Inside these posts: Privacy

Visit our Filed page for categories. To browse by specific topic, see our Inside page. For a list of companies covered on this site, visit our Companies page.


Feds probe data collection by smartphone apps

Music player Pandora's smartphone app for both iPhones (above) and Androids transmitted information about a user's age, gender, and location. (Reuters/Joe Skipper)

Federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating whether numerous smartphone applications illegally obtained or transmitted information about their users without proper disclosures, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The criminal investigation is examining whether the app makers fully described to users the types of data they collected and why they needed the information — such as a user’s location or a unique identifier for the phone — the person familiar with the matter said. Collecting information about a user without proper notice or authorization could violate a federal computer-fraud law. Get the full story »

Supreme Court limits privacy of gov’t contractors

The Supreme Court has again rejected broad privacy rights for some government workers.

A unanimous bench on Wednesday affirmed the government’s right to conduct personal background checks on current and prospective employees under federal contract, especially those in sensitive or high-security workplaces. Get the full story »

U.S, pursuing criminal charges in iPad data theft

U.S. investigators plan to announce criminal charges concerning the alleged theft of email addresses and other personal information belonging to about 120,000 users of Apple Inc’s iPad tablet computer. Get the full story »

Agency calls for online privacy bill of rights

The Commerce Department is calling for the creation of a “privacy bill of rights” for Internet users to set ground rules for companies that collect consumer data online and use that information for marketing and other purposes.

The proposal, outlined in a Commerce Department report Thursday, is intended to address growing unease about the vast amounts of personal information that companies are scooping up on the Net — from Web browsing habits to smart phone locations to Facebook preferences. That data is often mined to target advertising. Get the full story »

McDonald’s warns of customer information breach

McDonald’s Corp. has informed an undisclosed number of customers that certain information such as phone numbers and ages has been obtained by an “unauthorized third party” via information collected from its Web sites.

McDonald’s described the information as customer information as “limited information”  provided to McDonald’s that included “information required to confirm your age, a method to contact you (such as name, mobile phone number, and postal address and/or email address).” Get the full story »

Walgreen Co. warns about unauthorized e-mails

Customers subscribing to Walgreen Co.’s e-mail distribution list should be on the look-out for spam directing them to another site and then asking for personal data.

According to a company spokesman, Walgreens became aware of “unauthorized access” to its e-mail list, “about a week ago,” and began notifying subscribers this morning. Get the full story »

Google settles privacy suit over Buzz network

Google Inc. has settled a lawsuit accusing it of privacy violations in connection with its Buzz social networking service, according to a court document filed Friday.

The settlement filing comes the same day Google said it would simplify and update its privacy policies, Associate General Counsel Mike Yang said on the company’s Web site. Get the full story »

Apple pulls apps over privacy concerns

Apple Inc. removed a host of applications from its popular App Store and acknowledged  that a developer had engaged in fraudulent purchases, a move that raises concerns about an operation seen as the gold standard for mobile application marketplaces.

On Monday, Apple said applications created by Thuat Nguyen had been removed and alleged Nguyen had engaged in “fraudulent purchase patterns.” The move followed complaints by App Store users that their accounts had been accessed to purchase applications made by Nguyen.

Nguyen could not be located for comment. Get the full story »

Twitter to bolster user privacy in settlement

Microblogging service Twitter has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it put its customers’ privacy at risk by failing to safeguard their personal information.

The settlement announced by the FTC Thursday stems from a series of attacks last year on Twitter, the three-year old phenomenon that lets people send short text messages to groups of followers. Under the agreement, Twitter is creating an independently audited security program, among other measures. Get the full story »