EPIC FOIA: EPIC Obtains FBI Policy for Disseminating Biometric Info

27 03 2018

Epic

March 22, 2018

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, EPIC has obtained the FBI’s “Policy for Biometric Information Sharing with Domestic and International Agencies.” The documents EPIC obtained also contain details of the United States’ agreement with Iraq to exchange biometric data, including to not subject the information to any dissemination restrictions of the US or Iraq. The FBI maintains one of the world’s largest biometric databases, known as the “Next Generation Identification” system, which includes facial IDs gathered from international conflicts. In 2007, EPIC, Privacy International, and Human Rights Watch warned the Secretary of Defense that the “system of biometric identification contravene international privacy standards and could lead to further reprisals and killings.” EPIC noted in 2010 “President Obama’s address on the end of the combat mission in Iraq has left open the question of what will happen to the massive biometric databases on Iraqis, assembled by the United States, during the course of the conflict.”

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CLOUD Act Enacted, Allows Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad

27 03 2018

President Trump has signed the CLOUD Act, requiring internet companies to hand over personal data to U.S. law enforcement agencies, no matter where that data is stored. The Act also allows the executive branch to create agreements with foreign countries to provide direct access to personal data stored in the United States. EPIC submitted an amicus brief in United States v. Microsoft arguing that law enforcement access to data abroad should be resolved by international consensus and comply with human rights norms. Many organizations and privacy experts have endorsed the Madrid Privacy Declaration, which would establish international protections for personal data.

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Equifax’s massive 2017 data breach keeps getting worse

16 03 2018

March 1, 2018

Another 2.4 million people have now been affected by the incident, the credit agency says.This means that as many as 147.9 million consumers have been affected in some way by the breach, which amounts to about half the country.

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California Court Declines to Dismiss Illinois Facial Recognition/Biometric Privacy Suit against Facebook on Standing Grounds

16 03 2018

Proskaueh: New Media and Technology Blog

Jeffrey Neuburger

This past week, a California district court again declined Facebook’s motion to dismiss an ongoing litigation involving claims under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 Ill. Comp Stat. 14/1 (“BIPA”), surrounding Tag Suggestions, its facial recognition-based system of photo tagging.  In 2016, the court declined to dismiss the action based upon, among other things, Facebook’s contention that BIPA categorically excludes digital photographs from its scope.  This time around, the court declined to dismiss the plaintiffs’ complaint for lack of standing under the Supreme Court’s 2016 Spokeo decision on the ground that plaintiffs have failed to allege a concrete injury in fact.  (Patel v. Facebook, Inc., No. 15-03747 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2018) (cases consolidated at In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litig., No. 15-03747 (N.D. Cal.)).  As a result, Facebook will be forced to continue to litigate this action.

This dispute is being closely watched as there are a number of similar pending BIPA suits relating to biometrics and facial recognition  and other defendants are looking at which of Facebook’s defenses might hold sway with a court.

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International Privacy Experts Adopt Privacy Recommendations for Web Registration

16 03 2018

The International Working Group on Data Protection has adopted new recommendations to enhance the privacy of website registration data. The Berlin-based Working Group includes Data Protection Authorities and experts who assess emerging privacy challenges. The “Working Paper on Privacy and Data Protection Issues with Regard to Registrant data and the WHOIS Directory” highlights privacy risks of the current registration system. When registering a new website with ICANN, the personal data of website owners is published in a widely accessible database.

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