Category Archives: Privacy


XBox Live and Privacy

XBox Live’s default settings allow others to see what you’re doing.

Simply put, anyone you’ve been in contact with through Xbox LIVE can subsequently see what you’re up to, regardless of whether they’re in your friends list or not. […] The amount of detail Xbox LIVE passes to others goes way beyond just being helpful in linking you up with other gamers, so far beyond that you could easily regard it as a pretty major intrusion into your privacy.

Via eHomeUpgrade and HEXUS

New Italian law requires identification of Internet users

CNN is reporting that a new Italian law requires businesses that offer Internet access to the public to ask clients for identification and log the owner’s name and the document type. Internet cafes also must make and keep a photocopy of the ID and be registered with their local police station, dictates the law, part of an anti-terror package approved after the July terrorist bombings in London.

VPNs and Employee Internet Monitoring

Wired has an article on Worker Privacy. While news of monitoring by employers is not new, the article does rightly point out that with increased telecommuting, these days, employees should be aware that use of a company-provided laptop, even outside the business premises may still be subject to monitoring. For example, many organizations utilize a virtual private network (VPN) to allow a remote worker to access company email, servers and other resources. However, many VPN programs also redirect all Internet traffic through the VPN so that it is subject to monitoring to the same extent as if the employee was still working at the office.

Spyware to Adware – Claria’s legacy

Wired has an interesting article about the corporate makeover of Gator into Claria. Claria is the publisher of leading GAIN ad-supported consumer software products such as the Gator e-wallet. While the business model has not changed much, and its products still track what users do on the Internet and send the data back to the company, the company has been successful in settling early lawsuits, pacifying regulators and getting anti-spyware companies to stop identifying its products as “malicious threats” or targeting them.
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Privacy Commissioner declining to investigate US data brokers

Recently, the Office of the Canadian Privacy Commissioner signaled its decision to not investigate US data brokers citing lack of jurisdiction to compel the production of evidence from entities located outside of Canada. The Privacy Commissioner’s view on this issue was communicated by way of a response to a complaint received approximately 11 months earlier and did not directly relate to the recent Maclean’s article about US data brokers obtaining cell phone records of Canadians. It is interesting to note that calls for action regarding the cell phone incident have focused on the Privacy Commissioner rather than the police. Although I’m not a criminal lawyer, I would think that if personal data, such as cell phone records, is obtained through impersonation or under false pretenses then a crime may have been committed and should be investigated as such.

EU considering data retention requirements

ZDNet UK reported that:

The European Union is considering whether to force telecoms operators and Internet service providers to retain customer data for up to a year. On Wednesday afternoon, a parliamentary committee approved these plans, which will now be voted on by the EU Council.

While several governments want these requirements enacted in order to aid investigations into terrorism, the music industry is lobbying to allow this data to be used to investigate all crimes, including copyright violations. A number of groups, including The Open Rights Group, a UK digital rights organisation, are opposing such moves.

From ZDNet

No EU data for US DHS

Boing Boing has a post citing RTE News that providing the US Department of Homeland Security with air passenger data about EU citizens is contrary to EU law.

The Advocate General, the top legal advisor of the European Court of Justice, says that last year’s air passenger data agreement must be annulled because it breached EU law.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice accepts the opinion of the Advocate General in about 80% of cases

Digital Cable, Set Top Boxes and Privacy

The steady expansion of digital cable services, which require the use of a set top box. These digital terminals or personal video records (PVRs) are made by companies such as Motorola and Scientific-Atlanta and are now installed in about 26 million US homes. The adoption of HD TV will likely increase demand even faster.

Unlike the “descramblers” of years gone by, today’s set top boxes allow two way communication with the cable companies in order to support services such as movies-on-demand. However, with the two-way communication capability comes potential privacy risks.
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