Showing posts with label privacy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label privacy. Show all posts

Saturday, February 17, 2024

FTC Proposes New Protections to Combat AI Impersonation of Individuals

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking that would prohibit the impersonation of individuals. The proposed rule changes would extend protections of the new rule on government and business impersonation that is being finalized by the Commission today.

The agency is taking this action in light of surging complaints around impersonation fraud, as well as public outcry about the harms caused to consumers and to impersonated individuals. Emerging technology – including AI-generated deepfakes – threatens to turbocharge this scourge, and the FTC is committed to using all of its tools to detect, deter, and halt impersonation fraud.

The Commission is also seeking comment on whether the revised rule should declare it unlawful for a firm, such as an AI platform that creates images, video, or text, to provide goods or services that they know or have reason to know is being used to harm consumers through impersonation.

“Fraudsters are using AI tools to impersonate individuals with eerie precision and at a much wider scale. With voice cloning and other AI-driven scams on the rise, protecting Americans from impersonator fraud is more critical than ever,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “Our proposed expansions to the final impersonation rule would do just that, strengthening the FTC’s toolkit to address AI-enabled scams impersonating individuals.”

The supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking is being issued in response to comments received during the public comment period on the government and business impersonation rule that pointed to the additional threats and harms posed by impersonation of individuals. As scammers find new ways to defraud consumers, including through AI-generated deepfakes, this proposal will help the agency deter fraud and secure redress for harmed consumers.

Final Rule on Government and Business Impersonation

In addition to the supplemental notice, the FTC has finalized the Government and Business Impersonation Rule, which gives the agency stronger tools to combat scammers who impersonate businesses or government agencies, enabling the FTC to directly file federal court cases aimed at forcing scammers to return the money they made from government or business impersonation scams. This is particularly important given the Supreme Court’s April 2021 ruling in AMG Capital Management LLC v. FTC, which significantly limited the agency’s ability to require defendants to return money to injured consumers.

Government and business impersonation scams have cost consumers billions of dollars in recent years, and both categories saw significant increases in reports to the FTC in 2023. The rule authorizes the agency to fight these scams more effectively.

For example, the rule would enable the FTC to directly seek monetary relief in federal court from scammers that:

Use government seals or business logos when communicating with consumers by mail or online.

Spoof government and business emails and web addresses, including spoofing “.gov” email addresses or using lookalike email addresses or websites that rely on misspellings of a company’s name.
Falsely imply government or business affiliation by using terms that are known to be affiliated with a government agency or business (e.g., stating “I’m calling from the Clerk’s Office” to falsely imply affiliation with a court of law).  

The publication of the final rule comes after the two rounds of public comment in response to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking issued in December 2021, a notice of proposed rulemaking issued in September 2022, and an informal hearing in May 2023.

The Commission vote to issue the final rule and the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking and to publish them in the Federal Register was 3-0. Chair Lina M. Khan issued a separate statement that was joined by Commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Alvaro M. Bedoya.

Both items will appear in the Federal Register shortly. The final rule on government and business impersonation will become effective 30 days from the date it is published in the Federal Register. The public comment period for the SNPRM will be open for 60 days following the date it is published in the Federal Register, and instructions for how to comment will be included in the notice.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers. Learn more about consumer topics at, or report fraud, scams, and bad business practices at Follow the FTC on social media, read consumer alerts and the business blog, and sign up to get the latest FTC news and alerts.



Saturday, January 13, 2024

Children’s online privacy: Tell the FTC

Children’s online privacy: Tell the FTC

By Carol Kando-Pineda

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) gives parents control over what information websites can collect from their kids and how they use and share that information. The FTC now proposes changes that would enhance those protections and aim to ensure that parents — not companies — are in charge.


Children’s online privacy: Tell the FTC
Children’s online privacy: Tell the FTC

Friday, March 17, 2023

Slam the Scam: Keep Your Personal Information

Slam the Scam: Keep Your Personal Information

03/16/2023 02:50 PM EDT

vector of person hanging up on a scam call on their cell phone

Do you know how to spot a government imposter scam? Knowing how to identify potential scammers will help safeguard your personal information. 

There are common elements to many of these scams.

Scammers often exploit fears and threaten you with arrest or legal action. Scammers also pose as Social Security or other government employees and claim ... 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

During this National Consumer Protection Week, let’s talk about impersonation scams

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

By Samuel Levine, Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection

It's National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) 2023 and it couldn't come at a better time.

The FTC's recently released top frauds of 2022 have impersonation scams at #1 again. 

So, this NCPW, let's talk with friends, family, and neighbors about spotting and avoiding these impersonation scams.

During this National Consumer Protection Week, let’s talk about impersonation scams
During this National Consumer Protection Week, let’s talk about impersonation scams

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Washington Post: On TikTok "is no more risky than Facebook. That’s not entirely a compliment"

"As calls to ban TikTok grow, should you quit the app?

For the average user, TikTok is no more risky than Facebook. That’s not entirely a compliment.

I’ve been hearing from Washington Post readers concerned that the Chinese-owned app is handing our data to the Communist Party. So I looked under the hood at what TikTok knows about us, and quizzed both the company and the senators calling on us to stop using it.

So far, the arguments to ban TikTok are more rooted in fears than actual evidence. The best thing that could ​​come of this scare is that Congress finally realizes we need privacy rules and guardrails for kids across all apps — not just the ones with Chinese owners."
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required) ->

To TikTok, or not to TikTok, that is the question. (Video: Illustration by Elena Lacey/The Washington Post; iStock)
To TikTok, or not to TikTok, that is the question. (Video: Illustration by Elena Lacey/The Washington Post; iStock)

Saturday, December 10, 2022

What did you consent to do? Use of social media tools getting riskier - links to 3 articles

Lensa is not a good thing, but if you submitted photos, it's too late now
"This week, millions came face to face with AI-generated versions of themselves thanks to the app Lensa, which uses machine learning to spit out illustrations based on photos you provide. People took to social media to reflect on how the portraits made them feel — and who stands to lose when AI art goes mainstream.

“I think I have a fairly decent self-image, but I looked at the images and I was like, ‘Why do I look so good?’” said James, a Twitch streamer who declined to give his last name to keep his social media presence separate from his day job. “I think it shaved off a lot of my rough edges.”
Continue reading the article (subscription maybe required)

Lensa - article 2
"Sure, that drunk selfie you posted on Instagram might be personally embarrassing. Now imagine that selfie is also training fuel for an artificial intelligence system that helps put an innocent person in jail.

Welcome to the age of artificial intelligence. What you do with your face, your home security videos, your words and the photos from your friend’s art show are not just about you. Almost entirely without your true consent, information that you post online or that is posted about you is being used to coach AI software. These technologies could let a stranger identify you on sight or generate custom art at your command."
Continue reading the article (subscription maybe required)

If you didn't know how you were being tracked, this lends some insight to the systems involved:
"Tens of thousands of websites belonging to government agencies, Fortune 500 companies and other organizations host Twitter computer code that sends visitor information to the social media giant, according to research first reported by The Cybersecurity 202. 

And virtually none of them have used a Twitter feature to put restrictions on what the company can do with that data, said digital ad analysis firm Adalytics, which conducted the study.

The presence of Twitter’s code — known as the Twitter advertising pixel — has grown more troublesome since Elon Musk purchased the platform."
Continue reading the article (subscription maybe required)

So how can you protect your privacy in this new social media world? Two quick easy steps:
  • Don't fall to any one of the meme's (What Game of Thrones character are you?) or tools like Lensa
  • Install DuckDuckGo ( on your browser to prevent the tracking cookies from doing their thing
Lensa interpretations of reporter Tatum Hunter. These images were created by AI. They were not taken by a camera.
Lensa interpretations of reporter Tatum Hunter. These images were
created by AI. They were not taken by a camera.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Five things to do to protect yourself online

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

Five things to do to protect yourself online

Your online accounts, computer, and phone hold a lot of your personal, financial, and health information. Information that's valuable to you — and to scammers who try to steal it. 

Here are five things to do to keep hackers out of your accounts and your personal business.


Sunday, March 6, 2022

Kurbo by WW charged with collecting kids’ personal info without parents’ permission

Kurbo by WW charged with collecting kids’ personal info without parents’ permission

by Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Advertised as a weight management service for kids, teens, and families, the Kurbo by WW app and website let kids as young as 8 track their weight, food intake, activity, and more. 

The problem? 

Many parents didn't know their kids were using it, while the app and website were collecting and keeping information about kids without their parents' permission.

Shared from ->

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Keep your personal information safe in the New Year

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

by Jim Kreidler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

As 2021 winds down, lots of us are making resolutions for a fresh start in the New Year — maybe to exercise regularly, get our finances in order, or spend more time with friends. But your list isn't complete until you add "update my security software" and "protect my personal information" to the mix. Scammers and hackers are always looking for new ways to steal your personal information online.


Keep your personal information safe in the New Year
Keep your personal information safe in the New Year

Monday, October 4, 2021

60 Minutes "a betrayal of democracy" leads to decision that Franklin Matters Facebook page to go away Dec 1, 2021

60 Minutes (@60Minutes) tweeted at 7:42 PM on Sun, Oct 03, 2021:

"The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world," says former Facebook employee France Haugen. She points to Myanmar, where the military used Facebook to launch a genocide.
Find the full 60 Minutes segment here -> 

Shared from Twitter:

Note: this is a continuation of the revelations about Facebook since the  Cambridge Analytica scandal. in 2018  I attempted to remove Franklin Matters updates from Facebook at that time and the readers, followers on Facebook created an uproar so I stayed reluctantly.

As a data security and privacy professional I can no longer condone the Facebook business model. Effective Dec 1, 2021 the Franklin Matters Facebook page will go away. You are given notice to find one of the other options to obtain the valuable information shared but not longer directly by me on Facebook.

Someone can also set up a way to take what I share and share it themselves to Facebook. I have no way to stop that. Folks occasionally do so on their own today.

My personal account will remain on Facebook to maintain my family and network connections. I have limited what is posted and shared in that way and am willing to take the risk to maintain those family connections.

I can no longer take the risk exposing your information in this way. Facebook needs to change and only actions like this will get their attention to do so.

Why Dec 1?
The Franklin election is important and as divisive as Facebook is, for those who depend upon it for info, I will provide some time for them to begin to make their move to one of the alternatives.

If you need or want help setting up email or RSS, I'll offer to schedule a Zoom session (or two) to walk through the process. Let me know if you are interested via email or comment on this post.

Reference points on Facebook data leaks
Mark Hurst's Good Report also has a listing on RSS Readers to add to what I shared here.

Franklin Matters Facebook page to go away Dec 1, 2021

Sunday, September 26, 2021

If you only do one thing with your privacy settings ...

"There’s probably a little bit of Google in every part of your life. The company hosts a sprawling network of tools and apps we use for everything — from school assignments and work emails, to watching how-to videos and making calls. The good news is that Google has tried to collect its most important privacy settings into one place, which means you can protect your data in Gmail and Google-owned YouTube at the same time.

Google offers a “Privacy Checkup” to get through settings quickly, but defaults to more mild options than we’ve listed below. There are some trade-offs when you limit Google’s data collection, according to the company. Google services that give recommendations might not be as helpful, and any ads you see will be less accurately targeted.

These privacy setting recommendations are based on your Google Account settings on the Web. You can also access them through individual Google apps or your settings on an Android phone by going to Settings → Google (or Google Services)."
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

If you only do one thing with your privacy settings ...
If you only do one thing with your privacy settings ...

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Your privacy and data protection: "If you have lots of data, you can turn that into money"

"Why should you care about protecting your privacy online? Tech critic Carissa Véliz says it’s not just a matter of personal preference: It’s a civic duty.

Véliz, associate professor at the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford, is the author of “Privacy Is Power: Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data,” which blends philosophical insight and practical advice. Véliz says that guarding your privacy promotes something akin to digital herd immunity. Many companies claim that the more data they have, the better their products will be, but Véliz argues that this personal data ultimately gets transformed into something toxic, which society should regulate much like asbestos. Last year The Economist called “Privacy Is Power” one of the best books of the year, on any subject."
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)

Whether using either Google or Firefox as my browser, I use DuckDuckGo to help prevent the tracking codes from gathering the data
If you have lots of data, you can turn that into money

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

"Consumer Federation of America cited concerns about unfair pricing, misuse of data, and loss of privacy"

"It is sometimes called “usage-based insurance” and sometimes “insurance telematics.” It’s when you agree to allow your auto insurer to ride along with you — quite literally.

If you agree, a constant stream of data flows from your vehicle to your insurer, via a telecommunication device, including how fast you are going, the time of day you are driving, and when and how hard you are hitting the brakes.

What’s the purpose? Insurers say they want to reward good drivers with lower premiums: for example, those who drive within the speed limit, mainly during daylight hours, and without frequently jamming on the brakes. (For drivers whose reckless driving habits correlate to higher risk for crashes, higher premiums may result, although few bad drivers are expected to opt in for telematics.)"
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

News of Interest: Amazon implementation raises security issues

"There’s an eyebrow-raising technology buried inside millions of Amazon Echo smart speakers and Ring security cameras. They have the ability to make a new kind of wireless network called Sidewalk that shares a slice of your home Internet connection with your neighbors’ devices.

And on Tuesday, Amazon is switching Sidewalk on — for everyone.

I’m digging into my settings to turn it off. Sidewalk raises more red flags than a marching band parade: Is it secure enough to be activated in so many homes? Are we helping Amazon build a vast network that can be used for more surveillance? And why didn’t Amazon ask us to opt-in before activating a capability lying dormant in our devices?

I recommend you opt out of Sidewalk, too, until we get much better answers to these questions."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Washington Post: "Explaining HIPAA: No, it doesn't ban questions about your vaccination status"

"As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to relax safety measures for people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and the country begins to reopen, many employers, businesses, families and friend groups are finding themselves in the at-times uncomfortable position of having to ask about others’ vaccination statuses."
"HIPAA, also known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and its subsequently added Privacy Rule include provisions to protect a person’s identifying health information from being shared without their knowledge or consent. The law, though, only applies to specific health-related entities, such as insurance providers, health-care clearinghouses, health-care providers and their business associates."
Shared from The Washington Post:  Continue reading the article online  (subscription may be required)

Friday, December 18, 2020

Consumer Alerts: Santa doesn’t need your Social Security number

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

by Jim Kreidler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

This year, during the pandemic, your holidays might be moving a bit online. On the 10th day of Consumer Protection, maybe you're planning to send e-cards to family and friends.


This is a free service provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

"whether it could potentially erode a sense of trust between school officials and students"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"In these times of COVID-19, schools are closed, offices are shut down and families must coexist while sheltering in place.

The result is a spike in fear and a decrease in happiness nationwide, according to an artificial intelligence algorithm that analyzes more than a billion social media messages in the U.S. each day.

Some online messages created by Natick public school students are included in those billion-plus messages, because the district has a contract with Social Sentinel, a Burlington, Vermont-based company that created the algorithm.

“Any tool that has the potential to identify that someone is suffering, that extends the reach of what people can do, and does it faster, is worth having,” said Natick Superintendent of Schools Anna Nolin, explaining why the district contracted with Social Sentinel."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

"It’s a problem with invasion of privacy”

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix said officers try to do the best they can in difficult environments, and body cameras alone do not necessarily capture every angle in police interactions.

Many area police chiefs acknowledge that body cameras are an opportunity to improve transparency between law enforcement and the public. But they say the benefits of such high-tech improvements come with additional costs.

Other than Sherborn, no community police department in the MetroWest region currently wears police body cameras when responding to suspected crimes.

“There’s much more to it than the monetary cost,” said Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix. “It also includes the cost of retention of the footage and the ability to reproduce it in different formats. We want to be educated and informed on the best route for the town.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

FTC Alerts: Back to school - Protect your child’s information

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission
by Colleen Tressler
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Many school forms require personal and sensitive information. Here are some tips for keeping your child's personal information safe — from pre-school through college.

Read more

This is a free service provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

"a groundbreaking victory for Americans’ privacy rights"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"The Supreme Court ruled Friday that police generally need a search warrant if they want to track criminal suspects’ movements by collecting information about where they’ve used their cellphones, bolstering privacy interests in the digital age. 
The justices’ 5-4 decision marks a big change in how police may obtain cellphone tower records, an important tool in criminal investigations. 
Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by the court’s four liberals, said cellphone location information “is detailed, encyclopedic and effortlessly compiled.” Roberts wrote that “an individual maintains a legitimate expectation of privacy in the record of his physical movements” as they are captured by cellphone towers. 
Roberts said the court’s decision is limited to cellphone tracking information and does not affect other business records, including those held by banks."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

You can read the full Supreme Court decision here