Ron Wyden speaks at TechFestNW on Friday.

Sen. Wyden: Congress needs to reform old privacy laws to ‘reflect public expectation’

Whether it’s a Facebook message you send or important information stored in a Google Doc, Ron Wyden thinks Americans deserve more individual privacy rights. The U.S. senator spoke at the TechFestNW event in Portland on Friday and explained why outdated privacy laws need to be changed in order to “reflect both the constitution and public expectations.” Wyden, a… Read More

A sold-out crowd greets Glenn Greenwald at Town Hall Seattle Tuesday night. (Photo: Monica Guzman)

3 ways Glenn Greenwald changed how I look at privacy

Glenn Greenwald doesn’t mince words. The government is “truly devoted to the elimination of privacy in the digital age,” the lawyer and journalist told a sold-out crowd of 850 at Town Hall Seattle Tuesday night. “That’s not hyperbole.” It’s a call to arms. And part of it got to me. Seattle was Greenwald’s first stop… Read More


Microsoft successfully blocked FBI from enterprise customer data request last year

In an effort to demonstrate its policy toward government requests for data, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith today detailed a now-public FBI Security Letter that Microsoft successfully blocked late last year. The FBI wanted information about individual subscriber accounts of a Microsoft enterprise customer and included a nondisclosure provision in its Letter. However, Microsoft pledges to challenge requests that prevent… Read More


What Snapchat teaches us about the way teens define privacy

When it comes to the generational differences between today’s youth and their parents or grandparents, there are the obvious ones: Fashion, music and slang are just a few. But what’s somewhat unique and specific to teens today is how they define the word “privacy” — and perhaps importantly, what that means for governments currently grappling… Read More

Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel

How Microsoft’s top lawyer would keep the NSA in check

In light of last year’s NSA revelations and more recently the Heartbleed security breach, how government balances the protection of personal information and national security has been a hot topic. This dilemma was the focus of an event at the University of Washington School of Law Tuesday morning, where experts from both the tech industry and government… Read More


Microsoft says it won’t search customer emails in leak cases

Following uproar over its handling of a recent intellectual property leak, Microsoft announced today that it will stop searching through emails if a similar situation arises in the future. “Effective immediately, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property from Microsoft, we will not inspect… Read More


Facebook cracks down on HasOffers, boots startup from mobile measurement program

HasOffers, the fast-growing Seattle startup that helps companies manage affiliate advertising programs, has been removed from Facebook’s mobile measurement program after it ran afoul of the social networking giant’s privacy policies related to data collection. San Francisco-based mobile analytics company Kontagent also was booted. “After working with a third-party auditor to review the practices of all… Read More


Microsoft privacy chief: Tech industry needs to evolve beyond those privacy policies that no one reads

Internet users want to know more about the types of data being collected about them, how that data is being used, and with whom it’s being shared. But we don’t want to read massive privacy policies to glean those insights. That’s one of the takeaways from a Microsoft-sponsored survey of tech-savvy consumers in the U.S…. Read More


Online privacy regulation on the legislative docket: What’s the proper role for government?

The Washington state legislature will convene next Monday for its annual session.  The legislature will not pass a big operating budget this year in the 60-day session, but it will make some adjustments based on the state’s current economy and tax revenue collections. The state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council — the agency charged with making… Read More

Natalie Fonseca

Privacy is suddenly very hot: Events see influx of interest after NSA revelations

This is the fourth year of the Privacy Identity Innovation conference, which will draw hundreds of people to Seattle’s Bell Harbor International Conference Center in a few weeks. But looking at the initial registrations, conference co-founder Natalie Fonseca was pleasantly surprised at the number of first-time attendees signing up. “There are more people paying attention to… Read More


Pay for parking with your phone: Here’s how your personal data will be used

Parking in Seattle became a little more convenient earlier this month with the debut of PayByPhone, a smartphone app that allows people to fill the meter without visiting their car or displaying a stub. But the technology’s arrival also raises a few questions, particularly in regard to the data — vehicle license plate(s), cell phone number and credit… Read More


Persona wants to help you get hired by protecting your social media reputation 24/7

To learn more about you, employers today are reviewing the social media accounts of both prospective and current employees. Unfortunately for some, a provocative picture at the bar or one bad Tweet could cost you a chance at employment. And that’s exactly where Persona wants to help. The new Seattle startup just launched a service that analyzes your… Read More


Report: Microsoft allowed NSA to bypass encryption for access to Outlook emails, Skype conversations

Throughout the year, Microsoft has lambasted Google and accused them of shady privacy policies via its “Scroogled” campaign. But now, new top-secret documents given to The Guardian by Edward Snowden shows how it was actually Microsoft allowing the NSA and FBI access to user data from platforms like Outlook, SkyDrive and Skype. Microsoft and other tech giants… Read More


First porn app for Google Glass relaunches, stripped of explicit content

“Tits & Glass” is back … kind of. Earlier this month, Seattle-based adult app marketplace Mikandi got lots of attention for releasing the first-ever pornography app for Google Glass that allowed people to record sexual content on their Glass and share it with the Mikandi community. But just as they came out with “Tits & Glass,” Google updated its platform developer… Read More


Leak implicates Microsoft, Google and others in NSA snooping — but they deny it

A classified training document, reported Thursday by the Washington Post and the Guardian, says a secret U.S. government program called PRISM has been accessing the servers of Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook and other tech giants for years to collect data including customer emails, audio and other documents as part of U.S. intelligence operations. However, many… Read More


Amazon’s IMDb wins verdict against 41-year-old actress who sued for revealing her age

A federal jury in Seattle ruled in favor of’s IMDb yesterday in a case brought by a 41-year-old actress whose birthdate was revealed against her wishes on the popular movie and television database site. Texas actress Huong “Junie” Hoang originally filed her suit as a “Jane Doe,” in October 2011. She alleged that IMDb was able… Read More