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Facebook broke German privacy laws, court rules

Privacy rights campaigners are claiming victory over Facebook in a German legal battle. It follows a regional court ruling that found some of the social network’s data consent policies to be invalid. The Vzbv consumer group successfully argued that five of the app’s services were switched on by default, with the relevant privacy settings “hidden”. Facebook intends to appeal, but believes that planned changes to the app will ensure it obeys the law. Vzbv also plans to appeal because some of its other allegations were rejected. These included a claim…

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Google-Nest merger raises privacy issues

Tech giant Alphabet is merging its Google and Nest divisions together. The firm suggests the move will aid its efforts to build hardware and software to “create a more thoughtful home”. Nest had run as a standalone unit since its $ 3.2bn (£2.3bn) takeover in 2014. Its smart home products benefit from gathering data about its users. Nest previously pledged the data would be kept separate from Google’s other operations. Privacy campaigners have raised concerns at the reorganisation. But Google has said it will be “transparent” about any changes that…

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Uber agrees to 20 years of privacy audits to settle FTC charges

Uber has been ordered to introduce tougher measures to protect the privacy of its drivers and their customers, to settle charges brought by a regulator. It also had to agree to have the effectiveness of the stricter controls assessed by an independent auditor every two years for the next 20 years. The charges relate to God View, a software program that enabled the ride-sharing company to monitor real-time locations of customers and drivers. Uber faces fines if it fails to comply. The US Federal Trade Commission began investigating Uber following…

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Judge weighs privacy in Utah prescription-drug database case

A federal judge was weighing Thursday whether the Drug Enforcement Administration can access a Utah prescription-drug database without a warrant in a lawsuit that pits the right to privacy against the need to combat the country’s opioid-drug epidemic. “I think this is a fascinating case,” said U.S. District Judge David Nuffer. He’s considering whether to follow another judge’s recommendation that sided with the DEA. The agency is fighting to be exempt from a Utah law that requires investigators to get a warrant to search the database. The DEA says it’s…

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Why Malcolm Turnbull's attack on privacy is a feminist issue

Privacy feels like a dull subject these days – existing in the world of deep Facebook settings and endless unseen terms and conditions. The loss of it seems a small price to pay for having the world available at our fingertips. We tend to value our privacy, but also hope to put very little effort into maintaining it. The increasing popularity of easy-to-use encrypted chat apps like Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp shows that we care enough to make changes to our routine as long as we aren’t inconvenienced. We shouldn’t…

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Google DeepMind NHS medical trial broke UK privacy law

A UK hospital did not do enough to protect the privacy of patients when it shared data with Google, the UK’s Information Commission (ICO) has ruled. The ICO censured the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust about data handed over during trials of a novel way to detect acute kidney injury. Among other failings, the ICO said the hospital did not tell patients enough about the way their data was used. The trust said it would tackle “shortcomings” in its data-handling. Details on about 1.6 million patients was provided to Google’s…

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