CNET: Microsoft listened to Skype calls with ‘no security’ to protect recordings, report says. “A Microsoft effort to improve Skype calls and the Cortana virtual assistant by listening in on user interactions reportedly had ‘no security measures’ in place to protect data. Contract workers in China were able to access recordings via a web app from personal computers in their homes, according to a Friday report in The Guardian. “
Wired: Iran Tensions Increase Social Media Surveillance at the US Border. “Just days after the United States assassinated Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, US Customs and Border Protection reportedly detained more than 60 Iranian Americans and Iranians, including children, at the US–Canada border. Multiple sources present claim that while some of those detained were held, in certain cases for up to 10 hours, CBP confiscated some of their phones, ordered them to hand over their social media passwords, and questioned them about their political views and social media activity.”
New Atlas: Social media surveillance drives 2019 drop in global internet freedom. “An annual report tracking internet freedom across the world has found global declines for the ninth consecutive year. Underpinned by domestic election interference and social media surveillance, the report identified internet freedom deterioration in more than half of the 65 countries assessed.”
New Westminster Record: Mounties defend social-media profiling after assembling portrait of activist . “The RCMP is defending its practice of profiling people by scouring their online social-media presences, saying the national police force lawfully obtains information with the aim of protecting Canadians. A Toronto activist concerned about mining-industry abuses recently learned the Mounties compiled a six-page profile of her shortly after she showed up at a federal leaders debate during the 2015 election campaign.”
Washington Post: Colleges are turning students’ phones into surveillance machines, tracking the locations of hundreds of thousands. “Short-range phone sensors and campuswide WiFi networks are empowering colleges across the United States to track hundreds of thousands of students more precisely than ever before. Dozens of schools now use such technology to monitor students’ academic performance, analyze their conduct or assess their mental health. But some professors and education advocates argue that the systems represent a new low in intrusive technology, breaching students’ privacy on a massive scale.”
Reuters: French court clears social media tracking plan in tax crackdown. “France’s government can pursue plans to trawl social media to detect tax avoidance, its Constitutional Court ruled on Friday, although it introduced limitations on what information can be collected following a privacy outcry.” French government officials have already used Google Maps to catch swimming pool tax cheaters. Why is anybody surprised?
Chicago Business Journal: Facebook secures patent to track users’ TV viewing with microphones, cameras, GPS. “Facebook Inc. on Tuesday secured a patent to track what users watch on TV and streaming services and correlate it with the rest of their user data, in some cases using a device’s microphone, camera or GPS to capture audio, images, video or location data that reveals what the user is watching.”