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ICYMI: Jan 18 - Jan 24

ICYMI: Jan 18 - Jan 24

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

Is your boss spying on you as you work from home? One in five firms admit using secret software

Unions warn that some firms are using coronavirus as a cover to snoop on workers and unfairly punish or fire those deemed to be slacking while they also care for children or sick relatives.

One in five companies has admitted either installing technology to snoop on staff or planning to. The software can log how long workers take to read and reply to messages, check attendance at meetings — or even secretly film them from their screen.

Schools are doing it too.

Google says consent over every aspect of data processing would be burdensome

"In many cases, the processing of personal information is necessary to simply operate the service the user requested," it wrote. "Requiring individuals to control every aspect of data processing can create a burdensome and complex experience that diverts attention from the most important controls without corresponding benefits.
On the issue of default settings, Google said strict rules requiring "extensive" opt-in actions limit its ability to provide "meaningful options that support ideal product functionality while also being comprehensible to Google users".

"Much like consent-fatigue, requiring a lot of 'opt-in' settings can overwhelm users and diminish the significance of the most important settings," it wrote.

In summary, "giving people the ability to opt out and changing default behavior to an opt in set up will kill our business". Then again, Google doesn't respect settings your turn off anyway and they've been invading your privacy for almost two decades.

TikTok Is Watching You – Even If You Don't Have an Account

But since I didn’t have an account proving my identity, they wouldn’t share it with me. Despite this, they continued to use my data in various ways. For instance, I knew they had shared information with Facebook a whopping 595 times, as Facebook detailed in its Off-Facebook Activity section. This TikTok data is now linked to my personal Facebook profile.
Within two months of my first request, I received two password-protected Excel files and a key to open them in a separate email. The first file consisted of a table with nearly 1,900 rows, logging my whole watch history, one video at the time. The other file, “User Data & Activity”, was a table with 15,886 rows and 24 columns. That's 381,264 data units recording my short-lived experience on the app, down to the smallest detail.

This isn't just a TikTok thing either. Almost all of the top applications, especially social media apps, have this kind of monitoring and collection.

ADT Technician Pleads Guilty to Hacking Home Security Footage

Mr. Aviles took note of which homes had attractive women, then repeatedly logged into these customers’ accounts in order to view their footage for sexual gratification, he admits. Plea papers indicate he watched numerous videos of naked women and couples engaging in sexual activity inside their homes.

Over a four and a half year period, Mr. Aviles secretly accessed roughly 200 customer accounts more than 9,600 times without their consent, he admits.

Hacking isn't the right term here. He simply added his email to the account during install to maintain access to the devices.

This isn't an isolated instance either, in regards to employees tampering with customer accounts and devices to get explicit photos and/or videos. Yahoo? Check.  Cell phone repair shop? Check. Apple? Check. T-Mobile? Check. Radio Shack? Check.

Want to join the discussion?  Check out this post, and others, over at the CupWire subreddit and leave a comment.