Google Wants COPPA to Change so it can Keep Collecting Kids’ Data

The Federal Trade Commission is considering a revamp of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Google wants to help them change the rules, and asked the agency to eliminate rules that categorizes anyone watching kids content online as actual kids.

In September, Google agreed to pay US$170 million to the FTC to resolve claims that YouTube violated COPPA by serving targeted advertisements to children under 13…After the FTC settlement, YouTube told creators that they would have to identify when videos are aimed at children under 13. When that happens, YouTube now turns off ads that rely on web browsing behavior and other targeting data, which earn more for YouTube and creators.

Homeland Security Cancels Facial Recognition Plan for Americans

Homeland Security had a plan to expand its use of airport facial recognition to include U.S. citizens. After much outcry the agency will drop that plan, although foreign nationals and visitors will still face mandatory scanning.

A spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection, which filed the proposal, said the agency has “no current plans to require U.S. citizens to provide photographs upon entry and exit from the United States,” and that it “intends to have the planned regulatory action regarding U.S. citizens removed from the unified agenda next time it is published.”

Traffic Cameras Could Soon Tell if you Text and Drive

Australia will soon install a camera system powered by machine learning that is designed to spot mobile phones in cars.

To let drivers adjust, warning letters will be sent to those spotted using phones by the cameras for the first three months. Australia uses a points system for drivers — unrestricted driver’s licenses have 13 points. After the first three months, drivers caught using their phones illegally will lose five points and be issued a $344 fine. During other periods, the penalty could increase to 10 points. If a driver loses all of their points, they could lose their license.

Distracted driving is absolutely a serious problem, but I don’t think more surveillance infrastructure is the answer.

This VPN App Sent User Data to China

According to a report of VPN apps for 2019, downloads of these apps has increased 54%. But people need to be careful which VPN app they use. The most popular app called VPN – Super Unlimited sent user data to China. But it’s privacy policy made no secret of this.

We regularly collect and use information that could identify an individual, in particular about your purchase or use of our products, services, mobile and software applications and websites… We use various technologies to determine [your] location, including IP addresses, GPS, and other sensors.

The VPN apps I wrote about are all safe (or at least I personally believe them to be safe).

This Tool Shows Which Sites Disguise Third-Party Trackers

Tracking companies have started disguising their third-party trackers as first-party trackers to bypass privacy tools, called CNAME tracking. This tool called TrackingTheTrackers can find them.

This method is called CNAME Cloaking and the disguise is not obvious if one does not know where to look. That’s why we made a free analysis tool that anyone can run on any website. We also wrote an in-depth article about this, you can read it here.

Sounds like a helpful tool. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one. Even Apple does it (But The Mac Observer doesn’t).