privacy

You've seen it in the movies for years: Security cameras find a face in a crowd, and — Enhance! — a computer comes up with a name. In real life, facial recognition was too error-prone to work that quickly, especially with live video streams.

But now the Hollywood fantasy is coming true.

Jim O'Connell / Flickr/CC

When Stormy Daniels rolled into West Palm Beach last month to perform at Ultra Gentlemen’s Club — just across the street from President Trump’s golf course — she brought a lot of things with her.

Two burly bodyguards. A rake to gather up tips from the stage. Plenty of intrigue.

Something Stormy did not bring: a license to strip from the Palm Beach County government.

After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress Tuesday and Wednesday, Facebook users — among many — are still wondering if online privacy still exists.

At the hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday, Rep. Ben Luján (D-N.M.) asked Zuckerberg if Facebook had detailed profiles on even those who had never signed up for the social networking site.

He replied, "In general, we collect data of people who have not signed up for Facebook for security purposes."

Facebook users have begun to see whether they're among the 87 million people whose information may have been compromised for use by a political research firm. For some, the news is good: "It doesn't appear your Facebook information was shared with Cambridge Analytica."

The notifications are appearing on Facebook's page about users' exposed data. The company had also said it would put the information at the top of users' news feed.

As the Facebook scandal over Cambridge Analytica's misuse of the personal data of millions of users continues to unfold, Facebook is suspending another data analytics firm over similar allegations.

According to reporting by CNBC, Cubeyou collected data from Facebook users through personality quizzes "for non-profit academic research" developed with Cambridge University — then sold the data to advertisers.

It started with a warning email last summer, from a security researcher who told Panera Bread that its website was exposing sensitive customer data. But after the problem went unfixed for months, the researcher went public with proof of the flaw. Another analyst said Panera's response was "half-baked."

It looks like one of the marquee cases before the U.S. Supreme Court is about to go bust — sabotaged by a needle in a legislative haystack.

The question in the case is whether a U.S. technology company can refuse to honor a court-ordered U.S. search warrant seeking information that is stored at a facility outside the United States.

Oral arguments took place at the Supreme Court last month, and they did not go well for Microsoft, the tech giant that is challenging a warrant for information stored at its facility in Ireland.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

The Federal Trade Commission confirmed Monday that it is investigating the possible misuse of the personal information of as many as 50 million Facebook users. The probe comes after the social network admitted it suspended a firm that worked on behalf of the Trump campaign to use personal information gathered on Facebook to target potential Trump supporters.

Updated at 5:17 p.m. ET

It's 1995, and Chris Cox is on a plane reading a newspaper. One article about a recent court decision catches his eye. This moment, in a way, ends up changing his life — and, to this day, it continues to change ours.

The case that caught the congressman's attention involved some posts on a bulletin board — the early-Internet precursor to today's social media. The ruling led to a new law, co-authored by Cox and often called simply "Section 230."

Top executives at Cambridge Analytica, the U.K.-based firm embroiled in a controversy over the mining of Facebook user data, have been secretly recorded describing the stealthy methods they used to help get Donald Trump elected.

Facebook has suspended the data analytics firm that the Trump campaign relied on during the 2016 election, saying the firm improperly received user data and then may have failed to get rid of it.

On Friday, the social media giant announced that Cambridge Analytica; parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories; Christopher Wylie, who helped found Cambridge Analytica; and U.K.-based professor Aleksandr Kogan were all barred from Facebook pending an investigation.

The New Hampshire woman who wanted to keep her identity private but still claim her Powerball prize of nearly $560 million did retrieve her winnings Wednesday in Concord — with her lawyers acting as surrogates.

Her identity remains shielded — although that could change.

With sensors that can collect data on body movements, heart rate, blood pressure and other metrics, the list of health trackers that go beyond activity trackers like Fitbits gets longer each year.

"There's definitely an explosion of these things," says Dr. Joseph Kvedar, the vice president for connected health at Partners HealthCare in Boston, and an associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.

Privacy has long been a moving target, thanks to technology.

For much of humanity's history, privacy referred to the physical environment — who can see or hear you. Consider one of the most famous law review articles, called "The Right To Privacy," penned in 1890 by Samuel Warren and future Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis.

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