Uncle Sam’s iPhone security order pure Apple sauce

February 17, 2016

A U.S. judge is requiring the tech giant to help the FBI hack into a device owned by a California mass shooter. Law-enforcement concerns are legit, but overriding privacy protections raises frightening risks of government snooping here and abroad. Apple gets an A for biting back.

Review: Making Big Data visible and tangible

December 31, 2015

Projecting selfies onto a screen in real time shows both the value and vulnerability of today’s flood of ones and zeros. A London exhibition explores the good, the bad and the infrastructure of data from inventive angles. It makes a vital unseen world visible – and scary.

Tech crunched between clashing U.S.-EU privacy law

November 10, 2015

Facebook got dinged in Belgium for secretly tracking visitors, while Spokeo’s similarly nosy conduct will probably go unpunished in America. Yet in neither case could victims prove they were harmed. The disparate outcomes highlight the need for more uniform data-gathering rules.

Review: Choking on digital exhaust

April 2, 2015

Government and corporate mass surveillance of citizens is an aberration on a par with child labor or environmental pollution, claims security expert Bruce Schneier in “Data and Goliath.” He offers a rousing call for resistance, and hope for change - a few decades hence.

Review: The Mad Men are watching you

January 23, 2015

A lot happens in a split second online, much of it good for the ad industry but worrying for privacy advocates. Instant auctions to push tailored ads to individuals are growing fast, says “Targeted” author Mike Smith. The ad men will need ever more personal data to fuel them.

Uber is one startup that needs to grow up fast

November 19, 2014

The taxi app’s disregard for rules has spurred it toward a $30 bln valuation. But execs who threaten to “dig up dirt” on critics, employ unsavory tactics against rivals and post stats on clients’ one-night stands pose an existential risk. Such laddishness is bad for business.

Twitter free-speech chirps carry overtone of risk

October 9, 2014

After its UK super-injunction tiff, the microblog is fighting to reveal secret U.S. demands for data. The two cases show that firms have power to resist being muzzled – or forced to speak. That’s a check on judicial and government overreach, but it could undermine regulation.

Uncle Sam gets wires crossed on data privacy

September 24, 2014

A hacker went to prison for exposing personal information AT&T didn’t protect. Now prosecutors are defending the legality of doing essentially the same thing in the Silk Road drug website case. Online privacy laws are flawed when enforcers can’t decide what’s allowed.

Google feeds regulators fresh meat to chew on

February 1, 2012

Antitrust concerns have swirled around the Internet search giant for years. Now, changes to its data-sharing policies are causing added alarm among lawmakers. So far, Google hasn’t crossed any major legal lines. But the company, led by Larry Page, seems destined to find them.

Google’s antitrust problem is all about privacy

June 7, 2012

They seem like separate issues, but the internet search giant’s market power is largely fueled by its access to personal data. Limiting that could give competition a useful jolt. U.S. and European regulators need to keep that in mind as they move closer to legal action.