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.

 

30 Aug 2020
Human rights experts have accused the home secretary, Priti Patel, of ignoring legal guidance in an attempt to target child asylum seekers who cannot prove they are under 18. A letter from the Home Office, seen by the Observer, reveals that the government is putting pressure on social workers to
06 May 2020
The Australian government reported soon after releasing its CovidSafe contact tracing app that the app doesn’t work properly on iPhones because it doesn’t use Apple’s Exposure Notification framework and the Bluetooth functions deteriorate if the app isn’t kept running in the foreground. The
07 May 2020
Colombia will adopt the Apple-Google contact tracing platform after finding it necessary to remove the contact tracing functions from CoronApp, the official Colombian coronavirus information app because they didn’t work. CoronApp was downloaded by 4.3 million people, and includes features to report
15 May 2020
Many of India’s informal workforce of 450 million people - 90% of the total workforce - were abruptly closed out of their places of employment when prime minister Narendra Modi abruptly ordered a lockdown in April. Left without pay, unable to stay in their living conditions, and with only limited
19 May 2020
After governments in many parts of the world began mandating wearing masks when out in public, researchers in China and the US published datasets of images of masked faces scraped from social media sites to use as training data for AI facial recognition models. Researchers from the startup
19 May 2020
As part of its pandemic-related emergency measures, in April the Scottish government extended the deadline for public bodies to respond to freedom of information requests to 40 days. A month later, it was forced to withdraw the changes after opposition parties on the Scottish parliament's COVID-19
20 May 2020
The outsourcing company Serco, which the UK government has contracted to perform contact tracing, accidentally shared the email addresses of almost 300 of the contact tracers it hired when a staff member sent an introductory email and used CC rather than blind CC. Serco does not intend to refer
16 Aug 2020
All migrants arriving in the UK since June have been ordered to quarantine, but a Border Force source said that little is being done to ensure the rules are followed and some in emergency accommodation are being given vouchers to go to the shops. Thousands of British tourists returning from France
15 Jul 2020
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
07 Jul 2020
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
05 Jul 2020
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
30 Jun 2020
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
20 Jul 2020
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
24 Jun 2020
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
08 Jul 2020
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
10 Jul 2020
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
16 Jun 2020
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
10 Jul 2020
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
09 Jun 2020
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
18 May 2020
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