Examples of Abuse

Almost everyday a company or government abuses your data. Whether these abuses are intentional or the result of error, we must learn from these abuses so that we can better build tomorrow's policies and technologies. This resource is an opportunity to learn that this has all happened before, as well as a tool to query these abuses.

Please contact us if you think we are missing some key stories.

 

05 Aug 2020
In early August, when the UK government announced it was purchasing 90-minute saliva-based COVID-19 tests called LamPORE and 5,000 lab-free machines to process them, supplied by DNANudge, clinical researchers were dismayed to find that there is no publicly available data about the accuracy or
29 Jul 2020
Questions have been raised about an irregular process by which the Trump administration awarded a $10.2 million dollar six-month contract to Pittsburgh-based TeleTracking Technologies. TeleTracking has traditionally sold software to help hospitals track patient status; under the new contract it is
01 Aug 2020
Professional sports teams are considering adopting facial recognition admissions systems to make stadiums as touchless for fans as possible as part of efforts to provide a safe environment during the pandemic. Both the Los Angeles Football Club and the New York Mets are trying the Clear app, made by
28 Jul 2020
A growing number of companies - for example, San Mateo start-up Camio and AI startup Actuate, which uses machine learning to identify objects and events in surveillance footage - are repositioning themselves as providers of AI software that can track workplace compliance with covid safety rules such
21 Jul 2020
The algorithm and mathematical model used to predict students’ grades by the International Baccalaureate programme, which was forced to cancel exams because of the pandemic, incorporated three elements: coursework, teachers’ predictions of their students’ exam grades, and “school context”, which was
30 Jul 2020
As part of efforts to make returning to campus safer, US universities are considering or implementing mandates requiring students to install exposure notification apps, quarantine enforcement programs, and other unproven new technologies, risking exacerbating existing inequalities in access to both
27 Jul 2020
A preliminary study finds that facial recognition algorithms struggle to identify people wearing masks. The study tested 89 commercial facial recognition algorithms, and the best had error rates between 5% and 50% in matching unmasked photos with photos of the same person wearing a digitally-applied
10 Aug 2020
Manchester-based VST Enterprises is developing a rapid COVID-19 testing kit intended to help restart stadium sporting events. The results of tests, which fans will take the day before the event they wish to attend and provide results within ten minutes, will be stored in VSTE’s V-Health Passport, a
22 Jul 2020
By mid-July, the UK’s contact tracing system was still failing to contact thousands of people in areas with England’s highest infection rates. In London, with the sixth-highest infection rate in England, only 47% of at-risk people were contacted; in partially locked-down Leicester, the rate was 65%
The non-profit Resolve to Save Lives, led by Tom Frieden, director of the CDC in the Obama administration, finds that six months after the first coronavirus cases in the US most states are failing to report crucial information needed to track and control the spread of COVID-19. Among the issues
22 Jul 2020
Analysis of untreated wastewater from the county health department in Yosemite Valley led Biobot Analytics, based in Cambridge, MA, to estimate that 170 people in Yosemite national park during the July 4 weekend may have been infected with the coronavirus, dropping to 60 during the following week
A study describes the data transmitted to backend servers by the Google/Apple based contact tracing (GAEN) apps in use in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark and finds that the health authority client apps are generally well-behaved from a privacy point of view, although the Irish
When Google and Apple announced their joint platform for contact tracing, the companies said the system would not track users’ locations. By mid-July, the resulting apps had been downloaded more than 20 million times in companies such as Germany and Switzerland. However, in order for Bluetooth
29 Jul 2020
Individuals accept giving more information in emergencies, and the tradeoffs between providing emergency help and privacy must be carefully considered. A study of popular disaster apps finds that many apps ignore privacy policies and government agency policies. Twelve of the 14 apps studied capture
16 Jul 2020
US epidemiologists are complaining that secrecy is interfering with public health efforts to curb the coronavirus. Beginning in April, California state and county health authorities have refused requests from scientists from Stanford University and several University of California campuses for
19 Jul 2020
Several of the Chinese companies producing personal protective equipment such as face masks were shown via undercover video footage to be using Uighur labour under a government labour transfer programme that pays regional subsidies for each worker taken in. The equipment is being shipped all over
28 Apr 2020
An audit of two apps and a website used by national and local governments in Colombia finds: an absence of public information about the tools, how they work, or how their security and privacy is protected; non-compliance with Colombia’s data protection legal framework, particularly in the area of
An “intelligence note” found in a trove of law enforcement documents known as BlueLeaks shows that the US Department of Homeland Security fears that face masks are breaking law enforcement facial recognition. The note came from the post-9/11 Minnesota Fusion Center and was distributed on May 26
15 Jul 2020
Human Rights Watch reports that drug cartels and rebel groups are imposing their own lockdowns in rural areas of Colombia and using WhatsApp chats and pamphlets to advise local residents of curfew hours, transport shutdowns, and other bans that are far more strict than those imposed by the
04 May 2020
Immunity passports would impose artificial restrictions on who can and cannot participate in social, civic, and economic activities, and create a perverse incentive for individuals, particularly those who can’t afford a period of exclusion, to seek out infection, posing a health risk to anyone they