Study Shows People Act To Protect Privacy When Told How Often Phone Apps Share Personal Information

Byron Spice, Carnegie Mellon University,  Monday, March 23, 2015

Many smartphone users know that free apps sometimes share private information with third parties, but few, if any, are aware of how frequently this occurs. An experiment at Carnegie Mellon University shows that when people learn exactly how many times these apps share that information they rapidly act to limit further sharing. In one phase of a study that evaluated the benefits of app permission managers – software that gives people control over what sensitive information their apps can access – 23 smartphone users received a daily message, or “privacy nudge,” telling them how many times information such as location, contact lists or phone call logs had been shared.

EU Regulators Should Review New Google Evidence, Says Lawmaker

Tom Fairless, Wall Street Journal,  Friday, March 20, 2015

European Union regulators should consider new evidence that the U.S. antitrust case against Google Inc. was stronger than previously thought as they weigh whether to sue the U.S. search giant for violating competition rules, an EU lawmaker, who has previously called for a possible breakup of the company, said Friday. “This new... evidence is crucial and could not come at better time,” said Ramon Tremosa I Balcells, a lawmaker who represents the Spanish region of Catalonia. He is also on the European Parliament’s economic affairs committee.

Updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act: An essential legislative goal for media companies and the public they serve

Kurt Wimmer, Media Institute,  Friday, March 20, 2015

Kurt Wimmer, chairman of the Institute's First Amendment Advisory Council, has written a new "Policy Views" issue paper on the need to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act in light of the widespread use of cloud computing. The LEADS Act would update ECPA in two important respects. First, it would implement the principles of the Warshak decision on a nationwide basis by requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant under ECPA to obtain the consent of any customer communications that are stored in the cloud. This would eliminate the outdated 180-day distinction currently in the law that affords older e-mails less protection than newer ones. Second, it would create a comprehensive framework to address data stored outside the United States.

Europe hints it will back Ireland's Microsoft stance

Adrian Weckler,,  Thursday, March 19, 2015

"The Commission's view is that personal data held by private companies in the EU should not, in principle, be directly accessed by or transferred to foreign enforcement authorities outside of formal channels of co-operation," said Ms Jourova. The EU Commissioner's statement will be seen as support for the Government, which has joined with Microsoft in fighting a 2013 FBI warrant that seeks access to personal data on Microsoft's Irish servers as part of a case being investigated.

Inside the U.S. Antitrust Probe of Google

Brody Mullins, Rolfe Winkler and Brent Kendall, Wall Street Journal,  Thursday, March 19, 2015

Key staff of the Federal Trade Commission concluded in 2012 that Google Inc. used anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet users and competitors, a far harsher analysis of Google’s business than was previously known. The staff report from the agency’s bureau of competition, which hasn’t before been disclosed, recommended the commission bring a lawsuit challenging three separate Google practices, a move that would have triggered one of the highest-profile antitrust cases since the Justice Department sued Microsoft Corp. in the 1990s.

How Google Skewed Search Results

Rolfe Winkler and Brody Mullins, Wall Street Journal ,  Thursday, March 19, 2015

A previously undisclosed report by staffers at the Federal Trade Commission reveals new details about how Google Inc. manipulated search results to favor its own services over rivals’, even when they weren’t most relevant for users. In a lengthy investigation, staffers in the FTC’s bureau of competition found evidence that Google boosted its own services for shopping, travel and local businesses by altering its ranking criteria and “scraping” content from other sites. It also deliberately demoted rivals.

Microsoft and bodycam company VIEVU look to arm law enforcement with better means of accountability

Kareem Anderson, WinBeta,  Wednesday, March 18, 2015

We reported last week about how Microsoft Azure Government Cloud became the first and only cloud offering to meet the CJIS compliance standards and agreements. Since then we’ve gathered more information about how Microsoft’s Azure Government cloud and bodycam partner VIEVU are teaming up to be a driving force in police accountability in the future. VIEVU CEO and founder Steve Ward helped shed some light on how VIEVU cameras, in conjunction with Azure Government, will play an integral part of public safety professionals, as well as those in private security.

A new worry for consumers: Cross-device tracking

Mitch Lipka, CBS News,  Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cell phone data, purchase history and what you look at on a company's website are cobbled together with other databases in attempt to better target consumers. While that technology can seem mind-boggling, the practice of tracking consumers across multiple devices is growing -- adding another layer to the mix as marketers build ever-richer profiles of us. The emergence of this type of data collection led the Federal Trade Commission to schedule a meeting in the fall to pull together experts and determine the risks and benefits, and if any additional regulation is needed.

France Seeks Power to Sift Phone, Internet Data to Unearth Terrorists

Sam Schechner, Wall Street Journal,  Wednesday, March 18, 2015

France wants telecom and tech firms to inform on potential terrorists. A new surveillance bill to be unveiled on Thursday would give the French government power to force communications companies to sift through mountains of phone and Internet metadata using automated tools to flag potential terrorist behavior to police, government officials say, raising concern among technology firms and civil liberties groups. The proposed law, which was accelerated in the wake of the January shootings in the Paris area, would completely overhaul what officials say is an outdated legal framework for spycraft, echoing efforts in the U.S. to upgrade surveillance powers after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

DoD now emphasizes cost over quantity in data center consolidation

Jared Serbu, Federal News Radio,  Wednesday, March 18, 2015

When the Defense Department first started its data center consolidation push four years ago, the approach was relatively straightforward: First, count the data centers, then close as many as possible. DoD says it is now applying a more nuanced strategy that focuses more on spending than sheer numbers.