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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 8, 2013
Employers are frequently using monitoring software to make their employees more productive at work, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, part of a series about the "Tougher Workplace. " Although the Constitution speaks of a "reasonable" expectation of privacy, this is largely not applicable at private employers. Courts are still sifting through the changes that technology has caused in the workplace and figuring out what employers can and can't do. The exchange below aims to help clarify some issues.
August 23, 1998
Aug. 17, 1998: On this date in American history, personal privacy ended. GENE HERD, Sherman Oaks
December 27, 2010 | By Jamie Court
Article 1 of California's Constitution broadly declares that privacy is among our inalienable rights. But the laws enforcing this right are from another era, and our constitutional protection is being undermined. For example, the law requires the consent of both parties before recording telephone calls and restricts official snooping in our private business. Yet some of California's biggest companies, such as Google and Facebook, violate our privacy daily by tracking us online and collecting massive amounts of private information without our explicit consent.
April 26, 2013
You might recall that when a reader wrote about twin rows of Italian cypress - one established and healthy, the other newer and dying - the SoCal Garden Clinic asked a Pasadena nurseryman to tackle the question of why the plants might be struggling for survival. Now, with spring planting upon us and installing privacy hedges a priority, we thought we'd get a second opinion from landscape designer Cassy Aoyagi, co-founder and president of the Tujunga firm FormLA Landscaping . She is an accredited designer in the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, a licensed contractor and board president of the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants . She writes: Despite their streamlined, clean aesthetic, hedges are far from simple.
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 who use their credit cards for online purchases would gain some protection, and voters would decide whether the state's public universities could consider race and gender for admissions, under measures passed by the state Senate on Thursday. The Assembly has yet to act on either measure. Responding to cases in which hackers stole personal financial information on millions of credit card users, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) proposed limiting the details that online merchants may collect from their customers.
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