Data privacy

The big picture

What companies know about you

An Axios series on what information different companies have on you.

Feb 3, 2020
Deep Dive: The end of anonymity

Data that might once have gone unnoticed can now be detected, analyzed and logged in real time.

Sep 7, 2019
Cities are the new data guzzlers

A smart city can vacuum up details like your location or daily habits.

Jun 29, 2019
Deep Dive: Inside the mass invasion of your privacy

Our lackadaisical approach to safeguarding data has made a handful of companies extremely powerful.

Updated Mar 9, 2019

All Data privacy stories

Jul 7, 2020 - Technology

Big Tech's Hong Kong bind

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech companies are scrambling to figure out what China's imposition of a new national security law in Hong Kong means for their businesses there.

The big picture: Tech companies, like other multinationals, had long seen bases in Hong Kong as a way to operate close to China without being subject to many of that country's most stringent laws. Now they likely must choose between accepting onerous data-sharing and censorship requirements, or leaving Hong Kong.

Pompeo: Trump administration is "looking at" TikTok ban

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News' Laura Ingraham on Monday that the Trump administration is "looking at" a ban on Chinese social media app TikTok.

Why it matters: Lawmakers have long expressed fears that the Chinese government could use TikTok to harvest reams of data from Americans — and actions against the app have recently accelerated worldwide, highlighted by India's ban.

Jul 7, 2020 - Technology

TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok said Monday night that it would pull its social video platform out of the Google and Apple app stores in Hong Kong amid a restrictive new law that went into effect last week.

Why it matters: TikTok's move comes as many large tech companies say they are still evaluating how to respond to the Hong Kong law.

New bill stokes long-running encryption fight in Washington

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congress is gearing up for another run at passing encryption laws that proponents say will allow U.S. law enforcement to do its job and security experts say will make everyone’s communications less safe.

The big picture: As companies like Facebook and Apple encrypt more of their platforms by default, U.S. authorities fear the world is “going dark” on them. The consensus is stronger than ever among security experts, human rights advocates and the industry that weakening encryption hurts everyone.

Password thieves target at-home workers

Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

With so many people working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, more cyber criminals are using “brute force” attacks to break the passwords of employees signing into their company networks remotely, according to ESET, a cybersecurity and antivirus protection firm.

How it works: Brute force attacks break into systems by trying out vast numbers of possible passwords.

Jun 26, 2020 - Technology

Bill would ban police use of face recognition

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats in both houses of Congress said Thursday they are introducing a bill that would ban government use of facial recognition technology.

Why it matters: A handful of cities have banned government use in their jurisdictions, but there are no national laws governing how facial recognition can be used, and there's wide concern over how the tech today encodes racial and other kinds of biases.

Anonymous digs up vast tranche of U.S. police documents

Protester in India wearing Guy Fawkes mask. Photo: Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Individuals affiliated with Anonymous, the loosely organized hacker collective, pilfered a massive amount of data from police organizations nationwide that was later made public, Wired's Andy Greenberg reports.

Driving the news: Anonymous provided the tranche to Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets), a transparency collective that serves as a repository for prior hacks. On Friday, DDoSecrets posted the tranche, known as “BlueLeaks,” to its website.

Jun 24, 2020 - Technology

Google to limit how long it hangs on to some data

Google

Google on Wednesday announced new limits on how long it will maintain data for some of its services, expanding a data minimization push that began last year.

Why it matters: Google has been trying to strengthen its privacy policies even as it continues to make most of its money by selling advertising.

Facebook ordered to stop harvesting user data by Germany's top court

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Germany's top court ruled Tuesday that Facebook abused its market power by illegally harvesting user data in the country, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The case against Facebook, pushed forward by Germany's competition regulator last year, represents one of the first major antitrust actions against Facebook.

Jun 8, 2020 - Technology

IBM is exiting the face recognition business

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna. Photo: IBM

In a letter to members of Congress on Monday, IBM said it is exiting the general-purpose facial recognition business and said it opposes the use of such technology for mass surveillance and racial profiling.

Why it matters: Facial recognition software is controversial for a number of reasons, including the potential for human rights violations as well as evidence that the technology is less accurate in identifying people of color.

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