All Data privacy stories

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.

Ina Fried, author of Login
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.

Ina Fried, author of Login
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.

Lawsuit alleges Google tracks users even in incognito mode

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Google faces a new lawsuit seeking at least $5 billion over accusations the company profits off of using its ad tech to track people across the internet, even when they take steps to mask their browsing.

The big picture: Google, like other tech giants, has faced rising scrutiny in recent years over its collection and use of private data, and policymakers and advocates have looked to how it uses ad tech as a possible avenue for curbing its power.

Chinese coronavirus test maker agreed to build a Xinjiang gene bank

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A leading Chinese gene sequencing and biomedical firm that said it would build a gene bank in Xinjiang is supplying coronavirus tests around the world.

Why it matters: U.S. officials are worried that widespread coronavirus testing may provide an opportunity for state-connected companies to compile massive DNA databases for research as well as genetics-based surveillance.

Mike Allen, author of AM
May 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."

Ina Fried, author of Login
May 19, 2020 - Technology

DOJ and Apple reignite dispute over encryption

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The long-simmering debate over encryption has come to a boil once more, as Attorney General Bill Barr again attacked Apple on the issue and a leading Senate encryption critic now has law enforcement looking to get into his own device. 

The big picture: Although they're not viable in all cases, there are a number of ways for law enforcement to get suspects' data. That, however, hasn't stopped pressure on companies like Apple to build backdoors to let law enforcement access encrypted devices.

May 19, 2020 - Technology

Exclusive: New York Times phasing out all 3rd-party advertising data

The New York Times building. Photo: Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

The New York Times will no longer use 3rd-party data to target ads come 2021, executives tell Axios, and it is building out a proprietary first-party data platform.

Why it matters: Third-party data, which is collected from consumers on other websites, is being phased out of the ad ecosystem because it's not considered privacy-friendly.

May 19, 2020 - Health

Americans are on board with contact tracing as long as it doesn't involve cellphone data

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A large majority of Americans say they're likely to cooperate with contact tracing and isolation efforts — as long as that doesn't involve handing over their cellphone location data, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Basing contact tracing efforts around voluntary cellphone programs is only effective if people are willing to use those programs — which Americans generally aren't, as we reported last week.