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

Aug 11, 2020 - Technology

Nationalism and authoritarianism threaten the internet's universality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Governments around the world, prompted by nationalism, authoritarianism and other forces, are threatening the notion of a single, universal computer network — long the defining characteristic of the internet.

The big picture: Most countries want the internet and the economic and cultural benefits that come with it. Increasingly, though, they want to add their own rules — the internet with an asterisk, if you will. The question is just how many local rules you can make before the network's universality disappears.

TikTok sale drama clouds the app's genuine security concerns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Political and economic motivations behind a sale or shutdown of TikTok in the U.S. are obscuring sincere security concerns raised by the rise of the Chinese-owned social video app.

The big picture: U.S. intelligence officials evince deep worry over Chinese companies’ ability to resist Beijing’s demands for data.

Twitter faces FTC fine of up to $250 million over alleged privacy violations

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Twitter of using phone numbers and emails from its users to make targeted ads between 2013 and 2019, Twitter said in an SEC filing published Monday.

Why it matters: Twitter estimates that the FTC's draft complaint, which was sent a few days after its Q2 earnings report, could cost the company between $150 million and $250 million. The complaint is unrelated to the recent Twitter hack involving a bitcoin scam.

Jul 27, 2020 - Technology

Exclusive: Texas AG probing Facebook over biometric data

Photo illustration: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Texas is investigating Facebook for possibly running afoul of state laws on the collection of biometric data, according to June documents uncovered by a tech watchdog group.

The big picture: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has emerged as a key tech investigator, and going after Facebook for illegally harvesting biometric data may be a fruitful line of inquiry. Facebook users in Illinois secured a major settlement over the issue.

Twitter says hackers accessed personal data from 8 accounts in bitcoin scheme

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter has determined that hackers accessed the personal data of up to eight non-verified accounts affected by a cryptocurrency-related scam earlier this week.

The state of play: The social media company said late Friday that 130 accounts were targeted, and only 45 successfully breached. The hackers downloaded user data through a tool intended to give an account owner a summary of their Twitter details and activity.

Jul 16, 2020 - Technology

EU court strikes down landmark transatlantic data privacy pact

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Europe's highest court blew up the agreement that allows most data transfers between the EU and the U.S. Thursday, creating uncertainty for the tech firms that rely on the pact and likely sending officials scrambling to come up with a replacement.

Why it matters: Major global tech companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft send troves of user data across the Atlantic daily. This decision severely complicates the future of that and sends the message that Europe doesn't accept how its citizens' data is handled stateside.

Jul 15, 2020 - Technology

Mozilla to offer paid VPN for Windows and Android

Mozilla announced Wednesday it's offering a virtual private network service for Windows and Android.

Why it matters: The move comes as the Firefox maker looks to expand its business, drawing on its reputation for security and privacy.

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.

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