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internet privacy

U.S. Senate Just Voted to Let Internet Providers Sell Your Data and Browsing History!

You may have been too distracted with questions like, "Did our president's campaign collude with Russian operatives?" and, "Will Congress take away my healthcare and replace it with angry bees?" to even bother wondering, "Will the Senate vote to allow Internet providers to sell my private data?" Maybe you weren't even distracted, and it just seemed too absurd to think about, but it happened!

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Inevitably, WhatsApp Is Starting to Share Some User Data With Facebook, but You Can (Partially) Opt Out

WhatsApp has a thing for privacy. The contents of the messages you send to other users on the chat platform are encrypted end-to-end, meaning they can't be read by anyone who intercepts them—even WhatsApp. However, they do know things about you and your messages that aren't directly related to the specific words you typed, and they're going to let Facebook in on that data.

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Study Shows Women Want More Privacy on Social Media; Men Don’t Care As Much

Would it surprise you to learn that men and women have different standards when it comes to their online privacy settings?

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The Oculus Rift Will Collect Your Personal Data “Automatically.” But… What For?

Last week, rumblings began about the wording of the privacy policy for the Oculus Rift, the Facebook-owned virtual reality headset that tons of people have already pre-ordered. Upload VR dissected the wording of the policy, particularly the bit about the "information automatically collected" by Oculus whenever the owner uses it.

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Privacy Rights for the Deceased: Do You Want Your Family To Unlock Your Phone When You Die?

If you want your family to be able to unlock your iPhone when you die, you should probably tell someone the password now, because Apple probably won't.

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Apple’s Encryption Battle Poses Unique Concerns for LGBTQIA Folks

Apple's ongoing dispute with the FBI over whether to develop a key that would allow free reign on guessing a locked iPhone password has inspired some compelling arguments from both sides. Here's another point in Apple's favor: encryption keeps LGBTQIA communities safe all over the world.

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Today in Internet (Lack of) Privacy: Ashley Madison Hackers Release Personal Client Information

So, punish a company for not protecting its clients by...punishing its clients?

Impact Team hacked Ashley Madison in order to protest unethical business practices, and now may have released 10GB of information - the personal information of over 36 million users worldwide - onto the Dark Net.

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Reddit Privacy Policy Update Requires Consent to Post Nude Images

Hooray! The bare minimum of human decency is now policy!

For those of you who thought you'd never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than Reddit, the site is taking baby steps in a better direction: an update to their privacy policy bans the sharing of nude or sexually explicit images without the subject's consent.

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Facebook Creates Guide For Domestic Violence Victims

For A More Civilized Age

Facebook and the NNEDV (National Network To End Domestic Violence) teamed up to create a guide to Facebook security and privacy specifically tailored to people who are victims of domestic abuse and/or cyberstalking. The guide walks users through the details of changing security settings, what the various privacy mechanisms do, and generally giving an in-depth tutorial on social media safety. Not only is it a great resource for anyone trying to grapple with violence, it is also just a well-written, straightforward guide about Facebook safety for any user.

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Ironic: Facebook’s New Privacy Settings Cause Mark Zuckerberg’s Sister’s Private Photo To Go Public

And That's Terrible

I'm not sure anyone I know is truly happy with their privacy settings on Facebook. Either they don't understand them or, if they do, they find them unsatisfactory. Yet we all keep using the free social networking website. But oddly enough, the site's privacy settings recently caused some strife in founder Mark Zuckerberg's family. One of his sister's photos was posted publicly online even though she thought it was set to private. 

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Facebook Is Testing A Feature That Lets Complete Strangers Message You for a Dollar

the internet is serious business

Facebook Messages are a seemingly simple offering by the social media giant that the company still manages to make somehow complicated. Messages, mobile messages, Facebook email, the Other folder... You mean, you don't know there's an Other folder? I don't blame you, it's practically invisible. So, the headline for this post that is way too long to actually use might look like this Facebook Is Still Overhauling Its Messaging System Like Every Six Months, Might Change it So Strangers Can Pay $1 to Send You a Noticeable Message.

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Facebook Announces New Privacy Changes That Can Lead to External Advertising

It's never good news when Facebook makes changes to its privacy policies, and the changes it's made this week are no exception. The new policies were put into place to allow Facebook to pool user data between itself and its other properties, such as Instagram, but one possible implication of this is that Facebook will be able to mine data from users to target ads outside of Facebook.

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Bouncers In the UK Are Asking to See Facebook Profiles Before Letting People in Nightclubs

what is this I don't even

Here is an obnoxious new development in the Facebook privacy debate: Some of our friends across the pond might find themselves denied access to nightclubs in the UK -- because they denied a bouncer access to their Facebook profile. No, really. The BBC reports that bouncers are asking people to log into their accounts on their phones outside of nightclubs to see if their profile names match their drivers license. Let's talk about how little sense this makes!

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Legislation Banning Employer Requests For Facebook Passwords Reaches the House of Representatives

Meddling Kids

At the end of March, we learned that members of the United States Congress -- meaning the House of Representatives and the Senate -- were officially looking into drafting a bill that would disallow employers from asking potential hires for private login information for their Facebook accounts. States had been instituting laws on their own, but after more and more stories came out about people feeling pressured to hand over their private information by someone in the position of giving them a job, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said that enough was enough -- this is something that needs to be dealt with on a national level. And now, the Social Networking Online Protection Act has made it to the House of Representatives while the Senate continues to work on their own version. Important question: Do we get to call it SNOPA? I'm going to call it SNOPA.

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Don’t Worry, President Obama Will Veto CISPA — Unless the Senate Has a Different Version

Rights of Passage

Your "small government" lawmakers are at it again, passing laws in the U.S. House of Representatives that give the government -- namely, agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency -- the power to basically obliterate your privacy -- in this case, via private businesses, namely large corporations. The good news is that President Obama has threatened to veto the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) if it made its way through Congress, due to its vastly overreaching provisions. However, while he has come out against the House bill, what if the Senate tones things down a bit?

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New ISP To Make Customer Privacy Its Top Priority

In this world where online privacy -- or more accurately the lack thereof -- is becoming more and more of an issue for many, there is no lack of complaints, but a distinct lack of solutions. One man thinks he has the way to put an end to this. Nicholas Merrill wants to start an Internet service provider with one thing at the forefront of its policy: Respecting user privacy. By means both technological and policy related, Merrill's in utero service would fight tooth and nail to keep its customers information from getting into the hands of anyone who doesn't need to see it. With bills like CISPA on the horizon, he could stand to find quite a few customers.

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Things We Saw Today: Texts From Hillary

Things We Saw Today

So, we found Texts From Hillary today, and now you know about it, too. You're welcome.

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Abandoned by Facebook and Foursquare; Creepy, Stalker-Enabling App Girls Around Me is Pulled by Developer

what is this I don't even

Gotta love those stories that you come across late in the day, and then by the time you get a moment to report on them, they've already sort of solved themselves. For about two months now, an app called Girls Around Me has be available on Apple's App Store, and, for what it's worth, it's not that it's explicitly intended to make it easy to pretend that you know a girl, or find a girl who may be susceptible to drunkenly going home with you... Well, actually I take it back, it's explicitly intended to do both of those things. As Cult of Mac expertly summarizes it: "Girls Around Me lets you identify women, find out where they are, look at pictures of them and then research their personal lives, all in pursuit of a 'one-night stand.'" Its creators wanted to make the lives of "ballers and pick-up artists" easier, which, while not my cup of tea, doesn't remove the fact that they're also giving would-be stalkers and date-rapists a incredible convenience.

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The Facebook Privacy Issue Is Heading to Capitol Hill

Meanwhile...

The cherry blossoms are a-blooming, and that means it's time for a Washington, D.C.-related post, following the inner workings of the sausage factory we call the government. And in this case, it finally doesn't involve transvaginal probing! No, this is an update to a story we brought you yesterday, concerning the issue of employers asking potential hires for their Facebook usernames and passwords. We briefly mentioned that one U.S. senator was introducing federal legislation to stop that, and now another has joined him. Which leads us to ask: "So, what do you think Chuck Schumer is really trying to hide on his Facebook profile, you guys?"

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Dear Employers Asking For Facebook Passwords: Not Cool. Love, Facebook

Assuming Direct Control

Something that is actually happening in the world today is the act of employers asking the people they might employ for their Facebook passwords for the purpose of seeing what a person does in their private time when the company is not responsible for them. If that sounds like a blatant privacy violation to you, then you are not alone. Apparently, just looking for someone's profile to see if they were apt to spend their off-hours drinking alcoholic beverages and other unbecoming things was not enough -- they wanted to actually log in and read everything a person was doing, writing, and posting on Facebook. And now, Facebook is announcing that they are not okay with that and might file lawsuits against a company who did this to a potential hire. And now, this is one of those rare times I'm on Facebook's side.

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