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December 19, 2013 | David Lazarus
Your personal information isn't safe. That doesn't apply only to the 40 million Target shoppers whose credit and debit card numbers may now be in the hands of hackers. It's a trend that's been clear for many years: The stewards of consumers' personal info - businesses, hospitals, government agencies - are woefully negligent when it comes to safeguarding data. Too often, sensitive computer files are unencrypted or left on laptops that get stolen. Aggressive moves by hackers are met with only the most cursory security upgrades.
December 19, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
United Nations member states unanimously adopted a symbolic resolution Thursday that declares a worldwide right of individuals to online privacy, a slap at the U.S. National Security Agency's massive surveillance programs that have angered Washington's friends and foes alike. The resolution urges an end to digital dragnets, without naming the countries known to be making the collections that rights advocates consider intrusive. It also calls on the world body's human rights commissioner, Navi Pillay, to report on "the protection and promotion of the right to privacy in the context of domestic and extraterritorial surveillance.
December 19, 2013 | By Larry Gordon
Researchers looking into the possible effects of affirmative action programs on law schools and the legal profession should have access to state bar exam scores and other records if individuals' privacy can be ensured, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The unanimous decision was a boost for UCLA law professor Richard Sander, who has been battling the state bar for five years to obtain the data. Sander wants the information to test his controversial theory that racial preferences in law school admissions might hurt minority students by putting them in overly competitive environments.
December 15, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
When you go online to search for an airfare, you often see the lowest price appear at the top of your computer screen. But what if your airline search site instead offered you a customized flight package deal - adding extras like wireless Internet access and a seat with extra legroom - based on what you have booked in the past? In the future, airlines will increasingly offer you customized airfares based on detailed information carriers have collected, even data about your income, the neighborhood where you live and your travel patterns, according to industry experts.
December 10, 2013 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO - Social networks have found a promising new source of advertising revenue: targeting users with ads for products they browsed online. The latest form of advertising, called "retargeting," is expected to not only get more pervasive but intensify worries over privacy. Tania Mulry, an entrepreneur from Santa Clarita, said she and other people are noticing and talking about the flood of retargeting ads. One of Mulry's students in a mobile app design class at USC was unnerved that a swimsuit she browsed on showed up as an ad on her Facebook page.
December 10, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente has notified about 49,000 patients of a privacy breach at its Anaheim Medical Center. Kaiser said a computer flash drive was reported missing Sept. 25 inside the hospital's nuclear medicine department. The storage drive included patient names, date of birth, their medical record number and the type and amount of a specific medication. The files didn't contain Social Security numbers or financial information, the company said. "Kaiser Permanente takes the protection of our members' personal and health information seriously, and we apologize for this occurrence," said Kaiser spokeswoman Peggy Hinz.
December 6, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Amid growing concern about the hot-button issue of cellphone privacy, state regulators are considering whether California needs stronger protections. At issue before the Public Utilities Commission is whether it's time to update the state's more than two-decade-old telephone privacy rules, developed at the dawn of the hand-held cellphone era. Consumer groups have urged the five-member commission to open an investigation. But the wireless industry, led by giant AT&T Inc., is opposed to any changes.
December 5, 2013 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- In a major step in building up its advertising business, Twitter will begin showing ads to users based on their Web browsing history, the company said Thursday. Twitter is following the example of Facebook, Google, Amazon and other companies which have profited handsomely from the controversial but effective form of ad targeting. The feature allows marketers to use cookies -- files on computers that contain information on which websites have been visited -- to display ads for products people browsed on other websites.
December 5, 2013 | By David Horsey
Jeff Bezos' announcement that Amazon hopes to eventually deliver packages to customers using little flying drones has caused a mini-uproar. From journalists to members of Congress, people are telling Bezos, "Wait just a gosh darn minute, mister!" Among those forwarding legislation to deal with the issue is Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas). In comments on the floor of the House of Representatives, Poe said: "Think of how many drones could soon be flying around the sky. Here a drone, there a drone, everywhere a drone in the United States.… The issue of concern, Mr. Speaker, is surveillance, not the delivery of packages.
November 29, 2013 | By David Colker
Computer pioneer Willis Ware saw the future, and it worried him. In 1966, Ware, who worked as an engineer at Rand Corp. , foresaw not only the omnipresence of personal computers, but also social networks like Twitter and Facebook. "The computer will touch men everywhere and in every way, almost on a minute-to-minute basis," he wrote in a paper presented at Rand 47 years ago. "Every man will communicate through a computer whatever he does. It will change and reshape his life, modify his career and force him to accept a life of continuous change.
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