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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.