totalitarian dystopia, and it inspired about equal measures of shock, outrage, and jokes. (If a fictional Amazon in a dystopian novel had performed the same mass deletion, […]

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The False Promise of “Lawful Access” to Private Data

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A stark reality keeps confronting us: Terrible things are being done in the world. The darkest impulses of some people are honed and polished on the internet, in secret. Then those impulses are visited upon us, in violent and sickening ways. One of the most recent such tragedies, as I write, happened in Christchurch, New […]

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Google I/O 2019: Google Loosens Its Grip on Hoarding Your Data

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Google put security and privacy features front and center as it kicked off this year’s I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, on Tuesday. The company went so far as to say that “security and privacy are the central theme” of its upcoming Android Q release. But let’s say you want to take some control […]

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How to Limit How Long Google Keeps Your Data

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Google put security and privacy features front and center as it kicked off this year’s I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, on Tuesday. The company went so far as to say that “security and privacy are the central theme” of its upcoming Android Q release. But let’s say you want to take some control […]