Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Report on PRISM publishes; reveals split

An important report came out today from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the board that was appointed to be a privacy watchdog for the US government surveillance programs. The newly released report covers PRISM and other Section 702 surveillance programs conducted under the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The report is complex, and provides important benchmarking on how PRISM and “upstream” surveillance programs work. The report’s recommendations, however, are what have proven to be more controversial.

Supreme Court Ruling on Cell Phone Privacy: Encouraging for Privacy

At the end of its 2013-14 session, the Supreme Court stood up for privacy in a case involving cell phones. In Riley v. California, the Court held that the police cannot search a cell phone’s contents incident to an arrest without a search warrant. As a result of this ruling, when the police arrest someone, perhaps for a traffic violation, a misdemeanor, or even a serious crime, all information in a cell phone should not be automatically accessible to the police without any further review. Police must obtain a search warrant.

WPF’s Top Ten Opt-Out List is Freshly Updated

We have updated our popular Top Ten Opt Out list with new links and additional information. From key data brokers to credit cards, If you are wondering where to start to get off of lists and whisk your sensitive information out of circulation, we have distilled the most important opt outs to a manageable size. We have included the key opt outs that we ourselves practice with links and tips.

FTC’s Data Broker Report Brings New Facts to Light about how Consumer Data is Captured and Sold

Forget worrying about loyalty cards or programs: it’s the everyday purchases you make tied to your name with a debit or credit card that can land you on data brokers’ lists. That is one of the many facts that the new FTC report on data brokers sets forth. The report offers a high-level analysis with establishing new fact patterns about the industry based on the Commission’s investigation of nine major data brokers. Overall, we find things to like in the report, but we wish the FTC had gone further in some areas. Here are some of the high points that stood out to us.