Examples of Abuse

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

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

 

A study describes the data transmitted to backend servers by the Google/Apple based contact tracing (GAEN) apps in use in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark and finds that the health authority client apps are generally well-behaved from a privacy point of view, although the Irish
The CEO of MoviePass, an app that charges users $10 a month in return for allowing them to watch a movie every day in any of the 90% of US theatres included in its programme, said in March 2018 that the company was exploring the idea of monetising the location data it collects. MoviePass was always
A report from the University of Washington studies parents' and children's interactions with general-purpose connected devices and connected toys. There are numerous privacy issues: toy companies may collect masses of children's intimate data; the toys may enable parents to spy on their children
After the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, the Department of Homeland Security expanded its monitoring of online activity and set up a new intelligence branch to counter domestic terrorism, including tracking platforms that have been linked to threats and “narratives known to provoke
The story began with the free Bylock messaging app, which was used between 2014 and 2016 and which the Turkish government associated with treason and followers of Fethullah Gülen, the group they believe was behind the attempted 2016 coup. The app was downloaded roughly half a million times and had
In a draft January 2018 report obtained by Foreign Policy and produced at the request of US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, the Department of Homeland Security called for continuous vetting of Sunni Muslim immigrants deemed to have "at-risk" profiles. Based on studying 25
A 2017 research report found that the most vulnerable smartphone users are the ones whose devices are most open to fraud and harassment. Cheaper, low-end devices are less secure to begin with, and they are also less often replaced than their more expensive counterparts made by. Apple and Google. At
In the remote western city Xinjiang, the Chinese government is using new technology and humans to monitor every aspect of citizens' lives. China, which has gradually increased restrictions in the region over the last ten years in response to unrest and violent attacks, blames the need for these
Reporter Kashmir Hill tested life in a smart home by adding numerous connected devices. The self-heating bed gave her daily reports on whether she'd reached her "sleep goal". She liked the convenience of the voice-activated lights, coffee maker, and music, the ability to convey a message to a
In January 2019, it was discovered that the HIV-positive status of 14,200 people in Singapore, as well as their identification numbers and contact details, had been leaked online. According to a statement of the Ministry of Health, records leaked include 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed as HIV-positive
The first signs of the combination of AI and surveillance are beginning to emerge. In December 2017, the digital surveillance manufacturer IC Realtime, launched a web and app platform named Ella that uses AI to analyse video feeds and make them instantly searchable - like a Google for CCTV. Company
The Danish company Blip Systems deploys sensors in cities, airports, and railway stations to help understand and analyse traffic flows and improve planning. In the UK's city of Portsmouth, a network of BlipTrack sensors was installed in 2013 by VAR Smart CCTV, and the data it has collected is used
Canadian federal, provincial, and territorial governments across have put in place numerous emergency measures to curtail behaviour in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. The orders include placing people under quarantine, limiting gatherings, closing schools and businesses, barring most visits to
In 2013, in collaboration with the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Chicago Police Department set up the Strategic Subjects List, an effort to identify the most likely victims and perpetrators of gun violence. In 2016, a report published by the RAND Corporation found that the project, which had
Internal documents show that local police coordinated with Enbridge, the oil company building the Line 3 pipeline through northern Minnesota, to track and crack down on indigenous opposition to the development in an initiative known as Opposition Driven Operational Threats (ODOT). Enbridge designed
Security researcher Scott Helme found more than 4,000 websites, including many belonging to the UK government, were infected with Coinhive, code that mines the cryptocurrency Monero. Among the sites affected were those belonging to the Information Commissioner's Office, the Student Loans Company
Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet (Google's owner), has signed a deal with the Canadian city of Toronto to redevelop the brownfield Quayside waterfront district and turn it into a technology hub. The deal raises three sets of issues. First (The Guardian) is the essential privatisation of
In a report on mobile security updates, the US Federal Trade Commission finds that because of the complexity of the mobile ecosystem applying security updates to operating system software on some mobile devices is time-consuming and complicated. Based on information gathered from eight device
News & Analysis
Image: Anatomy of an AI system: a map of the many processes — extracting material resources, data, and human labor — that make an Amazon Echo work. Credit: Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler With over 6.3 million Amazon Echo devices worldwide, there is a good chance these constantly active devices will
In 2017, a website run by the Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security leaked the personal details of over.1 million Aadhaar subscribers, most of them old age pensioners who had enabled automatic benefits payment into their bank accounts. Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued to