Privacy is Dead

Fed Plans New Law to Guard Internet Privacy for Children

Not sure if he's running towards or away from the food (Photo: bioethics.net)

The Federal Trade Commission is looking to change regulatory lawsthat that protect children’s privacy on the Internet. Although it’s legal right now, a slew of apps and popular websites collect data and pictures from young users. In the most cringe-worthy example, pictures of children that were uploaded to a “get in the picture with Ronald McDonald” game in were kept by McDonald’s in directories that were publicly available to anyone who wanted access to them. McDonald’s tells the Times that they’ve now “blocked public access to several directories on the site.”

The new laws say children’s websites would be required to obtain parents’ permission before tracking kids around the Web for advertising purposes.

But while government restrictions may help protect innocent children, it’s hard not to feel that the responsibility (and the biggest hope for keeping kids safe) lies with their parents. After all, children don’t only stick to apps directed to their demographic. Read More

Hide Yo' Profiles, Hide Yo' Kids

Seriously, What Is Even Going On: Last.fm Hacked Too

Last.fm staffers on a happier day. (flickr.com/lastfm)

Did every single cybersecurity professional on the Internet go on vacation this week? We’re starting to wonder, because not 36 hours after breaches at LinkedIn and eHarmony comes word of another at Last.fm. Can’t we trust anyone to keep our information secure? Apparently not.

Earlier today, Last.fm alerted users that the company was “investigating the leak of some Last.fm user passwords.” From the phrasing, we can’t tell whether it’s connected to the LinkedIn and eHarmony hacks, or just a really unfortunate coincidence: “This follows recent password leaks on other sites, as well as information posted online. As a precautionary measure, we’re asking all our users to change their passwords immediately.” Well, at least they preempted.

The LinkedIn and eHarmony breachers were connected–same hacker–so the obvious question is whether Last.fm is the third victim of a cybercriminal having a really great week. But this isn’t entirely out of the blue, as it sounds like Last.fm has been having some issues with user information lately. This post from Knapster01 (a customer support manager for the company) indicates that as far back as May 16, someone unsavory had gotten ahold of users’ email addresses, as Last.fm was investigating a flood of sketchy spam from gambling sites.  He wrote: Read More