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  1. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Tries To Make PRISM Not Sound Like an Orwellian Nightmare

    The Government's PRISM Program Sounds Scary, but the Director of National Intelligence Thinks We Just Don't Understand It

    There's been a lot of people talking about the PRISM program, and how it basically sounds like something a James Bond villain would use, but James Bond villain Director of National Intelligence James Clapper would like to tell you about all the people not being spied on under the program, so he released a fact sheet about it. It largely focuses on what PRISM can't do, and tries to pass the blame to Congress.

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  2. Google Glass Just Got a Little Less Creepy, It Won’t Recognize Faces

    Google announced that it won't be accepting apps for Glass that recognize faces -- at least not yet.

    If you're creeped-out by the idea of someone wearing Google Glass being able to instantly pull up information about you just from your face, then you might be glad to hear that isn't happening. At least not yet. Google announced Friday that it would not be accepting apps that make use of facial recognition as a way of addressing privacy concerns. So that's it then, right? Are everyone's concerns settled? It's not that simple, Google.

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  3. Drones, Drones Everywhere: German Railway to Test Anti-Graffiti Drones Despite Privacy Concerns

    Germany's national railway is testing small surveillance drones to stop graffiti, because of course.

    Germany is a country that takes its privacy very seriously. Google has had a number of problems with German privacy laws in the past, which is why it's surprising to see that the country's national rail system is considering using surveillance drones to stop people from vandalizing railway stations. When I say, "stop people," they'll just be gathering evidence as a preventative measure, not firing missiles at vandals or anything like that. At least not yet.

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  4. Facebook Launches Meaningless New “Ask Our CPO” Feature

    Facebook is trying to make it look like they are keeping their public dialogue on user privacy going by introducing their new "Ask Our Chief Privacy Officer" feature. It allows users to ask direct questions of Facebook CPO Erin Egan, but it's based around the idea that one person can answer the questions of a billion users. Every month Egan will answer a few submitted questions, but I have a better suggestion for how Facebook can deal with concerns from users.

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  5. Mark Zuckerberg’s Sister’s Private Photo Goes Public Thanks to Awful Facebook Privacy Settings

    Privacy on Facebook is essentially a myth at this point. They keep adding and changing settings to make users feel like they have control over who can see what they're posing, but in reality anything you put on Facebook, regardless of settings, has the potential to wind up in the public eye. It can even happen if you're related to the creator of Facebook . Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg's sister, had a photo she posted privately go public on the Internet. If a member of the Zuckerberg family can't even get some privacy on Facebook, what hope is there for the rest of us?

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  6. No Warrant, No Problem: U.S. Senate Drops Amendment Requiring a Warrant to Search Private Emails

    Just when you thought it was safe to send your friends funny chimpanzee videos. Recently, the U.S. Senate presented President Obama with an amendment to the Video Privacy Protection Act that would allow Netflix to override the act's prohibition of disclosing one's video rentals without expressed consent and automatically posting them to the individual's Facebook timeline -- essentially letting the world know you rented Battlefield Earth on more than one occasion. In addition to this was a second amendment to a different act that, if signed, required the federal government to obtain a warrant before searching email and other content stored in the cloud. Approved not too long ago by the Senate Judiciary Committee, this amendment was cut from the legislative package, granting the feds carte blanche to continue to rummage through your private messages should it prove conducive to an investigation.

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  7. Post Pictures of Your Kids Online, They’ll Thank You Later

    In an editorial piece published yesterday on TechCrunch titled "The Gift of Online Privacy," Cyan Banister calls for parents to think twice before sharing every milestone in their child's life on the Internet. As the title implies, she considers privacy one of the greatest gifts a parent can give to their child. I disagree. As proof, the above image isn't some picture I pulled off the Internet. That's the 20-week ultrasound of my daughter. I'll post a photograph of her in about six weeks when she's born, because I think photographs make a better gift than privacy.

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  8. Does Google Maps for iOS Break EU Privacy Laws?

    It took long enough, but Google Maps is finally back on the iPhone. Most people celebrated its return, but the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany is saying a feature of the revived app violates European data protection laws. That may be true, but we're just glad we can confidently look up where Schleswig-Holstein is on the iPhone again.

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  9. App Kids: Developers are Lying About Advertising to Children

    Earlier this year the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) issued a report titled Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are Disappointing (cringe-inducing emphasis theirs). They surveyed apps available from both iOS and Android platforms to see how available things like privacy practices were prior to downloading, and it's probably not shocking that their findings were disappointing, so the FTC told everyone involved to straighten up. Today the FTC released the findings of a follow-up study to see how things are improving. In short: They're not. In fact, the findings of the new report are even worse than the old one. Stay classy, app developers.

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  10. Stop Posting That Facebook Privacy Notice, It’s Completely Useless

    Last week we reported on Facebook's new privacy policies and how they could lead to external marketing. Over the weekend a lot of Facebook users started copying and pasting a statement about how their content cannot be used without their consent. This happens every time Facebook changes their privacy policies, and the gesture of copying and pasting a statement saying your content is protected is as useless now as ever. Please stop. Your friends who know better are getting annoyed.

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