Examples of Abuse Timeline

  • In early July the Open Rights Group issued a pre-action legal letter to UK health secretary Matt Hancock and the Department of Health and Social Care saying they have breached requirements under the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR by failing to conduct an impact assessment for the Test and Trace
  • In advice issued to corporates, Deloitte considers the options for protecting workforces and suggests that immunity tests are available as a tool in any of three possible scenarios: the government ordered testing; the company adopts testing as a strategic initiative; employees take private action
  • The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement service announced in July that the State Department will not issue visas to students whose universities shift to online-only learning and they must leave the country or face deportation. More than 1 million higher education students in the US come from
  • In order to reopen borders and restart travel and trade, the East African Community is working with Switzerland-based The Commons Project, a public trust that builds digital services for public good in order to develop an app called CommonPass. The app, which will be designed in a July sprint, will
  • In July 2020 a public-private partnership programme between the Bill Gates-backed GAVI vaccine alliance, Mastercard, and the AI identity authentication company Trust Stamp was ready to introduce a biometric identity platform in low-income remote communities in West Africa. The programme will
  • Israel’s initial success in curbing the spread of the coronavirus in April was followed in June by a surge in cases that government advisers blamed on insufficient resources for ministries to implement an effective trace-and-trace programme and increase testing to the level that would show clearly
  • The Finnish government will not move forward with its plan to oblige unsuccessful asylum seekers to wear ankle monitors, Maria Ohisalo, the Minister of the Interior, stated on Tuesday. “It’s something that’d be difficult to carry out as it’s considered in the government programme,” she said. “The
  • The New Zealand MP Hamish Walker, a member of the centre-right opposition National party, admitted leaking the details of all the country’s 18 active COVID-19 cases to the media in order to “expose the government’s shortcoming”. Walker said he had been advised that his actions were not illegal. The
  • Greece has extended a coronavirus lockdown on its migrant camps for the fifth time. The move has prompted accusations that the government is using the pandemic to limit the migrants' movement. The Greek Migration Ministry announced on Saturday that the country's migrant camps would remain under
  • Domestic abuse campaigners and victims have accused the government of not valuing the lives of migrant women in forthcoming legislation on the issue.They are urging the government to make “life-saving” changes to the domestic abuse bill, which will be debated for its final stage in parliament on
  • New US federal data released by the CDC in response to freedom of information requests show striking racial and ethnic disparities in all parts of the country in who gets infected and hospitalised with coronavirus. A survey of 640,000 infections in nearly 1,000 US counties found that Latino and
  • The Santiago Court of Appeals has ruled that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot require migrants to sign a declaration saying they agree to not return to Chile for nine years. The government is now going forward with an appeal stating that this ruling contraditcs a 2018 resolution, says the
  • Even before anything like an official immunity passport has become available, users of online dating sites are finding that some prospective dates are pushing for in-person meetups by claiming that either they’ve tested negative for the coronavirus or have positive antibody tests showing that they
  • Knowledge Ecology International has received copies of a number of contracts it requested under the US Freedom of Information Act that were signed in 2020 by the US Department of Defense or the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to cover research on COVID-19 vaccines or
  • A group of Democratic US Senators and Congressional Representatives have written to Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar asking for more transparency around the HHS Protect Now programme, which collects vast amounts of data, including coronavirus test results, from the CDC and state and
  • Up to 30 charities and organisations have written to home secretary Priti Patel calling for a number of amendments on Tuesday - a year exactly until the scheme ends. Under current arrangements, EU citizens have been told to apply by June if they wish to continue living and working in Britain.The
  • The findings of Freedom from Torture’s report, based on reviews of transcripts of asylum interviews carried out by the Home Office in 2017 or 2018 and a series of focus groups and interviews involving 25 torture survivors who had attended asylum interviews, shows they were often prevented from
  • On June 24, Israeli ministers reversed a previous decision and unanimously decided to support controversial legislation allowing the Israeli security service Shin Bet to track civilians’ phones to help curb the spread of the coronavirus after a new spike in infections. On June 30 the Knesset Foreign
  • After ORG asked questions via its legal representative, AWO’s Ravi Naik, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care agreed to change the period it would retain Test and Trace data from 20 years to eight. Public Health England manager Yvonne Doyle explained that the novelty of COVID-19 was the
  • The Israeli company Kando is monitoring coronavirus traces in the sewers of the city of Ashkelon via sensors, autosamplers, and controllers placed under manholes in an attempt to build an early warning system of clusters of COVID-19. The system was originally developed to spot industrial waste
  • The pandemic has exacerbated the effects of the “hostile environment” on the UK’s undocumented migrants, many of whom have lost income, are working in unsafe and exploitative conditions, are scared to seek help even though the government has promised there will be no charging or immigration checks
  • The Israeli digital ID card creator Pangea EVP has developed an immunity passport intended to give individuals access to public spaces, including airports. The passport will include a photo of the holder, a digital signature, a hologram, and a chip. When they want to fly, holders will insert flight
  • The UK Government outsourced some of the testing centre work to Deloitte. The contract states that Deloit does not have to share data of positive cases with the UK health authority Public Health England nor to local government authorities. This prevented data sharing that was arguably essential to
  • After predicting that the incoming COVID-19 caseload would exceed an “unsustainable surge capacity” of ICU beds by July 6, for several days in late June Texas Medical Center hospitals stopped updating key metrics. The gap followed complaints by Texas governor Greg Abbott about negative headlines
  • The UK government refused to abolish a coronavirus law even though it was used unlawfully in every one of the more than 50 cases that were prosecuted under it. Among those wrongly prosecuted were a woman who was fined £660 for a crime she hadn’t committed. Schedule 21 of the Coronavirus Act gives
  • More than 2,500 foreign Muslims from 35 countries travelled to India to attend a mid-March gathering held with government permission at the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in Delhi in mid-March. A day later the government issued a notice limiting events in Delhi to 50 people and a week later grounded
  • After analysing spending by 30 million US Chase credit and debit cardholders in conjunction with coronavirus case data from Johns Hopkins University, JP Morgan found that the level of card-present spending in restaurants can predict where the virus will spread a few weeks later. The study also found
  • Germany’s “Corona-Warn” contact tracing app amassed 6.5 million users (7.8% of the German population) in the first 24 hours after its June 16 launch despite setbacks that included disputes over data privacy and functionality. The app was developed in six weeks by a team of developers and engineers
  • TrustNet Pakistan, the country’s only digital trust foundation, has begun work alongside many other global technology companies on a digital vaccination verification platform called CovidCreds. The initiative supports projects that use privacy-preserving verifiable credentials. TrustNet is working
  • Between June 25 and July 6 India said officials would visit every household in New Delhi’s entire population of 29 million to record each resident’s health details and administer a COVID-19 test. In the meantime, police, along with surveillance cameras and drone monitoring, will enforce physical
  • The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network finds that the number of Serbians newly infected by the coronavirus in the week leading up to the June 21 parliamentary election was several times higher than the officially announced figure, and suggests that the numbers were concealed so that as many
  • The UN’s Economic Commission for Africa has launched the Africa Communication and Information Platform for Health and Economic Action thta will use AI and big data to provide two-way communication between citizens and health authorities. It will launch in 36 countries, with more to come as others
  • The October 2019 Presidential Decree 98/2019 granted the Hellenic Police the option of using drones in policing and border management for broad purposes; previously they were limited to using them for purposes such as preventing forest fires or helping rescue people after a natural disaster or an
  • In a planned study, NIST will apply synthetic masks to faces digitally in order to leverage its large datasets (18 million images of 8 million people) in order to test how well verification algorithms handle masks. The study will reopen on June 24, 2020. https://www.nist.gov/programs-projects/face
  • In June, a health law researcher at the University of Indonesia suggested that the government could create its own version of the international vaccination certificate issued by the WHO for those who were vaccinated against the coronavirus, when a vaccine becomes available. Comparing it to
  • Immigration rules that have left 1 million migrant workers in the UK at risk of destitution because they cannot claim universal credit should be suspended on public health grounds during the pandemic, a cross-party group of MPs has recommended. The work and pensions select committee said the no
  • The work and pensions committee has said that the immigration rules that have left 1 million migrant workers in the UK at risk of destitution because they cannot claim universal credit should be suspended. The “no recourse to public funds rule” has left many foreign nationals facing a choice of stay
  • Testing for All is helping small employers and individuals access antibody tests by making them available at £42 each out of fear that “testing inequality” could fuel greater financial inequality, as private schools and big businesses have introduced testing to allow pupils and employees to return
  • Although the Home Office does not record ethnicity data for detainees, analysis of nationalities of those recently held within the immigration detention estate found that citizens from countries with predominantly black and brown populations are held for substantially longer periods than those from
  • Beginning in March 2020, Turkish authorities targeted doctors in senior positions in “medical chambers” professional bodies in Van, Mardin, and Sanhurfa for allegedly “issuing threats to create fear and panic among the public” in media interviews and social media postings in which they discussed the
  • After some employers were caught asking for such information, in mid-June 2020 the Spanish data protection authority warned that it is a violation of data protection laws to screen job candidates based on whether they have had and recovered from COVID-19 and developed antibodies. This type of
  • In a policy briefing, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics concludes that there is too much scientific uncertainty and too many ethical issues for to support immunity certification as a way of easing restrictions on travel, work, and other activities. While testing can be useful, the negative impacts
  • Based on a recommendation by union home minister Amit Shah, in mid-June the Delhi government directed hospitals to issue covid-free certificates to patients when discharging them on the basis that they would help reduce the stigma around the disease and allow those who have recovered to go back to
  • UK police were almost seven times more likely to issue fines to black, Asian, and minority ethnic people than white feel for lockdown infractions. The exact figures varied around the UK; in Cumbria, which is mostly white and where people from a BAME background are more likely to be visitors, it was
  • Thousands of Muscovites ordered to download a hastily-developed app to enforce their quarantine report that they have been wrongly geolocated and fined and that the app has trapped them into compliance criteria that are impossible to meet. The app, which demands an exceptionally broad range of
  • By the end of March 2021 Eurostar will roll out a facial verification system in which passengers will send a scan of their passport and a selfie so that when boarding they can prove their identity by walking through a camera-lined “biometric” corridor instead of presenting their documents. The
  • Chinese police are using equipment from the US company Thermo-Fisher to collect blood samples from 35 million to 70 million men and boys to build a genetic map of the country's 700 million males to add to its existing database of 80 million genetic profiles. The database would allow the authorities
  • The Israeli smart digital ID card and border control software company Pangea hopes its new biometric smart card could help airports reopen. The company claims governments, many of which are working on defining the medical tests and processes required for eligibility, can use the card to verify that
  • South America has become the scene of one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent times. The crisis involving migrants and refugees from Venezuela involves children, adolescents, and young people who have left their country of origin to settle in surrounding countries, either due to political or
  • Seventeen of 93 UK prosecutions for breaches of emergency coronavirus laws in May were incorrect or for offences that did not exist. All but one of the 17 were stopped at the first court appearance. In total, nine prosecutions were brought under the Coronavirus Act; all were dismissed because there
  • On June 15 by presidential decree Chile extended its state of catastrophe, in place since mid-March, by 90 days and the pace of new infections continued to increase and the authorities declared a full lockdown in Santiago, where quarantine is routinely enforced by soldiers. The government intends to
  • After the data protection authority ruled that Norway’s Smittestopp app disproportionately intruded on users’ privacy by collecting location data without demonstrating it was strictly necessary and by failing to allow users to separately grant permission for contact tracing and for using the data
  • Nepal will deport five foreign tourists and ban them from re-entering the country for two years after they joined protests demanding better quarantine facilities, more testing, and transparency in procuring medical supplies. Four tourists - three from China and one from the US - were arrested and
  • US state and local authorities are using data from a host of location tracking companies, some of them little-known, such as X-Mode Social, Foursquare Labs, Cuebiq, Unacast, Phunware, and SafeGraph, to help them decide how and when to reopen. Many of these companies are part of the adtech industry
  • The UK government spent two months touting its contact tracing app as the prospective basis for returning to something close to normality. As the June 1 target date approached, however, the government increasingly downplayed its importance. In the meantime, Apple and Google’s API were adopted by
  • The officials managing Florida’s 100-plus coronavirus test sites have asked the 1.3 million people tested so far for for names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and insurance information. Nearly 1,000 private labs process these tests, and dozens of contractor organisations collect swabs and
  • A detailed analysis of Pakistan’s app, which was developed by the Ministry of IT and Telecom and the National Information Technology Board and which offers dashboards for each province and state, self-assessment tools, and popup hygiene reminders, finds a number of security issues. Among them: the
  • Nearly six months after the emergence of the coronavirus, only 7.1% of research on COVID-19 references AI compared to 12% of research on other topics. AI is being used to make predictive analyses of patient data, especially medical scans, and analyse social media data, predict the spread of the
  • Even though the scientific jury is still out on whether and how long post-COVID-19 immunity will last, proof of having recovered from the illness is an asset in renting out an apartment on Airbnb, US companies are beginning to develop an immunity passport for hotels, and the Chilean government is
  • Russian authorities are considering introducing an app that migrant workers will be required to download when they enter the country. Leaked details indicate that the app would contain detailed biometric data, health status, police records, and a “social trustworthiness” rating. It’s unclear whether
  • Brazilian supreme court judge Alexandre de Moraes ordered Jair Bolsonaro’s administration to resume publishing complete COVID-19 statistics. The government had purged the health ministry website of historical pandemic-related data and said it would stop publishing the cumulative death toll and
  • Data-driven companies like Experian, CACI, and Xantura are pitching their services to help UK local officials to identify people in need. Xantura and CIPFA, the accountancy body for the public sector, have teamed up to deploy a £15,000 tool that uses local authority data including the NHS’s
  • The lives of residents in French and Scottish nursing homes have been put in danger by the homes’ use of Dahua and Hikvision fever scanning cameras. The homes are violating ISO standards for such cameras: they have been incorrectly installed in front of large windowed doors, the staff are not given
  • Speaking at COGx, the Tony Blair Institute said the UK should bring in digital health passports to let people travel if they are free of coronavirus. When he was in government, former UK prime minister Tony Blair, who founded the Institute, sought to bring in ID cards; they were scrapped in 2010
  • As the mounting infection numbers and deaths took Brazil to second-worst affected in the world, the country took down the website on which it had been publishing daily, weekly, and monthly figures non infections and deaths in Braziliant states. A newspaper that supports president Jair Bolsonaro
  • It's been two months since the launch of "Perú en us manos", the mobile app promoted by the Peruvian government amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Until now the app did not accomplish the ambitious goals it set out to. On its first month the app had detected 1400 risk zones while there where already 36
  • An Israeli government panel tasked with managing the coronavirus crisis green-lighted a bill that would write into law the government’s authority to impose emergency regulations and froze a bill that would allow the Shin Bet security agency to track confirmed and suspected coronavirus patients. The
  • Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Body reports that it received 87 complaints covering 31 incidents in which injuries were linked to the actions of police officers and 15 deaths between curfew’s imposition on March 27 and June 5. In April, Human Rights Watch accused the police of brutality in
  • UK police reported to be planning separate contact tracing system Police forces in the UK are planning their own contact tracing system because they are concerned that giving details to the national contact tracing system would compromise undercover operations and working methods. Options under
  • After problems with its TraceTogether contact tracing app, Singapore is planning a comprehensive contact tracing system in which it will distribute to all its 5.7 million residents a wearable device that will identify people who have interacted with people carrying the coronavirus. The devices can
  • Estonia has begun testing its Immuunsuspass app, which was developed for the Back to Work NGO by the Estonian technology firms Transferwise and Guardtime working with health specialists. The app, which is intended to help schools and employers make decisions, will have to pass scientific consensus
  • Hours before OpenDemocracy filed suit to compel the UK government to release all the contracts governing its deals with a list of technology firms including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Palantir, and Faculty, the UK government released the contracts. Faculty is being paid more than £1 million to
  • Gypsy and Traveller communities in England, especially those living on canals and waterways or in unauthorised roadside encampments, have had no access to sanitation, refuse collection, or water for drinking, cooking, showering, and washing clothes during the coronavirus lockdown. Some local
  • The app-based track-and-trace system that was supposed to be in place in the UK by June 1 will not be working at full speed until September or October, and the chief executive of Serco, one of the main companies contracted to deliver it, doubted the system would evolve smoothly. Scientists have said
  • In the three months from March to May 2020 the UK government awarded at least £1.7 billion in contracts to private companies, most of them without a competitive tender process under emergency procurement measures put in place in March. A quarter of the 400 contracts that government departments have
  • The lack of data protection laws and the absence of a privacy commission are contributing factors to Pakistan’s failure to investigate or remedy security flaws in the country’s recently-launched COVID-19 tracking technology, which partially depends on a system originally developed to combat
  • Zoom said it would deliver end-to-end encryption as one of a number of security enhancements to its service, but it will only be available to enterprise and business customers whose identity they can verify and not on the free service. The company says it wants to be able to work with law
  • Within days of the announcement that the UK's new Joint Biosecurity Centre would be run by Tom Hurd, the Home Office's head of counter-terrorism, the government announced that instead it would be moved to the Department of Health and led by Clara Swinson, a senior health official responsible for
  • A mix of city data and reports from building superintendents and porters provides evidence on how New York City’s residents’ behaviour has changed during the lockdown. Among the findings so far: residents are recycling 27% more, particularly clear glass, and total garbage collected has dropped
  • While the agency that manages residence permits, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, is closed, Israel has instructed Palestinians seeking to verify whether their permits to remain in Israel are still valid to download the app Al Munasiq, which grants the military access to
  • The AI firm Faculty, which worked on the Vote Leave campaign, was given a £400,000 UK government contract to analyse social media data, utility bills, and credit ratings, as well as government data, to help in the fight against the coronavirus. This is at least the ninth contract awarded to Faculty
  • While acknowledging the WHO’s advice that retaining antibodies to the coronavirus after recovering from COVID-19 is not yet scientifically confirmed to confer immunity, the International Air Transport Association believes that immunity passports could be important in helping air travel resume
  • Between March 29 and May 28, residents of Nashville, Tennessee submitted 3,748 reports of potential violations of the Safe at Home order, including locations such as restaurants, parks, churches, and funeral homes, and violations such as promoting live music while it was prohibited, or failing to
  • Concerns that contact tracing could expand to purposes beyond public health gained some weight when the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington told press that law enforcement was using “contact tracing” to investigate protesters arrested after the murder of George Floyd
  • Italy has launched Immuni, one of the first contact tracing apps based on the Apple-Google API. The app is opt-in, and includes an explanation of the privacy and security measures in its setup. The app collects anonymously bluetooth tokens that are automatically randomised, but does not collect GPS
  • Thermal temperature scanners, software keystroke monitors, and wearable location trackers are proliferating in US workplaces, with the data they collect outside of any of the country's electronic privacy laws. Companies report that employers are being asked to form part of the front line of contact
  • The Delaware County of New Castle is participating in a pro-bono programme run by the Cambridge, Massachusetts start-up Biobot Analytics, which analyses sewage for the coronavirus in order to estimate the number of people infected in a particular area, hoping to use the results to make better health
  • In late May, shortly before Italian domestic travel was set to reopen, Stefano Bonaccini, the governor of Emilia-Romagna, called Sardinia’s proposed health passports “unmanageable”, although Sicily and some other southern regions popular among tourists were also in favour of using them to ensure
  • The UK's NHSx contact tracing initiative requires anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to provide the full name, postcode/house number, phone number, and email of anyone they've been in contact with, and Public Health England will keep the data for 20 years. The privacy notice was quickly updated
  • The Chinese city of Hangzhou is considering making the app it requires residents to download and install for the COVID-19 crisis and that controls whether and where residents may travel a permanent fixture to create a "firewall to enhance people's health and immunity". Other countries may follow
  • Police have ordered protests in Hong Kong to stop, citing social distancing rules. The renewed protests are to oppose the Chinese plan to write a new national security law for Hong Kong, as well as a separate plan by Hong Kong officials to criminalise disrespect for the Chinese national anthem. Many
  • The lower house of the French parliament paved the way for the launch of the government's independently-developed contact tracing app. The minister in charge, technology minister Cedric O, praised the app, developed by companies such as Orange and Dassault Systemes, as a French project "with the
  • Immunity passports, under consideration in a number of countries, may violate US disability law, enable discrimination, and create a two-tiered exclusionary society. They are not really comparable to vaccination cards for diseases such as yellow fever or meningitis, which are required for entry into
  • An Ipsos MORI survey conducted on May 20-22 found generally high levels of compliance with lockdown restrictions, though many were suffering. While roughly three-quarters were confident they could download and operate a contact tracing app and would be willing to comply with its recommendations
  • Black, Asian, and minority ethnic people in England are 54% more likely than white people to be fined for violations of the coronavirus rules, according to an analysis of data published by the National Police Chiefs' Council showing the racial breakdown of the 13,445 fixed-penalty notices recorded
  • China is adding new features to its coronavirus surveillance app, which has helped many workers and employers return to their former lives, and looks likely to become a permanent fixture. Zhou Jiangyong, the Communist Party secretary of the eastern city of Hangzhou, has said the city's app, which it
  • South Korea's second spike in coronavirus cases was curbed via a contact tracing regime that uses credit card records, mobile phone tracking, and GPS location data in order to track the previous movements of infected individuals working alongside efficient diagnostic testing. Successfully tracing an
  • NHS Digital has added facial recognition to its app, which allows people to order prescriptions, book appointments, and find health care data, in hopes it will also be usable as an "immunity passport" once at-home testing becomes available. The NHS facial recognition system was built by iProov, and
  • Latvia became one of the first countries to use Apple's and Google's new joint toolkit to launch a smartphone contact tracing app, Apturi Covid. For now, the app will only work for Latvia's 2 million citizens, but the intention is that it should interoperate with the apps other countries to aid
  • As part of a survey of the human rights compliance of contact tracing apps Amnesty International's Security Lab discovered that security vulnerabilities in Qatar's mandatory contact tracing app, EHTERAZ, would have allowed attackers to access the personal information, including name, national ID
  • Anger spread across Chinese social media after officials in the eastern city of Hangzhou suggested they would create a permanent version of its smartphone-based health rating app, developed with help from Alibaba, to curb coronavirus spread. Shortly before, Baidu’s chief executive proposed new rules
  • Local health authorities in Germany have relied on human contact tracers since the country confirmed its first COVID-19 cases early in 2020, and say that doing so has helped the country keep its death rate comparatively low even with a less restrictive lockdown than many other countries. Germany
  • Numerous companies are repurposing their body monitors, asset trackers, and electronic ankle monitors and marketing them to the newly-created market for strap-on surveillance bracelets to enforce quarantine and social distancing including companies such as AiRISTA Flow. Redpoint Positioning
  • EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides told health ministers in late May that they could not count on immunity certification when lifting cross-border travel restrictions within the EU. Prevention measures such as physical distancing, robust testing strategies, and ensuring health care capacity
  • The best contact tracers in US history were a group of mid-20th century venereal disease investigators working for a programme at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention whose strategy eventually led to the eradication of smallpox in the 1970s. Talking to infected people and tracking down
  • Contact tracing apps will only work effectively if people trust them and install them in sufficient numbers. Soon after its launch, however, the North Dakota contact tracing app people were already dropping it after posting complaints in the Google App store. In a survey of 798 Americans
  • Excluded groups such as sex workers and asylum seekers are being left behind in the UK’s COVID-19 response as control measures amplify existing health inequalities and put life-saving advice and care further out of reach. The closure of services and some GP registrations, a lack of access to
  • Following a similar effort in the Netherlands, the UK is planning a national research programme in collaboration with universities, water companies, and public research bodies to detect coronavirus in sewage for use as an early warning system for future outbreaks of COVID-19. About half of those
  • Immunity passports are likely to increase discrimination and threaten fairness and public health - and won't work for practical reasons. First and foremost, scientists do not yet know whether infection confers immunity or for how long; the serological tests so far developed are insufficiently
  • Technical flaws in Moscow's app, intended to track people with COVID-19 and symptoms of other respiratory diseases, led the authorities to wrongly fine hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of people, alleging they had breached self-quarantine. The app was originally launched at the end of March, but
  • As the waning pandemic leads to signs that the protest movement is resuming, China is moving to draft new national security legislation and incorporate it into Hong Kong's Basic Law, bypassing the territory's Legislative Council. Elections for the Council are due to be held in September, and Chinese
  • In its final report, the expert group appointed by the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services to assess the security and privacy of the country's COVID-19 contact tracing app, "Smittestopp", concluded that the app handles neither responsibly. The group recommended removing all data once it's
  • The EFF is opposing a California bill, AB 2004, that would authorise the issuers of COVID-19 test results to provide them with blockchain-based verifiable credentials that could enable individuals to resume work, travel, or any other activity where verification of a COVID-19 test would be needed
  • The UK's Project OASIS collects data from third-party app providers that are collecting COVID-19 symptoms and demographic data to help the NHS respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Defence Strategic Command's technology innovation hub, JHub, has been brought in to provide assistance and
  • After the CEO of NHSx told the the UK parliament that data harvested by the NHSx contact tracing app would be retained for future research, the UK Ministry of Defence said it would turn the data over to its Jhub to sanitise the data and remove all personally identifying information before passing it
  • Both COVID-19 mortality and the economic impact of the virus-related closures are disproportionately affecting the UK’s ethnic minorities after taking age and location into account, exacerbating existing inequalities and reversing what had appeared to be progress. There are also concerns about child
  • Researchers are scraping social media posts for images of mask-covered faces to use to improve facial recognition algorithms. In April, researchers published to Github the COVID19 Mask Image Dataset, which contains more than 1,200 images taken from Instagram; in March, Wuhan researchers compiled the
  • In a preprint study of primary sewage sludge from a northeastern US metropolitan area, researchers detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in all environmental samples and found that the concentrations of virus RNA were highly correlated with the COVID-19 epidemiological curve and local hospital admissions. The RNA
  • Cameras repurposed as "fever-detecting" aren't designed for and are not very good at detecting infections, but businesses, airlines, major employers, and public officials are nonetheless reacting to the coronavirus pandemic by spending large sums to buy them without understanding their limitations
  • La Quadrature du Net and La Ligue des Droits de l’Homme have won a ruling from the Conseil d’État, France’s highest administration court, making drones equipped with cameras and flying low enough to detect individuals by their clothing or a distinctive sign illegal. During the lockdown, French
  • Academics have disclosed today a new vulnerability in the Bluetooth wireless protocol, broadly used to interconnect modern devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smart IoT devices. The vulnerability, codenamed BIAS (Bluetooth Impersonation AttackS), impacts the classic version of the
  • France, like the UK, opted to develop its own contact tracing app. "StopCovid", using a centralised design developed by the Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proxity Tracing (PEPP-PT) group, which created a framework called ROBust and the privacy-presERving proximity Tracing protocol (ROBERT). French
  • In designing its Healthy Together contact tracing app, the US state of Utah opted for a GPS and Bluetooth-based design created by social media startup Twenty; it does not use the Google-Apple API. The goal is for the app to assist the 1,200 Utah Department of Health workers who are doing phone call
  • Taking advantage of the pandemic to close US borders, the Trump administration is also spreading coronavirus infection by deporting detainees to receiving countries such as Guatemala, where 20% of infections are deportees. Guatemala has only two hospitals and a scattering of smaller regional medical
  • The Slovak Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional parts of the newly amended telecommunication law that permitted state authorities to access telcommunications data for the purposes of contact tracing. The parliament approved the legislation in March, but the court ruled that the need for
  • More than 3 million people in the UK have downloaded the JoinZoe COVID Symptom Tracker, which was designed by doctors and scientists at King's College London, Guys and St Thomas' Hospitals working in partnership with the health science company ZOE Global Ltd and endorsed by governments and NHS in
  • Any user of India's Aaorgya Setu contact tracing app can now request deletion of the data they've entered according to the Aaorgya Seta Emergency Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol, 2020, which specifies the definition, collection, processing, and storage of the data the app collects. The
  • The controversial Israeli spyware company NSO Group's US arm, Westbridge, has been trying to pitch its phone hacking software to US law enforcement agencies such as the San Diego Police Department, particularly a tool called "Phantom", which the complany claims can overcome encryption, track
  • The Manchester-based cybersecurity company VST Enterprises is working a digital health company Circle Pass Enterprises to create the “Covi-pass” digital health passport intended to allow holders to work and travel safely. The Covi-pass uses a colour system of red, green, and amber to indicate
  • In mid-May, the Chilean health minister, Jame Mañalich, postponed the planned launch that would have made the country the first in the world to issue “immunity passports” on the basis that it could trigger discrimination in the job market. The decision was approved by experts from the Chilean
  • The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh created a COVID-19 dashboard that displayed the names of at least 5,400 quarantined people, their device IDs and names, their OS version, app version codes, current GPS coordinates, and office GPS coordinates. Shortly after the dashboard's existence was posted on
  • Authorities in South Korea, which had been successful in containing the coronavirus early on due to its aggressive testing programme, began trying to trace more than 5,500 people who visited a group of bars between April 2 and May 6 because a single infected customer led to a new outbreak. More than
  • A number of incidents in which Zoom events in education settings were disrupted led the New York City school district to ban the use of Zoom for remote learning. Among the Zoombombing incidents: saboteurs inserted racist and anti-Semitic messages into a virtual graduation ceremony at Oklahoma City
  • The Australian journalist Chris Buckley, who reports for the New York Times, was forced to leave China on April 10 after 24 years of reporting on the country, bringing the number of journalists forced out of the country in the last year to 19. After travelling to Wuhan to report on the unfolding
  • The Egyptian president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, has approved 18 amendments to the country's emergency law that allow him and security agencies additional powers. Only five of the amendments are clearly related to public health. Along with closing schools and universities, quarantining people
  • Under the country's emergency laws, on May 4 the Hungarian government announced it would suspend parts of GDPR and exempted authorities from key provisions such as subject access rights, the right to request erasures, and providing notice that personal information is being collected and stored as
  • At a press conference, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that microchipping everyone, beginning with children returning to school and kindergarten as the coronavirus lockdown ends; the chip would sound an alarm whenever anyone gets too close much as a car does. Security experts
  • As part of their preparations to ease the lockdown, French authorities have added AI tools into the CCTV cameras in the Paris Metro to detect the number of passengers who are wearing face masks. The system is also being used in outdoor markets and buses in Cannes. Although it is mandatory to wear a
  • The Canary Islands sought to become the first destination for a coronavirus-free flight as part of a digital health passport pilot project backed by the World Health Organisation. Via the Hi+Card secure health mobile app that certifies they do not have COVID-19, each passenger will have a unique
  • Among the regulations governing restaurants as the US State of Maine's moves into a phased reopening is a requirement to maintain customer records for contact tracing purposes, including one customer's name and contact information per party and those of the table's server. The regulations also
  • In a technical analysis of the UK NHSx contact tracing app for iOS, security engineers find that Apple's Bluetooth design makes it harder to detect iPhones running the app in background mode, and the app is using "keepalive" notifications in order to keep the app able to make the necessary
  • Shortly after launch, security researcher Baptiste Robert discovered that India's contact tracing app, Aarogya Setu ("Health Bridge"), allows users to spoof their GPS location, find out how many people reported themselves as infected within any 500-metre radius, and mount a triangulation attack to
  • In Colombia, Peru, and Panama, quarantine regulations assign men and women different days to go out. For transgender people, these gender-based restrictions mean discrimination and violence for law enforcement and others, leading to numerous complaints. In Bogota, where law enforcement has been
  • Serbian MPs voted 155-0, with one not voting and one abstention, to lift the state of emergency that was declared on March 15 and repeal 11 emergency ordinances covering work, tax, debt, and criminal justice on the basis that the conditions for lifting it have been met. The change lifts curfews and
  • In April, as the crisis in Italy began to ease, some Italian health officials and politicians, among them Luca Zaia, the regional president of the northeastern region of Veneto, began to propose a “Covid Pass” that would Italians who have antibodies showing they have had and recovered from the
  • On the day South Korea relaxed its social distancing measures, a 29-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19. The previous weekend, he had visited five nightclubs in the gay district of Itweon in Seoul, mingling with around 7,200 other people. After nearly 80 new COVID-19 cases have been linked to
  • After a call from a vendor, India's state-owned Broadcast Engineering Consultants Limited (BECIL) put out an expression of interest for electronic bracelets and accompanying software for use to ensure that COVID-19 patients do not violate their quarantine orders. A hundred companies responded. BECIL
  • A parliamentary panel granted Israel's Shin Bet security service an additional three weeks to use mobile phone data to track people infected with the coronavirus; prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had requested a six-week extension while his government drafts legislation to regulate the data use in
  • In April, the US state of North Carolina's Dare County enacted a series of emergency declarations that establish checkpoints at all points where roads cross the county borders; travellers show an ID card with a Dare County address or a county-issued permit in order to enter the county. Dare County
  • The German health minister, Jens Spahn, said the country required advice from the country’s ethics council before it could use the millions of antibody tests it had procured from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche to help determine how freely people could move around the country. Spahn cited the
  • The rush to incorporate greater safety from the coronavirus is bringing with it a new wave of workplace surveillance as companies install tracking software to determine who may have been exposed and which areas need deep cleaning if an employee gets infected; monitor social distancing; and use
  • Only 16% of Australians had downloaded the country's COVIDSafe app by May 3, a week after its launch on April 26, even though most said they support the federal government's coronavirus contact tracing app. In an Ipsos poll, 80% of those who said they were unlikely to download the app cited privacy
  • The International Press Institute has found that in both democratic and autocratic states the public health crisis has given governments the excuse of preventing the spread of disinformation to exercise control over the media, whether by criminalising journalism or controlling the public narrative
  • The state of Utah gave the AI company Banjo real time access to state traffic cameras, CCTV, and public safety cameras, 911 emergency systems, location data for state-owned vehicles, and other data that the company says it's combining with information collected from social media, satellites, and
  • A security lapse exposed one of the core databases of the coronavirus self-test symptom checker app launched by India's largest cellphone network, Jio, shortly before the government lockdown began in late March. The database, which had no password protection and contained millions of logs and
  • At least 27 countries are using data from cellphone companies to track the movements of their citizens, and at least 30 have developed smartphone apps for the public to download. Fewer objections have been raised in countries with greater levels of success in containing the virus. However, although
  • The controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI, which came to public attention for scraping billions of photos off social media sites to create a comprehensive facial recognition system, says it has offered to help US federal and three state agencies with contact tracing. The company
  • Six weeks after British prime minister Boris Johnson imposed a lockdown, many workers in non-essential jobs across many sectors of the economy were nonetheless being forced to continue working in potentially dangerous situations such as call centres, offices, factories, warehouses, and English
  • As the first confirmed coronavirus case in Pakistan, Yahyah Jaffery became a pariah after his identity, photograph, and home address were leaked on social media. Similar leaks about dozens of other patients and medical staff followed. The contact tracing system being used for coronavirus was
  • The Indian authorities have said that the country's contact-tracing app, Aarogya Setu ("health bridge", in Sanskrit), will be voluntary - but mandatory for federal government employees, food delivery workers, and some other service providers. It may also be needed to access public transport and
  • Two million people downloaded Australia's COVIDSafe app in the first four days it was available; the government's goal is to reach 10 million, or about 40% of the population. Users are asked for a (not necessarily real) name, age, mobile number, and postal code. The app exchanges a Bluetooth
  • Sweden's Lund University has launched an app intended to map the spread of the coronavirus across Sweden, a localised version of the JoinZOE COVID Symptom Tracker app pioneered in the UK, which the researchers believe could be coupled with seroprovalence testing in order to develop an accurate map
  • INTERNETLAB offers an extensive analysis of all the eight different Covid-19 related apps being discussed in Brazil at the moment. Apps were rated according to four parameters: consent, need, transparency and security. Besides this, the organisation takes a look into what permissions which app has
  • Researchers at the University of Cape Town are developing the smartphone app COVI-ID to help the South African government track people who may not know they have contracted COVID-19, as well as people who have come into contact with those who have tested positive. The app will use Bluetooth and
  • The central Thailand province of Chachoengsao has launched Mor Channa, a COVID-19 tracking mobile phone app, to help individuals assess whether they are in a high-risk area for COVID-19. Energy Absolute PLC, one of the companies that helped develop the app, believes that the app's tracking system
  • Hawaii governor David Ige has ordered all travellers to the island US state arriving between March 26 and May 31 to self-quarantine for 14 days. Violating the order is a criminal offence and subject to a $5,000 fine and up to a year's imprisonment. In addition, the Department of Transportation
  • In February, before the pandemic was declared, the Myanmar Post and Telecommunications Department set a deadline of April 30 for citizens to register their mobile phone SIMs, a move the PTD said was necessary to enhance the security of electronic transactions and cut down crime. The PTD issued an
  • As part of considering how to reopen tourism, the Greek Ministry of Tourism is considering introducing a “health passport” to be used as proof that the carrier is not infected with COVID-19. The test will be performed before the traveller leaves their country of origin. To begin with, the scheme
  • Amazon has spent $10 million to buy 1,500 cameras to take the temperature of workers from the Chinese firm Zhejiang Dahua Technology Company even though the US previously blacklisted Dahua because it was alleged to have helped China detain and monitor the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. The
  • Numerous efforts to create apps to help monitor and map the spread of COVID-19 rely on satnav-based location data from Galileo. The CovTrack app developed on a pro-bono basis by the Romanian company RISE, for example, uses Bluetooth connections between mobile phones to store identification data the
  • Many of the technologies used to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including monitoring and analysing social media posts, telecommunications location data, and the use of sensors, were first tested on refugees during the 2015 crisis and are now being repurposed in the name of public health. In 2019
  • Human Rights Watch finds problems with immunity passports Human Rights Watch considers the first proposals for immunity passports and suggests that although antibody testing is useful for ensuring the safety of frontline workers or giving a good idea of the percentage of a population that remains
  • The Israeli company Cellebrite, best known for providing hacking software to help law enforcement agencies get inside suspects' iPhones, is now pitching its technology to help authorities pull the location data and contacts off the phones of newly-diagnosed COVID-19 patients in order to "quarantine
  • The mother of a six-month-old baby in Aurora, Ontario was fined C$880 after police accused her of standing for more than two minutes under a gazebo in a park; she claims she pulled into the gazebo to allow people to pass on the path and answered a text before moving back onto the path. The mother
  • At a cost to itself of £88,000 a week in salaries alone, Palantir has committed 45 engineers to a government data project intended to help predict surges in demand for the NHS during the pandemic. The company will be paid £1 a week for its work. Besides Palantir's work supporting the US Immigration
  • A reverse-engineering analysis of Vietnam's official Bluetooth-based contact tracing app, Bluezone, which was developed by a coalition of local technology companies and the Ministry of Information and Communications, shows that the app is broadcasting a fixed six-character ID the app assigned to
  • The Internet Freedom Foundation has sent a legal notice to the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India, Limited (BECIL), a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, calling on the organisation to modify a tender seeing procurement of a "Personnel Tracking GPS
  • Three days after announcing Germany would adopt the centralised Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT) standard for contact tracing, the country's chancellery minister Helge Braun and health minister Jens Spahn announced they would instead use the decentralised approach backed
  • The automated facial recognition company Clearview AI has suggested to US federal and state authorities that its facial biometrics could leverage cameras already in place at gyms and retailers in order to identify individuals in the interests of contact tracing. Simultaneously, the company is asking
  • At least four law enforcement agencies in the US - two in California, and one in each of Maryland and Texas - are using drones to communicate with homeless people about maintaining social distance because encampments are located in areas that are difficult to access and police do not have to visit
  • The Pakistani government has repurposed a system designed by the country's spy agency, inter-Services Intelligence for tracking down terrorists to trace suspected COVID-19 cases. Prime minister Imran Khan has said that efficient tracking and testing of coronavirus-infected people is the only way to
  • Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Jamaica, and Ecuador have all asked the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to screen migrants in detention for COVID-19 before deporting them. At least 85 deported Guatemalans have tested positive, accounting for about a fifth of all the cases reported in
  • Blockchain timestamping supplier Guardtime, French health data manager OpenHealth, and Swiss authentication and tracing technologies company SICPA Group have jointly proposed the COVID-19 secured immunity passport. The proposed immunity passport would serve as the basis for real-time monitoring of a
  • Citing privacy concerns, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee voted to block the Israeli government’s request for an extension to police powers to requisition mobile phone roaming data relating to those ordered to quarantine for enforcement purposes. Access had been granted for a
  • Police will be barred from accessing metadata collected by Australia's proposed coronavirus contact tracing app, which will be able to identify when users have been 1.5 metres of each other for more than 15 minutes, Australia's government services minister, Stuart Robert, and prime minister, Scott
  • Our partners from Unwanted Witness in Uganda wrote a formal letter to the Ministry of Information Communications Technology and National Guidance demanding for strict observance of human rights for any intended use of surveillance technologies to fight COVID-19. In a letter addressed to the
  • Our partners from Tedic in Paraguay analysed a government proposal to use drones to enforce the lockdown measures in that country (in Spanish). Link: https://www.tedic.org/uso-de-drones-covid19/
  • Our partners from the Centre for Internet & Society in India wonder themselves whether the use of an official chatbot to advance ‘right information’ is the most efficient way to handle misinformation?. In a recent example, a ministry released advisories on how homeopathy can prevent the coronavirus
  • Our partners from Karisma in Colombia analysed three different technological solutions intending to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, finding vulnerabilities in them (in Spanish). Link: https://web.karisma.org.co/que-sabemos-de-las-tres-herramientas-que-se-anuncian-como-soluciones-tecnologicas-para
  • Many of the steps suggested in a draft programme for China-style mass surveillance in the US are being promoted and implemented as part of the government’s response to the pandemic, perhaps due to the overlap of membership between the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, the body
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a contract to build a database system, HHS Protect Now, to track the spread of the coronavirus across the US to the data-mining company Palantir. Palantir founder and investor Peter Thiel was US president Donald Trump's earliest and highest
  • By May 11, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, working with EFPL and ETH Zurich, will launch a secure, decentralised system for contact tracing developed by the Decentralised Privacy-Preserving-Proximity Tracing (DP-3T) international consortium, whose Swiss partners are Ubique and
  • On April 20 Hong Kong authorities arrested some of the most prominent anti-China activists. The need to clear the streets to protect public health during the COVID-19 outbreak provided the authorities an opportunity to cripple the protest movement that had spread across the country beginning in mid
  • The French government asked Apple to change the way its phones handle Bluetooth in order to accommodate the design of its contact tracing app. Downloading and installing the app will be voluntary, but the app will use a centralised design in which the data will be fed into a government server for
  • To speed up daily temperature checks, Amazon has installed thermal cameras to screen workers for coronavirus symptoms in its warehouses around the world. Cases of COVID-19 have been reported at more than 50 of the company's US warehouses. Thermal cameras will also replace thermometers at staff
  • A data breach that posted 100 to 200 names, email addresses, and encrypted passwords online was found in the Belgian Covid-19 Alert! app, one of seven candidates for adoption by the Dutch government. The app identifies phones that have been close to each other via Bluetooth signals and can send them
  • Turkey's Health Ministry has launched a smartphone app that allows people to self-report symptoms, provides information on nearby hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets, and public transport stops, detects if the user has come into contact with others who pose a risk, and provides up-to-date
  • The Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee at the Egyptian Parliament approved 18 new amendments to section three of the country's emergency law granting the president additional powers to implement health and safety measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. The new powers include
  • Among several other digital contact tracing options, the New Zealand government is considering distributing Bluetooth enabled credit card-sized "CovidCards" to all 5 million New Zealanders. The card solves some problems such as lack of access to or comfort with smartphones for 19% of the population
  • Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health has released a new mobile app, "Stay Home", to ensure those asked to self-quarantine are abiding by the isolation rules. Everyone subject to quarantine is expected to download the app and create a user name and password; the user must also grant access to camera
  • In early April, police in a UK park violated their own social distancing guidelines to order ITN journalist Michael Segalov to go home when he began filming the same police appearing to harass a distressed woman. Segalov's solicitors at ITN followed up by filing a letter of complaint demanding an
  • New versions of drones that currently issue audio warnings reminding people in Elizabeth, New Jersey to observe social distancing guidelines will incorporate sensors and fever-detecting cameras that will monitor if people are sick or failing to social distance on the trails and in the parks of
  • North Macedonia is the first country in the Western Balkans to launch a contact-tracing app. The government has stressed that the Bluetooth-based app, StopKorona!, complies with all legal privacy requirements. The app follows a decentralised design, so that users maintain full control over their
  • Moscow's first attempts to introduce digital methods by which residents could obtain digital passes to move around the city failed as the website collapsed numerous times and the app required them to get a pass for every single move rather than only to drive a car, as the government has stated. City
  • Liechtenstein is the first European country to use biometric electronic bracelets to implement a real time coronavirus tracking programme. The bracelet, which sends skin temperature, breathing, and pulse, among other metrics, for analysis in a Swiss lab, is being offered to 5% of the population. The
  • Our partners from Derechos Digitales analysed the Chilean Government App to respond to the Corona Virus, saying that it will likely be useless and infringing on existing privacy rights (in Spanish) Link: https://www.derechosdigitales.org/14387/coronapp-la-inutilidad-del-atajo-tecnologico-desplegado
  • The travel bans and border controls instituted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 jeopardise refugees’ access to international protection, bringing the right to leave any country and seek asylum into direct collision with the human right to life. Source: https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au
  • Since the Azarebaijani government imposed the lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 the authorities have sentenced at least six activists and a pro-opposition journalist to detention for between ten and 30 days on charges including breaking lockdown rules or disobeying police orders. Almost all of
  • The Australian government's planned contact tracing app will reportedly be based on Singapore's TraceTogether, which relies on Bluetooth connections to detect other phones in range and log the results, so that if a phone user tests positive for COVID-19 and consents their close contacts can be
  • The Venezuelan government has ramped up quarantine enforcement in the Catia barrio in Caracas by issuing permits that allow only one family member out at a time and only before noon, and setting up 40 checkpoints. Many residents had flouted regulations in the barrio, home to 400,000 of Venezuela's
  • India's COVID-19 tracker app, Aarogya Setu, was downloaded 50 million times in the first 13 days it was available. Developed by the National Informatics Centre a subsidiary of the Ministry of Electronics and IT, the app is available on both Android and iOS smartphones, and uses GPS and Bluetooth to
  • Under Ontario's Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which prohibits gatherings of more than five people, public health officials in Ottawa are pushing citizens to avoid even apparently innocuous activities such as talking across a fence to a neighbour or drinking a beer on your home's
  • Eight days after instituting a gender-based quarantine schedule, Peruvian president Martin Vizcarra cancelled the measure two days before it was due to end. It had been met with a backlash from LGBTQ+ activists, who feared trans and binary people would face increasing street harassment from police
  • The Department of Health in the US state of Kansas is tracking residents' locations via a platform called Unacast, which compares aggregated GPS mobile phone data from before and after the implementation of social distancing and grades each county on its compliance. As of April 1, 45 of 105 Kansas
  • Our partners from Right to Know campaign in South Africa produced this infosheet to simplify what the South African government has committed to doing in ensuring that the use of surveillance does not impact negatively on people’s rights to privacy and that necessary data protections are taken into
  • Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte has exempted survey teams and National ID system registrars from lockdown rules on the basis that they are essential to providing cash distributions and other government responses intended to soften the impact of the community quarantine. Duterte argued that the
  • Our partners from Hiperderecho in Peru proposed 15 measures to improve the COVID-19 app that the Peruvian Government is rolling out in the country (in Spanish). Link: https://hiperderecho.org/2020/04/quince-propuestas-para-mejorar-la-aplicacion-del-gobierno-del-covid-19/
  • Ghana's opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, has blamed a spike in cases of COVID-19 on the National Identification Authority's refusal to suspend its registration efforts in the country's Eastern Region even though two citizens filed for a court injunction to halt the operation and
  • Palantir and the British AI start-up Faculty are data-mining large volumes of confidential UK patient information to consolidate government databases and build predictive computer models under contract to NHSx, the digital transformation arm of the UK's National Health Service. NHSx said the goal is
  • Montreal police have launched an online system to enable residents to report suspicious activity such as group gatherings after police officers noticed significant crowding in certain areas of the city. Both the Montreal police and the province's Sureté du Québec can hand out an on-the-spot $1,000
  • GDPRHub is collecting a list of projects around the world that are using personal data to combat the novel coronavirus. The list is divided into categories such as decentralised contact tracing apps and frameworks; centralised contact tracing systems; lockdown enforcement; self-assessment apps
  • NHS England is using Yoti's digital ID card solution to verify health care workers' identity; the cards are added to staff phones, enbaling them to use a contactless ID app to prove their identity both online and offline. Yoti is providing the system for free for three months to all public health
  • On April 2 Peruvian president Martín Vizcarra issued a controversial rule that men and women must observe quarantine on different days: men may leave their homes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while women may leave only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. No one is allowed out on Sundays
  • On April 5, Azerbaijan tightened the quarantine regime imposed on March 24 to require residents under 65 to receive permission via an SMS message before leaving their homes. Only three reasons are allowed: to visit the doctor, to visit a pharmacy, shop, bank, or post office, or attend a relative's
  • As part of its new state of emergency law, Cambodia's national assembly has granted the country's leader, Hun Sen, new powers to surveille telecommunications, control the press and social media, restrict freedom of movement and of assembly, seize private property, and enforce quarantine orders, as
  • Apple and Google have announced a partnership to enable governments and health agencies to use Bluetooth for proximity-based contact tracing to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus while preserving user privacy and security. The effort is due to begin with the May release of APIs that
  • Premier League football has set up a COVID-19 testing programme that it says should soon allow socially-distanced fans to return to stadiums using technology from a company called Prenetics, which is also delivering testing for the England cricket team. Prenetics’ digital health passport links an
  • In a sharp drop from the beginning of Canada's lockdown, after two months only one in six Canadians left their home on weekends compared to one in three at the beginning. The marketing company Environics Analytics compiled the report by analysing a database of anonymised location data from 2.3
  • Tanzania's Communication Regulatory Authority punished three TV stations for airing content that was "misleading and untrue" about the government's strategy on fighting coronavirus. Critics believe that TCRA objected to a report that criticised President John Magufuli for saying that churches should
  • Our partners from Coding Rights in Brazil analysed 18 different Bills introduced to the Congress to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic (in Portuguese). Link: https://www.codingrights.org/radar-legislativo-especial-covid-19-e-tecnologia/
  • The Norwegian contact tracing app, Infection Stop, relies on a centralised database to store users' GPS locations for 30 days, like its Chinese counterpart. Sumula, the company that developed the app, claims is necessary because of technical limitations in Apple's smartphone operating system iOS
  • The Turkish Health Ministry's Pandemic Isolation Tracking Project is using mobile device location data to track patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and ensure they obey the government's quarantine requirements. Violators will be sent warning messages and their information will be shared with the police
  • The Afghan Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology have launched the "corona.asan.gov.af" software to provide health advice in three English, Dari, and Pashto; using the questions embedded in the software users can evaluate themselves for the virus
  • The city of Moscow is planning to use smartphone geolocation functions to track foreign tourists' movements through the city to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 after Russia reopens its borders. Moscow accounts for two-thirds of all cases in the country. Moscow City Hall is considering a system that
  • The risk detection company Dataminr has created an AI system that analyses social media posts to predict the next hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks. The company claims it successfully predicted spikes seven to 13 days before they occurred - in the UK, in London, Hertfordshire, Essex, and Kent, and in
  • Thousands of Israelis have been ordered into quarantine without any right of appeal based on cellphone tracking that may be wrong because phone geolocation is insufficiently fine-grained to tell the difference between two people being in the same room and being separated by a door when dropping off
  • In order to enforce mandatory 14-day quarantine orders, Kenyan authorities have been tracking mobile phones of people suspected to have COVID-19. Also in Kenya, police enforcement efforts have led to several deaths: three died of injuries from being beaten, one, a 13-year-old boy, was hit by a
  • Ten Ugandan police officers were charged with torture after allegedly caning 38 women and forcing them to swim in mud in Elegu, a town in the northern part of the country. Police have also arrested 23 people during a raid on a shelter for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth
  • Oura Rings, which measure body temperature and blood pulse volume to determine heart and respiratory rate and track sleep, are the subject of a national study being jointly conducted by the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, WVU Medicine, and Oura Health in hopes it can be
  • Anyone in Egypt who suspects they or others have COVID-19 is required to immediately report it to the authorities in order to stop the spread of the virus and enable treatment. On April 1 Ahmed Refaat, a member of the parliamentary Telecommunications Committee, submitted a proposal for creating an
  • The Kazakhstani ministry of health requires the 8,000 or so Kazakhstani citizens currently under quarantine to use the SmartAstana tracking app, which enables officials to ensure that they remain in isolation. By contrast, for the city of Almaty the ministry of the interior relies on video
  • Drone manufacturer DJI has loaned five drones equipped with voice capabilities and sirens to the US town of Elizabeth, New Jersey for use to patrol public areas and warn violators of the state's lockdown rules. The drones' messages are recordings of the mayor telling people to stop gathering
  • Germany's federal agency responsible for disease control and prevention, the Robert Koch Institute, has teamed up with the health technology start-up Thryve to develop an app called Corona-Datenspende ("data donation") that works with a variety of smartwatches and fitness wristbands. The app is
  • Our partners from SMEX in Lebanon analysed surveillance measures in the country. Lebanon, like many other countries, has launched digital tools to help diagnose and monitor the spread of the outbreak. The tools launched by the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) do not appear to harvest data
  • The Bangladeshi start-up Sigmind.ai has developed the WATCHCAM Mass Surveillance System, which it claims can recognise individuals even when they're wearing a mask with 87.3% accuracy - and 99.4% if they're not wearing a mask. The company began developing the system in 2019 to provide ATM security
  • British biometric start-ups are helping the UK government create digital passports. VST Enterprises is providing a biometrics-backed digital health care passport, V-COVID, to help critical NHS and emergency services workers get back to work; the passport will incorporate test results and be included
  • Our partners from Tedic in Paraguay analysed different tech proposals from the Paraguayan government, saying that emergencies are not a 'blank check' for them to do whatever they want (in Spanish). Link: https://www.tedic.org/noesunchequeenblanco/
  • Our partners from Fundación Datos Protegidos in Chile also reacted to the Chilean Government App to handle the COVID-19 situation, and listed a series of critical regulatory points, demanding a multistakeholder instance to discuss them. Link: https://datosprotegidos.org/declaracion-de-fundacion
  • On request, Vodafone Australia, which has 6 million subscribers nationwide, handed the mobile phone location data of several million Australians to the federal and New South Wales governments to help them monitor whether people are following the social distancing restrictions. The governments
  • Every person placed in quarantine in Bahrain will be required to wear an electronic bracelet to ensure compliance. Mohammad Ali, head of electronic government, said that people fitted with the bracelets will have to stay within 15 metres of their mobile phones, which will be linked to the bracelets
  • Israel's controversial NSO Group, which makes spyware that governments have used to target journalists and human rights activists, says it's in talks with Western governments to use its software to track the spread of the coronavirus. A demonstration, governments themselves, rather than NSO Group
  • The government has issued a substantial rewrite of a controversial proposal to track people using their phones and other devices in the bid to contain Covid-19. AmaBhungane, an investigative journalism newsroom, said the first “directions” – issued last week by the minister of communications –
  • Google has begun publishing "COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports", which analyse the location data it collects from smartphones to create maps of aggregated changes in the movement of populations around the world. Google claims the data is "anonymised" via differential privacy, and suggests that
  • Ukraine's quarantine measures in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus included prohibiting visits to parks and sports fields, banning gatherings of more than two people, requiring everyone to wear masks and carry ID cards when outside their homes, as well as closing educational
  • The South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research will partner with Telkom and Samsung to create a track and trace system specifically for the South African context, which includes high levels of economic inequality, poverty, and
  • The surveillance tool supplier Cy4Gate is pitching surveillance tools to track every citizen and their contacts to multiple governments around the world, including their own. In a demonstration of the system, Governments using the system, which Cy4Gate calls "Human Interaction Tracking System (HITS)
  • New Zealand's lockdown protocol includes a system to allow the police to monitor the whereabouts of travellers returning home. On arrival at the border, incoming travellers are asked for a contact mobile number. Once Welfare has ensured they have suitable accommodation, they receive a text from NZ
  • In Haiti, the National Identification Office has been extremely crowded, despite the government requirement to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. The cards, which include a photo, name, date of birth, and registry number, are required for bank transactions and other official purposes. Source
  • Led by Germany's Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute for Telecoms, technologists and scientists from at least eight countries, are working on a proximity-based contact tracing technology that complies with GDPR. The Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing project (PEPP-PT) is intended to
  • On April 1, Iceland launched an app that uses GPS to locate people who may have been in close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients. A message containing a download link for the app will be sent to all Icelanders; downloading it and then agreeing to disclose GPS data are both voluntary, but for
  • The global secure solutions integrator SuperCom has begun piloting a modified version of the company's PureHeath platform, which incorporates a specially designed "PureCare" smartphone and "PureTag" ankle bracelet, aimed at ensuring that people comply with quarantine requirements during the
  • On March 20, the UK's Department of Health and Social Care published a notice providing legal backing for the NHS to set aside the duty of patient confidentiality as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As long as it is to fight the coronavirus, NHS organisations and GPs may share whatever
  • Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the House of representatives that efforts to combat Covid-19 would be “greatly assisted” by a mandatory biometric national ID system. The national identification system, NIDS, would require everyone to register and be linked to an individual’s unique biometric. The
  • Because many people were still circulating on the streets despite the lockdown order issued on March 25, Panama expanded its social distancing measures by implementing gender-based quarantine schedules from April 1 to April 12: men may leave their homes to get necessities on Mondays, Wednesdays, and
  • The Israeli defense minister, Naftali Bennett, has published a plan under which civilian companies including the controversial company NSO Group would cooperate with the defence establishment to fight the novel coronavirus after a sharp rise in reported cases indicated that existing methods of
  • Biometrics companies are offering free services to essential businesses, remote workforces, and government agencies administering benefits claims during the coronavirus pandemic. Among them are Redrock Biometrics, which is waiving its licence fee for palm print recognition for essential businesses
  • As inmates are released from prison in order to mitigate the public health and humanitarian threat posed by the coronavirus poses to a confined population, Minneapolis-based Precision Kiosk Technologies is highlighting its AB Kiosks, which can be used to replace riskier face-to-face meetings with
  • As inmates are released from prison in order to mitigate the public health and humanitarian threat posed by the coronavirus poses to a confined population, Minneapolis-based Precision Kiosk Technologies is highlighting its AB Kiosks, which can be used to replace riskier face-to-face meetings with
  • The former Big Brother reality TV star Matías Schrank was arrested by the Cybercrime division of the Misiones provincial police, after publishing tweets that claimed that Eduardo Rovira, the president of the Misiones legislature, had contracted COVID-19 on his recent trip to Thailand and was
  • In one of its pandemic-related emergency orders, the Canadian province of Ontario has extended to police officers, First Nations constables, special constables, and municipal by-law enforcement officers the power to require those facing charges under the emergency laws to give their name, date of
  • As part of Mexico City's March 31 lockdown, which shut all shops except those relating to health, food, and essential services, telephone companies will provide access to cell phone antennas to enable the Digital Agency of Public Innovation to monitor movement and personal contact. The information
  • The State Disaster Management Authority of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, in collaboration with other government agencies, is developing tools to track the travel history of people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and those who are under quarantine at home. The COVID alerting
  • The regulations brought in to curb the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa included directions published by the minister of communications and digital technologies that critics claimed violated the country's constitution. On the plus side, the regulations ordered service providers to ensure continued
  • To help the UK's Department for Work and Pensions handle the more than half a million applications the department received in the last two weeks of March, the identity verification company Nomidio, a subsidiary of Post-Quantum, is offering its service free of charge. The service would enable a
  • The Armenian National Assembly is considering identifying the contacts of people infected with Covid-19 through cell phone location data. The draft was tabled by the government. If approved, the operators of the public electronic communications networks will be obliged to provide information on
  • Authorities in the Kazakhstan cities of Astana and Almaty will require those ordered to mandatory quarantine to install the Smart Astana app and enable geolocation settings, wifi, and Bluetooth to make it possible to monitor them and ensure they move no more than 30 meters from their designated
  • The San Francisco-based big data company Grandata has created a heat map to show which areas of Argentina are best complying with the quarantine lockdown. Grandata used an "anonymised" dataset collected from apps that provide third parties with geolocation information. The heat map shows if an
  • An official directive from the Pakistani provincial government of Sindh titled "COVID-19 Mobile Registration System for Needy People" describes its use of multiple databases to identify those in need of welfare funds and disburse cash to them by combining taxpayers' data from the Federal Board of
  • Mobile phone users in Pakistan have discovered that the government is accessing, without consent, their mobile phone location and call records despite legal questions about whether doing so violates the country's constitution. After users reported that patients testing positive for COVID-19 returned
  • The Cyprus health minister, Constantinos Ioannou, has imposed a curfew between 9pm and 6am every night from 31 March onwards for all but essential workers, who will have to carry a confirmation form signed by their employer; those who do not comply will be fined €300, double the previous fine
  • At the end of March, jointly organised by the Robert Koch Institute (Germany’s public health body), the German Centre for Infection Research, the Institute for Virology at Berlin’s Charite hospital, and blood donation services, researchers planned to begin conducting blood tests among the general
  • The Croatian government intends to enforce individual quarantine orders via a dedicated app, text message alerts, or location data provided by telecommunications companies. However, the government aims to comply with GDPR by targeting only those ordered into self-isolation and only tracking their
  • The Western Australia state police force is using drones to deliver audio warnings to enforce the quarantine restrictions placed on some individuals and sending more than 200 officers to patrol the streets to break up gatherings and enforce social distancing in parks, beaches, and cafe strips. The
  • The Argentinian company Urbetrack is developing a "Cuidate en casa" (Take Care of Yourself at Home) app that it will pitch to government agencies throughout the country. The goal is to contribute to remediating the health crisis by helping enforce quarantine. The plan is that users will download the
  • Learning from countries like South Korea, government of the Indian state Karnataka has assigned its ten-member COVID-19 task force, which includes IAS officers with expertise in the fields of technology, medicine and healthcare, to develop a system to the approximately 40,000 people who visited
  • The Hungarian government passed a law on March 30 granting Prime Minister Viktor Orbán the power to rule indefinitely by decree, which he said was essential to deal with the coronavirus crisis. The law also contained a provision under which those spreading false information about the pandemic could
  • With more than 71,000 Serbian citizens returning to the country, primarily from Germany, Austria, Italy, and France, the government has introduced systems to ensure they obey the country's self-isolation rules. The government monitors telephone numbers, especially Italian ones, and pays special
  • A Telegram user reports that Uzbekistan authorities are confiscating mobile phones, audio/video equipment, bank cards, and other storage media from those in quarantine, claiming that the move is necessary to limit the spread of fear and disinformation about the virus. Source: https://thediplomat.com
  • Filipino officials are subjecting people caught breaking lockdown rules to humiliating and abusive punishments such as locking them in cramped dog cages or forcing them to sit outside in the midday sun, similar to tactics in China, where authorities have been filmed tying violators to pillars and
  • Tunisian authorities have sent humanly remote-controlled robots onto the streets to enforce the country's lockdown; videos shared on social media show the robots challenging Tunisians in the country's capital to ask if they are aware of the rules and demand where they are going. The robots, known as
  • After police in Bellevue, WA were inundated with calls from local residents reporting suspected violations of the state's week-old stay-at-home order, they asked the public to use the MyBellevue app instead, to keep 911 lines open for emergencies. The police added that they have no plans to charge
  • The Guangzhou Public Transportation Group has installed a biometric tablet next to bus drivers' seats so they can check the temperature and identity of every passenger who boards. The tablets will also photograph each passenger, allowing them to be identified by China's facial recognition network in
  • The Argentinian Ministry of Transport, working with the state-owned satellite company ARSAT and the telecoms regulator,ENACOM, proposed to the Executive on 31 March 2020 a platform that uses cell tower data to track people on public transport and ensure they comply with quarantine laws. By 28 March
  • As part of its efforts to facilitate a transition out of lockdown, researchers at Germany's Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, are planning to introduce "immunity certificates" for those who pass an antibody test to show they have had and recovered from the virus and are ready to re-enter the
  • The computer science department at IIT-Bombay has sent two proposals for mobile applications that can track quarantine violators to a variety of Indian public authorities including officials in the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, the Maharashtra state government, and the Brihanmumbai
  • The whistleblower said they were unable to find any legitimate reason for the high volume of the requests for location information. “There is no other explanation, no other technical reason to do this. Saudi Arabia is weaponising mobile technologies,” the whistleblower claimed. The data leaked by
  • The World Health Organization will partner with major blockchain and technology companies to launch a distributed ledger-based platform to be dubbed "MiPasa" that it says will facilitate "fully private information sharing between individuals, state authorities, and health institutions" by cross
  • The Jamaican Government intends to fast-track creating and implementing a national ID system and give every Jamaican citizen a unique identifier in order to help it distribute aid and benefits needed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government intends the system to be similar to others such
  • The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Transnistria (the Pridnestrovian Moldovian Republic), an autonomous territorial unit of Moldova, has announced it will use facial recognition to identify people who break quarantine. In its press release, MIAT highlighted the case of a 26-year old citizen who was
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with local and state governments, are using location data collected by the mobile advertising industry from millions of cellphones in order to better understand how Americans are moving during the COVID-19 pandemic and how those
  • The company that makes the Natural Cycles women’s fertility app has added n optional service to allow users to track Covid-19 symptoms as well as positive and negative tests. As part of its fertility service, the app already takes each user’s basal body temperature daily; enabling the additional
  • Civil Society advocates, including PI, expressed their dissaproval of a letter from the Colombian Data Protection Authority, which was intending to give a blank exception to the government in relation with handling the pandemic. Link (in Spanish): https://web.karisma.org.co/organizaciones-de-la
  • An Accra High Court has ruled that the National Identification Authority can continue registering Ghanaians after two citizens filed a case arguing that continued registration violates the social distancing directive issued by president Akufo-Addo. However, a different division of the High Court
  • After the British government announced a national lockdown, Derbyshire Police used drones to capture footage of people rambling, walking their dogs, and taking photos in the Peak District. The move was widely criticised as heavy-handed and counter-productive; however, the government followed up by
  • From our partners from the Defenders Coalition: The civil society’s Police Reforms Working Group, comprised of twenty national human rights organisations, condemn the unnecessary and excessive use of force by Kenya Police Service officers yesterday at the Likoni Ferry Crossing, Mombasa. The police
  • Together with Norwegian company Simula the Norwegian Institute of Public Health is developping a voluntary app to track users geolocation and slow the spread of Covid-19. Running in the background, the app will collect GPS and Bluetooth location data and store them on a server for 30 days. If a user
  • As employees shift to working from home, their employers are buying and installing software to monitor them in their new location. Companies such as InterGuard, Time Doctor, Teramind, VeriClock, innerActiv, ActivTrak, and Hubstaff provide a combination of screen monitoring and productivity metrics
  • Authorities in Montenegro have published on a government website lists of individuals who are in mandatory self-isolation after returning home from abroad. The lists, structured by municipality, include full name, isolation date, and hometown. The government made the decision to do this after
  • On the second day of India's nationwide shutdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Karnataka government published the home addresses of quarantined residents, as a deterrent to breaking the rules. The list included individuals who had flown in from a foreign country and been asked to stay indoors
  • In a widely circulated animated heat map, the geospatial visualisation company Tectonix GEO in partnership with the location technology company X-Mode used the secondary locations of anonymised mobile devices that were active on a single beach in in Ft Lauderdale, FL during spring break to show how
  • The UK's National Health Service is collaborating with Palantir to launch a data platform that will track the movement of critical staff and materials; it will, for the first time, give ministers a dashboard showing the first-ever comprehensive view of the entire health care system. The data
  • The Northamptonshire Police reported a surge in calls from people reporting their neighbours for exercising more than once a day, holding barbecues in their back yards, or failing to cough into a tissue. Nick Adderley said his officers will issue penalty notices if necessary, but thought it
  • The free app Testeate, developed by the company Adrómeda in collaboration with the Association of Information and Communication Technologies of Mar del Plata (ATICMA) and the Chamber of Software and Computer Services Companies of Argentina (CESSI) and launched in the Municipality of General
  • Bulgarian police forces have been authorised to request and obtain metadata from citizens' private communications from telephone and Internet operators. The powers are reportedly to be used to monitor those under compulsory quarantine, and will allow police to track their movement as well as
  • The UK's Home Office has granted police in England new powers to enforce lockdown rules for six months, to be reviewed every three weeks. The police can now: order people to disperse or leave an area; ensure parents are doing all they can to top their children from breaking the rules; issue a £60
  • Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Informatics/KOMINFO official website) On Thursday, 26 March 2020, the Indonesian Minister of Communication and Informatics, Johnny G. Plate, issued the Ministerial Decree No. 159/2000 to facilitate the cooperation between the Government and telecommunication
  • The consumer and market trends insight company StatSocial announced Crisis Insights, which it claims tracks rapidly changing consumer audience dynamics to help US brands and CMOs respond effectively to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic and economic slowdown. StatSocial's Silhouette social data
  • A newly-enacted Slovakian law, inspired by similar laws in Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, allows the country's Public Health Office to use location data from mobile phones to track people ordered to quarantine to ensure they are not breaking the rules. The angry public response on privacy
  • On March 24 the German Bundestag passed a comprehensive amendment to the Infection Protection Act that authorises the Federal Ministry of Health to implement measures for medical care without the consent of the Federal Council. These include the ability to impose curfews and travel restrictions
  • South Africa's Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, has stated that telecommunications operators in the country have agreed to provide location data to identify how many people have been infected in a particular area. The Government has broad powers under a national state of disaster
  • A web form to screen COVID-19 cases developed by the Mexico City government collects a wide range of personal information such as name, age, telephone number, home address, social network username, and cellphone number. The privacy notice establishes that such data may be transferred to a vast array
  • 8 europeans telecoms providers (Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Orange,Telefonica, Telecom Italia , Telenor, Telia and A1 Telekom Austria) have agreed to share mobile phone location data with the European Commission to track the spread of the coronavirus. The Commission said it would use anonymsed data
  • Israel intends to deploy a cellphone tracking system developed in Taiwan by Chunghwa Telecom, which launched it on February 1 in Taiwan, where it was used to track the subscribers of Taiwan's five network operators. To begin, Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control compiled a list of people who need to
  • The European Commission urged Europe's telecoms giants, including Deutsche Telekom and Orange, to share their users' mobile data streams from across the region to help predict the spread of the coronavirus "for the common good". In a letter in response, Dutch Renew MEP Sophie In't Veld stressed that
  • According to information collected by Le Temps, telco Swisscom will use SIM card geolocation data to communicate to federal authorities when more than 20 phones are detected in an 100 square meters area. Gathering of more than 5 people are forbidden in Switzerland since March 21. Data collected by
  • The Israeli Ministry of Health's mobile app, "The Shield", is intended to alert users if they have been at a location in Israel at the same time as a known COVID-19 patient. The app, which is available for both Android and iOS, works by collecting the GPS and WiFi network (SSID) information of a
  • After police officers in Paraguay posted videos of themselves punishing people who have been caught breaking quarantine on social media, Paraguayans expressed outrage over their actions. The punishments seen in the videos, which were recorded and shared by the officers themselves, include
  • Researchers at Germany's Robert Koch Institute and Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute are working on an app that uses Bluetooth connections between smartphones and is compliant with GDPR to anonymously save the distance and duration of contact between people on the smartphone to make it possible to
  • The Ministry of Administration and Local Self-Government of the Republic of Srpska, an entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina, published the full and hometowns of the first 30 people who broke quarantine on March 23. The move was condemned by the Initiative for Monitoring the European Integration of
  • Managed from a purpose-built coronavirus control centre, Moscow's network of 100,000 cameras equipped with facial recognition technology is being used to ensure that anyone placed under quarantine stays off the streets. Officials claim the centre can also be used to track international arrivals and
  • The success of South Korea's efforts to combat the coronavirus without a national lockdown and without suspending civil rights depended in part on preparation put in place after the 2015 MERS epidemic and in part on the country's network of private testing labs, which enabled the country to quickly
  • A BBC article captures the story of a student living in Taiwan under quarantine, who reports that when his battery on his phone ran out, within an hour four different local administrative units contacted him; and a patrol was dispatched to verify his location; and a text was sent that the government
  • In a partnership with G3 Global Berhad, a system combining thermal scanning technology and facial recognition from SenseTime has been put in place at Malaysia's King's Palace. The combination is intended to trigger alerts, as well as detect and identify people even when they're wearing face masks in
  • In Jojutla, a municipality in the southern state of Morelos, the government is using drones, normally used for security tasks such as reducing homicides, to surveille gatherings in public parks and plazas and tell people to go home, at the same time distributing hand sanitiser gel and face masks on
  • To contain the coronavirus, Vietnam focused on aggressive contact tracing, forced quarantines for all people arriving in the country, cancelling all foreign flights, conscripting medical students and retired doctors and nurses, instituting surveillance, and mobilising medical and military personnel
  • Norway's state research and development company, Simula Research Laboratory, in collaboration with the Institute of Public Health, is working to develop technical solutions to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Code discovered on Github and later removed included examples of how the researchers
  • Our partners from Internet Lab in Brazil started a series of podcasts to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 in the country. They are all recorded and available in the website (in Portuguese). Link: https://www.internetlab.org.br/pt/noticias/antivirus-um-programa-para-discutir-a-tecnologia-direitos-e-a
  • When the phone belonging to an American University student in Taiwan, who was subject to 14 days' quarantine after returning from Europe, ran out of battery power, in less than hour he had received phone calls from four different local administrative units, a text message notifying him he would be
  • The Guatemalan government is using the app Alerta Guate to spread public health information, which was created by the Chicago-registered company In-telligent LLC. The app is allowed to collect each user's email address, social media account handles, age, personal interests, and geographic location
  • A 13-year-old girl who travelled into Hong Kong from New York and was ordered to quarantine and issued with a wristband was spotted dining with her uncle in a Japanese restaurant by another diner, who video recorded her and posted the clip to social media, where it went viral. She and several others
  • A day after John Tory, the mayor of the City of Toronto, told thousands of attendees at an online event hosted by TechTO that the city was gathering cellphone location data from telecoms in order to identify areas where residents were still congregating despite the city's social distancing rules, he
  • Estonia's Government Crisis Commission has instructed the state statistical office, Statistics Estonia, to use mobile geolocation data from companies such as Telia, Elisa, and Tele 2 in order to study people's movements to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Statistics Estonia hoped to launch the
  • After Pakistani residents queried whether messages labelled "CoronaALERT" sent out via SMS were legitimate, telecom authorities confirmed that it was authentic, being sent to selected individuals at the request of the Ministry of Health under the Digital Parkistan programme. Individuals were chosen
  • Under a new protocol, international passengers arriving at Lime's Jorge Chavez International Airport or by ship at Callao Port, is referred to medical staff if they are arriving from places with confirmed cases, even if they are asymptomatic. Passengers who show symptoms in transit are transferred
  • The Local Government Association has argued that councils should not have to comply with freedom of information requests during the coronavirus crisis. Greater Manchester police followed suit, saying that police in non-critical roles were being reallocated to operational policing and would not
  • The Rio de Janeiro City Hall has signed an agreement with telecomunications company TIM to use geolocation data to develop "heat maps" by cross-referencing epidemological hubs with high population density locations. Under the agreement, TIM will pinpoint the movement of its users across Rio de
  • Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the country's Communications Ministry to develop a system, to be built on analysing specific individuals' geolocation data from telecommunications companies that can track people who have come into contact with those who have tested positive for
  • The Dutch coronavirus containment measures introduced on March 23 were in line with many other countries: gatherings banned until June 1 except for funerals and weddings; social distancing; personal services such as nail bars and hairdressers shut down; schools, gyms, fitness centres, and sports
  • Malaysia will use both government-owned drones and drones borrowed from local industries under the direction of the armed forces and on-the-ground police to monitor compliance with the Movement Control Order. Because Malaysia doesn't have enough drones to cover the whole country, they will be
  • Because tracking and limiting the movement of those suspected to be carrying COVID-19 carriers has been a factor in flattening the exponential curve of cases in places like Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea, Professor Marylouise McLaws, a technical advisor to the WHO's Infection Prevention and
  • Owing to concerns about the possibility of spreading the coronavirus via banknotes and payment cards, Russia has begun testing its Unified Biometric System (EBS) for payments at a selection of grocery stores including Lenta supermarkets. The Russian bank VTB plans a mass roll-out for mid-2020. For
  • On March 9, SK Telecom began providing South Korea's Gyeongbuk Provincial Police Agency with its Geovision population analysis service and GIRAF platform. The company claims that the combination can analyse mobile geolocation data across the country in real time, create visualisations, and show how
  • An Excel file containing complete data pertaining to patients tested for coronavirus in the cities Quetta and Taftan in the the Balochistan region of Pakistan has been circulating in WhatsApp groups about Balochistan. The file contains information such as names, phone numbers, age address and other
  • The Indian medical AI start-up Qure.ai has released qScout, an AI-powered "virtual care platform". Intended to help governments, hospitals, and clinics, the qScout app is meant to identify high-risk individuals, assist with contact tracing, facilitate remote triage, read chest X-rays to identify
  • The Uganda Communications Commission announced on March 22 that it would crack down on people spreading fake videos and misinformation about the novel coronavirus through social media, noting that this behaviour is illegal under the Computer Misuse Act, the Data Protection and Privacy Act, and other
  • Argentina's Public Prosecutor's Office will start installing an app on the smartphones of those who violate government-ordered quarantine in the cities of Santa Fé and Rosario. The app will be installed by the province's Criminal Investigation Agency to track those who are under criminal
  • On March 23, Argentina's immigration agency, Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (DNM), announced that anyone arriving in the country would be required to install the free COVID-19 Ministry of Health app on their phone for 14 days to ensure they comply with quarantine rules in order to protect the
  • The Greek government issued a ban on all unnecessary traffic from March 23 to April 6 in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Anyone moving around under one of the list of exceptions must carry a police identity card or passport and a certificate of movement, which citizens obtain by filling
  • After Asian countries used mass surveillance of smartphones to trace contacts and halt the spread of the coronavirus, Western countries such as the UK and Germany are trying to find less-invasive ways to use phones to collect and share data about infections that would work within data privacy laws
  • Technology such as Hong Kong's electronic monitoring bracelets, used to ensure that people do not break their mandated quarantine, may appear reasonable during a pandemic, but could be problematic if deployed widely and used to identify those who have joined anti-government protests. The same
  • The US Department of Justice has asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies as one of a number of new powers the department is seeking during the coronavirus crisis. The DoJ also wants Congress to pause the statute of limitations
  • Albania deployed the army for a planned 40 hours to enforce a curfew that the country initiated on March 21 to control the spread of COVID-19 after citizens continued to openly ignore the orders to stay at home. Although the country had only 76 confirmed cases at the time, it was concerned about the
  • The Hungarian government is seeking to extend indefinitely the state of emergency it has declared because of the coronavirus epidemic. The extension, which was debated in the Hungarian parliament on March 23, would allow the government to rule by decree without parliamentary approval for as long as
  • The self-testing web app issued by Argentina's Secretariat of Public Innovation asks for national ID number, email and phone as mandatory fields in order to submit the test. The Android version requires numerous permissions: calendar, contacts, geolocation data (both network-based and GPS)
  • The new Singaporean app, TraceTogether, developed by the Government Technology Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Health was launched on March 20 after eight weeks of development. The app, which can be downloaded by anyone with a Singapore mobile number and a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone
  • To counter the many rumours, fake news, and hoaxes spreading in Myanmar, the country's Ministry of Health and Sports launched a website in collaboration with state and regional governments with videos about the virus, the latest data, and updates on the latest number of cases and lab results in
  • The global pandemic that has been declared by COVID-19 is already affecting countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Recognizing the seriousness of this health crisis and the legal possibility for governments to take exceptional measures to control the pandemic, it is essential to remember that
  • Among the Chinese companies making efforts to help the country respond to the coronavirus are the technology giants Alibaba, Baidu, ByteDance, Tencent, Xiaomi, and Foxconn. In order to fight misinformation, Baidu created a map layer on top of its standard Map App that shows real-time locations of
  • On March 20, the Peruvian government introduced a website where citizens can retrieve the results of tests for COVID-19. The site asks only for the patient to fill in their National ID number and a simple captcha, making it easy for unauthorised parties to access others' results and put people at
  • India has begun stamping the hands of people arriving at airports in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka to specify the date until which they must remain in quarantine. The government is also using airline and railway reservation data to track suspected infections and find hand-stamped people
  • Four members of the Council of Europe - Romania, Latvia, Moldova, and Armenia - have activated Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which allows derogations in cases of public emergency. Derogation allows Member States to take measures to the extent required by the situation as
  • Four members of the Council of Europe - Romania, Latvia, Moldova, and Armenia - have activated Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which allows derogations in cases of public emergency. Derogation allows Member States to take measures to the extent required by the situation as
  • Researchers at the University of Oxford are working with the UK government on an app similar to the smartphone tracking system China developed to alert people who have come in contact with someone infected with the coronavirus. The British app, which would be associated with the country's National
  • Facebook's scientists are analysing location data about compliance with social distancing recommendations in various countries using information from a private vault of location information its apps have collected. The analysis shows that only "very modest" changes in habits in the US, France, and
  • Four members of the Council of Europe - Romania, Latvia, Moldova, and Armenia - have activated Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which allows derogations in cases of public emergency. Derogation allows Member States to take measures to the extent required by the situation as
  • The Mumbai police have been asked by the civic governing body to track the movements of people arriving at Mumbai airport through the GPS location of their phones. Arrivals at the airport in Mumbai are also being stamped with “Proud to protect Mumbaikars. Home quarantined” with the date until which
  • As governments look into surveillance, geolocation and biometric facial recognition to contain the coronavirus, even if they violate user data privacy, the controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI is allegedly negotiating a partnership with state agencies to monitor infected people and
  • The Serb-dominated Republika Srpska, one of two entities that make up Bosnia and Herzegovina, is introducing fines of €500 to €1,500 (individuals) or €3,000 to €9,000 for spreading "panic and disorder" by publishing false news about the coronavirus outbreak in the media and on social networks
  • The Polish government has developed the free Home Quarantine app for both iPhone and Android, which allows the police to check that individuals do not break quarantine; those who do may be fined up to PLN 5,000 and also offers support to those who are quarantined. Once users activate the app by
  • The Chinese Communist Party has worked to control the narrative and deflect blame during the coronavirus crisis by drawing on its state and CCP-owned media to disseminate content via its English-language Facebook pages and Twitter feed (even though these platforms are banned in China). China has
  • Four members of the Council of Europe - Romania, Latvia, Moldova, and Armenia - have activated Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which allows derogations in cases of public emergency. Derogation allows Member States to take measures to the extent required by the situation as
  • In response to a case brought by the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), the Arab Joint List, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction on March 19 limiting the the state's and the Shin Bet security service's use of
  • As governments look into surveillance, geolocation and biometric facial recognition to contain the coronavirus, even if they violate user data privacy, the controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI is allegedly negotiating a partnership with state agencies to monitor infected people and
  • Mobile network operator O2 is providing aggregated data to the UK government to analyse anonymous smartphone location data in order to show people are following the country's social distancing guidelines, particularly in London, which to date accounts for about 40% of the UK's confirmed cases and 30
  • BT, owner of UK mobile operator EE, is in talks with the government about using its phone location and usage data to monitor whether coronavirus limitation measures such as asking the public to stay at home are working. The information EE supplies would be delayed by 12 to 24 hours, and would
  • Hakob Arshakyan, Armenia's minister of the high technology industry, has convened a research group comprising experts in IT and AI has been convened to collect and analyse data on the spread of coronavirus, compare it with the data collected by international partners, and develop forecasts. The
  • According to a company announcement, Telepower Communication (Telpo), a leading Chinese manufacturer of smart point-of-sale systems and intelligent hardware, has integrated into its terminals new features to support a wide variety of contactless use cases. The company’s family of terminals for
  • In a statement, Vodafone said it is "producing an aggregated and anonymous heat map for the Lombardy region in Italy to help the authorities to better understand population movements in order to help thwart the spread of COVID-19." The company offered to help governments develop insights based on
  • Technology entrepreneurs within Belgium would like to introduce a health code app similar to China's Alipay Health Code that would control individuals' movements based on their health status. The government has engaged privacy experts from the Belgian data protection authority and Ghent University
  • In emergency legislation, the government of Norway proposed to exempt itself from current laws other than the Constitution and human rights so that it could issue new rules and regulations without needing Parliamentary debate even if they conflict with other laws. MPs may intervene if a third of
  • The CovPY Auto Reporte project is an auto-reporting system created by Penguin Academy in the hope of smoothing the peak impact of the pandemic on the Paraguayan health system. It allows anyone to access it and report their symptoms and get quick feedback what steps to take next as well as generate
  • Hong Kong is issuing electronic tracker wristbands to people under compulsory home quarantine to ensure they do not go out. The wristbands are accompanied by a mandatory smartphone app that shares their location with the government via messaging platforms such as WeChat and WhatsApp. Upon arriving
  • After Singapore’s Ministry of Health made information about victims public, and a developer turned the information into an interactive map. The map was discontinued on March 18 because the volume of cases had outstripped the developer's limits. Source: https://sgwuhan.xose.net/
  • The identities of Montenegro's first two confirmed COVID-19 patients were published by social media users, including photos of one of the patients and her family, leading to online abuse based on their ethnicity and religious beliefs. Source: https://balkaninsight.com/2020/03/18/montenegrin
  • Kinsa Health, which has sold or given away more than 1 million internet-connected thermometers to household covering 2 million people, finds that the maps it creates showing the difference between expected (based on years of data the company has collected) and reported levels of fever may act as an
  • Our partners from IPANDETEC in Panamá wrote about privacy and personal data in the context of the COVID-19 response, stating that throughout Central America, data protection laws and patient privacy lean towards respecting their privacy before the scientific interest of their cases. Link: https:/
  • On March 19, the Peruvian government instituted a daily curfew from 8pm to 5am, which applies to all but those working to provide essential services. Members of the print and broadcast press must carry their special permits, badges, and ID cards, and those requiring urgent medical care are allowed
  • The Romanian government has formally notified the Council of Europe under Article 15, paragraph 3 of the ECHR of the country's state of emergency decree, noting that some of the measures being taken involve derogations from the obligations under the Convention. Source: https://rm.coe.int
  • The coronavirus action plan announced on March 3, alongside many measures for managing the NHS in the crisis, will also allow the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to appoint judicial commissioners (JCs) on a temporary basis in the event that there are insufficient JCs available to operate the
  • Metrolinx, the public transport agency for the Canadian province of Ontario says that, on request, it gave Toronto Public Health contact information associated with registered Presto payment cards used on specific trips, after a 40-year-old man was diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19). The agency
  • Aided by its small size, Singapore's contact tracing efforts were a key element of controlling the virus's spread; detectives used CCTV footage to locate the contacts of more than 6,000 people. Singapore also contacts individuals required to self-isolate several times a day and requires them to send
  • The German mobile operator Deutsche Telekom announced in a press conference on RKI Live that it had passed on, anonymised, its users' movement data to the Robert-Koch Institute to study the extent to which the population would follow the government's restrictions. RKI president Lothar Wieler said
  • The Paraguayan Minister of Defense, Bernardino Soto Estigarribia, announced that from March 17 onward restrictions on movement and crowds would be enforced by the military along with the police forces. The minister said it should not be thought of as a violation of human rights because the military
  • Using mobile phone data to verify the movements of their owners, the Italian region of Lombardy found that between February 20, when the first COVID-19 case was discovered, and March 10, movement by its 2 million inhabitants dropped by just under 60%. Lombardy has also used cell phone data, obtained
  • Using mobile phone data to verify the movements of their owners, the Italian region of Lombardy found that between February 20, when the first COVID-19 case was discovered, and March 10, movement by its 2 million inhabitants dropped by just under 60%. Lombardy has also used cell phone data, obtained
  • Athena Security, which previously sold a system claiming to detect weapons in video feeds, is marketing "artificially intelligent thermal cameras" that the company claims can detect fevers and send an alert to the client that they may be carrying the coronavirus, and claims that its Fever Detection
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services has announced it will waive penalties for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects patient data privacy. HHS argued that in the nationwide emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, greater latitude is needed
  • Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) provided a SIM card to every foreigner and Thai who had travelled from countries that have have been designated as "high risk" for COVID-19 infections (at the time, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy, and Macau). According to
  • The Austrian telecom operator A1 has voluntarily provided the government with "anonymized" location data of its customers for the first two Saturdays in March. The data shows that citizens have significantly reduced their social contacts. After critics expressed privacy concerns, the company issued
  • The Israeli compnay NSO Group, best known for the spyware it sells governments and has been used to target journalists and advocates, says it has developed a product aimed at analysing data to map people’s movements to identify who they’ve come in contact with, which can then be used to stop the
  • Taiwan, linked by direct flights to Wuhan, moved to contain the virus as soon as reports of the Wuhan outbreak emerged. At the end of January, it suspended flights from China, and integrated its national health database with its immigration and customs information in order to trace potential cases
  • A task force at the Italian Ministry of Innovation, in collaboration with the University of Pavia to leverage big data technologies to deal with COVID-19, after the WHO advised governments that lockdowns alone are not enough, and that testing, isolation, and contact tracing are crucial. The effort
  • Russia has set up a coronavirus information centre to to monitor social media for misinformation about the coronavirus and spot empty supermarket shelves using a combination of surveillance cameras and AI. The centre also has a database of contacts and places of work for 95% of those under mandatory
  • At the MIT Media lab, Ramesh Raskar is leading a team that includes software engineers at companies such as Facebook and Uber to develop the free and open source app Private Kit: Safe Paths. The app is intended to share encrypted information between phones in the network without going through a
  • A task force at the Italian Ministry of Innovation, in collaboration with the University of Pavia to leverage big data technologies to deal with COVID-19, after the WHO advised governments that lockdowns alone are not enough, and that testing, isolation, and contact tracing are crucial. The effort
  • Ministers have permitted the Shin Bet security service to "use the cellular phone data of carriers of the disease to retrace their steps and identify anyone they may have infected", and will relay the information to the Health Ministry, which will send a message to those who were within two meters
  • The Ecuadorian government has authorised tracking mobile phones via GPS satellite to ensure that citizens do not break mandatory quarantine after six violators were identified. Source: https://www.ecuadortv.ec/noticias/covid-19/romo-vigilancia-epidemiologico-covid19-? Writer: Ecuador TV Publication
  • On March 17, after declaring a state of emergency an ordering everyone to stay at home, the Peruvian government began requiring a special authorisation for street travel. Workers in a the categories specified in Article 4 of the Supreme Decree must obtain the authorisation via a government website
  • The Indonesian Doctors Association has asked the government to open up the identity of patients who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in order to facilitate contact tracing and improve the efficiency of efforts to prevent further spread, arguing that in an emergency like this the public
  • Spanish police are using drones to warn people to stay indoors apart from necessary trips after seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Human officers control the drones and relay via radio warnings to people to leave public parks and return home. Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/spanish-police
  • The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has authorised the country's internal security agency to use a previously secret tranche of mobile phone geolocation data, gathered to combat terrorism, to retrace the movements of individuals with confirmed cases of the coronavirus and identify people
  • Three years ago, the Alphabet subsidiary Verily developed a software platform, Project Baseline, to run clinical trials on a group of volunteers who agree to share their medical data with a group of researchers at pharmaceutical companies and research hospitals. In early March, Verily began
  • The presidential decree declaring a health emergency in Paraguay empowers the Ministry of Public Health to order "general preventive isolation" from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m, with exceptions for those doing vital work such as delivering food or transportation. The Ministry of the Interior and its
  • Peru has suspended constitutional rights such as freedom of movement and assembly, although the government has guaranteed the operation of supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, basic services, and the transportation of merchandise. Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-latam
  • US government agencies are considering a range of tracking and surveillance technologies as part of efforts to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. These include: geolocation tracking and facial recognition systems to analyse photos, both to enable contact tracing. Palantir is working with
  • Among the emergency measures announced by Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic, the military will guard hospitals and police will monitor those in quarantine or self-isolation for 14 or 28 days, who could face jail terms of up to three years for violating the rules. Source: https://www.reuters.com
  • On Wednesday, the government of Madrid will launch a free app to track COVID-19 cases similar to those developed in Asian countries such as South Korea, China, and Taiwan. The development is being carried out at no charge by developers from Google, Telefónica, Ferrovial, Goggo Network, Carto
  • Our partners from the Foundation for Media Alternatives in Philippines reported different ways in which the COVID-19 is impacting public health and privacy rights. Link: https://www.fma.ph/2020/03/15/public-health-and-privacy-amid-covid-19-the-fma-digital-rights-report/
  • The Thai Tech Startup Association, Department of Disease Control (Ministry of Public Health), Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Ministry of Digital Economy and Society), and National Innovation Agency have developed a questionnaire on an app which as adverised on the Thai Tech Startup Associaiton
  • On March 14 a group of immigrant advocacy groups wrote to the government asking for the Home Office to release all 1,500 to 2,000 detainees in order to protect them from a coronavirus outbreak in the UK's seven removal centres and two short-term holding centres.. On March 21, the Home Office said it
  • On March 14, the Peruvian government set up a website for individuals to check their symptoms so they can be directed towards sources of help. The web form asks for ID number, phone, email and home address. Source: https://www.gob.pe/coronavirus Writer: Peruvian government Publication: Peruvian
  • On March 14, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis announced a state of emergency to make it possible to allocate new resources for crisis management, and urged the public to follow isolation guidelines and hygiene rules. The Parliament must approve within five days, and the state of emergency lasts 30
  • Our partners from Digital Rights Foundation in Pakistan wrote a piece analysing cases of privacy violations, misinformation, hate speech and other cases. As they said, the situation with regards to the Coronavirus is still developing in the country and Digital Rights Foundation, are keeping an eye
  • The Belgian Minister of Public Health has approved a programme under which telephone companies Proximus and Telenet will transfer some of their their data to the private third-party company Dalberg Data Insights in order to help combat the coronavirus epidemic; Orange has also agreed "in principle"
  • Frisco, TX-based MTX Group is collaborating with the New York State Department of Health in deploying a coronavirus-monitoring and messaging system enabling New York State to monitor travellers, physicians, and others who come into close contact with anyone with symptoms. The application asks users
  • Taiwan's response to the coronavirus has kept the country's level of cases extremely low. Building on its experience from the 2003 SARS outbreak, the country immediately responded when the first news of the outbreak in China appeared with numerous measures that leveraged its national insurance data
  • A Hamburg geotracking startup called Ubilabs is working with the Hannover School of Medicine on a data analysis platform that could track people who have tested positive for the coronavirus and their contacts, Der Tagesspiegel reported on Tuesday; this type of tracking would require individuals'
  • A review of European privacy laws considers whether the tracking and monitoring methods China used to shut down the COVID-19 epidemic are in compliance with GDPR. The French data protection authority CNIL says employers are not allowed to take mandatory temperature readings from employees or
  • After the Iranian government produced the AC19 Android app, intended to help people self-diagnose rather than going to a hospital, Google pulled it from the Play Store apparently suspecting that the app made the misleading claim that it could detect COVID-19 infections although it is also true that
  • Technology companies are struggling to cope with the flood of misinformation spreading across the internet, both on social media sites and on the open web, where 4,000 new websites have been created since the beginning of the year that include "coronavirus" in their title and 3% of which are
  • Colombia's has launched the free, Android-only, prevention-focused Colombia-Coronapp developed by the National Health Institute (INS) to help identify and eradicate the virus across the country, as well provide centralisation and transparency. Besides their basic information, users are asked to say
  • China's airport screening, which includes scanning all arriving passengers for fever using “noncontact thermal imaging” since late January and requiring passengers to report their health status on arrival, look reassuring but won't stop the spread of the novel coronavirus because experience with
  • With 6,300 COVID-19 cases and more than 40 reported deaths, the South Korean government launched a smarphone app (Android first, iPhone due on March 20) to monitor citizens on lockdown as part of its "maximum" action to contain the outbreak. The app keeps patients in touch with care workers and uses
  • Despite warnings that airport screening will only delay but not stop disease outbreaks, in early March US vice-president Mike Pence pledged "100% screening" on direct flights from Italy and South Korea to the United States. Source: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/why-airport-screening-wont
  • The "safety guidance texts" sent by health authorities and district offices in South Korea are causing information overload and have included embarrassing revelations about infected people's private lives. A text may include, for example, a link to trace the movements of people who have recently
  • Although the alerts about contacts with people infected by the coronavirus sent out via SMS by the South Korean government do not include names, the information included about people who tested positive for coronavirus, and their past locations can be revealingly detailed in some cases. Those who
  • WhatsApp is being flooded with fake cures, false information about how the illness is transmitted, and coronavirus conspiracy theories, and has become a vector for spreading panic and misinformation around the world, particularly in countries such as Nigeria, Singapore, Brazil, Pakistan, and Ireland
  • Twitter announced that searching for COVID-19 will take you to a page featuring recent stories from public health organizations and credible mainstream news sources. The search takes common misspellings into account. The company also said it would take a zero-tolerance approach to platform
  • In a rare departure from personalisation, Facebook announced that it had begun inserting a box into its news feed directing users to the Centers for Disease Control’s page about COVID-19, potentially driving many millions of users to reliable information from an authoritative source. Facebook also
  • The first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia and their neighbours became the targets of media coverage and social media abuse after their personal details were spread via WhatsApp and other social media soon after the President announced the positive tests results - before anyone told the
  • A group of independent developers in Argentina started CoTrack, a public crowdsourced effort to develop an app to track and slow the spread of the virus. CoTrack registers each user's geographic movements and looks for times when they are close to people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. When
  • An Argentinian crowdsourcing website is collecting information on flights with passengers who were reported as testing positive for COVID-19. Users are asked to enter their email address and the date, airline, and flight number, and tick a box to indicate that someone on their flight was infected
  • Software on smartphones dictates whether an individual should be quarantined. Chinese citizens in 200 cities, beginning with Hangzhou, are required to install the Alipay Health Code app, developed by Hangzhou's local government with the help of Alipay owner Ant Financial, on their smartphones. After
  • Software on smartphones dictates whether an individual should be quarantined. Chinese citizens in 200 cities, beginning with Hangzhou, are required to install the Alipay Health Code app, developed by Hangzhou's local government with the help of Alipay owner Ant Financial, on their smartphones. After
  • A document awaiting approval from the federal authorities outlines the measures Russia may need to adopt in the event of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak. In "emergency mode". The proposal's Plan A allows for cancelling all international sports, cultural, scientific, and social events in Moscow
  • A new surveillance system to detect cases of COVID-19 in England was established by Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS to strengthen existing systems and to prepare for and prevent wider transmission of the virus. Some NHS hospitals have been asked to take part in the plan, which involves
  • Facebook announced on its blog that it was providing researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health and National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan with aggregated and anonymised mobility data and high resolution population density maps to help inform their forecasting models for the spread
  • Facebook is providing researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health and National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan "aggregated and anonymized" mobility data and high resolution population density maps to help inform their forecasting models for the spread of the virus as part of our
  • Russian authorities are using surveillance cameras, facial recognition systems, and geolocation to enforce a two-week quarantine regime affecting 2,500 people. Chinese citizens are banned from entering Russia; Russians and citizens of other countries who arrive from China are required to go through
  • The Hong Kong Department of Health has asked the police to deploy its computerised Major Incident Investigation and Disaster Support System in order to trace the contacts of patients infected by the novel coronavirus. The request for the system, which was used during the SARS epidemic in 2003, came
  • In mid-February the Federal Register published new CDC rules, which came into interim effect on February 7, under which airlines are required to collect the name and contact information of all passengers and crew arriving in the United States on international flights, and to transmit this
  • A phone-tracking system used by SAPOL for criminal investigations was used to better understand where a coronavirus-infected 60-year-old couple, who had travelled from Wuhan to visit relatives, roamed in Adelaide in order to identify people who might have been exposed, according to the South
  • On November 3rd, 2019, [...] a critical vulnerability affecting the Android Bluetooth subsystem [was reported]. This vulnerability has been assigned CVE-2020-0022 and was now patched in the latest security patch from February 2020. The security impact is as follows: On Android 8.0 to 9.0, a remote
  • After 195 US citizens were repatriated from Wuhan, China in January they were placed in quarantine without warning in a cordoned-off section of the Air Force Research Base in California's Mojave Desert. The legal position of this and other similar quarantines is unclear, as the Centers for Disease
  • Recent study shows that Americans are wary of data from smart speakers being used in criminal investigations, the Pew Research Center reported. A recent study showed that 49% of Americans answered that it is unacceptable for smart speakers companies to share audio recordings of their customers with
  • An engineering and computer science professor and his team from The Ohio State University discovered a design flaw in low-powered Bluetooth devices that leaves them susceptible to hacking. Zhiqiang Lin, associate professor of computer science and engineering at the university, found the commonly
  • A woman was killed by a spear to the chest at her home in Hallandale Beache, Florida, north of Miami, in July. Witness "Alexa" has been called yet another time to give evidence and solve the mystery. The police is hoping that the smart assistance Amazon Echo, known as Alexa, was accidentally
  • Rewire.News has reported that Google apparently remains unwilling to differentiate its Maps search results between clinics in the US that offer abortion care and faith-based organisations that do not provide abortion care. Rewire.News reports that, in contrast Yelp "made a concerted effort" to
  • Ahead of the Irish referendum to amend the Constitutions of Ireland to allow the parliament to legislative for abortion which took place in May 2018, Google decided to stop all advertising relating to the referendum on all of its advertising platforms, including AdWords and YouTube. This followed
  • Bethany Christian Services, an international pregnancy support and adoption agency, is launching a programme with Copley Advertising to send targeted ads to individuals visiting Planned Parenthood clinics, abortion clinics, methadone clinics and high-risk areas (AHPA). The targeting will be done
  • Denmark released 32 prisoners as part of an ongoing review of 10,700 criminal cases, after serious questions arose regarding the reliability of geolocation data obtained from mobile phone operators. Among the various problems with the software used to convert the phone data into usable evidence, it
  • The Lumi by Pampers nappies will track a child's urine (not bowel movements) and comes with an app that helps you "Track just about everything". The activity sensor that is placed on the nappy also tracks a baby's sleep. Concerns over security and privacy have been raised, given baby monitors can be
  • US campaigners supported by the Catholic church are promoting the app Femm, which collects sensitive data about women's sexual lives and aim to scare women from using hormonal birth control, in rural Nigeria. Femm received a $100,000 from the Papal Foundation to promote their app. https://www
  • Bahrain has warned its citizens and residents could face legal action simply for following social media accounts it deems anti-government, which raises concerns about the ability of Bahraini citizens and residents to exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms. In May 2019, a state terrorism law
  • Amazon shareholders rejected two non-binding proposals governing its facial recognition software, Rekognition: one would have limited sales of Rekognition to governments, unless a board determined that such sales would not violate peoples’ rights, and the other was to study the extent to which
  • GDPR complaints about Real-Time Bidding (RTB) in the online advertising industry were filed today with Data Protection Authorities in Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The complaints detail the vast scale of personal data leakage by Google and other major companies in the “Ad Tech”
  • As a part of Facebook’s efforts to curb disinformation and misinformation on its platform, the company introduced new rules over how political content is marked. This has resulted in content that is educational, news articles, and otherwise seemingly non-political being marked incorrectly and taken
  • Political ads on Facebook are meant to be marked with a disclaimer that says who paid for the ad, as well as be archived into the platform’s ad library, where users are able to see more information about how an ad was targeted. It’s important to note that the ‘who paid for the ad’ requirement is
  • Facebook has taken down 65 accounts, 161 pages, dozens of groups and four Instagram accounts, which were ran by Archimedes Group, an Israeli political consulting and lobbying firm that aimed at disrupting elections in various countries. Archimedes was mostly active in Sub-Saharan Africa but also
  • Facebook's efforts to remove disinformation in the wake of the 2019 Ukrainian Presidential election have so far failed. Politico reports that "Among the Facebook pages that spread spurious claims during the election was one with more than 100,000 followers that ran a video claiming (the Presidential
  • Absher, an online platform and mobile phone app created by the Saudi Arabian government, can allow men to restrict women’s ability to travel, live in Saudi Arabia, or access government services. This app, which is available in the Google and Apple app stores, supports and enables the discriminatory
  • The Irish Data Protection Commission has today launched an inquiry into the data practices of ad-tech company Quantcast, a major player in the online tracking industry. PI's 2018 investigation and subsequent submission to the Irish DPC showed how the company is systematically collecting and
  • The New York Times picked 16 categories (like registered Democrats or people trying to lose weight) and targeted ads at people in them. They used the ads to reveal the invisible information itself, noting that it is a "story of how our information is used not just to target us but to manipulate
  • A private intelligence company, LookingGlass Cyber Solutions, used social media to monitor more than 600 “Family Separation Day Protests” held across the United States on June 30, 2018, to oppose the Trump administration’s policy family separation policy. The policy was part of a “zero tolerance”
  • The two leading Presidential candidates in Ukraine's 2019 elections have expressed frustration at major social media platform's seemingly lack of assistance combatting disinformation and bots. Bots flood social media networks and can promote content or flood platforms with pull requests to have a
  • On April 16th 2019, Italy’s antitrust authority said that it had launched a probe into five Amazon companies for possible abuse of dominant market position in e-commerce and logistical services. The companies being looked into include Amazon Services Europe, Amazon Europe Core, Amazon EU, Amazon
  • In Ireland benefits claimants are expected to register for a Public Services Card (PSC) in order to access benefits. PSC users are expected to have their photographs taken in department offices, which is then digitally captured along with their signature. While this card was originally created to
  • In an effort to improve political advertising transparency, Canada drafted a Bill that requires companies to develop ad libraries, to which ads are added immediately in order for researchers, journalists, and other people to be able to search and understand how political actors are targeting ads. In
  • An investigation by Bloomberg, disclosed that thousands of Amazon employees around the world are listening in on Amazon Echo users.
  • The rise of social media has also been a game changer in the tracking of benefits claimants. In the UK in 2019, a woman was jailed after she was jailed for five months after pictures of her partying in Ibiza emerged on social media. She had previously sued the NHS for £2.5 million, after surviving a
  • The Five Star Movement, a populist party, which is currently in power along with the League in Italy initially grew out of Il Blog delle Stelle (formerly Beppe Grillo’s blog). The Five Star Movement was founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, along with Gianroberto Casaleggio, a web strategist in 2009. As
  • The European Commission, EU’s antitrust watchdog, is nearing a decision on its investigation into Amazon. According to a report in Seeking Alpha, EU Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager said the Commission gathered “a lot of data” in its investigation into Amazon. The report noted the EU sent out 1
  • Dr Johnny Ryan filed a formal complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commission against IAB Europe, the tracking industry’s primary lobbying organization. The complaint was filed against IAB Europe’s use of an unlawful “cookie wall” on its website. Visitors to IAB Europe’s website, www.iabeurope
  • Volunteers for Presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy were tasked with pouring over social media sites to search for disinformation and combat bot armies that spread negative comments about the candidate. Facebook has been slow to take down 'fake news' and so the volunteers search social media
  • In London, four boroughs have been trialling the London Counter Fraud Hub. The hub is designed to process huge quantities of data from millions of household to detect certain types of fraud involving the single person council tax discount (in London, a person living alone gets a reduced rate on
  • In February 2019, an examination of Facebook's searchable database of Indian political ads showed that in India political ads on Facebook were viewed nine times more often by men than by women. Facebook's Indian user base was reported as 24% female in 2016. The reason for the disparity in ad viewing
  • In February 2019, a faulty firmware update meant that Nike's latest $350 Adapt BB self-lacing shoes could not pair with the app that allows owners to adjust their tightness, customise the lights, and check remaining battery life. Because the shoes have no physical laces, the error effectively made
  • In August 2018, Apple forced Facebook to remove its Onava VPN from the App Store because the Facebook had been using it to harvest data across multiple apps and track user activity. In January 2019, a TechCrunch investigation revealed that in a separate part of the same programme Facebook had been
  • In February 2019, shortly after eight British Labour MPs quit the party and formed the "Independent Group", one of them was caught accessing data and campaigning tools belonging to their former party. In response, Labour shut down access to tools Contact Creator, used to collect campaign data and
  • In February 2019, an anonymous tip-off to Computer Sweden revealed that a database containing recordings of 170,000 hours of calls made to the Vårdguiden 1177 non-emergency healthcare advice line was left without encryption or password protection on an open web server provided by Voice Integrate
  • In February 2019, Twitter announced it would expand the political campaigning policy it launched in the US in May 2018 to all EU member states, Australia, and India, commencing March 11. Once the policy is live, only certified advertisers would be allowed to run political campaign ads on the service
  • In February 2019, with a general election expected in May, the Australian government revealed that Australia's main political parties had been hacked by a "sophisticated state actor". The Australian Cyber Security Centre uncovered the hack while investigating a just-revealed hack of the Australian
  • The National Board of Scholarships and School Aid (Junaeb) in Chile was also heavily criticised for its use of facial recognition programmes to deliver meals at thirty schools in three cities across the country. After the Supreme Court requested in 2017 that the system must not be applied without
  • In October 2018, Google developers announced Manifest V3, a new standard for developing extensions for its Chrome web browser. One of the modifications included replacing the API used by extensions that need to intercept and work with network requests. The new API, DeclarativeNetRequest, limits the
  • Similar to the European Commission’s investigation and the stand-alone German and Italian investigations into Amazon’s anti-competitive behaviour, Austria is now investigating whether Amazon is exploiting its market dominance in relation to other retailers that use its website as a marketplace. The
  • In 2016, Jamie Siminoff, the CEO of the miniature security camera company Ring, emailed his employees information them that the company would adopt a new mission to fight crime by using consumer electronics. The company, which Amazon acquired in 2018, sells its cameras with a social app, "Neighbors"
  • A couple who tried, in February 2018, to keep their unborn child a secret from the internet, in part so the child could create its own internet identity when it was ready. They had some success in avoiding being pursued by baby-related ads, but found themselves unable to exercise the control they
  • In February 2019, publicity led the gay dating app Jack'd, which claimed to have more than 5 million users and was ranked among the top four gay social apps on both Apple and Android, to close a security flaw that meant that photos users uploaded to share in private chat sessions were accessible to
  • In January 2019, Facebook announced that as of February 28 the site would add more information to that displayed when users click on the "Why am I seeing this?" button that appears next to ads on the service. Along with the brand that paid for the ad, some of the biographical details they'd targeted
  • In February 2019, Joke Schauvliege, an environment minister in Flanders, was forced to resign after she suggested that Belgian intelligence services had information showing that the schoolchildren's strikes to protest climate change were being directed by others. The largest march in Belgium to date
  • In its February 2019 iOS release (12.2), Apple introduced a toggle enabling users to control whether websites received motion and orientation data collected by the gyroscope and accelerometer inside the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The change is believed to be in response to a 2018 report that
  • In February 2019, the cybersecurity company Trend Micro found that at least 29 beauty and photo editing apps that had been downloaded more than 4 million times from Google's Play Store included code that pushed full-screen ads for fraudulent or pornography content or that directed users to phishing
  • In February 2019 the UK Information Commissioner's Office issued fines totalling £120,000 against the EU referendum campaign Leave.EU (£15,000 and £45,000) and Eldon Insurance (£60,000), trading as Go Skippy Insurance, for serious breaches of electronic marketing laws. The ICO also said it would
  • In January 2019, researchers reported finding two huge data dumps. Collection #1 contained passwords and usernames relating to nearly 773 million email addresses spread across about 2.7 spreadsheet rows in 12,000 files. Collection #2.5 contained 845GB of data and more than 25 billion records that
  • In late 2018, researchers at SINTEF Digital Norway, ETH Zurich, and Berlin's Technical University discovered a new and serious vulnerability in several generations of the cellular mobile communications protocols: 3G, 4G, and the upcoming 5G. The flaw affected Authentication and Key Agreement, which
  • In January 2019 Apple briefly disabled the group functionality in its FaceTime video calling application after bug was discovered that allowed users to listen on the people they were calling when they did not pick up the call and also allowed some callers to see video of the person they were calling
  • Panoptykon Foundation, the Warsaw based digital rights organization, has joined in the complaints filed in the UK and Ireland in September by Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group, Michael Veale of University College London, and Dr Johnny Ryan of Brave, by filing a new complaint in Poland. Together
  • As part of its planning for the 2020 Olympic Games, due to be held in Tokyo, Japan approved a law that would allow the government to conduct a survey to identify vulnerable Internet of Things devices. The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology staff who carry out the survey
  • In January 2019, the British transparency NGO WhoTargetsMe, Mozilla, and the US investigative journalism site Pro Publica reported that recent changes in the social network's code were restricting their ability to monitor political ads on Facebook. The company said the changes were part of a
  • In January 2019 the UK's Information Commissioner's Office announced it was investigating an incident in which the food service company Deliveroo reported that some of its customers had complained they were charged up to £1,000 for orders they had not placed. Customers have used social media to
  • By January 2019, more than 100 million women worldwide were using smartphone apps that began as period-tracking apps but were beginning to branch out into tracking other types of health data - and also to broaden their use of the data they collect in search or profit. Unlike medical establishments
  • The vast majority of public benefits programs in the United States—Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Housing Assistance—do not take the
  • In January 2019 Twitter revealed that it had discovered a security flaw in that meant that Android users who updated the email address linked to their account between November 2014 and January 2019 had inadvertently turned off the "protected" setting on their accounts so that their tweets could have
  • In January 2019, Facebook' announced it had removed multiple pages, groups, and accounts coordinating inauthentic behaviour on Facebook and Instagram that were set up by two unrelated operations originating in Russia. One of these operated 364 pages and accounts was active in the Baltics, Central
  • In January 2019, Facebook announced it would extend some of the rules and transparency tools it developed for political advertising for upcoming spring elections in Nigeria, Ukraine, India, and the EU. In Nigeria, the site will bar electoral ads from advertisers outside the country where the
  • A vulnerability in Amadeus, the customer reservation system used by 144 of the world's airlines, was only superficially patched after a team reported the vulnerability in 2018. As a result, an attacker could alter online strangers' Passenger Name Records, which contain all the details of the
  • Despite Facebook's October 2018 rules intended to provide greater transparency about political ads, the sources of funding for UK political ads remained obscure in early 2019. when a network of hard-Brexit and people's vote campaigning groups spent more than £1 million on Facebook ads in the lead-up
  • The miniature security camera maker Ring, which was acquired by Amazon in 2017 for a reported $1 billion, has a history of inadequate oversight of the data collected by those cameras on behalf of its customers. In 2016, it reportedly granted virtually unlimited access to its Ukraine-based research
  • The US government created a database of more than 50 journalists and immigrant rights advocates, many of whom were American citizens, associated with the journey of migrants travelling from Central America to the Mexico-US border in late 2018. Officials from Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • On January 9, 2019 the UK Information Commissioner's Office fined SCL Elections, also known as Cambridge Analytica, £15,000 for failure to comply with an enforcement notice the ICO issued in May 2018 ordering the company to respond in full to a subject access request submitted by US-based academic
  • It was already known that law enforcement agencies can track phones to within 500 metres if they show service providers a warrant, but in January 2019, it became clear that the same real-time location data was being sold to a wide range of third parties, including car salesmen, property managers
  • In December 2018, the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) warned that data misuse and voter behavioural targeting and micro-targeting could prove factors in the 2019 Indonesian general elections. Researcher Wahyudi Djafar cited examples from Kenya, where Cambridge Analytica had sent
  • A November 2018 breach of a government-funded resettlement agency's database in South Korea allowed hackers, believed to be North Korean state security officials, to copy the personal information belonging to 997 North Koreans living in South Korea. Escaping to South Korea is considered an act of
  • In 2014, when the the far-right party of French politician Marine Le Pen needed cash, the loan of €9.4 million came from First Czech-Russian Bank, which was founded in the early 2000s as a joint venture between a Czech state bank and a Russian lender and went on to come under the personal ownership
  • In December 2018, the security researchers at 0DayAllDay discovered that the encryption keys hard-coded into the firmware inside the Guardzilla indoor wireless security system were protected by a ten-year-old, easily cracked algorithm. Because all the devices used the same keys, anyone could use the
  • A startling amount of the internet is fake in one way or another, studies found in 2018. Less than 60% of web traffic is human; a 2013 study found that at least half of YouTube traffic was bots masquerading as people; in November 2018 the US Justice Department revealed that eight people were accused
  • Shortly after the 2016 US presidential election, LinkedIn founder and billionaire Reid Hoffman made a series of multi-million-dollar donations to dozens of left-leaning groups. Among them was American Engagement Technologies, in which Hoffman invested $750,000. In 2018, Hoffman wound up apologising
  • In November 2018, the criminal hacker group 3ve found a new way of exploiting security weaknesses in the Border Gateway Protocol that allowed them to take control of IP addresses belonging to the US Air Force and other reputable organisations; the result was to net them $29 million in fraudulent
  • Millions of people own smart home devices like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot—equipped with the Alex cloud-based artificial intelligence service—which have concerning implications for privacy rights. While, Amazon’s own policies promise that only the user and Amazon will listen to what those devices
  • In 2015, officials within the US Treasury Department Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes unit used a network of private Gmail and Hotmail accounts set up by the Russians with the stated goal of jointly defeating ISIS. Soon, however, instead the Russian financial crimes agency was
  • A December 2018 report prepared by the Oxford Internet Institute's Computational propaganda Research Project and the network analysis firm Graphika for the US Senate Intelligence Committee found that the campaign conducted by Russia's Internet Research Agency during the 2016 US presidential election
  • A December 2018 analysis of the use of Facebook by Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio, Italy's two populist leaders, showed that the two exploited Facebook's streaming video and live broadcast services to bypass the mainstream media and foment discord during the March 2018 Italian general election
  • The New York City public benefits system has been criticized for its punitive design, how it too often disciplines, rather than helps, people who are legally entitled to benefits. According to Mariana Chilton, the public benefits system is designed to control, surveil, and penalize low-income people
  • In December 2018 Facebook revealed that over a 12-day period in September a software bug may have wrongly allowed about 1,500 third-party apps to access 6.8 million users' photos, including some that people began uploading to the social network but didn't go on to finish posting. EPIC executive
  • In December 2018 reports emerged that the Indian Electoral Commission would propose amendments to the Representation of the People Act 1951 that would require citizens to link their Electoral Photo ID Card to their Aadhaar number with the stated goal of improving the accuracy of the electoral rolls
  • A December 2018 analysis found that Facebook's measures for improving election security and discouraging anonymous political messages were poorly executed and inconsistently applied, and placed an unfair burden on charitable organisations and small businesses while simultaneously being easy for
  • On 14 May 2018, the husband of the victim, a pharmacist living in Linthorpe in Middlesbrough, subdued his wife with insulin injection before straggling her. He then ransacked the house to make it appear as a burglary. The data recorded by the health app on the murder’s phone, showed him racing
  • In Israel, the National Insurance Institute – in charge of granting benefits – eventually dropped a tender that had caused outrage in the country after being uncovered by Haaretz and Channel 13. The tender revealed the NII was trying to collect online data about benefits claimants – including from
  • During the campaign leading up to the 2018 US midterm elections, the email accounts of four senior aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee were surveilled for several months. The intrusion was detected in April 2018 by an NRCC vendor, who alerted the committee and its cybersecurity
  • Days after the 2018 shooting that killed 11 Jewish congregants in a Pittsburgh synagogue, The Intercept found that Facebook still allowed advertisers to choose "white genocide conspiracy theory" as a targeting criterion, capturing 168,000 members of the social network. The technique used was the
  • In December 2018, a hacker made more than 50,000 internet-connected printers worldwide print out flyers asking everyone to subscribe to the YouTube channel belonging to PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg. PewDiePie, who has had the most subscribers on YouTube since 2013, was in danger of
  • Following Ms. Vestager’s investigation into Amazon and its own sector enquiry into online price comparison services in October 2017, in June 2018 the German Federal Cartel Office (“Bundeskartellamt”) claimed that it “received a lot of complaints” and is said to be “looking at the role and market
  • In November 2018, Germany's Federal Cyberintelligence Agency (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik, or BSI) released a highly detailed analysis of the myriad ways that Windows 10 tracks users and showing that only enterprise versions of Windows have the ability to turn them off. BSI
  • In November 2018 the UK Information Commissioner's Office fined Uber's European operation £385,000 for inadequate security that permitted a November 2016 data breach affecting nearly 3 million British users and 82,000 drivers. In the 2016 breach, attackers obtained credentials that allowed them to
  • In November 2018, the Spanish senate approved 220-21 an online data protection law intended to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation with an added amendment that allowed political parties to use personal data obtained from web pages and other publicly accessible sources for
  • In the run-up to the May 2019 European Parliament elections, Google announced it would launch a new set of transparency tools to combat voter manipulation. Before being allowed to buy advertising on Google platforms, campaigns will be required to verify their identity, and approved ads will be
  • In November 2018 the campaign group Freedom from Facebook used the social network's own advertising tools to promote a "safe space" website where they can submit whistleblower tips anonymously. Facebook declined to comment but did not appear to be blocking the ads nor keeping a log of who viewed
  • A 2018 study found that Twitter bots played a disproportionate role in spreading the false claim, made by US President Donald Trump shortly after winning the election but losing the popular vote in November 2016, that 3 million illegal immigrants had voted for Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton
  • Police in the German state of Hesse are using a bespoke version of Palantir's Gotham software system, specially adapted for the police force. Palantir CEO Alex Karp sits on the board of the German mega publisher Axel Springer. Publication: WorldCrunch, Jannis Brühl Date: 20 November 2018
  • As part of the digital campaign to win re-election, in mid-2018 the BJP, which controls the Indian national government as well as that of the state of Chhattisbarh, handed out $71 million worth of free phones and subsidised data plans to 2.9 million of the state's voters and then used the phones to
  • 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
  • In November 2018, a report by the consultancy Privacy Company, on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Justice, found that Microsoft could be breaking European data collection rules because its Office software was collecting large amounts of personal data including email subject lines and snippets of
  • In November 2018, a security researcher found that the location-tracking children's watch MiSafe's Kid Watcher Plus, originally released in 2015, neither encrypted nor secured the children's accounts, allowing him to track their movements, secretly listen in to their activities, and spoof calls to
  • In November 2018 Bidooh announced it was developing an intelligent and automated digital billboard advertising platform that it said would leverage facial recognition and blockchain technology to track engagement. Billboard advertising is valued globally at almost $34.8 billion a year. Bidooh has
  • In yet another murder case, a New Hampshire judge ordered Amazon to turn over two days of Amazon Echo recordings in a double murder case in November 2018. Prosecutors believe that recordings from an Amazon Echo in the Farmington home where two women were murdered in January 2017 may yield further
  • Privacy International has filed complaints against seven data brokers (Acxiom, Oracle), ad-tech companies (Criteo, Quantcast, Tapad), and credit referencing agencies (Equifax, Experian) with data protection authorities in France, Ireland, and the UK. It’s been more than five months since the EU’s
  • In November 2018, HSBC announced a serious data breach in its US business between October 4 and 14, when fraudsters used credential stuffing to gain access to detailed account information relating to about 1% of its 1.4 million US customers. HSBC said that in response it had strengthened its login
  • Shortly before the November 2018 US midterm elections, the Center for Media and Democracy uncovered documents showing that the multi-billionaire Koch brothers have developed detailed personality profiles on 89 percent of the US population with the goal of using them to launch a private propaganda
  • 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
  • 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
  • The results of a year-long review issued by the UK Information Commissioner's Office in November 2018 uncovered a "disturbing disregard for voters' personal privacy" on the part of 30 organisations, including social media platforms, political parties, data brokers, and credit reference agencies
  • During the November 2018 US midterm elections, Moveon conducted an experiment to test whether it could cheaply and quickly maximise the effectiveness of digital persuasion. The project created a Facebook app called MO Research, and recruited people to answer survey questions about current issues via
  • In November 2018, the UK government announced that 11 local authorities across England would participate in Voter ID pilots in the interest of gaining "further insight into how best to ensure the security of the voting process and reduce the risk of voter fraud". Five local authorities participated
  • Facebook's latest tool for inspecting political ads showed that in the run-up to the US mid-term elections in November 2018, many of the same politicians who had been questioning Facebook about privacy and leaked user data were spending campaign funds on advertisements on the service. Between 2014
  • A November 2018 report from Data & Society discusses "data craft", the methods manipulators use to create disinformation with falsified metadata, specifically platform activity signals, which can be read by machine learning algorithms, platforms, and humans. Manipulators use platform features in
  • Days before the US November 2018 midterm elections, ProPublica discovered that an organisation called Energy4US spent $20,000 to run ads on Facebook pushing conservatives to support the Trump administration's reversal of fuel emission standards. On closer scrutiny, Energy4US appeared to be a front
  • In 2018, the EU announced iBorderCtrl, a six-month pilot led by the Hungarian National Police to install an automated lie detection test at four border crossing points in Hungary, Latvia, and Greece. The system uses an animated AI border agent that records travellers' faces while asking questions
  • 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
  • In 2017, Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs began a collaboration with Waterfront Toronto intended to turn a 12-acre lakeside area into a "smart city" equipped with sensors and responsive infrastructure. Frustration that Torontonians' data privacy concerns were not being addressed led Saadia Muzaffar, founder
  • In 2018, to enhance its AI capabilities Oracle acquired DataFox, which supplies business intelligence that can be used to help businesses plan a variety of customer relationship management services. The startup has a database covering 2.8 million public and private businesses and expecting to add 1
  • More than 450 Amazon employees delivered a letter to Jeff Bezos and other Amazon executives, demanding that the company immediately stop selling facial recognition software to law enforcement, sever connections to companies like Palantir that help immigration authorities track and deport immigrants
  • In October 2018, researcher Johannes Eichstaedt led a project to study how the words people use on social media reflect their underlying psychological state. Working with 1,200 patients at a Philadelphia emergency department, 114 of whom had a depression diagnosis, Eichstaedt's group studied their
  • In October 2018, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and questions over Facebook's influence on the UK's EU referendum, Facebook announced it would add Britain to the US and Brazil on the list of countries where the company will no longer allow political groups to publish "dark" ads on
  • In the run-up to the US 2018 mid-term elections, Facebook announced it would broaden the company's policies against voter suppression by banning misrepresentations about how to vote and whether a vote will be counted. The company also introduced a reporting option to allow users to report incorrect
  • In March 2018 the Palo Alto startup Mindstrong Health, founded by three doctors, began clinical tests of an app that uses patients' interactions with their smartphones to monitor their mental state. The app, which is being tested on people with serious illness, measures the way patients swipe, tap
  • 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
  • A few months before the US 2018 midterm elections, the Trump campaign team signed a contract with the newly-formed Virginia-based company Excelsior Strategies to exploit the first-party data the campaign had collected. The contract was set up by Trump's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who built the
  • In the months leading up to the US 2018 midterm elections, Republican officials in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina made moves they described as ensuring voting integrity but which critics saw as blocking voter access. In Georgia, where Secretary of State Brian Kemp is charged with enforcing
  • In October 2018, a transparency report from the smart home company Nest, which Google acquired for $3.2 billion in 2014, found that between 2015 and 2018 Nest had been told to hand over data on 300 separate occasions relating to up to 525 Nest account holders. Nest turned over data in fewer than 20%
  • In announcing a data breach in 2018, at first Facebook said 50 million people's data had been accessed, then 30 million - but the data accessed was more sensitive than they thought at first. After investigation, the company explained that it had identified four stages of attack with a different
  • In October 2018, the app that supports the burglar alarm functions of Yale's "smart" locks and burglar alarms was disabled for 24 hours after an "unforeseen issue while carrying out unplanned network maintenance". Customers complained that they were unable to open or lock doors or disarm alarms, and
  • 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)
  • From 2014 to early 2017, Amazon used an artificial intelligence (AI) hiring tool to review prospective employees’ resumes and select qualified candidates, based on Amazon’s previous hiring decisions from a ten-year period; however, the tool was much more effective at simply selecting male candidates
  • In October 2018 Amazon patented a new version of its Alexa virtual assistant that would analyse speech to identify signs of illness or emotion and offer to sell remedies. The patent also envisions using the technology to target ads. Although the company may never exploit the patent, the NHS had
  • Google announced on October 8 having discovered a vulnerability in the Google+ API which has been open since 2015. This vulnerability allowed third-party developers to access data for more than 500,000 users, including their usernames, email addresses, occupation, date of birth, profile photos, and
  • In 2018, the French company Criteo formed a partnership with AgilOne to identify and link customer behaviour across multiple online and offline channels. The service is intended to make the ads consumers see more relevant, but also stop showing them ads for products they've already bought in offline
  • In 2018, the French company Criteo announced it would link up with the ecommerce company Shopify to enable retailers and merchants of all sizes to use its technology to target users across channels and devices and scale up their businesses. Retailers will not need to expand their IT resources. https
  • The 90-year old suspect when to his stepdaughter's house at San Jose, California for a brief visit. Five days later, his stepdaugter's body, Karen was discovered by a co-worker in her house with fatal lacerations on her head and neck. The police used the data recorded by the victim's Fitbit fitness
  • A little over a month before the US 2018 midterm elections, Twitter updated its rules to reduce manipulation of its platform. Among the changes, the company outlined the factors it would use to determine whether an account is fake and should be removed, provided an update on its automated detection
  • In September 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security proposed to add credit scores and histories to the list of information immigrants are required to submit when applying for legal resident status. The stated purpose of the proposed rule is to bar those who might become a "public charge" from
  • In September 2017, the UN Capital Development Fund, the UN Development Programme, and the non-profit San Francisco-based startup Kiva, which has worked for 13 years as a crowd-funded microlending platform announced a joint initiative to open up financial services to the 20% of the Sierra Leone
  • A flaw in the official 2018 UK Conservative Party conference app granted both read and write access to the private data of senior party members, including cabinet ministers, to anyone who logged in by second-guessing the email address they used to sign into the app. Twitter users claimed that one
  • At the end of September 2018, the sales intelligence company and data aggregator Apollo notified its customers that over the summer Vinny Troia, the founder of Night Lion Security, had discovered that Apollo's database of 212 million contact listings and 9 billion data points relating to companies
  • 30 million users had their accounts breached, with a total of 90 million accounts reset after Facebook's "view as" feature leaked unique user account access tokens, allowing attackers to not only trivially impersonate any other user on the platform, but also to potentially automate the attack on a
  • The proposed extension to the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would connect Alberta and British Columbia in parallel to the existing pipeline and triple its capacity, was controversial for years before Canada approved the project in 2016. In 2014, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
  • Canada began experiments introducing automated decision-making algorithms into its immigration systems to support evaluation of some of the country's immigrant and visitor applications in 2014. In a 2018 study, Citizen Lab and NewsDeeply found that AI's use was expanding despite concerns about bias
  • In 2018, experiments showed that despite the company's denials, ads could be targeted at specific Facebook users via information that the users had never given Facebook, such as phone numbers. The reason: Facebook allows advertisers to upload their own lists of phone numbers of email addresses, and
  • 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
  • In September 2018, researchers discovered that websites accessed via mobile phones could access an array of device sensors, unlike apps, which request permissions for such access. The researchers found that 3,695 of the top 100,000 websites incorporate scripts that tap into one or more sensors
  • In 2018, WhatsApp founder Brian Acton responded to the Cambridge Analytica scandal by tweeting "It is time. #deletefacebook." He also left the company, walking away from $850 million in unvested stock rather than accede to Facebook's plans to add advertising and commercial messaging, a purpose at
  • In 2018, the Paris prosecutor's office opened a preliminary inquiry after the lawyer Pierre Farge accused a Bercy specialist intelligence branch of the tax authorities of hacking his firm's database to access information covered by professional confidentiality. The case serves to illustrate the
  • In September 2018 the UK's Information Commissioner found that it was likely that during 2017 a number of migrant rough sleepers were reported to the Home Office enforcement teams by the homelessness charity St. Mungo's. The finding followed a complaint from the Public Interest Law Unit. The charity
  • In 2018 a report from the Royal United Services Institute found that UK police were testing automated facial recognition, crime location prediction, and decision-making systems but offering little transparency in evaluating them. An automated facial recognition system trialled by the South Wales
  • Reports that Amazon is planning on launching a free ad-supported music service caused Spotify’s (the Swedish audio streaming platform) shares to fall 4% on Monday, April 15th. And, on April 18th, Amazon published a blog post where it announced that launch of Amazon’s free music-streaming service in
  • In 2017, the head of China’s security and intelligence systems, Meng Jianzhu, called on security forces to break down barriers to data sharing in order to use AI and cloud computing to find patterns that could predict and prevent terrorist attacks. Meng also called for increased integration of the
  • The internet provides employers with the opportunity to learn an unprecedented amount about prospective employees by searching social media feeds and other postings. By 2018, DeepSense was taking this a step further by analysing individual's Twitter feeds to predict their personality and employment
  • 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
  • In September 2018, the 156-year-old US life insurance company John Hancock announced it would stop underwriting traditional life insurance policies, instead selling only interactive policies that track health and fitness through the data collected by wearable devices and smartphones. Interactive
  • In September 2018, EU’s antitrust watchdog, the European Commission, launched a preliminary investigation into how the platform uses data about merchants. Margrethe Vestager, EU Competition Commissioner said that the informal probe concerns the e-commerce group’s dual role as a competitor while
  • In internet scans conducted between August 2016 and August 2018, Canada's Citizen Lab identified a total of 45 countries in which operators of Israel-based NSO Group's Pegasus spyware may be conducting surveillance operations. Pegasus is mobile phone spyware that targets are coerced into installing
  • In September 2017, soon after announcing the company had suffered a major data breach that exposed sensitive information pertaining to about 150 million people, Equifax set up a poorly secured website intended to help people determine whether they had been affected. The site was flagged by numerous
  • In 2018, at least five British local authorities began developing systems intended to use predictive analytics to identify families needing attention from child services on the basis that algorithmic profiling could help them target their scarce resources more efficiently. Data about at least 377
  • In 2014, Britain announced an infrastructure plan requiring all energy suppliers to offer smart meters to all homes and businesses by the end of 2020. With two years to go, at the end of 2018, the problems customers experienced after making the switch led to calls to halt the rollout, which had
  • 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
  • In September 2018, a number of people whose Google Pixel phones, Essential Phone, OnePlus 6, Nokia handsets, and other devices running Android 9 Pie discovered that the devices had, apparently autonomously, activated the software's Battery Saver feature. Google later explained that an internal
  • In September 2018, Google was discovered to be prototyping a search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, designed to comply with China's censorship regime. Among other features, Dragonfly would tie users' searches to their personal phone numbers, ensuring the government could track their queries. Among the
  • In September 2018, the attorney general of the US state of New Mexico filed suit against Lithuania-based Tiny Lab Productions claiming that the maker of the children's app Fun Kid Racing had violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (1998) by collecting location and other data about the
  • In September 2018, Acxiom introduced an open data framework intended to create an omnichannel view of the people in its database. The company claims this "unified data layer" will let customer companies connect their marketing technology and ad technology ecosystems and connect the online world to
  • Simultaneous complaints have been filed with European data protection authorities against Google and other ad tech firms. The complainants are being made by Dr Johnny Ryan of Brave, the private web browser, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group, and Michael Veale of University
  • In September 2018, a software patch was found by journalists to be widely available, that disabled or weakened the security features in the software used to enroll people on the Aadhaar databse, potentially from anywhere in the world. The patch was reportedly widely-available in WhatsApp groups
  • In September 2018, AI Now co-founder Meredith Whittaker sounded the alarm about the potential for abuse of the convergence of neuroscience, human enhancement, and AI in the form of brain-computer interfaces. Part of Whittaker's concern was that the only companies with the computational power
  • In September 2018, the GuardianApp group of security researchers discovered that dozens of popular news, weather, and fitness iPhone apps that require access to location data sell the data they collect to companies engaged in businesses such as ad targeting. The group found apps such as ASKfm, NOAA
  • Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the New York City Police Department installed thousands of CCTV cameras and by 2008 in partnership with Microsoft had built the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center to consolidate its video surveillance operations into a single command centre that also
  • After a series of scandals, in the year up to September 2018 54% of American Facebook users had changed their privacy settings and 42% had skipped visiting the platform for several weeks or more. About 26% said they had deleted the Facebook app from their smartphone. Some 74% of Facebook users had
  • In 2018, a group of researchers from the Campaign for Accountability posed as Russian trolls and were able to purchase divisive online ads and target them at Americans using Google's advertising platform. The researchers constructed fake profiles using the name and identifying details of the
  • For many Filipinos, Facebook is their only way online because subsidies have kept it free to use on mobile phones since its launch in the country in 2013, while the open web is expensive to access. The social media network is believed to have been an important engine behind the ascent to the
  • In September 2018, security researcher Patrick Wardle found that Adware Doctor, the top-selling paid utilities app in the US Mac App Store, was exfiltrating the browser history of anyone who downloaded it and sending it to a developer. Adware Doctor is intended to protect browsers against adware. A
  • In August 2018, two lawsuits, were filed against NSO Group, one brought in Israel by a Qatari citizen and the other in Cyprus by Mexican journalists and activists. All the plaintiffs had been targeted by the company's Pegasus spyware, which takes control of targets' phones when they click on links
  • The payday lender Wonga announced in April 2017 that a data breach at the company affected an estimated 270,000 customers, 245,000 of them in the UK and the rest in Poland. The company sent those it thought were affected messages warning that it believed there may have been illegal and unauthorised
  • By the time T-Mobile announced in August 2018 that a data breach had compromised customers' names, billing zip codes, email addresses, account numbers, account types, phone numbers, and some hashed passwords, the most crucial of these had become phone numbers. Never intended as identifiers, phone
  • Facebook-owned Onavo VPN (adertised as a way to block harmful websites, and keep a user's data safe) is pulled from the Apple App Store due to tracking, collecting, and analysing customers' usage data, including from other unrelated apps. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/facebook-violates
  • In 2018, changes to Apple's rules for data collection led Facebook to withdraw its Onavo Protect VPN app from the app store. The app's function was to warn users when they were visiting potentially harmful websites and protected their data when using public wifi. However, the app also collected data
  • In August 2018, domestic abuse victims, their lawyers, shelter workers, and emergency responders began finding that the Internet of Things was becoming an alarming new tool for harassment, monitoring, revenge, and control. Smartphone apps enable abusers to remotely control everyday objects inside
  • The 2017 hack of the shipping company A.P. Møller-Maersk, which manages 800 seafaring vessels and 76 ports that handle nearly a fifth of the world's shipping capacity, required an emergency shutdown of the company's entire IT system, including its phones. Maersk was a victim of NotPetya, the most
  • 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
  • In August 2018, Facebook announced it would remove more than 5,000 ad targeting options in order to prevent discrimination. Options specifying the exclusion of people interested in "Passover", "Native American culture", or "Islam" could be used as proxies to allow advertisers to exclude ethnic and
  • In August 2018 the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first over-the-counter digital contraceptive, an app called Natural Cycles. The app, which analyses basal body temperature readings and monthly menstruation data to determine whether unprotected sex is likely to lead to pregnancy
  • US Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) used social media monitoring to track groups and people in New York City associated with public events opposing the Trump administration’s policies, including ones related to immigration and gun control. The investigative branch of ICE created and
  • As the use of non-cash payment mechanisms continued to increase over the course of 2018, Europe's central banks began warning that phasing out cash poses a serious threat to the financial system, as too-heavy reliance on digital payments exposes countries to the potential for catastrophic failure
  • In August 2018, three months after the General Data Protection Regulation came into force in the EU, Quantcast reported that over 90% of visitors to websites using the company's Quantcast Choice consent management platform were giving consent to at least some use of cookies. About 81% were
  • In 2018, Wells Fargo disclosed that due to a computer bug that remained undiscovered for nearly five years 600 customers were granted more expensive mortgage loans than they could have qualified for. About 400 of them went on to lose their homes. The announcement reignited the public anger and
  • Semi-autonomous cars with built-in internet connections are increasingly being delivered with location tracking in place. Marketed as a convenience, the app FordPass links to Ford's Sync Infotainment system and can log frequent and recently visited locations. Similarly, GM Onstar's Family Link
  • In August 2018 Amazon rolled out a software update to Fire OS 5, the operating system used by older versions of its Fire TV and Fire TV Stick devices to counteract malware. At risk were versions of the devices before the company released Fire OS 6 whose owners had turned on Android Debug Bridge in
  • In August 2018, banks and merchants had begun tracking the physical movements users make with input devices - keyboard, mouse, finger swipes - to aid in blocking automated attacks and suspicious transactions. In some cases, however, sites are amassing tens of millions of identifying "behavioural
  • At the 2018 DefCon security conference, a researcher from the security firm Nuix presented the discovery that body cameras from five different manufacturers shoe cameras are in use by US law enforcement are vulnerable to remote digital attacks, some of which could manipulate footage so it could not
  • In what appears to be an extension of China's tracking of its Muslim citizens, 3,300 of the 11,500 Chinese pilgrims joining the 2018 hajj to Mecca were outfitted with GPS trackers. When photos were shown of the first group preparing to depart wearing trackers around their necks, the state-run
  • 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
  • AirAsia engaged Palantir as a data science partner focused on “guest experience, inflight sales, route revenue, finance, security, flight operations, network planning, cargo, supply chain management, commercial and people development.” Publication: AirAsia newsroom Date: 8 August 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
  • Cookies and other tracking mechanisms are enabling advertisers to manipulate consumers in new ways. For $29, The Spinner will provide a seemingly innocent link containing an embedded cookie that will allow the buyer to deliver targeted content to their chosen recipient. The service advertises
  • By August 2018, the UK government's "hostile environment" policy, as set out in the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts and other measures, was extending the national border into the heart of services such as banking, education, health, and housing where landlords and staff have been forced to implement
  • The common reporting standard brought in by the UK's HMRC in 2018 require tax authorities to automatically exchange information on millions of citizens living abroad. In response, an EU citizen domiciled in Italy who formerly lived in the UK and maintains a UK bank account, filed a complaint with
  • In 2018 genetic testing companies such as Ancestry and 23andMe agreed on guidelines for sharing users' DNA data and handling police requests. The guidelines, which include easy-to-read privacy policies, were inspired by two incidents: one in which local investigators used the GEDmatch DNA comparison
  • In 2018, documents filed in a court case showed that a few days before the 2017 inauguration of US president Donald Trump - timing that may have been a coincidence - two Romanian hackers took over 123 of the police department's 187 surveillance cameras in Washington, DC with the intention of using
  • The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) used Rekognition, Amazon’s facial recognition software, to compare images of US lawmakers to a publicly available database of 25,000 mugshot photos. The ACLU’s study validated research that has shown that facial recognition technology is more likely to
  • In 2018, the chair of the London Assembly's police and crime committee called on London's mayor to cut the budget of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, which provides oversight, in order to pay for AI systems. The intention was that the efficiencies of adopting AI would free up officers'
  • By July 2018, ten-year-old Twitter had become such a frequent data resource for social scientists that estimates were that anyone who tweeted publicly on the service was part of a dataset somewhere. The ease and low cost of using Twitter have enabled studies such as analysing bot behaviour during
  • In July 2018, a group of researchers at Northwestern University published the results of two years of studying the collaboration behaviour of tens of thousands of scientists. A controversy rapidly sprang up about the method they used: they had been given access to project folder-related data by the
  • In 2018, 17 US states and the District of Columbia filed suit to block the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Emails released as part of the lawsuit show that the administration began pushing to add the question as early as the beginning of 2017, claiming it was to improve
  • In this interview (podcast and transcript) Virginia Eubanks discuss three case studies from her book Automating Inequality to illustrate how technology and data collection negatively impact people in vulnerable situation. The (failed) attempt to automate and privatise the welfare system elligibility
  • Bluetooth utilizes a device pairing mechanism based on elliptic-curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) key exchange to allow encrypted communication between devices. The ECDH key pair consists of a private and a public key, and the public keys are exchanged to produce a shared pairing key. The devices must
  • "Buzzer teams" - teams employed to amplify messages and create a buzz on social media - were used by all candidates in the 2017 Indonesian general elections. Coordinated via WhatsApp groups, many of the teams opened fake accounts to spread both positive and negative messages, as well as hate speech
  • In July 2018, Facebook announced it was investigating whether the Boston-based company Crimson Hexagon had violated the company's policies on surveillance. Crimson Hexagon markets itself as offering "consumer insights". Its customers include a Russian non-profit with ties to the Kremlin, and
  • In July 2018, attackers broke into the SingHealth Singaporean government health database and stole names, addresses, and various other details of 1.5 million people who visited clinics between May 1, 2015 and July 4, 2018; however, the attackers did not gain access to most medical records with the
  • Britain's £11 billion plan to offer smart meters to all homes and businesses by the end of 2020 was based in part on claims that the meters would give consumers better information about the energy they were using and offer sophisticated variable rate charging as part of working to combat climate
  • In November 2018 New York City's housing committee ruled that Airbnb must turn over the addresses and host names that use its service to the city's Office of Special Enforcement as part of a crackdown on illegal operators. The hotel industry contended in a report earlier in the year that around two
  • In July 2018, Dutch researcher Foeke Postma discovered that Polar, the manufacturer of the world's first wireless heart rate monitor manufacturer, was exposing the heart rates, routes, dates, times, duration, and pace of exercises performed by individuals at military sites and at their homes via its
  • 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
  • In July 2018 the three-year-old payment system Revolut notified the UK's National Crime Agency and the Financial Conduct Authority that it had found evidence of money laundering on its system. From its beginnings as a prepaid credit card operator, Revolut had branched out into small business
  • In 2018, the Berlin-based researcher Hang Do Thi Duc concluded after analysing more than 200 million public transactions made in 2017 that anyone can track the purchase history of a user of the peer-to-peer payment app Venmo. By accessing the data via an open API, Do Thi Duc was able to view the
  • In July 2018, a hacker attack exposed the personal data of millions of Spanish subscribers Telefónica's Movistar service. The data included identity and payment information, phone and national ID numbers, banks, and calling data. The cause was a basic programming error known as an "enumeration bug"
  • 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
  • In July 2018, the leader of a private Facebook group for women with the BRCA gene, which is associated with high breast cancer risk, discovered that a Chrome plug-in was allowing marketers to harvest group members' names and other information. The group was concerned that exposure might lead to
  • In July 2018 Walmart filed a patent on a system of sensors that would gather conversations between cashiers and customers, the rattle of bags, and other audio data to monitor employee performance. Earlier in 2018, Amazon was awarded a patent on a wristaband that would monitor and guide workers in
  • While not currently mandatory to access healthcare services, Aadhaar is however increasingly used in the health sector as well. In 2018, the health ministry had to issue a statement to clarify that Aadhaar was “desirable” but not a must to access a 5 rupee insurance cover for hospitalisation under
  • In 2018, British immigration officers demanded that the mothers of two children provide DNA samples in order to provide proof of paternity. The children both had British fathers and had previously been issued British passports, but their mothers were not UK citizens. In one case, the father had
  • In 2018, economists Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business showed that national divisions are so entrenched that details of what Americans buy, do, and watch can be used to predict, sometimes with more than 90% accuracy, their politics, race, income