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Intersection: Sidewalks & Public Space

Chapter by Melissa Ngo

"The Myth of Security Under Camera Surveillance"


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    Wall Street Journal: Russia Investigates Web Security Amid Leaks of Data, Sex Receipts

    The Wall Street Journal reports on data privacy and security problems in Russia:

    Russia’s fast-growing Internet has been hit with its first big brouhaha over privacy, as a wave of sensitive data—such as text messages, government documents and sales receipts from online sex shops—have been turning up in Web searches.

    Regulators have opened a series of probes into how certain information was able to leak out. Internet search companies, meanwhile, are scrambling to teach Russian businesses the basics of Internet security. More than 80 retail shops are now under investigation, and may be referred to prosecutors for failure to protect customers’ personal information, Russia’s telecommunications regulator said. [...]

    [Mobile phone company] Megafon quickly fixed the problem last week and made the text messages off limits to search engines. But after hearing about the lax security, many Internet users began hunting for vulnerabilities elsewhere and soon were retrieving personal data and sales receipts from businesses including online sex shops and travel agents, and even documents from files of Russian government websites such as the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service. [...]

    The latest security lapses have come exclusively from Web pages as Web users learn the uses and abuses of the Internet.

    Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine, blamed the lax security of Web masters, who despite the rapid growth of online shopping in Russia, haven’t bothered until lately to protect personal data of Web shoppers. [...]

    [Ochir Mandzhikov, spokesman for Yandex,] noted that the scandal over information leaks began last week, with the discovery that Megafon had left about 8,000 text messages unprotected on its website. The messages, which reportedly ran the gamut from mundane exchanges to tender love notes and invective-filled denunciations, were available with users’ telephone numbers.

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