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mirror.co.uk, Wed 12/29:
‘My husband tracks our kids' every move – I think it’s an invasion of privacy’

But one mum has said her husband has gone too far with his desire to know exactly what his kids are up to – as he’s been tracking their every move.

The mum-of-two claims her husband Liam bought each of their children - 14-year-old Holly and 12-year-old Miles - an Apple Watch so that he could monitor the GPS and compare it with their schedules, Kidspot reports.

“Despite this, over recent months Liam has become almost obsessed with knowing every detail of our kids’ whereabouts.

The mum has tried talking to her husband about his actions, as she believes the watches are an “invasion of privacy” and a “betrayal of trust”.

She added: “I just think using it for anything else is such an invasion of privacy, especially for Holly.

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EFF, Wed 12/29:
Students Are Learning To Resist Surveillance: Year in Review 2021

Online Proctoring Begins to Back Down—But the Fight Isn’t OverDuring 2020 and 2021, online proctoring tools saw upwards of a 500% increase in their usage.

And we hope legislators begin to reign in unnecessary data collection by proctoring companies with some common-sense legislation in the new year.

EFF is not opposed to voluntary mechanisms like the Student Privacy Pledge to protect users—if they work.

Disciplinary Technology Isn’t Going AwayWhile we’ve made some headway in protecting student privacy during the pandemic, the threats aren’t going away.

If you’re interested in learning more about protecting your privacy at school, take a look at our Surveillance Self-Defense guide on privacy for students.

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Gizmodo, Tue 12/28:
Targeted Ad Firm Taps Into the Ultimate Influencer: Jesus

But this time, the text isn’t an ad for ADHD medication or an electric toothbrush.

No, it’s for Jesus, and the person viewing it has been carefully selected by an algorithm based on their perceived susceptibility to religious messaging.

AdvertisementThat’s, in short, the product being offered by Colorado-based startup Gloo, which was the subject of a new Wall Street Journal report.

Everyday internet users are uncomfortable with targeted ads generally.

To this point, Gloo told the Journal it follows all California and other state privacy laws.

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gizmodo.com
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EFF, Tue 12/28:
In 2021, We Told Apple: Don't Scan Our Phones

This scanning software, intended to protect children online, effectively abandoned Apple’s once-famous commitment to security and privacy.

Apple has historically been a champion of encryption, a feature that would have been undermined by its proposed scanning software.

We also created a petition where users from around the world could tell Apple our message loud and clear: don’t scan our phones!

Together with petitions circulated by Fight for the Future and OpenMedia, nearly 60,000 people told Apple to stop its plans to install mass surveillance software on its devices.

Now we’re asking Apple to take the next step and not break its privacy promise with a mass surveillance program to scan user phones for CSAM.

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EFF, Mon 12/27:
The Battle for Communications Privacy in Latin America: 2021 in Review

This post highlights a few relevant developments this year regarding communications privacy in Latin America in its relation with other rights, such as freedom of expression and assembly.

Human rights defenders, researchers from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and journalists were not spared on Mexico’s list.

At the regional level, leading digital rights groups in Latin America requested a thematic hearing to discuss surveillance risks for human rights before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Throughout 2021 and for years prior, EFF has been working with partners in Latin America to foster stronger human rights standards for government access to data.

Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2021.

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eff.org
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EFF, Sun 12/26:
Vaccine Passports: 2021 in Review

It has also been the year of vaccine passports.

In those days before even a timeline for vaccines, immunity passports also created perverse incentives for people who could not shelter in place.

Fortunately for us all, events kept immunity passports from gaining wide adoption.

As the hope for vaccines in 2020 became a certainty in 2021, attention shifted from immunity passports to vaccine passports.

In 2021, that continued to mean strong support for paper documents over digital ones, because of the obvious links between digital documents and surveillance systems.

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EFF, Sat 12/25:
The Atlas of Surveillance Turns the Dragnet on Police Tech: 2021 Year in Review

This past year, EFF's Atlas of Surveillance project mobilized hundreds of student journalists and volunteer researchers to turn the tables on police spying by building the largest ever public-facing database of police surveillance technology.

The EFF and Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno launched the Atlas of Surveillance in July 2020 as a literal effort to watch the watchers.

Combining a variety of newsgathering tools—crowdsourcing, data journalism, and public records requests—the Atlas of Surveillance is an interactive database and map that reveals what surveillance tech is used by more than 4,500 law enforcement agencies nationwide.

We are also proud to collaborate with Data 4 Black Lives on its #NoMoreDataWeapons campaign to increase awareness of surveillance tech in regions with large Black populations and a history of over-policing.

In the coming year, we will continue to grow not only the Atlas but the body of contributors to the project.

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EFF, Fri 12/24:
Pushing Back on Police Surveillance: 2021 Year in Review

EFF stands with protesters against police abuse, and stands up for the core rights to privacy, speech, and protest threatened by police surveillance.

EFF welcomes the Board’s small step toward transparency, but the city continues to defend the SFPD’s unlawful surveillance.

Yet, 99.9% of this surveillance data was not actively related to an investigation when it was collected.

While Baltimore’s spending board ended the surveillance contract early, the city retained some of the location data and asserted a right to search it.

The Surveillance Grab-bagEFF pushed back this year on other police surveillance tools too.

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eff.org
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EFF, Thu 12/23:
2021 Year in Review

2021 ended up being a time where we dug into our new realities of distributed work and the ever-changing COVID news.

However, San Francisco law prohibits the use of any surveillance tech by city departments like the police without approval from the Board of Supervisors.

2021 wasn’t entirely a year about surveillance.

We will update this page with new stories about digital rights in 2021 every day between now and New Year’s Day.

Donate to EFFSupport Digital Freedom2021 in Review Articles:

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eff.org
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EFF, Thu 12/23:
Electronic Frontier Alliance Defending Local Communities: 2021 in Review

The Electronic Frontier Alliance (EFA) is an information-sharing network of local groups that span a range of organizational models.

Privacy : Technology should allow private and anonymous speech, and allow users to set their own parameters about what to share with whom.

Electronic Frontier Alliance members were also active in advocacy campaigns to press corporations to change policies that restrict consumer access and privacy.

With so many local events going virtual, local groups leaned on their relationships in the EFA despite being in different parts of the country.

Learn more about some of our EFA members in these profiles:This article is part of our Year in Review series.

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eff.org
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Consumer Reports, Wed 12/22:
New Curbs on Ring’s Neighbors Program Fail to Ease Privacy and Civil Rights Concerns

“Making neighborhoods safer means working with different stakeholders in a community,” says Brendan Daley, head of corporate reputation PR for Ring.

In early 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic, Ring launched its Control Center privacy dashboard, which allows Ring users to opt out of receiving law enforcement video requests.

This year, the company also added end-to-end encryption for select Ring cameras (preventing Ring and anyone else from seeing your footage) and stricter limits on how law enforcement agencies can request footage.

According to a nationally representative Consumer Reports survey (PDF) of 2,223 U.S. adults in January 2021, 10 percent of video doorbell owners said they’ve shared footage with law enforcement.

An additional 12 percent of owners said they haven’t shared footage but have had a reason to do so.

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consumerreports.org
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news.bloomberglaw.com, Tue 12/21:
Global Privacy Control Popularity Grows as Legal Status Up in Air

Global Privacy Control, a way for consumers to signal privacy preferences to a host of websites without manually reaching out to each one, is gaining traction.

Virginia’s new consumer privacy law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2023, doesn’t currently mention Global Privacy Control or any similar tools, Abernethy added.

“That’s where something like the Global Privacy Control comes in.”Regardless of whether a tool like the Global Privacy Control ends up being mandated by additional state privacy laws, it won’t be the end-all, be-all, Bruno said.

“The way it’s been developed so far and applied to date indicates it’s not fully aligned, but that could change in the future.”In the U.S., legislative proposals for consumer privacy laws mention universal opt-outs, likely signaling future success for the Global Privacy Control, said Peter Snyder, director of privacy and senior privacy researcher at Brave, which also helped spearhead the Global Privacy Control.

As more privacy laws come to fruition, the Global Privacy Control will remain an important mechanism for users to assert their rights, he added.

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news.bloomberglaw.com
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EFF, Tue 12/21:
Podcast Episode: The Life of the (Crypto) Party

And so that's another element of the surveillance that’s around you.

So, you know, that's how that works when you do a Crypto party or anything like this in these neighborhoods, a marginalized community, it's actually pretty easy.

And to- to just have any solution offered, that's a community that's ready, so ready for this.

Matt Mitchell: I'm a dreamer, I'm a blue sky person, so I'm a, 100% abolitionist.

You're right.

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eff.org
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Gizmodo, Mon 12/20:
Privacy 'Incidents' at DHS on the Rise, Report Says

The GAO issued a total of seven recommendations, to which DHS fully agreed; however, DHS also asked that three of the recommendations be considered already in force.

DHS and other agencies consider “privacy incidents” essentially any event involving the “loss of control, compromise, unauthorized disclosure, [or] unauthorized acquisition” of confidential personal data.

AdvertisementInspector general audits in recent years have found failures at DHS to comply with basic cybersecurity standards.

A 2019 audit, for example, assigned its security program the lowest possible grade; “effectively a letter grade of F,” noted a Senate report, published in August.

Twenty-six “high vulnerabilities” were discovered at three DHS components, the report said, offering hackers a foothold in critical systems hosting highly sensitive data.

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gizmodo.com
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ZDNet, Mon 12/20:
Ruled by algorithms, gig workers remain powerless against automated decision-making

WIE also accused platform employers of withholding performance and surveillance data "behind the label of anti-fraud prevention" and exploiting current data protection laws to "rubber-stamp unfair machine-made decisions" – leaving gig workers powerless to challenge them.

"Unfortunately, this isn't a game; virtual realities have harsh consequences for gig workers in real life."

Electronic monitoring and surveillance systems were also the subjects of a report by the European Commission's Joint Research Council (JRC), which warned of significant "psycho-social risks" to gig workers who were routinely subjected to automated decision-making and surveillance.

"All of these problems are aggravated by the failure of platforms to respect the digital rights of workers.

Getting their cases through the courts presents another challenge to gig workers, the report said.

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zdnet.com
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imore.com, Mon 12/20:
Woman finds AirTag stuck to her car amid ongoing privacy concerns

A woman says she found an AirTag attached to her car after she was alerted that it was moving with her during a drive home from a bar.

The story comes amid ongoing privacy concerns relating to Apple's location tracker.

We also know that Apple's privacy features worked as intended here and it's impossible to know what might have happened if they hadn't.

Apple's AirTag is a great option for anyone who wants to make sure that they never lose their keys or just about anything else ever again.

Amid ongoing privacy concerns, this latest story could amplify the concerns of many.

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imore.com
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timesunion.com, Mon 12/20:
Commentary: Digital Fairness Act will help protect our online privacy

New York has a chance to set a new national privacy standard by passing the Digital Fairness Act.

During the 2016 election, personal information was even used to target advertisements to Black Americans urging them not to vote.

The Digital Fairness Act, now pending in the state Legislature, will put control back in peoples’ hands.

By requiring an opt-in model, the Digital Fairness Act enhances both privacy and individual control over personal information.

The Digital Fairness Act would let New Yorkers take control of their online lives and provide a roadmap for the rest of the country to do the same.

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timesunion.com
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screenrant.com, Sun 12/19:
Peloton Bikes & Galaxy Watch 4 Could Be The Creepiest Gifts This Christmas

Mozilla has published its annual 'Privacy Not Included' report, which lists gadgets and apps that spy on users.

Many smart gadgets and IoT devices are known to leak data, with numerous reports over the years showing that some of them even transfer data to their servers in plain text.

However, the latest report now calls out some top-rated apps and gadgets for the troubling privacy policies of their developers and manufacturers.

However, some of the other devices on the list are more of a surprise, like the Peloton Bike and Peloton Tread.

The list also includes a whole bunch of popular mobile apps that Mozilla says have less-than-convincing privacy policies.

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screenrant.com
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Reuters, Fri 12/17:
Palantir to localize UK data operations as privacy regulations tighten

FILE PHOTO: The logo of U.S. software company Palantir Technologies is seen in Davos, Switzerland January 22, 2020.

REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/Dec 17 (Reuters) - Palantir Technologies Inc (PLTR.N) said on Friday it plans to shift its entire UK data processing out of the United States, at a time when data privacy regulations are tightening across the globe.

While Palantir already hosts all UK customer data within the country, handling of metadata is currently done in the United States.

The company handles sensitive data for its clients in the UK including the National Health Service (NHS).

As a result, there is an increasing shift towards localizing these processes to comply with tougher regulatory requirements, all amid tense relations between the United States and China.

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reuters.com
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Globe and Mail (Canada), Fri 12/17:
Opinion: Genealogy kits aren’t fun holiday gifts. They’re privacy violations waiting to happen

Kits from genealogy companies, such as Ancestry, 23andMe and others, are often touted as holiday gifts, perfect for the person who has it all.

But in reality, when people hand over their genetic data to private corporations, they are opening themselves up to privacy violation.

The RCMP had sent DNA extracted from his bones to Othram, a Texas-based firm that trawls databases for potential matches.

Genealogy companies, meanwhile, squander goodwill by too often putting the bottom line ahead of their users’ privacy.

So if you care at all about the right to privacy for yourself and your loved ones, maybe consider a box of chocolates this holiday season, instead.

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theglobeandmail.com
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Apple Insider, Fri 12/17:
Even if the NSO Group shuts down, it won't stop paid iPhone attacks

Security researchers have discovered a new type of sophisticated iPhone spyware, signaling that Apple's devices are still threatened even if NSO Group shuts down its surveillance tools.

Researchers at the Citizen Lab on Thursday published new findings on a spyware tool dubbed Predator.

Both of the victims were attacked with the Predator spyware in June 2021.

Citizen Lab indicates that the spyware made it onto a target iPhone through single-click links send via WhatsApp.

Spyware targeting iPhone devices is becoming spotlighted in the public eye after controversy surrounding a surveillance product made by Israeli company NSO Group.

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appleinsider.com
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MYNorthwest (Seattle), Fri 12/17:
Dori: Goodbye, privacy — Washington state considers tracking your driving

You’re full of … hyperbole.”But just this week, KIRO Radio’s own traffic reporter Chris Sullivan reported on a Washington State Transportation Commission meeting where a pay-by-mile or road usage charge (RUC) system is under review.

Unlike the self-reporting systems tested in this area several years ago, the transportation commission is now looking at telematics.

This involves your newer vehicle automatically sending data about your driving habits to its manufacture.

It’s a practice most newer vehicle owners don’t even know is already happening.

Now, the commission is considering proposals to the state Legislature that would involve having automakers send that data directly to the state.

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mynorthwest.com
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Gizmodo, Fri 12/17:
Amazon's Ring Doorbell Could Gain Biometric Sensors

AdvertisementThe company filed patents that suggest detecting a person by smell is a future possibility for its doorbell cameras.

Although Amazon’s Ring doorbell doesn’t currently offer facial recognition like Google’s Nest camera lineup does, the capability is mentioned a handful of times in the patent, along with several biometric identifiers.

Examples include, but are not limited to, fingerprints, palm veins, facial recognition, three-dimensional facial recognition, skin texture analysis, DNA, palm prints, hand geometry, iris recognition, retina recognition, and odor/scent recognition.

Amazon told both The Independent and Insider that it does not have facial recognition technology or biometrics in its devices or services.

Our top pick is the Google Nest battery-powered doorbell, which offers on-device, locally-stored facial recognition that’s only shared within your network of Nest cameras.

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gizmodo.com
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EFF, Thu 12/16:
EFF to Court: Deny Foreign Sovereign Immunity to DarkMatter for Hacking Journalist

EFF’s brief argues that private companies should not be protected by foreign sovereign immunity, which limits when foreign governments can be sued in U.S. courts.

Hundreds of technology companies sell surveillance and hacking as a product and service to governments around the world.

In her lawsuit, Oueiss recounts being targeted by thousands of tweets attacking her, with accounts posting stolen personal photos and videos, some of which were doctored to further humiliate her.

EFF welcomed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent ruling that spyware vendor NSO Group, as a private company, did not have foreign sovereign immunity from WhatsApp’s lawsuit alleging hacking of the app’s users.

Courts should similarly deny immunity to DarkMatter and other surveillance and hacking companies who directly harm Internet users around the world.

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The Verge, Thu 12/16:
Meta alerts 50,000 users to targeting by ‘surveillance-for-hire’ companies

Facebook’s parent company Meta has alerted 50,000 users of Facebook and Instagram that their accounts were spied on by commercial “surveillance-for-hire” schemes around the globe.

The users were targeted by seven entities and located in more than 100 countries, according to an update posted on Meta’s news page today.

Targets included journalists, dissidents, critics of authoritarian regimes, families of opposition, and human rights activists, the post said.

The surveillance was uncovered in a monthslong investigation in which Meta identified spying groups and removed them from the platform.

The company has already been blacklisted by the US government for selling software used to spy on journalists around the world.

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theverge.com
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Wall Street Journal, Thu 12/16:
U.S. Blacklists Dozens of Chinese Entities Over Surveillance, Military Work

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration added dozens of Chinese companies and research institutes to blacklists restricting access to U.S. investment and technology for their alleged support for China’s military and the mass surveillance of mainly Muslim ethnic groups.

China’s Foreign Ministry has criticized the blacklisting of Chinese companies, with a spokesman in Beijing on Thursday accusing the U.S. of exerting “unwarranted suppression on Chinese companies.”DJI declined to comment.

The Biden administration has accelerated its actions against Chinese technology companies in recent weeks, though officials have sometimes differed over how to proceed.

Officials with the State and Energy departments, as well as the National Security Council, supported the Pentagon proposal to close the loophole while Commerce Department officials remained opposed, the people said.

Thursday’s blacklisting of the Chinese academy and its research institutes was because of their support for the Chinese military, including research into “purported brain-control weaponry,” a Commerce Department statement said.

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wsj.com
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Reuters, Thu 12/16:
France rebukes U.S. AI company for privacy breaches

In a formal demand disclosed on Thursday, the CNIL stressed that Clearview's collection of publicly-available facial images on social media and the Internet had no legal basis and breached European Union rules on data privacy, known as GDPR.

In an e-mailed statement, Clearview's Ton-That said he had always liked France and had "deep respect" for its people.

EU law provides for citizens to seek the removal of their personal data from a privately-owned database.

It follows a similar order by its Australian peer, which told Clearview to stop collecting images from websites and destroy data collected in the country.

($1=0.7526 pounds)Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterReporting by Mathieu Rosemain Editing by Gareth JonesOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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reuters.com
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digiday.com, Thu 12/16:
New research shows consumers’ concerns over data privacy sometimes clash with their actions

If a consumer says they’re less concerned with data privacy issues around a certain sector — say, banking — it would stand to reason that sector would see higher-than-average consent rates, right?

The consumer research arm launched earlier this year paired original insights gathered in September around consumers’ concerns over data privacy with research completed last year from Sourcepoint, a software company, over what sectors they were willing to share consent.

An overall 63% registered concerns about sharing data, while 31 percent said they were extremely concerned.

Cassard and her team compared these insights to research conducted in 2020 with Sourcepoint (OMG Signal hadn’t been formed yet) over which sectors consumers tend to give their consent.

“Marketers must understand explicit as well as implicit expectations for their category to provide consumers with enough value to opt in,” said Cassard.

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digiday.com
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Techcrunch, Wed 12/15:
FTC may consider rule curbing algorithmic discrimination and ‘commercial surveillance’ – TechCrunch

The Federal Trade Commission appears to be preparing to consider a rule aimed at digital platforms that either invasively track their users or allow others to do so.

The “Trade Regulation Rule on Commercial Surveillance” is at a very early stage but could be the first major anti-Big-Tech action by new FTC Chair Lina Khan.

It is currently only described in this Office of Management and Budget summary, after the FTC submitted information to that agency on potential upcoming regulatory actions.

It might not be until the FTC updates its rules and guidance to include the practice.

An FTC rule could help make this a requirement rather than a voluntary action.

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techcrunch.com
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Privacy International, Wed 12/15:
Surveillance Industry Finally Facing Scrutiny, but Will it Change Anything?

Following sustained reporting by researchers, journalists and activists around the world, including recent disclosures exposed by the PegasusProject, the surveillance industry is facing scrutiny like never before.

Signed in 2016, the Global Magnitsky Act authorizes the U.S. government to sanction those it sees as human rights offenders, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the U.S.

DarkMatter, UAE: Selling a complete portfolio of cyber security solutions and reported to have, some of which have reportedly been used to hack human rights activists.

As governments still resort to such hacking powers, though, PI has been advocating for a human rights approach to surveillance.

For this reason, we developed a series of necessary safeguards designed to assess government hacking in light of applicable international human rights law.

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privacyinternational.org
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