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

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Zoom's tarnished moment of glory

Zoom founder Eric Yuan in New York on the day of the firm's 2019 IPO. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

This is clearly Zoom's moment in the spotlight, as the public has embraced the videoconferencing provider's service during the coronavirus lockdown. However, security woes, privacy controversies, and trolling incidents have marred the company's star turn.

The big picture: When Zoom usage soared as Americans started working and studying from home, some worried whether it could handle the load. It did, but other problems cropped up as millions of consumers started using what had been an unsung piece of business software.

Facebook to allow users to access data generated from engagement

Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Facebook said Monday it's updating its data privacy tools to include additional information about what content users interact with on Facebook and the machine learning data created from their engagement, which the company uses to infer what else they may like.

Why it matters: Facebook wants to ensure it's getting ahead of any privacy regulations, with GDPR now long in effect, and before the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect Jan. 1, starts being officially enforced on July 1.

Permanent data storage startup Arweave raises $8.3 million as China censors coronavirus critics

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Arweave, a London-based blockchain startup focused on permanent data storage, raised $8.3 million in tokenized funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures and Union Square Ventures.

Why it matters: The company's technology is designed to create permanent record of web content — a boon to fighting government censorship, but a possible nightmare for "right to be forgotten" advocates.

Facebook sues mobile analytics company for scraping user data

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook on Thursday sued OneAudience, a mobile data analytics company, for collecting data from its users beginning in September 2019.

Details: Facebook alleges that OneAudience plugged software development kits (SDK) — designed to scrape user data from its site as well as Google and Twitter — into shopping and gaming apps distributed through stores like Google Play.

Privacy group says Facebook isn't sharing all off-platform data with users

Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook is now offering users a feature that lets them see what data it has collected about their activities beyond Facebook, but a new report from Privacy International says that not all the advertisers that have uploaded individual user data to Facebook are included.

Why it matters: As the report notes, without more complete information, it is hard for users to fully exercise their rights under the EU's GDPR and other privacy laws.

TSA bans employees from using China-owned TikTok for social media outreach

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Sunday that it is banning employees from using the Chinese-owned app TikTok for social media outreach, after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent the agency a letter raising security concerns, AP reports.

The big picture: Schumer had previously requested that the U.S. government investigate whether TikTok poses any "national security risks. The app already has more than 110 million downloads in the U.S. alone, and it could become a Chinese vacuum for coveted American data as tensions between the countries continue to escalate.

Facebook offers up to $5 for voice recordings to train speech recognition

Facebook logo. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook is offering users up to $5 via PayPal to record themselves saying "Hey Portal" and then list the first names of no more than 10 Facebook friends, The Verge reports and Axios has confirmed.

The big picture: Facebook is pitching users a small amount of money in exchange for personal data to train its speech recognition tech after reports that it and other Big Tech companiesGoogle, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon — have listened to their users for that reason without consent.

New Mexico accuses Google of violating kids' privacy with data collection

A student uses Google Translate at the Rohingya English Academy in Malaysia. Photo: Faris Hadziq/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas accused Google in a lawsuit of illegally amassing schoolchildren's personal data through G Suite Education products that the tech giant lets kids in the state use for free.

The big picture: There are at least 80 million students and teachers using these products across the world, Google revealed in a blog post last January.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 20, 2020 - Technology

Facebook finally gives researchers access to promised data

Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Nearly two years after it promised to do so, Facebook has made a huge chunk of data available for research use in partnership with a new not-for-profit organization, Social Science One.

Why it matters: One way to better understand the impact that Facebook is having on society is to have academic experts analyze the data. The company, though, has been slow to release promised data.

Gillibrand proposes new Data Protection Agency

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is introducing a bill that would create the Data Protection Agency, a new federal agency with the authority to ensure businesses are transparent about data collection and the power to enforce violations.

Why it matters: The U.S. has fallen behind Europe and some states in regulating data and privacy issues, with responsibility split among several agencies, including the FCC, FTC and DOJ.

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