Examples of Abuse

Almost everyday a company or government abuses your data. Whether these abuses are intentional or the result of error, we must learn from these abuses so that we can better build tomorrow's policies and technologies. This resource is an opportunity to learn that this has all happened before, as well as a tool to query these abuses.

Please contact us if you think we are missing some key stories.

 

12 May 2018
Facebook ads purchased in May 2016 by the Internet Research Agency, a notorious Russian troll farm, urged users to install the FaceMusic app. When installed, this Chrome extension gained wide access to the users' Facebook accounts and web browsing behaviour; in some cases it messaged all the user's
29 Jun 2018
On the night of June 23, 2016, as the polls closed Britain's Sky News broadcast what sounded like a concession statement from Nigel Farage, the leader of the campaign to leave the EU, plus a YouGov exit poll indicating that the country had voted to remain; over an hour later, Farage reiterated his
06 Jul 2018
The Tel-Aviv-based private intelligence firm Black Cube, which is largely staffed by former Israeli intelligence operatives, was involved in a campaign to attack NGOs and businessman-turned-philanthropist George Soros during Hungary's election campaign. Between December 2017 and March 2018, agents
13 Jul 2018
In July 2018, Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor appointed to look into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee by spearphishing staffers. The charges include
29 Mar 2018
In March 2018, Indian Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that the Naramendra Modi app issued by India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was leaking user data. The app is intended to spearhead BJP's social media strategy in the run-up to the 2019 general elections; the party hopes to use it to
10 May 2018
In May 2018, a report form Strathmore University's Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) found that some staff at Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission who were mandated to protect voter data made millions of Kenyan shillings by illegally selling
05 Nov 2018
In November 2018, the UK government announced it would pilot voter ID for in 11 local authorities during thte 2019 local elections in order to gain insight into ensuring voting security and lowering the risk of voter fraud. The Cabinet Office deemed the pilots conducted in five local authorities
17 Nov 2018
With only days to go before the 2018 US midterm elections, a federal judge ruled that the state of Georgia must change its "exact match" law that required voter registrations with even the tiniest variation from other official identifications to be flagged as potential non-citizens unless they could
05 Nov 2018
Shortly before the 2018 US midterm elections, Georgia secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp accused Georgia's Democratic Party of hacking into the state's voter registration database, though without providing any evidence to support the claim. The motives behind the claim were
22 Aug 2018
In August 2018, the US Democratic National Committee notified the FBI that the San Francisco-based security company Lookout and the cloud service provider DigitalOcean had detected an attempted hack targeted at the DNC voter database. The attack took the form of a fake DNC login page intended to
08 Mar 2018
A 2018 study of the use of biometric technology for voter identification and verification in Ghana in 2012 called the effort a failure. It's not enough, the researchers argue, for biometrics to be technically sound; for the technology to function as intended registration centres must have real-time
15 Oct 2018
A database compiled through investigations conducted in 2018 by the Guardian and the Undercover Research Group network of activists shows that undercover police officers spied on 124 left-wing activist groups between 1970 and 2007. The police infiltrated 24 officers over that time within the
09 Aug 2018
In 2018, the UK Information Commissioner's Office fined Emma's Diary, a site offering pregnancy and childcare advice owned by Lifecycle Marketing (Mother and Baby) Ltd, £140,000 for collecting and selling personal information belonging to more than 1 million people without disclosing in the site's
05 Aug 2018
Under a clause in the country's computer crime act that criminalises uploading content that is false or causes "panic", in 2018, Thailand's ruling military junta pursued a criminal investigation into a live feed on the Facebook page belonging to the rising Future Forward Party. The postings claimed
25 Oct 2018
In the run-up to the November 2018 US midterm elections, Vice tested Facebook's new system of mandatory "Paid for" disclosure intended to bring greater transparency to the sources of ads relating to "issues of national importance". Placing political ads requires a valid ID and proof of residence
26 Sep 2018
A combination of entrenched and litigious voting machine manufacturers with immense control over their proprietary software and a highly complex and fragmented voting infrastructure mean that even though concerns were raised as early as 2004 about the security of US voting machines, the 2018 midterm
17 Jul 2018
In July 2018, Election Systems and Software (ES&S), long the top US manufacturer of voter machines, admitted in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) that it had installed pcAnywhere remote access software and modems on a number of the election management systems it had sold between 2000 and 2006
20 Sep 2018
In September 2018, Google warned a selection of US senators and their aides that their Gmail accounts were being targeted by foreign government hackers. Google has issued warnings of phishing attempts by state-sponsored actors since 2012, though getting a notice does not mean the account has been
15 Sep 2018
In September 2018, when Massachusetts state police tweeted a map of responses to fires and explosions during a gas emergency, they inadvertently revealed that they were closely monitoring several activist groups, including a Facebook group for Mass Action Against Police Brutality, the Coalition to
11 Oct 2018
In the run-up to the 2018 US mid-term elections, researchers found that the dissemination of fake news on Facebook was increasingly a domestic American phenomenon rather than, as in the 2016 presidential election, an effort driven by state-backed Russian operatives. Removing such accounts (Twitter)