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.

 

In 2012, Durham Constabulary, in partnership with computer science academics at Cambridge University, began developing the Harm Assessment Risk Tool (HART), an artificial intelligence system designed to predict whether suspects are at low, moderate, or high risk of committing further crimes in the
Websites have long used third-party analytics scripts to collect information about how visitors use their sites. In November 2017, researchers at Princeton found that an increasing number of sites use "session replay" scripts that collect every action the user performs while on the site, including
In 2014, the UK suicide prevention group The Samaritans launched Radar, a Twitter-based service intended to leverage the social graph to identify people showing signs of suicidal intent on social media and alert their friends to reach out to offer them help. The app was quickly taken offline after
Designed for use by border guards, Unisys' LineSight software uses advanced data analytics and machine learning to help border guards decide whether to inspect travellers more closely before admitting them into their country. Unisys says the software assesses each traveller's risk beginning with the
The light surrounding you this very second may be used to expose how much money you make, where you live, when you're home, and much more. That's the big takeaway from A 2016 analysis of ambient light sensors by London-based security and privacy consultant and University College London researcher
Internal documents show that local police coordinated with Enbridge, the oil company building the Line 3 pipeline through northern Minnesota, to track and crack down on indigenous opposition to the development in an initiative known as Opposition Driven Operational Threats (ODOT). Enbridge designed
In a study of COMPAS, an algorithmic tool used in the US criminal justice system , Dartmouth College researchers Julia Dressel and Hany Farid found that the algorithm did no better than volunteers recruited via a crowdsourcing site. COMPAS, a proprietary risk assessment algorithm developed by
The Dutch data protection authority has found that Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system breaches Dutch law by processing personal data of the system's users without informing them clearly about what type of data the company uses and for what purpose. In addition, users cannot give valid consent
Researchers at Princeton University have shown that a vulnerability identified 11 years ago in the password managers built into web browsers can be exploited to allow third parties to track users across more than a thousand websites. The attack depends on the managers' autofill capability, and works
Two of the most notorious malware outbreaks of 2017 were the ransomware WannaCry and the wiper malware NotPetya. Both relied on the NSA's EternalBlue exploit of the Microsoft Server Message Block, which was leaked online by the hacker group The Shadow Brokers. Along with EternalBlue, The Shadow
In 2015, IBM began testing its i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis software to see if it could pick out terrorists, distinguish genuine refugees from imposters carrying fake passports, and perhaps predict bomb attacks. Using a scoring system based on several data sources and a hypothetical scenario, IBM
In a December 2018 update, Facebook so effectively disguised sponsored posts that it took AdBlocker Plus a month, instead of the more usual few days, to find a way to counter it. Facebook has responded to the threat posed to its business model by adblockers by both providing users with advertising
In 2015, The Intercept obtained documents showing that the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota used a fake Facebook account to friend and monitor local Black Lives Matter activists, and collect their personal information and photographs without their knowledge. The account was discovered in a
The UK government, in collaboration with universities, water companies, and public research bodies, is preparing to launch a national research programme to develop an early warning system for future waves of COVID-19 by detecting the coronavirus in sewage. About half of those infected with SARS-CoV
In the early 2000s, "Agbogbloshie", a section of Old Fadama, a large slum on the outskirts of Accra, Ghana, became a dumping ground for unwanted electronic waste, recast as "donations", from the developed world, which found it cheaper to ship in bulk than to recycle: old computers, cameras, TV sets
A paper by Michael Veale (UCL) and Reuben Binns (Oxford), "Fairer Machine Learning in the Real World: Mitigating Discrimination Without Collecting Sensitive Data", proposes three potential approaches to deal with hidden bias and unfairness in algorithmic machine learning systems. Often, the cause is
Like other countries, the US began incorporating RFID chips into its passports in 2006. The chips, which store passport information including name, date of birth, passport number, photo, and biometric identifiers, enable machine-readable border controls like those now seen at an increasing number of
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
The CEO of MoviePass, an app that charges users $10 a month in return for allowing them to watch a movie every day in any of the 90% of US theatres included in its programme, said in March 2018 that the company was exploring the idea of monetising the location data it collects. MoviePass was always
A report from the University of Washington studies parents' and children's interactions with general-purpose connected devices and connected toys. There are numerous privacy issues: toy companies may collect masses of children's intimate data; the toys may enable parents to spy on their children