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January 6, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Individual privacy is under threat around the world as governments continue to introduce surveillance and information-gathering measures, according to an international rights group. Although privacy is improving in the former communist states of Eastern Europe, it is worsening across Western Europe, London-based Privacy International said. Concerns about terrorism, immigration and border security are driving the spread of identity and fingerprinting systems, it said. Greece, Romania and Canada had the best records of the 47 countries surveyed.
April 15, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
New technology often challenges society's long-standing assumptions and standards, but sometimes courts - and others - lose sight of common sense as they grapple with the changes. That's the case in a recent decision of California's 6th Appellate District, which found that text messages and emails between public officials are beyond the reach of the Public Records Act if they are sent on private devices rather than ones owned by public agencies. The three-judge panel said that electronic communications between council members and the mayor of San Jose, even those regarding city business, should not be considered "public" records if they are not "used" or "retained" by the city government (the language cited comes from California's Public Records Act, written long before smartphones existed)
December 21, 1998 | GREG MILLER
Television actress Alyssa Milano recently won several legal skirmishes in her crusade to stop Internet sites from posting nude pictures of her. Two operators of nude celebrity Web sites have agreed to remove the pictures of Milano and settle suits she filed against them, according to Milano's attorney, Mitchell Kamarck. He declined to specify how much money the sites agreed to pay except to say that the total is "in the five figures."
March 31, 2014 | By Ken Dilanian, This article has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details
FT. MEADE, Md. - In nearly nine years as head of the nation's largest intelligence agency, Gen. Keith Alexander presided over a vast expansion of digital spying, acquiring information in a volume his predecessors would have found unimaginable. In Iraq, for example, the National Security Agency went from intercepting only about half of enemy signals and taking hours to process them to being able to collect, sort and make available details of every Iraqi insurgent email, text message and phone-location signal in real time, said John "Chris" Inglis, who recently retired as the NSA's top civilian.
As a child in post-World War II England, Shirley McGlade clipped a picture of movie star Jeff Chandler and put it in her wallet. That was her father, she told schoolmates--a rich American who had divorced her mother and was fighting for custody of her. "People believed me," she said. "I lived in a fantasy world."
April 12, 2013 | By Chris O'Brien, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - The escalating cyber attacks on corporate and government computers have provided a rare opportunity for bipartisan legislation to address the problem. But rather than sailing through Congress, the latest cyber security legislation is exposing a fault line in the tech industry. On one side stand some of tech's biggest companies, such as Intel Corp., Oracle Corp. and IBM Corp., which are pressing for more government action. On the other side are thousands of smaller tech firms and privacy activists who have launched online protests to raise the alarm over a bill they say harms privacy and civil liberties.
August 23, 1998
Aug. 17, 1998: On this date in American history, personal privacy ended. GENE HERD, Sherman Oaks
May 25, 2013 | By Michael Finnegan and James Rainey, Los Angeles Times
Midway through his election-night victory speech, Eric Garcetti turned toward the cluster of family on the stage behind him and invited his wife to step forward. He thanked her for "making our life work" under the stress of his run for mayor of Los Angeles, saying, "None of this would be possible without Amy Wakeland. " It was a rare moment in the spotlight for Wakeland, a powerful player in Garcetti's political life but one who fiercely guards their family's privacy. With Garcetti's inauguration five weeks away, Wakeland, 43, will soon need to reconcile her fondness for a low profile with the platform that her husband's position will offer to advance causes that she has worked on for years.
January 18, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
Worried that your genetic information could be revealed?  You should be, says Harvard geneticist George Church.  But it doesn't have to keep you from participating in genetic studies. DNA privacy has been a subject of concern this week, as a team of geneticists reported Thursday in the journal Science that it was able to figure out the names of people who had donated their DNA to research -- even though test subjects' identities were stripped from their genomic data. Using information posted to genealogy websites and other publicly available Internet resources, the Whitehead Institute researchers were able to ferret out the names of nearly 50 people, suggesting that it may be easier than many had previously believed for a motivated hacker to match a test subject's DNA to his or her identity.
July 8, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
A British Airways effort to improve customer service by letting airline employees look up passenger photos and other information on the Internet is ruffling feathers among privacy advocates. Over the past year, British Airways equipped airline employees with Ipad devices to search passenger data such as previous travel arrangements, food preferences and even Google images. The London-based airline says the “Know Me” program was directed primarily to better serve VIP passengers.
March 21, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Federal Trade Commission and California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris say that Facebook is misinterpreting how a children's privacy law applies to teen privacy in a move that could undercut the giant social network in a federal court case in California. Facebook users sued the company for using their images in ads on the service without their consent and later settled the class-action lawsuit in 2012. Children's advocates are challenging the settlement in an effort to require Facebook to get explicit permission from parents before using the personal information - as well as the images, likes and comments - of teens in advertising.
March 17, 2014 | By Andrea Chang
Newsweek's blockbuster claim that it had found the creator of the bitcoin virtual currency is coming under intense scrutiny after a strongly worded denial by a Temple City man whom the newsmagazine dubbed "the face behind bitcoin. " Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto has hired a law firm and issued a statement late Sunday saying he wanted to "clear my name. " When the story was published in early March, Nakamoto, 64, found himself at the center of a media circus as well as a raging online debate about whether he was the programmer who invented the currency that has become a multibillion-dollar global phenomenon.
March 5, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
As more of our children's education moves online, there are increased opportunities for abusing the collection of their personal data. Last month, state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) introduced a bill that would help close a loophole in federal regulations - at least in California - in an effort to safeguard personal information of public school students. The potential privacy violations could be significant, and it makes sense for the Legislature to act now. Under the federal Family and Educational Rights Protection Act, schools that receive federal funding are rightly barred from making disclosures about students' education records without permission.
March 2, 2014 | By Maija Palmer
There is a sense of despair when it comes to privacy in the digital age. Many of us assume that so much of our electronic information is now compromised, whether by corporations or government agencies, that there is little that can be done about it. Sometimes we try to rationalize this by telling ourselves that privacy may no longer matter so much. After all, an upstanding citizen should have nothing to fear from surveillance. In "Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance," author Julia Angwin seeks to challenge that defeatism.
February 21, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- LinkedIn has added a new privacy control feature that lets you block other users from accessing your profile on the professional networking service. The Mountain View, Calif., company said it created the tool that lets you block spammers and stalkers because “it was the right thing to do.” LinkedIn said the blocking feature was requested by users. In fact, the feature came after a petition signed by 9,200 people urged the company to put one in place.
February 13, 2014 | By Patt Morrison
Finally, instead of TMZ, is America saying TMI? Too much information about a celebrity? The NBC news accounts of Philip Seymour Hoffman's “secret diaries” - two volumes found in his apartment - are getting some surprising pushback. The Times' story on the NBC exclusive cites Twitter comments about the diaries - not their contents but NBC's revealing them - as “pretty tacky that anon police are offering news orgs Philip Seymour Hoffman's diary.” And so on: “simply nauseatingly intrusive” and “just despicable.” The Times' story itself attracted a comment in the same vein: “This is a ridiculous invasion of privacy ... he did not shoot up a school, murder his wife ... he killed himself, why do they need to know what's in his diary?
February 6, 2014 | By Patt Morrison
Just think of it - in a few years, our cars will be able to talk to one another. What'll they be saying? Certainly not the kind of things we humans now say to one another on the road, words that you can't hear in the traffic roar but can't mistake on other drivers' lips. Your car will be talking its own lingo to the cars around you, saying, in Ford-speak, things like “we are changing lanes; please maintain speed and distance” or “the car ahead of us just slammed on its brakes, time to do the same.” When the technology is up and ready, the Obama administration wants all new cars to go “smart.” Cars that can beep out how fast they're going and which way they're going as often as 10 times a second; cars that can chat up stop signs, keep a virtual eye out for cyclists and pedestrians, and tell you to turn on the windshield wipers, dummy.
January 30, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Californians routinely use their credit cards to buy songs and videos on the Internet, so a worried state Senate on Thursday approved a measure to protect consumers' information from being misused. Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) proposed SB 383 in response to cases in which hackers have been able to steal the personal financial information of millions of credit card users. Her measure would limit online merchants to collecting personal information from consumers only if it is necessary to combat identity theft.
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