Students fear for their data privacy after University of California invests in private equity firm
A financial link between a virtual classroom platform and the University of California system is raising eyebrows
Instructure has made it clear through their own language that they view the student data they aggregated as one of their chief assets, although they have also insisted that they do not use that data improperly. My note: “improperly” is relative and requires defining.
Yet an article published in the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, titled “Transparency and the Marketplace for Student Data,” pointed out that there is “an overall lack of transparency in the student information commercial marketplace and an absence of law to protect student information.” As such, some students at the University of California are concerned that — despite reassurances to the contrary — their institution’s new financial relationship with Thoma Bravo will mean their personal data can be sold or otherwise misused.
The students’ concerns over surveillance and privacy are not unwarranted. Previously, the University of California used military surveillance technology to help quell the grad student strikes at UC Santa Cruz and other campuses
25 US Congress members urge President Donald Trump to follow India’s lead and ban TikTok from r/technology
25 US Congressmen and Congresswomen have urged President Donald Trump… In a letter to the US President, dated July 15, they also pointed out that India took the “extraordinary step” of banning several “Chinese affiliated mobile apps including TikTok due to national security concerns”.
India had recently banned 59 Chinese mobile applications including the widely-used social media platforms such as TikTok, WeChat, and Helo within view of the threat to the nation’s sovereignty and security.
more on Tik Tok in this IMS blog
New anti-encryption bill worse than EARN IT. Act now to stop both. from r/technology
Once surveillance laws such as an encryption backdoor for the “good guys” is available, it’s just a matter of time until the “good guys” turn bad or abuse their power.
By stressing the fact that tech companies must decrypt sensitive information only after a court issues a warrant, the three Senators believe they can swing the public opinion in favor of this encryption backdoor law.
Leaked documents show how police used social media and private Slack channels to track George Floyd protesters from r/technology
Police monitored RSVP lists on Facebook events, shared information about Slack channels protesters were using, and cited protesters’ posts in encrypted messaging apps like Telegram.
How police used social media to track protesters
warning sent to police departments on June 6, the FBI says it’s been tracking “individuals using Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram” who post about organizing protests.
more on surveillance in this IMS blog
After March 2020 reports about Zoom privacy issues, now Zoom acknowledges working with the Chinese government:
Zoom acknowledged it shut down the accounts of several activists and online commemorations of the Tiananmen Square…
Posted by NPR on Friday, June 12, 2020
Is Zoom Safe for Chinese Students?
Unlike many other major tech platforms based in the U.S., Zoom, which is headquartered in California, has not been blocked by the Chinese government. Zoom said in a blog post that it is “developing technology over the next several days that will enable us to remove or block at the participant level based on geography” which will allow the company to “to comply with requests from local authorities when they determine activity on our platform is illegal within their borders; however, we will also be able to protect these conversations for participants outside of those borders where the activity is allowed.”
Zoom’s interference with the Tiananmen gatherings and its suspension of user accounts raised alarm among many in higher education, which increasingly depends on Zoom to operate courses remotely — including for students located within China’s borders.
Multiple scholars took to Twitter to express their worries
PEN America, a group that advocates for free expression, condemned Zoom for shuttering the activist’s account.
This is not the first time Zoom’s links to China have come under scrutiny. In April, the company admitted that some of its user data were “mistakenly” routed through China; in response, the company announced that users of paid Zoom accounts could opt out of having their data routed through data centers in China.
An April 3 report by scholars at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy said Zoom’s research and development operations in China could make the company susceptible “to pressure from Chinese authorities.”
Zoom, whose Chinese-born CEO is a U.S. citizen, said in its latest annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it had more than 700 employees at its research and development centers in China as of Jan. 31. The SEC filing notes that Zoom has a “high concentration of research and development personnel in China, which could expose us to market scrutiny regarding the integrity of our solution or data security features.”
Zoom Just Totally Caved In to China on Censorship from r/technology
more about Zoom in this IMS blog
my note Looks as if Huawei will not stop this trend….
Huawei attempts inserting backdoor/vulnerability to Linux from r/technews
more about Huawei in this IMS blog
Senate Votes to Allow FBI to Look at Your Web Browsing History Without a Warrant
The US Senate has voted to give law enforcement agencies access to web browsing data without a warrant, dramatically expanding the government’s surveillance powers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The power grab was led by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell as part of a reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which gives federal agencies broad domestic surveillance powers.
“Today the Senate made clear that the purpose of the PATRIOT Act is to spy on Americans, no warrants or due process necessary,” Dayton Young, director of product at Fight for the Future, told Motherboard.
Facial recognition technology breaches GDPR says Vestager
Margrethe Vestager, EU’s tech chief Margrethe Vestager said on Thursday that facial recognition technologies breach the need to give consent, which is stipulated in Europe’s data protection rules (GDPR).
“China might have data and the US might have money, but Europe has purpose,” the Commission’s VP for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age said.
The use of facial recognition technology remains highly controversial due to fears of China-type surveillance regimes and human rights violations, with Ursula von der Leyen, EC President pledging to distance Europe from these practices and to announcing new AI ethical and human-centred rules in the first 100 days of her mandate.
more on facial recognition in this IMS blog