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.

 

22 May 2015
In 2015, the Carrefour supermarket in Lille installed a system of LED lights designed by Philips that send special offers and location data to customers' smartphones. Using the system, customers who install an app can use their smartphone camera to detect all the promotions around them or search for
29 May 2015
By 2015, the cost, invasiveness, and effort involved in conducting medical tests led to proposals for lightweight wearable sensors that could perform the same job. Several such efforts focus on making these sensors fashionably acceptable by making them out of skinlike substances with electronics
02 Jun 2015
In 2014, Oracle beat out Facebook, Adobe Systems, and TV ratings agency AC Nielsen to acquire Datalogix for an estimated $1.2 billion. At the time, DataLogix, which provides data on offline consumer spending to digital marketers to enable them to track the effectiveness of their ads, had estimated
18 Jun 2015
In 2013, the New York-based startup Tapad was growing fast based on its claim to be able to track and target individual consumers across many devices - desktop and laptop computers, TVs, smartphones, and tablets. The technique goes well beyond cookies, which enable sites to track individuals across
18 Jun 2015
In 2015, the advertising startup Tapad launched TV Pulse, a measurement platform that added linear TV data to its existing cross-device platform. The company claimed that its technology could detect devices such as smartphones being used by the same consumer who had viewed the company's TV ads, to
19 Jun 2015
In 2015, a series of interviews with Moshe Greenshpan, the founder and CEO of the Israeli company Skakash, revealed the existence of the company's facial recognition software Churchix. The software is intended to help churches keep track of who attends services and other events by matching reference
22 Jun 2015
In 2015, Facebook's AI lab announced that its researchers had devised an experimental algorithm that could recognise people in photographs even when their faces are hidden or turned away. The researchers trained a sophisticated neural network on a dataset of 40,000 photographs taken from Flickr
27 Jun 2015
A 2015 study by The Learning Curve found that although 71% of parents believe technology has improved their child's education, 79% were worried about the privacy and security of their child's data, and 75% were worried that advertisers had access to that data. At issue is the privacy and security
09 Jul 2015
In 2015, Chinese hackers stole sensitive information including social security numbers and residency, employment, educational, and medical histories concerning more than 21 million people from the US Office of Personnel Management. OPM houses this information about all federal employees along with
10 Jul 2015
In 2015, Quantcast launched Audience Grid, an "open data marketing platform" to combine the data it collects from websites with data on audience habits collected by partners such as Tivo Research and Oracle's Datalogix. The combination is intended to give online advertisers greater insight into
20 Jul 2015
On July 1, 2015 Kuwait's National Assembly passed a new counter-terrorism law that included the requirement that all 1.3 million Kuwaiti citizens and 2.9 million foreign residents provide DNA samples, which will be stored in a database maintained and operated by the Interior Ministry. The law, which
10 Aug 2015
In May 2015, the US Department of Justice and the FBI submitted a declaration to an Oregon federal judge stating that the US government's no-fly lists and broader watchlisting system relied on predictive judgements of individuals rather than records of actual offences. The documents were filed as
07 Sep 2015
In Mexico, people registered as beneficiaries of any programmes led by the Ministry of Social Development could obtain a TV set, as part of the transition from analogue to digital TV organised by the Ministry of Communications and Transportation. Yet, the Ministry of Communications and
10 Sep 2015
In 2015, US director of national intelligence James Clapper, backed by National Security Agency director Admiral Michael Rogers, warned Congress that the next phase of escalating online data theft is likely to involve manipulating digital information. Clapper and Rogers viewed this type of attack as
25 Sep 2015
In a 2015 study of 79 apps listed in NHS England's Health Apps Library, which tests programs to ensure they meet standards of clinical and data safety, researchers at Imperial College London discovered that 70 of them sent personal data to associated online services and 23 sent that data without
02 Oct 2015
In 2015, researchers at Harvard University found vulnerabilities in the anonymisation procedures used for health care data in South Korea that enabled them to de-anonymise patients with a 100% success rate and to decrypt the Resident Registration Numbers included with prescription data relating to
06 Oct 2015
In 2015, the Canadian Department of National Defence issued a procurement request for a contractor who could find "vulnerabilities and security measures" in a 2015 pick-up truck whose model and make were not specified and "develop and demonstrate exploits" for the military. The contractor was to
07 Oct 2015
The news that connected TVs and set-top boxes were listening in on their owners' conversations led the state of California to pass legislation (AB1116) prohibiting companies from operating a voice recognition feature without prominently informing the user or installer during initial setup. In
09 Oct 2015
In 2015, Ant Financial, a Chinese company affiliated with Alibaba, began deploying "Sesame Credit scores". Ant, which also runs the popular payment app Alipay, claims that it uses both online and offline purchasing and spending habits to calculate a credit worthiness score for each of its more than
10 Oct 2015
In 2019, a prominent page on the Facebook Business site cited the British Conservative Party as a "success story" at the 2015 general election, which put the party into power with a narrow majority. The site boasted that via Facebook the Conservatives had an 80.6% reach in key constituencies, 3.5