At a glance.
- GAO finds 2020 Census prep behind in reaching IT, security milestones.
- WhatsApp remains committed to encryption.
- Dating apps arrive accompanied by privacy, other security concerns.
- Local governments in the UK overshare private information.
- Czech privacy authorities investigate Avast.
- Los Angeles wants to know everything about your shared-scooter trips.
2020 Census, privacy, and trust.
A report by the US Government Accountability Office finds that the Census Bureau, while it’s been working to meet IT milestones and cybersecurity requirements, is still lagging as it prepares for this year’s Constitutionally-mandated count. One of the problems the census may encounter is trust: people being surveyed need to be confident that the information they provide will be protected and not shared. Concerns that the census won’t be private, and that its data won’t be left open to misuse, are likely to be themes of hostile foreign influence operations.
WhatsApp says it’s committed to encryption.
WhatsApp now has over two-billion active users, and the Wall Street Journal reports that the company’s CEO has renewed its commitment to the privacy that encryption affords. CEO Will Cathcart sees a growing appetite for surveillance on the part of governments as the principal threat to the chat service’s privacy.
Looking for love (and love is looking right back atcha).
Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day, with its customary potential for disappointment, heartache, blasted hope, and so on. (Oh, and, of course, love too.) Also fraud and invasion of privacy. Facebook has suspended the rollout of its own dating app in Europe over concerns raised by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, but there are plenty of other nets out there for all those other fish in the sea.
Need help with poverty or drinking? Your council will not only help, but help others find out, too.
Local governments in the UK offer free and confidential services to citizens looking for help with various problems with living. Unfortunately, as Brave Software discovered, they also offer real-time bidding to advertisers, with all its attendant risk of oversharing personal data.
Czech privacy watchdog looks into Avast’s shuttered data selling operation.
Vice reports that the Czech Republic’s Office for Personal Data Protection has opened an investigation of anti-virus company Avast over its now-suspended practice of selling data to marketers through its now-shuttered subsidiary Jumpshot.
Bikes and scooters in the City of the Angels.
The City of Los Angeles has won a legal squabble with Uber’s bike-and-scooter-sharing subsidiary Jump. The city suspended Jump’s permit to rent bicycles and scooters because Jump refused to share complete usage data with the city’s Department of Transportation, as city regulations require.
The Los Angeles Times reports that hearing officer David Shapiro found that, yes indeed, Los Angeles did require extensive data reporting, and that Jump had failed to provide evidence that such data had been misused to violate its customers’ privacy, although he did note that “the abstract concern is real.”
But the victory may in some respects have been pyrrhic. The Transportation Department called the regulations “common sense permit requirements, designed to protect the safety and quality of life for local residents,” but the hearing officer said the city failed to show what problems could be solved by collecting data in the extensive, near-real-time way its regulations demand. (In general it's probably easy to say where the riders are headed: hey L.A.--they're going to San Diego or Venice Beach, and that's just because it's too far to Malibu or Zuma.)