Week 11 News Digest

Police in RVA scanning license plates; some raising privacy concerns




This article is in response to the increased use of License Plate Readers, or LPRs, by police all over the country. They are mounted on to most police cruisers and are used to help solve crimes. Although, many people would argue that these are an invasion of privacy. Chesterfield police state that none of the information collected by the LPRs is uploaded anywhere and that it is deleted after 30 days. According to state law in Virginia, the information collected by this technology is not allowed to be stored over the long term for any purpose. After this ruling state police purged its database of millions of license plate records. There are several police agencies I Northern Virginia that feel like they do not have to abide by this ruling. The article discusses how there should be a common set of rules about the storage of this data for all police agencies using the LPR technology.



Harvard secretly photographed students to study attendance




Harvard University recently revealed that they completed a study in which they photographed over 2,000 students on their way to several lecture halls in order to study attendance. Many students and faculty are upset about the study because they believe it was an invasion of privacy. The students and faculty were neither informed before the study nor during the study. It is discussed that the use of cameras around the university are accepted when the reason for them is safety. However, being monitored by a camera that takes an image every minute without consent is an invasion of privacy in the eyes of most students at Harvard.


Tricked by Verizon into giving up cellphone privacy




This article discusses how company, Verizon Wireless, tricks their customers into a program called Verizon Selects that is used for marketing. Verizon Selects collects information on online browsing, physical location and apps. Their rewards program called Verizon Smart Rewards is how they lure you into applying for Verizon selects. By signing up for the rewards program you also have to sign up for Verizon Select. Many consumers are unaware what they are signing up for and don’t realize what kinds of information they are giving up by not fully understanding the fine print. The article brings the idea to attention that companies should be more straightforward about the information they are collecting about you and what it is used for.



Home Depot hackers used vendor log-on to steal data, e-mails




Home Depot announced in September that a breach to their system had compromised over 56 million customer’s credit and debit card information. After further investigation of the attack it was revealed that over 53 million emails were also compromised. The company is notifying affected customers and offering credit monitoring. The hackers used a vendor’s log in credentials to access the information. Today’s security systems in place to prevent attacks like this have been very ineffective. Cyber criminals are advancing much faster than the security technology is which poses a threat to all of our personal information that we trust companies, like Home Depot, to keep safe.



Companies Are Spending More on Customer Privacy but It’s Uneven: Survey




This article questions the fact that many companies state that they are doing everything possible to protect customer information. A study of Fortune 1000 companies showed that there is a rise in how much companies are spending on consumer privacy but it is very uneven among the companies. The idea of investing money in privacy is fairly new to companies but it has become very important because of the recent hacks on large companies such as Target and Home Depot. Forty percent of the companies surveyed stated that they plan to increase their spending on privacy protection significantly in the next year.

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