How unique are you? We played with a data privacy tool today here at WPF that showed us if the combination of our birthdate and zip code made us statistically unique. The more unique you are, the more identifiable you are in a sea of supposedly “anonymous” data. This tool was developed by Dr. LaTanya Sweeney at Harvard’s Data Privacy Lab, and using it will tell you how easily you can be identified from records that may not even have your name on them.
Data breach — The state of California issues a first-ever statewide data breach report. In 2012, 2.5 million Californians had their data breached. Of those breached, the study found that The report found that “1.4 million Californians would have been protected if companies had encrypted data when moving or sending the data out of the company’s network.”
India’s national biometric ID card — In the May/June, 2013 issue of Foreign Policy Magazine, Pam Dixon writes about the privacy issues related to India’s national biometric ID card. In the piece, Mission Creep, Dixon discusses how government-issued biometric ID cards that serve as national ID cards and as the basis for employment and financial transactions create profound civil liberties and privacy challenges that are neither easily or well-constrained by government policy.
Online privacy | Apple privacy — Stanford University has released a study documenting how Google and other companies overrode Safari users’ browser privacy settings. The WPF encourages Apple users to download the Firefox browser and use Firefox, if at all possible, instead of Safari. Firefox did not have the same problem, and it allows for additional privacy add-ons, such as AdBlock Plus which are helpful privacy-enhancing tools.
LifeLock — The Federal Trade Commission began sending checks to almost a million consumers who were subscribers to the LifeLock ID theft protection service. LifeLock agreed to pay fines of $11 million to the FTC and $1 million to a group of state attorneys generals to settle charges that had been made against the company. Consumers with questions about this distribution may call 888-288-0783 or see the FTC’s web page on this, http://www.ftc.gov/refunds.