Tuesday, April 17, 2012

COMPUTERS - Data Privacy and Cyber Security

"How Will FCC's Google Street View Fine Shape Data Privacy Rules?" (1 of 2) PBS Newshour 4/16/2012


RAY SUAREZ (Newshour): And to two stories about Internet privacy.

First: the latest on a government investigation of Google's collection of personal data that started with taking pictures and ended up gathering a lot more.

Google's Street View, launched in 2007, was part of the company's ambitious plan to photograph and map the entire world right down to street level. But it turned out that Street View vehicles were collecting more than just visual images. Their antennas also picked up personal information from local Wi-Fi networks, including Internet usage history and passwords.

In May 2010, Google publicly acknowledged it had done so, but insisted that any such data collection was accidental. The Federal Communications Commission began investigating. And, on Friday, it fined the company $25,000, the maximum penalty available, for obstructing the investigation.

In its report, the FCC said, "Although a world leader in digital search capability, Google took the position that searching its employees' e-mail would be a time-consuming and burdensome task." The FCC found Google did indeed collect personal data, but it cleared the company of charges that it had acted illegally.

The search engine giant challenged the finding that it failed to cooperate. Instead, it issued a statement that said, "We provided all the materials the regulators felt they needed." European regulators have also investigated the company for similar reasons. Last year, the French government fined Google about $140,000.

MAN: You're now exploring a neighborhood in our full-screen mode.

RAY SUAREZ: In the meantime, those who would rather not see their homes on Street View do have an alternative. The company provides users the option of graying out images to meet privacy concerns.

The FCC report generated plenty of questions over the past 48 hours about what Google did.

We ask some of those now with two people watching this case, Jeffrey Rosen, a professor of law at the George Washington University and legal affairs editor for The New Republic, and David Bennahum, the chief executive of Punch Media, a news and entertainment network for iPads.

"Preventing a 'Cyber-Pearl Harbor'" (2 of 2) PBS Newshour 4/16/2012


JEFFREY BROWN (Newshour): And now to our second look at privacy online and a story about protecting computers from cyber-attacks.

NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden reports.

MAN: Utahans' Social Security numbers, names, addresses, birth dates.

TOM BEARDEN: Nine hundred thousand people had their names, addresses, and Social Security numbers stolen when the Utah Health Department's server was hacked. This kind of thing happens more often than most people realize: Web sites taken down, high-tech secrets stolen, intellectual property rights violated, and individuals swindled.

But Douglas Maughan says there's much more at stake than just crime. He heads the Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Security Division.

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