Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Sharing online passwords becomes federal crime, EU-US Privacy Shield goes into effect & more

Online privacy remains a hot topic this July, stirring as much debate as ever. Find the most important headlines of the week from the CyberGhost blog, updated with fresh news every Friday. Jump in the conversation or simply quench your thirst for hot-off-the-press info.

But, most importantly, always surf anonymously with the CyberGhost apps for Windows, iOS or Android.


Sharing Netflix and HBO passwords is now a federal crime… but not so much

On July 5th, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that found, in part, that sharing passwords can be grounds for prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

This might turn millions of people who share passwords of streaming websites such as Netflix or HBO into “unwitting federal criminals”.

However, Netflix representatives declared in the past that they do not track the number of people sharing account passwords, since that poses difficulties and can also beneficial to them.

FBI raises eyebrows by collecting 430,000 iris scans

Size makes no difference when it comes to cutting-edge surveillance technology. At least that’s the case of San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, servicing 2 million citizens with the help of 1,800 officers, as The Verge draws attention.

Quietly, however, this department has collected iris data from an estimate of 434,000 arrestees, of the last couple of years.

“If hundreds of thousands of people are being added to this system on a yearly basis, what are those implications?”, highlights Nicole Ozer, Technology and Civil Liberties Policy director at the ACLU of California, quoted by the same publication. We ask ourselves the same question.

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The EU-US Privacy Shield agreement goes into effect, stirs controversy

This week will definitely go down in history, as The European Commission has formally adopted a new agreement concerning the transfer of data between Europe and the United States.

The Privacy Shield replaces the EU’s so-called Safe Harbor Decision, in effect since 2000 and until last October.

Under the Privacy Shield, US companies will be able to “self-certify” that they follow the privacy principles outlined in the framework. Privacy advocates say those protections are inadequate and want to see the Privacy Shield struck down.

UN resolution reaffirms freedom of expression online, 17 countries oppose

The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a non-binding resolution for the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet on July 1. The UN condemns countries that intentionally block Internet access as a violation of human rights.

A total of 17 countries opposed UN’s resolution: Cuba, China, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Burundi, the Republic of Congo, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Vietnam, while 70 other countries fully supported it.

However, since the resolution is non-binding, it is not legally enforceable on any of these countries. Read more here.

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There’s a good side to malware, according to FBI

It appears that sometimes the ends do not justify the means when it comes to online privacy.

The FBI is facing accusations that the malware it deployed during Operation Playpen, a sting that infiltrated a dark web child pornography website for two weeks and eventually led to more than 100 arrests, was illegal.

Yet the agency claims that the so-called network investigative techniques (NIT) they use are not “malicious” since they are done for a good cause.

However, malware is „malicious” no matter what it does, since it interferes with a computer’s normal functioning.

What do you think about all these, Ghosties?

About the author

Corina Dumitrescu
Corina Dumitrescu

A professional wordsmith, Corina has improved her writing skills through extensive experiences in journalism, advertising and marketing. Curious by nature, she enjoys learning foreign languages and discovering everything, as well as everyone around her.

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