Privacy Issues All Over the Place This Week
There has been a lot of discussion about privacy in the news this past week, and surprisingly, not a whole lot of it has had to do with Facebook. Is the Facebook privacy concern fading? Feel free to discuss your concerns with that in the comments.
One of the biggest stories of the web this past week has been the release of Google Instant, Google’s new feature, which provides search results as you type your query. This has generated a mix of positive and negative reactions, and some have been concerned with privacy issues related to the feature.
If you do attempt to search for "erector set" and and pause long enough in the middle of typing to where erectile dysfunction results appear long enough, a SERP for erectile dysfunction can appear in your browser history. I’ve seen it. I’ve actually emailed Google inquiring about this (I suspect it goes by the 3 second rule that the ad impressions do), but I haven’t heard back yet. I will explore this further after I get more info. Update: Google’s response here.
This past week, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that federal law allows judges the discretion to require that the government obtain a probable cause search warrant before accessing cell phone location data, according to a report from the EFF.
Also this past week, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups filed a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s policy allowing border agents to search laptops or other electronic devices at the border without reasonable suspicion.
PCWorld reports that e-commerce trade group NetChoice is saying proposals in Congress that would create new rules for sites collecting personal data would "cripple the online advertising and publishing industries."
Finally, Time reports that sheriffs in North Carolina are looking to be able to access state computer records that identify people who have prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs. Naturally, this has raised some privacy concerns.