Quick Hits: Groupon Explains “Always On” Location Tracking

In today’s Quick Hits, we talk about Groupon’s privacy policies, why one German official has a problem with Facebook, and a political candidate’s Facebook faux-pas.

Groupon Explains Location Privacy Policies

In response to Congressional inquiries about the company’s recently privacy policy changes, Groupon has issued a statement clarifying its stance on location tracking. Kashmir Hill at Forbes writes that Groupon “wants to start collecting location information from phones — even when the Groupon app is not on — in order to tell people about deals in their vicinity.” According to Groupon, this can only happen with a customer’s consent, but Congressmen Ed Markey and Joe Barton still warned the company not to violate user privacy.

German Privacy Watchdog Orders State Institutions to Shut Down Facebook Pages and “Like” Buttons

Claiming a violation of German and European Union data privacy laws, Thilo Weichert, Data Protection Commissioner for Schleswig-Holstein, “ordered state institutions to shut down [Facebook] fan pages…and remove the [Facebook] ‘Like’ button from their websites.” Facebook disputes Weicher’s allegations that the company tracks and stores user data for two years, but did admit that it accesses technical information about the user, such as an IP address. Weichert’s order demonstrates how Germany and the United States treat the subject of privacy.

Facebook Records Which Profiles You Visit the Most

Facebook collects a wide range of data on its users, but one of the more interesting things Facebook records is which profiles you visit the most. Zack Whittaker at ZDNet explains how this works, writing “Facebook uses a server-side script, loaded when you use the site, called first_degree.php. This acts as a ranking algorithm, likely to be based on those who you interact with, the profiles you visit, who you chat and communicate with and those who you have recently become acquainted with.  The higher the negative number, the more likely the person attached to it will display in Facebook’s autocomplete search — at the top of the window.”

Canadian Politician Apologizes for Facebook Jokes

A Canadian politician recently apologized for several off-color jokes on his Facebook profile, saying “If I could do it again, I probably wouldn’t have posted it.” The jokes, which were made prior to his decision to run for office, tried to shrug off the Facebook posts saying they represented his “taste in humor,” but acknowledged that they may have offended some. The candidate’s efforts to distance himself from his Facebook profile represent a new reality for politicians seeking election in the digital age.

Facebook Issues Security Guide for Teachers, Students, and Parents

In an effort to address concerns over security, privacy, and bullying, Facebook has published a free, 20-page guide titled “A Guide to Facebook Security.” PCWorld writes that “the pamphlet is available on the site and was co-written by security experts Linda McCarthy and Keith Watson, and editor and teacher Denise Weldon-Siviy.”

Quick Hits: Advertisers Turn to “Supercookies” for Online Tracking

In today’s Quick Hits, we talk about new online tracking technology that is nearly impossible to disable, why one mom thinks friending one’s children online is a bad idea, and how more and more people are using privacy controls on social networking websites.

Web Trackers Turn to Stealthy “Supercookies”

The Wall Street Journal reports that several major websites “have been tracking people’s online activities using powerful new methods that are almost impossible for computer users to detect.” These so-called “supercookies” are “capable of re-creating users’ profiles after people deleted regular cookies, according to researchers at Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley.” As more people become aware of the privacy ramifications of online tracking, the advertising industry is looking for ways to continue accessing valuable consumer information online. Currently, “supercookies” are legal, but that might change depending on whether Congress takes up anti-tracking legislation.

Florida Teacher Suspended for Anti-Gay Marriage Facebook Remarks

A Florida teacher, who was once named Teacher of the Year, has been suspended from the classroom after he compared gay marriage to a “cesspool” in a post on his Facebook page. The veteran educator is arguing that his suspension is unmerited because he made the comments on his personal page during his personal time. A school district investigation will determine whether to take additional action against the teacher.

Why You Shouldn’t Friend Your Teens Online

In an interesting article for The Daily Mail, Rachel Halliwell argues that parents shouldn’t friend their children on websites like Facebook, because, in her experience, it’s better to not know all of the things teens talk about online. Halliwell, who says she checked up on her daughter obsessively for a time, writes that “In the end I got so sick of worrying myself stupid about what they were up to that I deleted them all from my Facebook account — my own daughter included.”

Despite her decision to disconnect from her daughter online, Halliwell does acknowledge that social media has made adolescence much different. Quoting the article, “Our kids are the first generation of teens to have grown up with instant communication. They have no recollection of life before it. And however uncomfortable we adults feel with this set-up, there is no way to turn back the clock.”

Anonymous Facebook Attack Not Happening

Earlier in the month, a small faction of the hacker group Anonymous made headlines by declaring plans to take down Facebook on November 5th. Immediately, several representatives from Anonymous distanced the group from the operation, as tech writers questioned how a small group of hackers could take down Facebook in the first place. On Monday, someone managing the @Op_Facebook account tied to the operation posted a message saying “We Can’t Take Facebook Down…Yet” and calling the operation an awareness campaign. In other words, the operation is currently dead, but may return in the future.

More People Using Privacy Settings on Social Networks

According to a survey from Webroot security, people are becoming much more privacy-aware. Quoting TechCrunch, “between 2009 and 2011, Webroot says, the number of US social network users who have never viewed or changed their privacy settings plummeted from 37 percent in 2009 to 8 percent in 2011.” TechCrunch attributes the increase in privacy awareness to widespread publicity around privacy issues.

Quick Hits: Google+ is an “Identity Service”

In today’s Quick Hits, Eric Schmidt uses interesting language to describe Google+, Dan Tynan criticizes Facebook’s new privacy settings, and ZDNet tests your ability to weed out phishing scams.

Eric Schmidt Calls Google+ an “Identity System”

You might think of Google+ as a social networking site, but according to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, it’s an “identity system.” Schmidt made the statement while defending Google’s policy of requiring real names, which many have criticized for being overly aggressive. As BusinessInsider explains, this approach is useful for Google because having a single trusted identity “could ease their interactions offline and online,” making Internet advertising, the core of Google’s business model, more effective.

Juror Sentenced to Community Service for “Friending” Defendant

A Texas juror was sentenced to two days of community service after he pleaded guilty to contempt of court following his attempts to “friend” the defendant in the case on Facebook. The juror also attempted to talk about the case with the defendant, in clear violation of the court’s orders to not discuss the case online. This isn’t the first time that a juror has gotten in trouble for social networking, not will it be the last, as social media has become a staple of everyday life.

Legitimate Facebook E-mails vs. Phishing E-mails

Could you tell the difference between a legitimate Facebook e-mail and a phishing scam? It’s not as easy as it seems. This article from ZDNet gives three examples and asks the reader to pick whether the e-mail is legit or a scam. The level of sophistication around online scams may surprise you.

Dan Tynan: Facebook Privacy Controls Stil Broken

Despite Facebook’s recent efforts to make privacy controls more accessible, the company is still missing the point when it comes to user privacy, according to tech journalist Dan Tynan. In his ITWorld column, Tynan singles out Facebook’s new tagging controls, which he says allow users to post negative information about a Facebook user without them knowing.

Quoting Tynan, “Using Facebook’s new “improved” privacy controls, you can tag someone else in photo and then keep them from seeing it. It’s pretty simple; just change the sharing option so they don’t see what you posted. So if you want to tag a picture of a jackass with your friend’s name on it and make it Public, everyone on Facebook will be able to see it except one – the person whose name is on it.”

Christopher Wolf of Future of Privacy Forum Questions Law Focused on Erasing Privacy Data

Attorney Christopher Wolf, who is co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, recently appeared on Bloomberg Law where he questioned the efficacy of new privacy laws that promise to give consumers the power to erase their private data on demand. Wolf specifically discussed the “Do-Not-Track Kids Act of 2011,” which he said could be unwieldy and difficult for companies to enforce.

Quick Hits: Facebook Crime on the Rise

In today’s Quick Hits, we talk about Facebook crime, two new studies on social media, and the continuing fallout from the Tyler Clementi case.

Facebook Crime on the Rise

Phishing scams, online bullying, and other forms of cybercrime are flourishing on Facebook according to numerous experts. This article from CNET discusses why Facebook crime is on the rise, and what Facebook users can do to prevent themselves from becoming victims of Facebook crime.

New York Times: The Facebook Scare That Wasn’t

The New York Times has a good write-up on the recent faux-privacy scandal involving Facebook. Last week, a message circulated among Facebook users claiming that the company had published all of the phone numbers in a user’s phone publicly. In reality, the phone numbers weren’t published publicly and is only visible to the individual user. The phone numbers appear on Facebook as a result of users installing Facebook’s mobile app.

UK Survey Shows One-Third of Teachers Bullied Online

The BBC reports that “more than a third of teachers have been subject to online abuse, according to a survey conducted by Plymouth University.” The harassment comes mainly from students, but a high percentage (26%) also came from parents of students, demonstrating the myriad ways in which teachers face online abuse.

One in Four Young People “Bored” by Social Media

According to new Gartner survey, one in four 18-29 year-olds claim that they are using social media less than when they signed up, calling the technology “boring.” According to the Telegraph newspaper, “of those using the sites less, common reasons also included the ‘superficiality’ of friendships online, as well as concerns about digital privacy.”

Investigation into Tyler Clementi Suicide is Another Kind of Privacy Invasion

Last year, Tyler Clementi’s suicide launched a huge dialogue on Internet privacy and online bullying. Clementi, who was gay, was secretly recorded by his roommate engaging in sexual activity. The resulting broadcast of the video is one of the things that allegedly drove Clementi to commit suicide. Now, however, as the investigation into Clementi’s suicide goes deeper, Forbes privacy blogger Kashmir Hill wonders if Clementi’s privacy isn’t being violated a second time.

Quoting Hill’s article, “digital trails that were meant to be kept private have been made public… Instead of his sexual encounter with a man being surreptitiously streamed by fellow students, private chats revealing his mother’s rejection of his sexuality and racist statements about his roommate are now being exposed.” Certainly, these revelations are necessary for Dharun Ravi’s defense team, but they highlight a new reality of criminal investigations. As Hill writes, we not live in a world “where everything we do and say and think is captured in a routine way by our daily communications, and archived.”

Quick Hits: Researchers Discover Super Tracking Cookie

In today’s Quick Hits, we talk about a newly discovered and unblockable tracking cookie. We also discuss how the combination of Facebook and facial recognition technology can unlock your social security number.

Researchers Expose New Type of Super Tracking Cookies

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, including Christopher Hoofnagle and Ashkan Soltani, recently uncovered a new tracking cookie that is effectively impossible for individuals to avoid. According to Wired, the service is called KISSmetrics, and it works even “when users block cookies, turn off storage in Flash, or use browsers’ ‘incognito’ functions.” In a comment, Hoofnagle explains why this form of tracking is disturbing, saying “Part of our point here concerns the arms race between trackers and consumers. Although the industry has stated in principle that individuals should be able to opt out, they have defined the opt out very narrowly.”

Missouri Bans Teachers from ‘Friending’ Students Online

A new law in Missouri prevents teachers from friending students on Facebook and other social networking websites. The law is generally focused on requiring schools to report suspected abuse within 24 hours, but tucked inside of the law is wording that says teachers aren’t allowed to have “nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student.” Some teachers have been critical of the law for what they believe is an overly broad ban.

Professor Predicts Partial Social Security Number Using Facial Recognition Technology

A professor at Carnegie Mellon University demonstrated how facial recognition technology, paired with publicly accessible Facebook data, can help uncover at least part of an individual’s social security number. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Prof. Alessandro Acquisti, the study’s author, also found that about 27% of the time, using data gleaned from Facebook profiles of the subjects he identified, he could correctly predict the first five digits of their Social Security numbers.” Acquisti believes this research shows that Facebook has become “a de facto identity-verification service.”

Using Google+ as a Job Networking Tool

This article from MSNBC talks about Google+ and how job seekers can use the new social networking service to help with professional networking. According to the article, Google+’s blend of Twitter and Facebook-like functionality makes it an ideal service for networking. A job seeker can interact with hiring managers and recruiters at a deeper level than Twitter and, thanks to Google+’s social circles feature, without revealing personal information that they might have on their Facebook profile.

Anti-Child Porn Legislation Could Kill Internet Privacy

A new piece of legislation with the admirable goal of ending child pornography could be a threat to personal privacy online, according to many privacy advocates. This article from Donor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic discusses the bill in detail, explaining that “under language approved 19 to 10 by a House committee, the firm that sells you Internet access would be required to track all of your Internet activity and save it for 18 months, along with your name, the address where you live, your bank account numbers, your credit card numbers, and IP addresses you’ve been assigned.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation, and numerous other groups, have come down against the bill, which still must pass a vote in the full House of Representatives before becoming law.

Quick Hits: Google Acquires Facial Recognition Technology

In today’s Quick Hits, we talk about Google’s most recent foray into facial recognition technology, as well as insight from privacy experts on why facial recognition can be invasive.

Google Debates Anonymity Issue

Anonymity online can be a sensitive issue. Many believe using pseudonyms is necessary to preserve an open dialogue online, while others believe that anonymity breeds irresponsibility and contributes to cyberbullying and defamation. With it’s new social network, Google+, Google has forced users to use their real names on the service. This article by ComputerWorld’s Barbara Krasnoff discusses Google’s decision and why the company has garnered support for its policy and why it has also faced criticism.

Google Acquires Facial Recognition Company

Despite previous claims to the contrary, Google is pursuing an interest in facial recognition technology. According to the Washington Post, Google just acquired PittPatt, a facial recognition technology company that originally began as a research project at Carnegie-Mellon University. Quoting the Post, “the company’s software identifies facial structures in photos and tracks them in video.” In a statement, a Google spokesperson said “we won’t add face recognition to our apps or product features unless we have strong privacy protections in place, and that’s still the case.” That “strong privacy protections” caveat is important, because Google’s perception of privacy may be far different than the average consumer.

Google Street View Cars Grab and Share Location Info on Millions of Phones and Computers

In yet another privacy slip-up tied to the company’s Street View service, Google reportedly collected millions of hardware IDs, known as MAC addresses, tied to personal computers and mobile phones. CNET’s Declan McCullagh writes on the privacy significance of this revelation: “Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including PCs, iPhones, iPads, and Android phones, transmit a unique hardware identifier to anyone within a radius of approximately 100 to 200 feet. If someone captured or already knew that unique address because they had access to the device, Google’s application programming interface, or API, revealed where that device was located, a practice that can reveal personal information including home or work addresses or even the addresses of restaurants frequented.” While accessing a MAC address is somewhat difficult, it’s not impossible and a determined cyberstalker could potentially learn a lot about an individual by tracking his or her location data.

Bloomberg View on Social Intelligence and Online Background Checks

William D. Cohan has an interesting column on the new social media background check company, Social Intelligence. In it, Cohan talks about a recent New York Times article on Social Intelligence and pulls out some of the best reader’s comments – both for and against the monitoring service. After sharing thoughts on both sides of the issue, Cohan smartly closes with this advice: “Given the existence of companies like Social Intelligence, it just makes common sense not to put anything in an e-mail or social networking post that you wouldn’t be proud to see on the front page of the New York Times.”

Facebook Glitch Exposes Private Videos

A glitch in Facebook exposed thumbnail images and text descriptions of users’ private videos. According to TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid, “Clicking on the thumbnail to a video that was supposed to be private would yield a ‘This video either has been removed from Facebook or is not visible due to privacy settings’ message, so you couldn’t watch it. But in some cases an incriminating thumbnail or lewd title could be enough to get someone into a trouble. And even if a video description didn’t show anything incriminating, it could lead to some awkward questions: ‘So, why can’t I see your Holiday Bash 2010 video…?’” While this issue may seem relatively innocuous, it demonstrates the reality that Facebook can’t catch all glitches, and that your Facebook data is never truly secure without additional protections.

Privacy Advocates Warn Against Facial Recognition Technology

As facial recognition technology moves from the realm of science-fiction to reality, privacy advocates are petitioning for close regulation of the facial recognition tools. This article from The Globe and Mail discusses how quickly facial recognition technology has evolved and why it may be a threat to individual privacy. It also features an excellent quote from Ann Cavoukian, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, who says of Facebook, “I think it’s appalling. It is very sensitive information, and to rely on ‘Trust us, we’re Facebook’ – they’re asking too much.”

Quick Hits: Boastful Criminals Caught on Facebook

In today’s Quick Hits, we talk about overconfident criminals getting caught after boasting about their crimes online, as well as the feasibility of teaching mandatory social media safety classes in elementary schools.

Overconfident Criminals Caught on Facebook

They say there’s no such thing as the perfect crime, but it’s especially true when the criminals blab about it on Facebook. This article from CBS News discusses how some criminals were caught after boasting about their crimes on Facebook. Quoting the article, “In Kentucky, one man had his probation revoked for breaking rules that required him to stay alcohol free. A prosecutor tells the Courier-Journal newspaper the man posted pictures of himself drinking – and this, after inviting his probation officer to be his friend on Facebook.”

Online Reputation Management and Reputation Scoring

This article in the Austin-American Statesman discusses the social scoring service Klout and how one’s online reputation, equated here with one’s social networking popularity, can help one gain access to certain special events or products. While the article’s main focus is on social scoring rewards, it also discusses how online reputation can negatively impact an individual’s life, such as during a hiring decision.

Old Dominion Professor Trying to Save Internet History

This article from the Washington Post talks about Old Dominion University Computer Science Professor Michael Nelson’s research into Internet history and his studies into how information is saved and permanently archived online. Quoting the article, “Nelson and some colleagues at Old Dominion and the Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a sort of Internet time machine called Memento . When attached to a browser, it enables the user to search for a Web site as it appeared on some past date, if an archived page exists.”

Australian Schools Experiment with Social Media Classes

Some schools in Australia are considering adding social media safety classes to their curriculum to help fight the growing problem of cyberbullying and also to help students better understand the importance of a good online reputation. According to the Telegraph, Australian parents also back this effort: “The country’s main parents association has backed calls for schools to teach students about online etiquette, privacy protection and the long-term consequences of posting embarrassing or offensive content.” The adoption of mandatory social media safety classes has been discussed throughout the world, but it has yet to catch on in a big way. Perhaps Australia will lead the way and show off a model that works.

Hacker Group Anonymous Banned from Google+; Vows to Create New Social Network

The hacker group Anonymous, which has been linked to a number of high profile cyber attacks in recent months, was booted from the new Google social network Google+ for violating the company’s terms of service. In response, Anonymous has vowed to build its own social network called AnonPlus, which will offer “a social network where there is no fear of censorship, of blackout, nor of holding back” according to a statement from the group.

Quick Hits: Facebook Safety Tips for Parents

In today’s Quick Hits, we offer some Facebook advice for parents, ponder the power of Web vigilantes, dig into a new study on Facebook privacy, and share Twitter security tips.

What Your Kids Need to Know Before Joining Facebook

As soon as kids are legally allowed, and often before, they are joining Facebook. As a parent, what steps can you take to ensure your child is safe online? In this article for the Calgary Herald, mom and social networking pro Hessie Jones offers seven guidelines for parents. Jones’ article includes such sound tips as “friend only people you know” and other common sense, but often neglected, pieces of advice.

Has Web Vigilantism Gone Too Far?

In a world where uncovering someone’s identity is as easy as a quick Google search, has Web vigilantism gone too far? In the Washington Post, Melissa Bell argues that the kind of mob mentality that led to the recent Vancouver riots may have also manifested itself online in efforts to catch the rioters — and it’s only going to get easier. Quoting the article, “Tracking down identities — either to help or to punish someone — will get even more straightforward in the near future…Facebook already uses facial recognition to tag photographs. Identifying Vancouver rioters will be a lot easier when the technology does it all on its own. Whether that will strengthen or weaken the online community remains to be seen.”

Study Demonstrates Adults and Kids Equally Bad at Online Privacy

According to new research by the University of Guelph, older Facebook users are nearly as likely as their younger peers to disclose personal information online. Quoting a report on the study, “Thirty-five per cent of the young people and 29 per cent of the adults were at least somewhat likely to disclose personal information on Facebook.” Interestingly, the report also revealed that while they share slightly more personal information, young people are also more aware of the way that the information can be potentially harmful to their privacy and reputation.

Protecting Your Twitter Account with HTTPS

Following several high-profile Twitter hijackings, including one in which a Fox News account was hacked and used to tweet bogus news for several hours, TIME’s Techland blog offers this article on how to enable HTTPS during Twitter log-ins. While not a guarantee against intrusion, using an HTTPS secure log-in will give users an additional layer of security.

Quick Hits: Intel ‘Museum of Me’ Turns Facebook Data Into Personal Museums

In today’s Quick Hits, we talk about Intel’s interesting new ‘Museum of Me’ website, new problems for Sony, the White House’s plans on privacy, and a new study revealing the core safety issues of data collection.

Intel Develops ‘Museum of Me’ Facebook Application

Whether we realize it or not, all of the pictures, notes, videos, and other content we share on Facebook is basically a shrine to our lives. If you laid out someone’s Facebook history in the right order, you could more or less see their life unfold before your eyes. In an interesting application of this premise, Intel developed a website called “Museum of Me.” The website, which is accessed via Facebook, takes the user through a ”visual archive of [his or her] social life.”

According to CNET, “As the tour commences, users will ‘walk’ through rooms, showing the profile pictures of friends, personal photos, videos from their profiles, and much more. The ‘museum’ also includes a collection of status updates and other content posted to their wall. Another room shows the user’s location information on a map.” Whether you’re concerned about privacy or not, ‘Museum of Me’ is worth checking out just to see how much time and energy you’ve invested into Facebook.

Study Claims Three Quarters of Websites Leak Private Information to Third-Party Tracking Sites

According to a new study, “three quarters of popular websites are leaking private information or users’ unique identifiers to third-party tracking sites.” As Reputation.com has said before, however, the real issue isn’t the tracking itself, but rather how the data can be linked with other personal information to create a unique personality profile. Craig Wills, professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), fears the same thing, warning that “the tracking sites could then link many disparate pieces of information – the contents of searches on health and travel sites, say – to create detailed profiles of individuals.” Willis believes last year’s FTC recommendations regarding tracking would be ineffective in disrupting the real danger inherent to data collection.

Obama Administration to Use ‘Stick and Carrot’ Approach for Privacy

According to the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Weitzner, deputy chief technology officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, indicated that ”the Obama administration will pursue a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to enhanced privacy protection by pushing for a new law while encouraging industry to do a better job policing itself.” Thus far, self-regulation efforts have been met with stiff resistance and called ineffective by some politicians. Meanwhile, at least five privacy bills have been introduced in Congress so far this year. Weitzner said that the White House will release white paper with more detailed privacy policies later this year.

Sony Hacked Again, Group Claims to Have Compromised One Million Users

Sony, fresh off of one of the largest corporate data breaches in history, is in trouble with hackers again. According to PCMag.com, “A group that identifies itself as Lulzsec claims to have hacked into SonyPictures.com and compromised the personal information of more than 1 million users.” Sony only recently was able to restore its Playstation Network after a massive breach compromised the accounts of millions of Playstation users. The company is still investigating who coordinated the first attack, but this second breach is allegedly from a group calling itself Lulzsec.

Quick Hits: Canadian Privacy Commissioner Wants Power to Fine Companies for Breaches

In today’s Quick Hits, we talk about augmented reality smartphone apps, why Facebook can be risky for teachers, and Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart’s efforts to protect consumer privacy.

How Augmented Reality Apps Work

This article in the Wall Street Journal discusses the growing trend in “Augmented Reality” applications for smartphones. AR apps use sophisticated technology to add information to a live streaming image. For instance, you could point your smartphone camera at a business and see its online reviews, or you could point it at your friend and see a link to their Facebook profile. Facial recognition technology and AR apps are closely related, raising privacy concerns for individuals who don’t necessarily want to be recognized on the street. Advanced AR ads are also a privacy concern.

President of National Association of Head Teachers Calls Facebook a “Danger” to Teachers

Mike Welsh the outgoing president of the UK-based National Association of Head Teachers, calls Facebook a “danger” to teachers in this article for the BBC, offering “examples of social networking sites being used maliciously to abuse or denigrate teachers.” The article describes how students, and others, can use Facebook to abuse teachers by impersonation or bullying. According to the article, “the NAHT claims that one in five head teachers have suffered abuse on social networking sites such as Facebook.”

Why iPhone Location Privacy Matters

This article by Seb Janacek in Silicon.com’s Apple Talk column explains why concern over the storage of user location data via Apple devices matters, both from a consumer privacy perspective and from a corporate reputation perspective. Specifically, Janacek argues that Apple’s response to the location privacy concerns has been inconsistent with the company’s previous pro-privacy statements.

Canadian Privacy Commissioner Seeks Power to Fine Companies Over Breaches

Canadian privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, one of the world’s staunchest consumer privacy advocates, has spoken out about the massive Playstation Network hack, saying she was “very disappointed” that Sony didn’t notify her office of the breach. Stoddart also called on Canadian legislators to “empower the Office of Canada’s Privacy Commissioner to impose substantial fines against major corporations that fail to adequately protect Canadians’ personal information from preventable breaches,” according to the Vancouver Sun. One reason many experts believe companies don’t take adequate steps to protect consumers is because there are no consequences for their actions.