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ICYMI: June 7 - June 13
3 min read

ICYMI: June 7 - June 13

ICYMI: June 7 - June 13

ICYMI is posted every Monday recapping privacy news over the last week from around the web.


Teacher Spying on Student During Virtual Class Sends Cops to Search 11-Year-Old's Home After Spotting a BB Gun

According to Sperry, the spy teacher took a screenshot of the boy’s bedroom, which is incredibly creepy and a violation of the family’s privacy. When the mother demanded to see the screenshot taken by the creeper-teacher, she was told she would not be allowed to view it because it wasn’t part of his official school record.

“It’s absolutely scary to think about,” Sperry said. “Who are on these calls? Who do we have viewing [our] children and subsequently taking these screenshots that can be sent anywhere or used for any purpose?”

[...] This incident raises some serious questions about privacy related to virtual learning. Teachers (and perhaps others who might be watching) are granted access to children’s homes and even their bedrooms. It appears from this incident that there were no rules in place preventing the teacher from taking pictures of his bedroom. How many students has this teacher spied on? How many screenshots has she taken of them during virtual classes? Has she amassed a database of her students’ home situations?

This is going happen more and more as education shifts online and "concerned" teachers and parents see things in people's homes they don't agree with.  Not only is this an invasion of privacy, having the police come to your house because you have guns in the open could be potentially life threatening.


Want To Protect Privacy? Get Off Social Media, Indiana Federal Court Says

On June 3, the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana addressed the question of whether the government, under federal law, could get certain information—registration information, billing records, records of session times and durations, and IP addresses and cookies—from a suspect’s Facebook account without a warrant. More simply, do Facebook (and other social media) users have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in these billing records, session time, IP address and cookie information? And even more simply, whose records are they anyway? Is Facebook “non-content” information more like the phone records in Smith or more like the phone records (location data) in Carpenter?

The court decided that the target of the investigation had no expectation of privacy in the records that he “voluntarily disclosed to Facebook (either directly or through associated third-party websites or apps).” The court noted that “[r]easonable minds can debate whether, as a society, we want entities such as Facebook to log the kind of information contained in the Records. But what cannot be debated is that Facebook has this information only by virtue of individuals making an affirmative choice to provide it.” The records, the court ruled, “contain potentially personal information about [the defendant’s] life, but they contain no more than he chose to provide.” The IP address information, online and offline cookie data, session times, duration and other data “comes solely from [the] Defendant.”

In the current climate of digital privacy, you're consenting to "voluntarily give up information" by merely using the service.  And this isn't just Facebook; the large majority of services work this way.


Facebook Pitched New Tool Allowing Employers to Suppress Words Like “Unionize” in Workplace Chat Product

During an internal presentation at Facebook on Wednesday, the company debuted features for Facebook Workplace, an intranet-style chat and office collaboration product similar to Slack.

On Facebook Workplace, employees see a stream of content similar to a news feed, with automatically generated trending topics based on what people are posting about. One of the new tools debuted by Facebook allows administrators to remove and block certain trending topics among employees.

The presentation discussed the “benefits” of “content control.” And it offered one example of a topic employers might find it useful to blacklist: the word “unionize.”

This is why encrypted communications are so important.  Companies and providers can't censor what they can't see.