Intersection: Sidewalks & Public Space

Chapter by Melissa Ngo

"The Myth of Security Under Camera Surveillance"

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    Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

    Associated Press: Teens adept at social media get privacy training

    Monday, April 14th, 2014

    The Associated Press reports on a privacy program at St. Michael School in suburban St. Louis. The program is based a privacy curriculum based on one released by the Fordham Law School’s Center for Law and Information Policy. AP reports:

    CLAYTON, Mo. — In an age of increased online government surveillance and targeted social media ads, the notion of privacy as a classroom subject worthy of distinct study is gaining momentum far beyond the narrow niches of First Amendment lawyers and computer hackers.

    Using a privacy curriculum developed at Fordham Law School in New York, educators there and at another dozen of the country’s top law schools want to equip adolescents growing up in a digital world with a user manual that has little to do with apps and pixel resolution.

    At the St. Michael School in suburban St. Louis, middle-school students recently learned how to manage their digital reputations. Led by a law-student instructor from nearby Washington University, the preteens discussed how facial recognition software is used everywhere from Facebook to the local mall. As the cellphone increasingly becomes an early adolescent rite of passage, they debated the legal and ethical issues raised by spending hours each day online or texting with friends. […] Read more »

    Washington Post: Facebook says states shouldn’t regulate online teen privacy. The FTC disagrees.

    Monday, March 24th, 2014

    The Washington Post reports on debate over interpretation of the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA):

    The Federal Trade Commission says that Facebook is misinterpreting a key children’s privacy law, in a move that could weaken the social network’s argument in a California district court suit over teen privacy on the Web site.

    The FTC filed the brief Thursday night, weighing in on a key point for the case, Batman v. Facebook (also known as Fraley v. Facebook). In it, the FTC says Facebook is wrong to say that, because the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) only protects the privacy of children under 12, that the law could be interpreted to keep states from enforcing their own laws on teen privacy. [...] Read more »

    Slate: The sleuthing plot of the Veronica Mars movie gets all the technology right

    Monday, March 17th, 2014

    Slate takes a look at the new Veronica Mars movie (warning: the article contains spoilers about the film) and discusses how savvy the film is about technology, specifically how webcams can be hacked and video recorded and sent to others without the knowledge of the computer or tablet owner. The article references the 2010 case in Pennsylvania where a family filed suit accusing the Lower Merion School District of misusing the 2,300 Webcam-enabled laptops it issued to students in order to remotely peep into the students’ homes, take photographs and violate their privacy. Slate reports:

    In the same way that malware can control your computer, delete your files, and track your keystrokes, mistakenly installed virulent software can just as easily control your webcam. Here’s the tale of a 14-year-old doing it. And a 19-year-old. You may think your webcam is only looking at you when its LED light is on, but that can be bypassed, too. [...] Read more »

    Wall Street Journal: How to Protect Your Kids’ Privacy Online

    Thursday, February 27th, 2014

    At the Wall Street Journal, Julia Angwin discusses teaching children about why privacy is important:

    If you search for my kids online, you’ll find barely a trace of them. Not only do I not post any information or photos of them, I have also taught them to erase their own digital footprints. [...]

    Why go to such extremes at such a young age? Because if I don’t do anything to help my children learn to protect themselves, all their data will be swept up into giant databases, and their identity will be forever shaped by that information. [...]

    Even worse, if my children leave their data lying around, they will face all the risks of what I call our “dragnet nation,” in which increased computing power and cheap data storage have fueled a new type of surveillance: suspicionless, computerized, impersonal and vast in scope. Criminals could use my kids’ data to impersonate them for financial fraud. Extortionists could seize control of their computers’ Web cameras and blackmail them with nude photos. And most terrifyingly, their innocent online inquiries would be forever stored in databases that could later place them under suspicion or be used to manipulate them financially. Read more »

    Washington Post: Seeking privacy, teens turn to anonymous-messaging apps

    Monday, February 17th, 2014

    The Washington Post reports that teens are turning from social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to social-networking apps that allow more privacy and anonymity. Parents and law enforcement officials say such apps raise fears of cyberbullying. The Post reports:

    The picture was typical of the pranks exchanged among Ryan’s Los Angeles classmates on the anonymous-messaging app Backchat, one of a fast-expanding breed of social-media apps that mask users’ identities and can create messages that self-destruct. Anonymous and ephemeral, apps such as Whisper, Secret, and Snapchat fill a growing demand among teens for more fun, less accountability and more privacy online.

    But the boom is opening secret new corners of the Internet at a time when educators and law enforcement officials are worried about the safety of youth online. As teens look increasingly for alternatives to the social giants Facebook and Twitter, the anonymous apps create the opportunity for bullying and cruelty in a forum where they cannot be tracked. [...] Read more »

    FTC Settles with Over International Safe Harbor Privacy Framework

    Thursday, February 13th, 2014

    The Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with, a children’s gaming company, concerning “charges that it falsely claimed it was abiding by an international privacy framework known as the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor that enables U.S. companies to transfer consumer data from the European Union to the U.S. in compliance with EU law.” Last month, the FTC settled similar charges with 12 other companies. In the announcement concerning, the FTC said:

    According to a complaint filed by the FTC,, the maker of a popular multiplayer online role-playing game directed at children ages 6-16, deceptively claimed, through statements in its privacy policy, that it held current certifications under the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework. [...]

    The FTC complaint charges with representing that it held a current Safe Harbor certification, even though the company had allowed its certification to lapse. The Commission alleged that this conduct violated Section 5 of the FTC Act. However, this does not necessarily mean that the company committed any substantive violations of the privacy principles of the Safe Harbor framework or other privacy laws. Read more »