SAN FRANCISCO–If you have Wi-Fi turned on, the previous whereabouts of your computer or mobile device may be visible on the Web for anyone to see. Google publishes the estimated location of millions of iPhones, laptops, and other devices with Wi-Fi connections, a practice that represents the latest twist in a series of revelations this year about wireless devices and privacy, CNET has learned. … Only Google and Skyhook Wireless, however, make their location databases linking hardware IDs to street addresses publicly available on the Internet, which raises novel privacy concerns when the IDs they’re tracking are mobile. If someone knows your hardware ID, he may be able to find a physical address that the companies associate with you–even if you never intended it to become public. …
For full text of the article, Exclusive: Google’s Web mapping can track your phone | Privacy Inc. – CNET News.
- Exclusive: Google’s Web mapping can track your phone (news.cnet.com)
- Google web mapping can track your phone (theinformativereport.com)
By Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, April 22, 2011
Questioning Apple’s privacy policies has become a bicameral proposition. Twenty-four hours after researchers provided a new open-source tool for iPhone users to view their phone’s logged location history, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) have both issued sets of questions for Apple CEO Steve Jobs. While Franken’s letter requests a “prompt” response, Markey wants answers “within fifteen business days.”
For full text of the article, visit Rep. Ed Markey wants privacy answers from Steve Jobs (again).
- Rep. Ed Markey wants privacy answers from Steve Jobs (again) (arstechnica.com)
- Congressmen Press Steve Jobs On iPhone Tracking (huffingtonpost.com)
- Apple location tracker file: Congressman asks Steve Jobs to explain by May 12 (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Does the iPhone Location Tracker Revelation Worry You? (usnews.com)
- Lawmakers demand answers from Apple over iPhone tracking (news.cnet.com)
- It’s Not Just Apple That Is Tracking Our Every Movement (TCTV) (techcrunch.com)
By Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-Devries, Wall Street Journal, April 22, 20111
Apple Inc.’s iPhones and Google Inc.‘s Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back to Apple and Google, respectively, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal—intensifying concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data.Google and Apple are gathering location information as part of their race to build massive databases capable of pinpointing people’s locations via their cellphones. … In the case of Google, according to new research by security analyst Samy Kamkar, an HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour. It also transmitted the name, location and signal strength of any nearby Wi-Fi networks, as well as a unique phone identifier.
For full text of the article, visit Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Androids Send Cellphone Location – WSJ.com.
- Own an Android? An iPhone? Google & Apple may be tracking you. (lawafterthebar.wordpress.com)
- Apple, Google tap phone location data: report (msnbc.msn.com)
- Apple, Google Receive Phone Users’ Locations (online.wsj.com)
WSJ: What Your iPhone Knows About You
Two researchers have uncovered a secret file on iPhones that keeps a record of where the phone has been and when it was there — a file that is unencrypted and stored by default. The security experts, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, created a program that lets you see just what your phone knows of your whereabouts — and it’s a creepy sight.
For full text of the article, visit Wall Street Journal blog Digits by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, posted April 20, 2011.
NYT: 3G Apple iOS Devices Secretly Storing Users’ Location Data
A hidden file on the Apple iPhone 4 and iPad 3G has been found to store location information. This privacy glitch was discovered by two programmers, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, who presented their findings at the location-centric O’Reilly Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco. The file, which is called “consolidated.db,” keeps track of GPS data on 3G-enabled Apple devices and regularly updates itself with a user’s location. … Information that is stored on the phone is also sent to the iTunes application when a user syncs or backs up an iPhone or 3G iPad.
For full text of the article, visit the New York Times Technology blog Bits by Nick Bilton, posted April 20, 2011.
- Report: iPhones secretly track users’ locations (cnn.com)
- “iPhones and 3G iPads record location data without permission – research” and related posts (siliconrepublic.com)
- Got an iPhone or 3G iPad? Apple is recording your moves (radar.oreilly.com)
Congressional Research Service Report: Privacy Protections for Personal Information Online
Summary: There is no comprehensive federal privacy statute that protects personal information. Instead, a patchwork of federal laws and regulations govern the collection and disclosure of personal information and has been addressed by Congress on a sector-by-sector basis. Federal laws and regulations extend protection to consumer credit reports, electronic communications, federal agency records, education records, bank records, cable subscriber information, video rental records, motor vehicle records, health information, telecommunications subscriber information, children’s online information, and customer financial information. Some contend that this patchwork of laws and regulations is insufficient to meet the demands of today’s technology. Congress, the Obama Administration, businesses, public interest groups, and citizens are all involved in the discussion of privacy solutions. This report examines some of those efforts with respect to the protection of personal information. This report provides a brief overview of selected recent developments in the area of federal privacy law. This report does not cover workplace privacy laws or state privacy laws.
For a copy of this report, see CRS Report R41756, Privacy Protections for Personal Information Online, by Gina Stevens, April 6, 2011.
For information on access to electronic communications, see CRS Report R41733, Privacy: An Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, by Charles Doyle.
- “Kerry-McCain Senate Bill Introduced to Protect Consumer Internet Privacy” and related posts (mybanktracker.com)
- MySpace Sued Over Privacy Loophole (blogs.wsj.com)
- Privacy Protective Android App Developed (infosecurity.us)
- Well-Meaning “Privacy Bill of Rights” Wouldn’t Stop Online Tracking (eff.org)
- Privacy dispute tests Obama’s earlier promises (news.cnet.com)
- The FTC And The Future Of Privacy Enforcement In America (businessinsider.com)
- Schwartz On Security: Online Privacy Battles Advertising Profits (informationweek.com)
- Europe Moves to Give Consumers Control of Online Advertising (pcworld.com)
- Online Advertisers Pitch Self-Regulation Framework (informationweek.com)
Recommendations for a Comprehensive Privacy Protection Framework | Center for Democracy & Technology
Recommendations for a Comprehensive Privacy Protection Framework
A Briefing On Public Policy Issues Affecting Civil Liberties from The Center For Democracy and Technology, February 4, 2011.
1) Baseline Privacy Legislation Needed
2) Safe Harbor Coregulatory Approach to Consumer Privacy Legislation
3) Rulemaking Authority for the Federal Trade Commission
4) Contours for Baseline Privacy Legislation
5) Innovation Needed for “Do Not Track,” But Not Complete Solution
The Commerce Department‘s Internet Policy Taskforce released a “Green Paper” outlining a proposal for a new privacy framework and asked the public to comment on the substance of the paper. CDT believes the paper is an important first toward establishing a long overdue comprehensive privacy protection framework in the United States. This Policy Post outlines the recommendations CDT submitted in response to the paper.
This Policy Post is online: http://cdt.org/policy/recommendations-comprehensive-privacy-protection-framework
Full text of the article via Recommendations for a Comprehensive Privacy Protection Framework | Center for Democracy & Technology.
- Will U.S. Government Crack the Whip on Online Privacy? (pbs.org)
- Is A “Privacy Bill of Rights” and New Federal Office the Answer to Our Online Privacy Woes? (socialtimes.com)
- Time to double team on Net privacy (politico.com)
- Christopher Wolf: Privacy Peace Talks (huffingtonpost.com)
- Groups, Firms Weigh In On Privacy Report (techdailydose.nationaljournal.com)
- Privacy Groups Critical Of Commerce Privacy Report (techdailydose.nationaljournal.com)
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection has scheduled a hearing titled “Do-Not-Track Legislation: Is Now the Right Time?” at 10:30 AM on Thursday, December 2nd in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.
Source: Kate Kaye, ClickZ, December 1, 2010
The Federal Trade Commission wants a Do-Not-Track program for online advertising. The stunning recommendation comes just as the online ad industry readies a broad-reaching self-regulatory initiative in response to the FTC’s own guidelines for online behavioral ad practices. The industry has been too slow to act, said the agency.
Though the commission hinted at its support for do-not-track earlier this year, the FTC officially announced it in a report published today. According to the commission’s proposed framework for protecting consumer privacy, a do not track mechanism would involve a persistent cookie-like browser setting notifying third party ad tracking and targeting firms that a consumer does not want to be tracked or receive targeted ads. …
For full text of the article, click here.