All Data privacy stories

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.

Updated Feb 20, 2020 - Technology

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.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Feb 14, 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.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Feb 13, 2020 - Technology

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.

Feb 10, 2020 - World

Justice Department indicts 4 Chinese military members for Equifax breach

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Justice Department announced Monday that it indicted four members of China's military in relation to the 2017 Equifax data breach that compromised the data of more than 147 million Americans.

Why it matters: The announcement comes at a fraught time for U.S.-China relations — just weeks after the signing of a critical "phase one" trade deal that ratcheted down economic tension between the two nations — and marks only the second time that the U.S. government has charged Chinese military hackers.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Feb 10, 2020 - Technology

Clearview brings privacy concerns from facial recognition into focus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

People warning about the potentially chilling collision of big data sets and emerging technologies can now point to Clearview, the secretive facial recognition startup that scraped images from some of the largest public internet sites to create a database now used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country.

Why it matters: Facial recognition tools have already raised privacy concerns in the U.S. and abroad, particularly when they're used by government, but the controversy over Clearview has shown that both industry and law enforcement are moving faster than the debate.

Cellphone tracking everywhere

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump administration is using private data to monitor immigration and the border, thanks to a massive database of cellphone records it purchased from private vendors.

Why it matters: Experts are concerned about the scale and use of the data, even if it appears to be on firm legal footing, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Ancestry.com refused court request to give police DNA database access

The Ancestry.com site. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Ancestry.com refused to comply with a search warrant pushed by a Pennsylvania court for police to gain access to its database of about 16 million DNA profiles, the company confirmed to Axios via email Monday night.

Why it matters: Per Axios' Kim Hart, firms that trace customers' ancestry have amassed huge DNA databases. Some have agreed to share access with law enforcement. The privacy questions this raises could become a "Supreme Court issue," retired investigator Paul Holes, who led the 2018 Golden State Killer case that used genetic data to identify the suspect, earlier told BuzzFeed, which first reported Ancestry's stand.

Dating apps, menstrual trackers accused of violating European data privacy law

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Grindr, OkCupid, Tinder, Qibla Finder and MyDays X are among 10 apps feeding user data — such as ethnicity, location, gender and age — to digital ad companies, nonprofit Norwegian Consumer Council found in a report released on Tuesday.

Why it matters: These dating, prayer guidance and menstrual cycle or fertility tracking apps collect information from some of the most intimate parts of users' lives. The council argues that sharing this data violates a European data protection law that went into effect last year.