Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version.The company evaluated beta users' feedback and subsequently brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created versions that would run on iOS and Android, noted company spokesperson Yvonne Gonzalez.When the VPN is turned on, it creates a secure connection to one of Opera's five servers around the world, letting users spoof their IP address. Options now include two new virtual locations: Singapore and the Netherlands."We strongly believe that if more people knew how the Internet truly works, they would use a VPN," Gonzalez told LinuxInsider.Only half of the people responding to a recent Opera global survey knew what a VPN was. As for the other half -- more than 70 percent of those who were familiar with VPN technology chose not … [Read more...] about Opera’s Free VPN Takes On Internet Privacy Challenge
Privacy advocates and consumer groups are fighting back against the U.S. Senate's Thursday vote to undo privacy restrictions on Internet service providers.In a 50-48 party line vote, the Senate approved the Congressional Review Act, S.J. Res. 34. If the House of Representatives gives it the green light, it then will go to the president to be signed into law."We're working actively with a coalition of other consumer groups pushing to defeat the resolution in the House," said John Simpson, director of the Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project.If the consumer groups don't succeed in the House, "we will remind President Trump that he has expressed concerns about invasions of his own privacy, and call upon him to veto the resolution to protect consumers," Simpson told the E-Commerce Times.Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has put up a Web page urging consumers to call their members of Congress about the resolution.The Center for Democracy & Technology also has pledged to fight … [Read more...] about Consumer Advocates Bemoan Senate Vote to Lift ISP Privacy Restrictions
The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday issued a joint statement following the FCC's temporary stay of data security regulations.FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen issued the statement to address the FCC's decision, in essence, to overturn rules designed to bolster broadband consumer privacy.Both chairs had disagreed with the FCC's unilateral 2015 decision to strip the FTC of any authority over broadband providers' privacy and data security practices.Pai was one of the dissenting FCC commissioners, along with Michael O'Rielly, in last fall's 3-2 vote that limited how much of Internet subscribers' data companies could sell, share and trade.The FTC has a long track record of having guarded privacy and security protection online, Pai and Ohlhausen noted, and the decision to remove it from that role did not serve consumers' interest.The stay will remain in place until the FCC is able to rule on a petition that would … [Read more...] about FCC Reverses Course on Internet Privacy Rules
The United States Federal Communications Commission last week adopted privacy rules for both wired and wireless broadband ISPs aimed at giving consumers greater control over their data, more privacy, and stronger security safeguards for that data.The rules implement Section 222 of the Communications Act. They establish a framework of customer consent required for ISPs to use and share their customers' personal information, calibrated to the sensitivity of the information.The new rules are consistent with the Federal Trade Commission's privacy framework and the administration's Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, the FCC said.The rules establish three approaches to information use and sharing: Sharing sensitive information requires customer opt-in. Sensitive information includes precise geolocation data, financial information, health records, children's information, Social Security numbers, Web browsing and app usage history, and the content of communications. ISPs can share non-sensitive … [Read more...] about Tech Industry Lambasts New FCC Privacy Rules
Using personal devices to conduct business has become commonplace, whether employers require it or employees voluntary do so. The use of personal devices creates a privacy challenge. Employers want access to the devices, and employees want to protect their personal data contained on them.The term "devices" itself is deceiving. Many consider employee-owned devices to be smartphones and tablets, as the term "BYOD" (Bring Your Own Device) implies. However, BYOD also includes laptops and desktop computers at home.Research companies in the BYOD space have proposed a solution to these privacy issues. Also, a California court recently addressed the issue of whether employers should reimburse employees who use their own devices for business. Webroot in July issued its BYOD security report, "Fixing the Disconnect Between Employer and Employee for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)." Some of the issues addressed include privacy concerns such as "employer access to personal data, personal data … [Read more...] about TECHNOLOGY LAW CORNER BYOD Privacy: Do Employees Have Rights?
A new technology that Google uses to track billions of credit card transactions is unsafe, overly intrusive, and possibly in violation of federal law, according to a complaint the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed Monday with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.EPIC urged the FTC to investigate Google over its Store Sales Management program, criticizing it as unfair and deceptive to consumers, and lacking an easy way to opt out.Google uses its SSM program to track whether consumers have converted online advertisements displayed on Google search pages into in-store purchases, according to the complaint. It collects credit card data on billions of transactions and matches them to determine the effectiveness of online ads in influencing consumers to purchase the promoted goods and services.Google has refused to release specific data on the algorithm the SSM technology uses, but it apparently is based on CryptDB, which is described in a 2011 MIT research paper funded by Google and … [Read more...] about EPIC Claims Google Violates Consumer Privacy in FTC Complaint
Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner, the brains behind both the new Vivaldi browser and the early Opera browser, on Monday accused Google of retaliating against his company after he questioned its customer privacy practices.Vivaldi's Google Adwords campaigns mysteriously were suspended just two days after von Tetzchner's criticisms of Google's handling of customer data appeared in a Wired article this spring, he said.Von Tetzchner had raised questions about both Google's and Facebook's data collection practices, lamenting the fact that too much personal information was being collected on ordinary consumers for use in targeted advertising based on individual browsing habits.That was the second time that Google suspended Vivaldi's AdWords campaign in 12 months, von Tetzchner told the E-Commerce Times.After Vivaldi complained about the actions, the responses from Google were less than satisfying, he added."In both cases, when contacting Google, there has been no clarity why it happened or at … [Read more...] about Vivaldi CEO Claims Google Retaliated for Privacy Criticism