July 28, 2013 |
"This is a great time to be a white-collar criminal. " An assistant U.S. attorney I know startled me with this remark in 2002. The bulk of her FBI investigators, she explained, had been pulled off to work on terrorism, which left traditional crime investigations sorely understaffed. Little has changed since then. For more than a decade, the U.S. government has been focused on one type of threat above all others: terrorism. This obsession has not only been used to justify an erosion of Americans' privacy, it has opened them to other dangers and, paradoxically, made it easier for terrorists to achieve success.
July 25, 2013 |
"Good news - you've been accepted!" the letter says. "Get up to 75% off when you use these free cards at your favorite pharmacy!" Enclosed are two plastic cards from National Prescription Savings Network that include personal "member identification numbers" and the pledge that "you will not be turned down for a pre-existing condition. " The cards are "pre-activated and ready to use immediately," the letter says. "They entitle you - and every member of your family - to discounts on every FDA-approved prescription medication sold at pharmacies everywhere in the United States.
July 24, 2013 |
If the royal baby, whose name, George Alexander Louis, was announced on Wednesday or any baby suddenly wants a snack while Mom is in public, what's a privacy-seeking woman to do to avoid being caught by prying cameras or, probably more to the point, people who are offended by babies at the bosom in public? Enter the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme , a British program that signs up shops, restaurants and other public places as bona fide partners in supporting mothers who need to nurse their children.
July 19, 2013 |
Next to our medical records, our most closely guarded secrets probably involve our household finances. So it's understandable that many of the half-million retirees currently receiving a public pension from California were freaked out recently when CalPERS, the state pension agency, announced it was poised to post their names, their monthly retirement stipends, and other personal information online in a very accessible way. There's no...
July 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A top Obama administration lawyer defended the government's once-secret policy of sweeping up phone records in the U.S., arguing Friday that this mass data collection violates no one's right to privacy and can help intelligence agents track suspected terrorists. "Although we collect large volumes of metadata under this program, we only look at a tiny fraction of it," Robert S. Litt, general counsel for the director of national intelligence, said in a speech at the Brookings Institution.
July 17, 2013 |
The term "opting in" suggests a matter of choice. But as the thoughtful and spirited documentary "Terms and Conditions May Apply" makes chillingly clear, choices are few for netizens. It's nearly impossible to function online without signing away privacy rights and basic protections. Sounding an alarm about those ubiquitous "I Agree" check boxes and the legalese that nobody has time to read, the film examines the many ways that typical Digital Age contracts are anything but free for the user.
July 15, 2013 |
Now he's got 100 problems. Rapper Jay-Z was widely praised for his business savvy after he announced a plan to give away 1 million copies of his new album to Samsung Galaxy smartphone users through a special app. But that app has generated a slew of complaints from users, and even a fellow rapper , worried about data it collects. Now the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, an advocacy group, is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate. PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times “ Samsung failed to disclose material information about the privacy practices of the App, collected data unnecessary to the functioning of the Magna Carta App, deprived users of meaningful choice regarding the collection of their data, interfered with device functionality, and failed to implement reasonable data minimization procedures,” the group said in the complaint.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 12, 2013 |
Five workers and a student research assistant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have been fired over privacy breaches involving patient medical records. Cedars-Sinai officials said in a statement that 14 patient records were "inappropriately accessed" between June 18 and June 24. Six people were fired over the breach: four were employees of community physicians who have medical staff privileges at the hospital, one was a medical assistant employed by Cedars-Sinai, and one was an unpaid student research assistant.
July 10, 2013 |
When Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was asked about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court during his confirmation hearings, he replied: "It's not what we usually think of when we think of a court. " And he was absolutely right. As Roberts noted, most Americans think of a court as open to the public, where "lawyers argue, and it's subject to the glare of publicity. And the judges explain their decision to the public and they can examine them. " But the federal FISA court - created by Congress in 1978 to rule on requests for surveillance orders against agents in the U.S. - meets entirely in secret and seldom makes its rulings public.
July 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - As Americans were learning that the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting their phone records, a privacy board intended to monitor government surveillance finally came into existence last month - years after the Sept. 11 Commission recommended its creation. The nonpartisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board held its first public hearing Tuesday, taking comments from former government lawyers who support expanded surveillance and from privacy advocates who oppose it. "We are looking for solutions," not just commentary, said board member Elisebeth Collins Cook.