General Security

Facebook investigated by New York AG’s office for harvesting email contacts

New York attorney general’s office is investigating Facebook for harvesting the email contacts of about 1.5 million users without their consent.

“Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumers’ information while at the same time profiting from mining that data.” – New York Attorney General Letitia James The social network confirmed in April that it collected the email contacts of its users, but said it wasn’t on purpose.

The attorney general’s office said in a press release that hundreds of millions of Facebook users could have been affected because users might have hundreds of email contacts stored. The attorney general’s investigation comes as other regulators and lawmakers are cracking down on Facebook for its privacy practices e.g. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is investigating whether Facebook safeguarded its users’ passwords properly, which could show violations of GDPR. In December, the DC attorney general sued Facebook for allegedly failing to safeguard the data of its users and Canadian regulators have accused Facebook of violating local laws for mishandling user data and said they could take the company to court for its privacy mishaps.

The privacy commissioner of Canada and the information and privacy commissioner for British Columbia started investigating Facebook last year after revelations surfaced that a UK political consultancy Cambridge Analyticaharvested data from about 87 million users without their permission.


Android L to enable data ecryption in order to protect customers

Android L is closer to us than ever and it seems that Washington Post received a glimpse of what is to come from Google itself! It appears that devices shipping with Android L will be having default encrypted disks – the move is a step forward in preventing law enforcement from obtaining information from smartphones and tablets without the owner’s consent.

This change will allow Google to avoid certain ethical and legal questions when it comes to search warrants issued against devices. Considering the fact that they will not be able to provide tools that can be used to access encrypted data on devices this means they cannot be compelled to do it either.

What automatic encryption will do is protect devices from law enforcement or hacker access without authorization. This does not stop law enforcement officers from raiding your cloud stored data though.

Full-disk encryption is available on Android devices since 2011, but it was not enabled by default and most users have not enabled it themselves. This implementation is extremely helpful and efficient and it would not affect battery life or device performance.

New Android devices shipping with the L release will have encryption turned on but it is yet unclear if existing devices will be encrypted automatically after they are updated to the Android L OS.

Source: Washington Post


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