Privacy News Online | Weekly Review: September 11, 2020
Featured: Privacy News Online – Week of September 11th, 2020
Federal courts rule that reverse location requests by police violate the Fourth Amendment
Law enforcement has previously used reverse location requests, otherwise known as geo fencing warrants, to ask tech companies like Google to provide a list of all smartphones located near the scene of a crime as a way to find suspects. A Federal court has now ruled that these types of warrants are unconstitutional because they violate the protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
Freedom of expression hangs in the balance at Julian Assange’s extradition hearing
The editor of WikiLeaks is facing the extradition hearings that will affect his life, and also the fate of freedom of expression around the world. Last year, Assange was arrested in London after an extradition request from the United States. Should he be extradited to the US, Assange faces multiple charges under the Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Acts. Amnesty International is concerned about the chilling effect that Assange prosecution in the US might have on whistleblowing around the world.
Federal appeals court finds the NSA’s mass surveillance of American phone records was illegal
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled what many of us knew for a long time: that the NSA program to spy on American phone records was completely illegal. In fact, besides being illegal, the program was ineffective at stopping terrorists, too. This domestic spying program was first revealed to the public by Edward Snowden back in 2013, and the court specifically mentioned Snowden’s leaks as instrumental in revealing the NSA”s illegal actions to the world.
More Privacy News This Week:
The privacy perils of using a mesh network – and why we urgently need one that is robust and open source
Last week, we highlighted that Bridgefy, the supposedly encrypted messaging app meant for protestors to use at demonstrations was actually full of security and privacy holes. The same researchers took a look at the currently available alternatives and weren’t able to find anything that provided the security and privacy needed in high risk situations like protests. What is clear, though, is that a mesh network solution needs to be open source to be trustable.
Facebook halts Oculus Quest sales in Germany amid privacy concerns
Facebook has stopped sales of their new Oculus VR headset in Germany because they may have run afoul of the GDPR with their announcement that all Oculus users would need to login using a Facebook account by 2023. European privacy laws include something called a coupling ban which forbids coupling service accounts in this way. Facebook is in talks with the Hamburg Commissioner on Data Protection and Freedom of Information and voluntarily stopped sales while they work things out.
The UK’s online ID plans: expensive, intrusive, unnecessary
Despite many promises to the contrary, the UK government has recently announced plans for an online ID card for British citizens as a way to revolutionize the way that the government keeps track of data. Under the proposal, the new digital ID would be used to check for immigration status, age, and streamlining healthcare. Many experts have come out to emphasize that such a move would be expensive, anti-privacy, and a significant upgrade to the UK’s surveillance state.
Threema E2EE chat app to go ‘fully open source’ within months
Threema will soon join Signal and Wickr as an end to end video, voice, and text messaging service that makes its apps’ code open source where it is available for public review.
New KryptoCibule Windows malware is a triple threat for cryptocurrency users
Covert windows malware KryptoCibule installs a cryptocurrency miner, steals crypto wallets, and silently replaces wallet addresses. The malware has been around since 2018 but remained undiscovered by limiting its spread to two European countries.
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