Big Brother


Public servants face tough new social media rules

7th Aug 2017

PUBLIC servants who “like” or share a Facebook post critical of the government could find themselves in hot water — even if they select the “angry face” reaction.

Government employees could also be in breach of the public service code of conduct for material they send in a private email, or for failing to remove “nasty comments” posted by other people to their social media pages.

The new social media guidelines, published on Monday by the Australian Public Service Commission, reinforce that while APS employees “have the right to participate in public and political debate”, it is “not an unlimited right”.

“If you ‘like’ something on a social media platform, it will generally be taken to be an endorsement of that material as though you’d created that material yourself,” the guidelines read.

“‘Sharing’ a post has much the same effect. However, if you’re sharing something because you disagree with it and want to draw it someone else’s attention, make sure that you make that clear at the time in a way that doesn’t breach the Code itself. It may not be enough to select the ‘angry face’ icon, especially if you’re one of thousands that have done so.”

In the case of a private email to a friend, the guidelines state that there is “nothing to stop your friend taking a screenshot of that email, including your personal details, and sending it to other people or posting it all over the internet”.

“Again, the breach of the Code is not in their subsequent publication of your material, but in your emailing that material in the first place,” it says. “In fact, there’s nothing to stop your friend from forwarding your email directly to your employer and reporting your behaviour.”

And for “nasty comments made by someone else on my social media pages”, the guidelines state that “doing nothing about objectionable material that someone else has posted on your page can reasonably be seen in some circumstances as your endorsement of that material”.

“If someone does post material of this kind, it may be sensible to delete it or make it plain that you don’t agree with it or support it,” it says. “Any breach of the Code would not come from the person making the post. It would come from how you reacted to it.”

Posting anti-government content anonymously or outside of work hours is also a no-no. “Posting material anonymously or using a pseudonym doesn’t guarantee your identity will stay hidden,” it says.

“Even if you don’t identify yourself you can still be identified by someone else. It’s a simple fact: agencies often receive dob-ins about comments made by their employees. Often those employees are shocked to find they’ve been linked back to their employer so easily.”

An employee’s “capacity to affect the reputation” of their agency and the APS “does not stop when you leave the office”. “APS employees are required by law to uphold the APS Values at all times,” the guidelines say.

Even joining the wrong Facebook group could get public servants in hot water, they add. “People will draw conclusions about you and your ability to work impartially from a range of factors. This can include the nature of any online communities that you join.

“For example, if you work as a Customer Service Officer in Centrelink while being a member of a Facebook group that is opposed to current laws about the payment of welfare benefits to migrants. This might raise a concern about whether you would deal with all of your clients fairly and professionally in your APS role.

“People would reasonably be concerned about your ability to implement Government policies in a way that is free from bias and in accordance with the law.”

Nadine Flood, national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, described the new policy as “overreach”, saying it “clearly does not strike the right balance between giving our community faith in the Commonwealth public service and allowing people who work in public services to undertake normal, everyday activity in a democracy”.

“The notion that the mum of a gay son who happens to work in Centrelink can’t like a Facebook post on marriage equality without endangering her job is patently absurd,” Ms Flood said in a statement.

“It is one thing to say that public servants working on a particular Government policy shouldn’t be publicly criticising that policy, quite another to say they have no right to engage on social media on anything that could be a community issue.”

Ms Flood said government “acts in every area of life”, so the situation could not be compared to the private sector. “It’s completely unreasonable for a worker to face disciplinary action over a private email or something as benign as ‘liking’ a social media post,” she said. “Of course there need to be limits but [this] policy goes too far.”

 

 

source;http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/at-work/public-servants-face-tough-new-social-media-rules/news-story/db2893503fa0cb7997f9e066936c322c

Cash crackdown boss floats nano-chips in notes

4th July 2017

THE man charged with cracking down on the “black economy” has revealed how he would like to keep track of your $100 and $50 notes.

Hi-tech nano-chips would be implanted in Australia’s “disappearing” cash under a plan floated by Michael Andrew, the head of the federal government’s Black Economy Taskforce.

Speaking to The Courier-Mail, Mr Andrew said too much cash was being hoarded under pensioners’ beds and stockpiled as a trusted currency in China.

Estimates for the size of Australia’s so-called black economy vary from $23 billion to $50 billion. The government claims tax avoidance through cash payments costs the budget up to $10 billion in revenue, money that could go towards funding welfare and other services.

In the May budget, the federal government announced an extra $32 million funding for the Australian Taxation Office to fund its cash crackdown, which it expects to bring in an extra $589 million in revenue over the next four years.

According to Mr Andrew, who will hand down his final report in October, there should be 14 $100 notes for every adult in Australia but there are fewer than that in circulation. While criminals prefer the $50 note, as the Reserve Bank pointed out in its defence of cash last year, foreign migrants and pensioners prefer $100s.

“You see a lot of Chinese don’t trust their banking system so they like to take Australian dollars back to China,” he told The Courier-Mail. “We’re seeing $100 notes used by pensioners because there’s an assets-based test at the moment and they like to keep a fair bit of cash under the bed.

“I’m working with the Reserve Bank and Austrac to get a better understanding of where our notes are. Clearly there’s a section of this that is organised crime. One of the options we would have is putting an expiry date on these notes.

“You could put a trace on some of these notes to see where they would go. You can use nano technology to put little chips in so you could then trace it.”

Last year, a report by UBS recommended Australia scrap the $100 note. According to UBS, benefits may include “reduced crime (difficult to monetise), increased tax revenue (fewer cash transactions) and reduced welfare fraud (claiming welfare while earning or hoarding cash)”.

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm at the time criticised the cash crackdown proposal, saying “the only people who are distressed by the cash economy are the government and the public servants who want to spend taxes”.

“The incentives for a cash economy would be a lot reduced if taxes were a lot lower,” he said in December. “It’s a reaction to the level of taxes we pay.”

Earlier this year, Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer defended the move, saying “we don’t believe in a self-help approach to tax reform”.

“We think it should apply and be fairly represented across everybody,” she said. “There are always going to be people who try and avoid their tax, and [for] those in the cash economy it’s much easier to avoid detection.

“This comes at a time where we’re experiencing rapid technological change. A lot of people under 40 don’t really carry that much cash around anymore, but even despite this we have seen an increase in the number of $100 notes in distribution.

“I don’t know too many people who walk around with $100 notes, I certainly haven’t sighted one in a long time, but the point is that there is clearly an issue that we need to grapple with.”

 

source; http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/cash-crackdown-boss-floats-nanochips-in-notes/news-story/05db2212948c7d02e822532de63c170d

WikiLeaks Releases CIA Vault 7 ‘ELSA’ Geolocation Tracking Project

29th June 2017

WikiLeaks published the next release in their CIA Vault 7 series today, revealing details on a geolocation tracking project named ELSA.

WikiLeaks describes the ELSA project as, “a geo-location malware for WiFi-enabled devices like laptops running the Microsoft Windows operating system.” The exploit is installed on a target system using other CIA bugs that WikiLeaks has previously detailed; once installed ELSA scans all visible WiFi access points in the area and records the ESS identifier, MAC address and signal strength of the access points at regular intervals. The targeted device does not need to be connected to the WiFi access point to record this information; the device simply needs to be WiFi enabled.

The ELSA malware automatically attempts to use public geo-location databases from tech companies such as Google or Microsoft to resolve the position of the device and records the longitude and latitude data along with the timestamp. This information is then stored on the device in an encrypted format to be later be transferred to another device. This encrypted information is not transferred wirelessly. Instead, a CIA operator must gain access to the device using other CIA exploits in order to transfer and gain access to the encrypted information.

The WikiLeaks page further states, “The ELSA project allows the customization of the implant to match the target environment and operational objectives like sampling interval, maximum size of the logfile and invocation/persistence method. Additional back-end software (again using public geo-location databases from Google and Microsoft) converts unprocessed access point information from exfiltrated logfiles to geo-location data to create a tracking profile of the target device.”
The full WikiLeaks description and documentation relating to Project ELSA can be found here.

 

 

 

 

source:http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/06/28/wikileaks-releases-cia-vault-7-elsa-geolocation-tracking-project/

Sydney man has Opal card implanted into hand to make catching public transport easier

28th June 2017

If you have ever been caught fumbling for your Opal card at the ticket gate, a Sydney man may have found the solution.

He had the chip from an Opal card inserted into his hand and is now tapping on using the technology that is implanted underneath his skin.

Bio-hacker Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, his legal name, had the Opal near-field communication (NFC) chip cut down and encased in bio-compatible plastic, measuring 10 millimetres by 6 millimetres.

He then had the device implanted just beneath the skin on the side of his left hand.

“It gives me an ability that not everyone else has, so if someone stole my wallet I could still get home,” he said.

He is able to use the Opal just like other users, including topping the card up on his smartphone.

However, his hand needs to be about 1 centimetre from the reader, closer than traditional cards, and he sometimes needs to tap more than once, due to his device’s smaller antenna.

“My goal is to have frictionless interaction with technology,” he said.
‘Don’t try this at home’

Mr Meow-Meow had his device implanted by a piercing expert, in a procedure lasting approximately one hour.

He warned others not to do the same without expertise and research.

“Most certainly don’t try this at home unless you know what you’re doing,” he said.

Mr Meow-Meow said there was a risk of bacterial infection whenever anything was implanted beneath the skin, so it was important to consult professionals.

“Be aware of the risks involved and make a wise judgement based on that.”

He also said his actions were a breach of Opal’s terms of service, which prohibit tampering.

“It will be really interesting to see what happens when the first transit officer scans my arm,” he said.
‘This is the future’

Mr Meow-Meow does not believe his implant was very radical.

“Putting technology into the body is not unusual,” he said.

Implants like pacemakers for heart conditions and intrauterine devices (IUDs) for birth control are now widely used and the Sydney scientist said his device was a natural extension.

“While one might be for birth control, which we’ve decided is pretty OK, this one is to make catching public transport easier.”

Mr Meow-Meow had his Opal implant custom-made by a US lab, Dangerous Things.
Closeup of a Mickey Mouse bandaid.
Photo: Mr Meow-Meow said it is actually a breach of Opal’s terms of service to have the implant. (ABC News: Nick Dole)

He has two other NFC implants in his hand and arm, including one that he keeps documents on.

He said NFC implants could be widely used in the future, particularly when a person’s identity needs to be proven.

“You’ll see it in parole, in nursing homes where people are unable to divulge medical details,” Mr Meow-Meow said.

“If I could go to a government department and swipe my hand, that would make accessing these services a lot easier.”

 

 

source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-27/sydney-bio-hacker-has-opal-travel-card-implanted-into-hand/8656174?

Stolen American malware used to take over traffic cameras in Australia

23rd Jun 2017

There’s fresh reason to be worried about Wannacry, the malicious software that hackers stole from the U.S. National Security Agency.

In May, hackers used the malware to infect computers in more than 70 countries. The attack was particularly bad in England, where the software disrupted service at many of the country’s busiest hospitals.

Now, the software has been used to take control of 55 speed and red light cameras in Victoria, the most densely populated state in Australia. The Czech security company Avast says the hackers didn’t use the Internet to launch the attack. The infection came through a USB drive.

That was likely the same technique the U.S. and Israel used to damage Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility with the Stuxnet virus.

Jonathan Penn, director of strategy at Avast, said in a statement Thursday:

“This attack has shown us that even if your device is not directly connected to the Internet, that doesn’t mean it is completely safe or can’t be infected with ransomware like WannaCry. The traffic cameras were connected to a vulnerable USB drive, which at one point got infected with malware.

“This incident isn’t the first of its kind. Stuxnet did its job on the Iranian nuclear facilities through none other than a USB in 2012.

“These attacks shine a light on not only the dangers of USB drives, but the diverse ways behind the spreading of malware and viruses like WannaCry or Stuxnet and the need for robust protections.”

There’s fresh reason to be worried about Wannacry, the malicious software that hackers stole from the U.S. National Security Agency.

In May, hackers used the malware to infect computers in more than 70 countries. The attack was particularly bad in England, where the software disrupted service at many of the country’s busiest hospitals.

Now, the software has been used to take control of 55 speed and red light cameras in Victoria, the most densely populated state in Australia. The Czech security company Avast says the hackers didn’t use the Internet to launch the attack. The infection came through a USB drive.

That was likely the same technique the U.S. and Israel used to damage Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility with the Stuxnet virus.

Jonathan Penn, director of strategy at Avast, said in a statement Thursday:

“This attack has shown us that even if your device is not directly connected to the Internet, that doesn’t mean it is completely safe or can’t be infected with ransomware like WannaCry. The traffic cameras were connected to a vulnerable USB drive, which at one point got infected with malware.

“This incident isn’t the first of its kind. Stuxnet did its job on the Iranian nuclear facilities through none other than a USB in 2012.

“These attacks shine a light on not only the dangers of USB drives, but the diverse ways behind the spreading of malware and viruses like WannaCry or Stuxnet and the need for robust protections.”

 

 

 

source:http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/cyber-life/sd-me-wannacry-malware-20170622-story.html

How the internet of things could be spying on you

10th June 2017

BIG Brother is watching.

Your front door, television and child’s doll could all be spying on you.

The internet of things, everyday objects connected to the web, can send and receive data and appliances have the power to gain control and track your behaviour and movements.

At least 40 per cent of Australian homes now have at least one internet of things device and they are disguised as normal appliances. They can be fridges, kettles or even window blinds.

There are warnings about the danger of having an internet of things device in your home.

Just last year a Norwegian Consumer Council discovered a children’s doll was recording what children were saying and sending the information to a US company, which could share and use the data in a number of different ways.

The consumer council found internet-connected toys My Friend Cayla and i-Que breached several consumer laws.

DEVICES TRACK YOU

Lecturer at UNSW’s School of Taxation and Business Law, Kayleen Manwaring, told news.com.au people needed to be cautious.

The internet of things has been beneficial to health and aged care and agriculture, but Ms Manwaring said people using it frivolously needed to understand what information items could gather.

“Many of the internet of things devices collect a whole lot of data about you, what you’re doing, your kids, your home and it may not be the sort of data you want to make available,” she said.

Ms Manwaring said people needed to start thinking about things before they bought them.

“Do you really need that internet-connected hairbrush,” she said.

“A lot of devices can track your geo location. The internet of things knows where you are, when you leave home, when you come home.

“Mobile phones track you, the websites you visit.”

Ms Manwaring said there was never a way of knowing where the personal information about you went, and what it was used for. Some companies claim to use the information for marketing, but the fine print is never quite clear enough, according to Ms Manwaring.

“A lot of consumer devices aren’t very secure and there’s not a lot of security protocols,” she said.

“It’s not just the corporates who can get into your daughter’s doll, but malicious hackers getting into these devices.

“There’s not only data security flaws. The internet of things in some circumstances allow malicious hackers to control devices or attack other devices.”

DEVICES CAN BE DANGEROUS

Ms Manwaring said the internet of things could be dangerous because we didn’t know what the devices were trying to achieve and who they were trying to target.

The My Friend Cayla doll also had a security flaw where strangers could talk and listen through the doll, and there were pre-programmed phrases that mentioned specific brands targeting children.

“The problem is we really don’t know what they are doing with that data,” Ms Manwaring said.

“We could be optimistic and say they’re not doing anything suspicious, but unless you tell me exactly what you’re doing with it — it’s well known marketers employ behavioural psychologists and the point is to influence us to buy products. That might be OK, there’s plenty of times we buy products, but it’s a problem when they are targeting vulnerable people like children.”

Ms Manwaring said devices you bought never really belonged to you and would stop functioning without certain embedded software.

“IoT devices have the potential to collect more intimate data about individuals than was possible with previous devices,” Ms Manwaring wrote in an article on The Conversation.

“This data can then be used to create profiles that give incredible insight into consumers, and can even predict behaviour.”

Ms Manwaring said the law may not protect people from the internet of things.

“Many IoT devices put consumer privacy at risk, but the Privacy Act has significant limitations, as the definition of ‘personal information’ is very narrow,” she wrote.

In the future, consumers and regulators could pursue device suppliers for information they are getting under Australia Consumer Law, but Ms Manwaring said that was still a grey area.

“We don’t know what ‘acceptable quality’ is when it comes to some of these devices, for instance. Is an internet-connected kettle that boils water perfectly well, but can be easily hacked, of acceptable quality?” she said.

Ms Manwaring said consumers should think hard about the risks of these seemingly harmless items before purchasing them.

 

source: http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/inventions/how-the-internet-of-things-could-be-spying-on-you/news-story/6dd5ed7582d4ed79b6a43964336b452f

Facebook wants to spy on people through their smartphone camera and analyse the emotions on their face

8th June 2017

FACEBOOK has been secretly developing creepy technology which spies on people and automatically analyses their facial expressions.

The social network applied for a patent to capture pictures of a user through their smartphone


The creepy designs, which date back to 2015, were discovered by software company CBI Insight, which has been analysing Mark Zuckerberg’s “emotion technology”.

Patent documents contain illustrations showing a person holding a smartphone with a camera taking a picture from which “emotion characteristics” like smiling or frowning are detected.

If the person appears to like what they’re seeing, Facebook could place more of the same type of content in front of them.

The creepy designs, which date back to 2015, were discovered by software company CBI Insight, which has been analysing Mark Zuckerberg’s “emotion technology”.

Patent documents contain illustrations showing a person holding a smartphone with a camera taking a picture from which “emotion characteristics” like smiling or frowning are detected.

If the person appears to like what they’re seeing, Facebook could place more of the same type of content in front of them.

Patents don’t always make it through to the end product- so it’s not clear whether Facebook will bring out this new feature.

Researchers at CBI Insights warned that the plans could put a lot of people off using the service.

“On the one hand, they want to identify which content is most engaging and respond to audience’s reactions, on the other emotion-detection is technically difficult, not to mention a PR and ethical minefield,” it wrote in a blogpost.

But that’s not all.

Facebook appears to have tested out similar technology to work out which emoji to send to people using a selfie.

If you’re smiling, it could automatically send a smiley face and vice versa.

Its most recent emotional patent – which was granted on 25 May this year – aims to tackle a dilemma many of us will have faced.

It can be difficult to make your text messages come across exactly as you mean them to, and sarcasm or jokes are often lost in translation – leading to some awkward conversations.

A new tool lets the social network to give your texts more feeling – so they won’t be misconstrued.

The system picks up data from the keyboard, mouse, touchpad, touchscreen to detect typing speed and how hard the keys are pressed.

Facebook will accordingly change the text font and size, before shaping to make it more emotive and relevant to your mood.

Facebook said that it does not currently offer tools to detect emotion.

If you want to check what Facebook sees and shares about you, check out its privacy policy here.

 

source‘https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/3738170/facebooks-plans-to-watch-you-through-your-smartphone-camera-as-you-scroll-through-social-network-revealed/

Barack Obama Talked Directly with Mark Zuckerberg About Facebook Concerns

21st May 2017

Former president Barack Obama spoke directly with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the latter’s drafting of a 5,700-word manifesto outlining the company’s future goals.

Obama was one of the instigators of the “fake news” panic that has put Facebook in the establishment’s CROSSHAIRS following the election of Donald Trump. Obama has repeatedly addressed the issue and even discussed it privately with European leaders prior to leaving office.

According to a major New York Times Magazine feature on the future of Facebook, he is also holding private discussions with Mark Zuckerberg.

Earlier that day, Zuckerberg’s staff had sent me a draft of a 5,700­ word manifesto that, I was told, he spent weeks writing. The document, “Building Global Community,” argued that until now, Facebook’s corporate goal had merely been to connect people. But that was just Step 1. According to the manifesto, Facebook’s “next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community — for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.” If it was a nebulous crusade, it was also vast in its ambition.

According to the piece, Zuckerberg — after a “pause” — admitted that he had been in talks with former president Obama during the drafting of the manifesto.

When I asked if he had chatted with Obama about the former president’s critique of Facebook, Zuckerberg paused for several seconds, nearly to the point of awkwardness, before answering that he had.

Facebook’s spokespeople then called the New York Times Magazine reporter to clarify the CEO’s comments, which the reporter interpreted as an attempt to counter the perception that the new manifesto was “partisan” and “anti-Trump.”

Facebook’s spokespeople later called to stress that Obama was only one of many people to whom he had spoken. In other words: Don’t read this as a partisan anti-­Trump manifesto. But if the company pursues the admittedly airy aims outlined in “Building Global Community,” the changes will echo across media and politics, and some are bound to be considered partisan. The risks are especially clear for changes aimed at adding layers of journalistic ethics across News Feed, which could transform the public’s perception of Facebook, not to mention shake the foundations of its business.

 

 

source: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/05/19/revealed-barack-obama-talked-directly-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-concerns/

Ancestry.com takes DNA ownership rights from customers and their relatives

\21st May 2017

Don’t use the AncestryDNA testing service without actually reading the Ancestry.com Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. According to these legal contracts, you still own your DNA, but so does Ancestry.com.

The family history website Ancestry.com is selling a new DNA testing service called AncestryDNA. But the DNA and genetic data that Ancestry.com collects may be used against “you or a genetic relative.” According to its privacy policies, Ancestry.com takes ownership of your DNA forever. Your ownership of your DNA, on the other hand, is limited in years.

It seems obvious that customers agree to this arrangement, since all of them must “click here to agree” to these terms. But, how many people really read those contacts before clicking to agree? And how many relatives of Ancestry.com customers are also reading?

There are three significant provisions in the AncestryDNA Privacy Policy and Terms of Service to consider on behalf of yourself and your genetic relatives: (1) the perpetual, royalty-free, world-wide license to use your DNA; (2) the warning that DNA information may be used against “you or a genetic relative”; (3) your waiver of legal rights.

1. Perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide license to use your DNA

AncestryDNA, a service of Ancestry.com, owns the “World’s Largest Consumer DNA Database” that contains the DNA of more than 3 million people. The AncestryDNA service promises to, “uncover your ethnic mix, discover distant relatives, and find new details about your unique family history with a simple DNA test.”

For the price of $99 dollars and a small saliva sample, AncestryDNA customers get an analysis of their genetic ethnicity and a list of potential relatives identified by genetic matching. Ancestry.com, on the other hand, gets free ownership of your genetic information forever. Technically, Ancestry.com will own your DNA even after you’re dead.

Specifically, by submitting DNA to AncestryDNA, you agree to “grant AncestryDNA and the Ancestry Group Companies a perpetual, royalty-free, world-wide, transferable license to use your DNA, and any DNA you submit for any person from whom you obtained legal authorization as described in this Agreement, and to use, host, sublicense and distribute the resulting analysis to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered.”

Basically, Ancestry.com gets to use or distribute your DNA for any research or commercial purpose it decides and doesn’t have to pay you, or your heirs, a dime. Furthermore, Ancestry.com takes this royalty-free license in perpetuity (for all time) and can distribute the results of your DNA tests anywhere in the world and with any technology that exists, or will ever be invented. With this single contractual provision, customers are granting Ancestry.com the broadest possible rights to own and exploit their genetic information.

The AncestryDNA terms also requires customers to confirm that, “You understand that by providing any DNA to us, you acquire no rights in any research or commercial products that may be developed by AncestryDNA that may relate to or otherwise embody your DNA.” Essentially, you still own your DNA, but so does Ancestry.com. And, you can commercialize your own DNA for money, but Ancestry.com is also allowed to monetize your DNA for millions of dollars and doesn’t have to compensate you.

Although AncestryDNA customers provide voluntary consent to have their DNA used in commercial research projects, customers are free to withdraw consent, with a few exceptions. First, “data cannot be withdrawn from research already in progress or completed, or from published results and findings.” In those cases, Ancestry.com has access to data about you indefinitely.

Secondly, if a customer withdraws their consent, Ancestry.com will take 30 days to cease using their data for research. Finally, withdrawing consent, “will not result in destruction of your DNA Sample or deletion of your Data from AncestryDNA products and services, unless you direct us otherwise.” Customers must jump through additional hoops if they want their DNA sample destroyed or their data deleted from AncestryDNA products and services. The Ancestry.com policy does not specify what “additional steps” are required. U.S. customers must contact Ancestry.com customer service at 1–800–958–9124 to find out. (Customers outside the United States must call separate customer service numbers.)

2. Warning that DNA information may be used against “you or a genetic relative”

The Ancestry.com DNA testing service promises to analyze approximately 700,000 genetic markers. According to Ancestry.com, the service, “combines advanced DNA science with the world’s largest online family history resource to predict your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections.” The results of an AncestryDNA analysis include information about “ethnicity across 26 regions/ethnicities and identifies potential relatives through DNA matching to others who have taken the AncestryDNA test.”

AncestryDNA claims to use the “latest autosomal testing technology” to produce genetic identity reports and can combine the test results with “the world’s largest online family history resource to predict your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections.” In addition, AncestryDNA offers a genetic code profiling and matching service, advertising that “AncestryDNA can also help identify relationships with unknown relatives through a dynamic list of DNA matches.”

This raises a thorny issue that Ancestry.com has not resolved: your exact DNA profile is unique to you, but a substantial portion of your DNA is identical to your relatives. Thus, Ancestry.com is able to take DNA from its customers and also their relatives. Even if you’ve never used Ancestry.com, but one of your genetic relatives has, the company may already own identifiable portions of your DNA.

The personal “Genetic Data” collected by Ancestry.com includes “information derived from processing your DNA Sample through genomic, molecular, and computational analyses using various technologies, such as genotyping and whole or partial genome sequencing. Genetic Data is broader than just the results delivered to you when you use the AncestryDNA test and includes a range of DNA markers such as those associated with your health or other conditions.” In short, Ancestry.com holds genetic data that reveals your health and other conditions.

Genetic diseases are disorders caused by abnormalities in a person’s DNA and are divided into three categories: single-gene disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and Huntington’s disease, result from the mutation of the protein of a single gene; chromosome abnormalities, such as Down Syndrome, are caused by disorders of the whole chromosome; and multifactorial disorders, including breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, develop from mutations in multiple genes, often coupled with environmental causes. Genomics play a role in nine out of the top ten leading causes of death in the U.S., including cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, influenza and pneumonia, septicemia, and kidney disease.

Buried in the Terms of Service, Ancestry.com warns customers, “it is possible that information about you or a genetic relative could be revealed, such as that you or a relative are carriers of a particular disease. That information could be used by insurers to deny you insurance coverage, by law enforcement agencies to identify you or your relatives, and in some places, the data could be used by employers to deny employment.”

This is a massive red flag. The data “you or a genetic relative” give to AncestryDNA could be used against “you or a genetic relative” by employers, insurers, and law enforcement.

For example, a young woman named Theresa Morelli applied for individual disability insurance, consented to release of her medical records through the Medical Information Bureau (a credit reporting agency for medical history), and was approved for coverage. One month later, Ms. Morelli’s coverage was cancelled and premiums refunded when the insurer learned her father had Huntington’s disease, a genetic illness.

Startlingly, the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) used Morelli’s broad consent to query her father’s physician, a doctor with whom she had no prior patient relationship. More importantly, the applicant herself wasn’t diagnosed with Huntington’s carrier status, but she suffered exclusion on the basis of a genetic predisposition in her family.

Under a 1995 consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, the MIB and its members are required to comply with consumer protections of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Much like financial credit reports, all consumers are entitled to a free annual copy of their “medical report” file from the Medical Information Bureau (MIB). If the consumer discovers an error in her MIB medical credit report file, she must mail a letter to the MIB to begin the dispute process.

Federal laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), contain protections that prohibit health insurers from requiring, using, and analyzing genetic information in health care coverage decisions. However, both laws contain glaring exceptions that allow for genetic discrimination in certain industries. Notably, no Federal laws regulate the use of genetic information, genetic testing, and genetic discrimination for life insurance companies, long-term care insurers, and employers.

An Ancestry.com DNA test is the impetus of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Sergeant Cleon Brown, a white police officer in Hastings, Michigan against his employer, the Hastings Police Department, and several city employees. Curious about his own family history, Sergeant Brown purchased an AncestryDNA genetic test and analysis report.

The results surprised him — Ancestry.com said his DNA was 18% sub-Saharan African. Sergeant Brown, “proudly told his colleagues at the police department” about his African ancestry.

But not long after that, “his elation turned into misery.” According to Sergeant Brown’s complaint, his colleagues at the police department, “started whispering ‘Black Lives Matter’ while pumping their fists as they walked” past Sergeant Brown.

The complaint also alleges that the former mayor of Hastings participated in the racist teasing, by telling Sergeant Brown a joke containing racist slurs. “I just never thought it would be in Hastings, saying, like, racist comments to me,” Sergeant Brown said to the New York Times. In his lawsuit, Sergeant Brown, a military veteran who has worked in law enforcement for 20 years, is seeking $500,000 in damages.

The Ancestry.com Terms of Service also warns that genetic information in its possession can be used by state or federal law enforcement agencies “to identify you or your relatives.” With the rise of forensic evidence in criminal investigations, DNA is often considered incontrovertible evidence. To propel the use of DNA evidence in criminal investigations and prosecutions, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database.

The CODIS DNA database, created and maintained by the FBI, consists of the following three levels of information: local DNA Index Systems (LDIS) where DNA profiles originate; state DNA Index Systems (SDIS) which allows for laboratories within states to share information; and the National DNA Index System (NDIS) which allows states to compare DNA information with one another. According to reports, the FBI’s CODIS software connects disparate databases including, arrestees, missing persons, convicted offenders, and forensic samples collected from crime scenes.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, federal law enforcement, the Army Laboratory, and Puerto Rico participate in national sharing of DNA profiles through the CODIS system. However, the FBI DNA database is not infallible. In 2015, the FBI said it discovered flawed data after it commissioned a study to retest DNA samples. In a bulletin sent to crime labs across the United States, the FBI surmised that DNA data errors were probably due to, “clerical mistakes in transcriptions of the genotypes and to limitations of the old technology and software.” The FBI suspects that errors in DNA may go back as far as 1999.

3. Waiver of Legal Rights

Are “you or a genetic relative” a customer of AncestryDNA? If so, Ancestry.com now has control over the DNA of “you or a genetic relative.” Should the warnings from Ancestry.com come to pass, and DNA information about “you or a genetic relative” is used against “you or a genetic relative” by any employer, insurer, or law enforcement, then “you or a genetic relative” have very limited legal rights.

In its sales contract, Ancestry.com takes no responsibility. By consenting to the AncestryDNA Terms and Conditions, “you or a genetic relative” agree to hold the company harmless for any damages that AncestryDNA may cause unintentionally or purposefully. If “you or a genetic relative” are “dissatisfied with any portion of the Websites or the Services, or with any clause of these terms, as your sole and exclusive remedy you may discontinue using the Websites and the Services.” The only option for unhappy customers is to stop using AncestryDNA.

In the event you or your genetic information causes harm, you agree to “defend, indemnify and hold harmless AncestryDNA, its affiliates, officers, directors, employees and agents from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees).” And customers beware, “you may be liable to others as well as to us if your account is used in violation of the terms and conditions of this Agreement.” That means you could end up owing money to Ancestry.com, its attorneys, and others.

The final indignity for Ancestry.com customers is that they must waive fundamental legal rights by agreeing to mandatory binding arbitration. With the exception of intellectual property rights disputes and certain small claims, Ancestry.com customers must pursue their disputes through arbitration, rather than court. In arbitration, the established legal rules of discovery, evidence, and trial by jury do not exist.

Finally, if many AncestryDNA customers want to join together to file a lawsuit against Ancestry.com, they are prohibited. But in fairness, Ancestry.com similarly prohibits itself from joining with a bunch of others to file a class action lawsuit against you. By agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, “you and AncestryDNA agree that each may bring claims against the other only in your or its individual capacity, and not as a plaintiff or class member in any purported class, consolidated, or representative action.”

And, these arbitration provisions survive even if you cancel your AncestryDNA account. However, for good measure, Ancestry.com notes that, “this arbitration agreement does not preclude you from bringing issues to the attention of federal, state, or local agencies. Such agencies can, if the law allows, seek relief against us on your behalf.”

4. Conclusion

To use the AncestryDNA service, customers must consent to the Ancestry.com Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. These are binding legal contracts between the customer and Ancestry.com. The most egregious of these terms gives Ancestry.com a free license to exploit your DNA for the rest of time.

Customers must understand that turning over their DNA means a loss of complete ownership and control. Ancestry.com customers should also know they’re giving up the genetic privacy of themselves and their relatives.

Before purchasing, individuals are advised to fully read and consider the Ancestry.com Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. If you become a customer, Ancestry.com owns your DNA for life and longer.

 

 

 

source:https://medium.com/@MedicalReport/ancestry-com-takes-dna-ownership-rights-from-customers-and-their-relatives-dbafeed02b9e

Turkish authorities block access to Wikipedia

29th April 2017

Turkey on Saturday blocked all access inside the country to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, an internet monitoring group said, but it was not clear why the ban had been imposed.

A block affecting all langage editions of the website in Turkey was detected after an administrative order by the Turkish authorities, the Turkey Blocks monitoring group said in a statement.

Residents in Istanbul were unable to access any pages of Wikipedia without using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), AFP correspondents said.

“The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country,” Turkey Blocks said.

Turkey Blocks and Turkish media, including the Hurriyet daily, said the site has been blocked under a provisional administrative order that would need to be backed by a full court order in the next days.

“After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651, an administrative measure has been taken for this website,” Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority was quoted as saying.

No reason was given for the order to block Wikipedia and other websites, including leading social media, appeared to be working normally.

Turkey Blocks said the restriction was in place with multiple Internet Service Providers..

Turkey has become notorious over the last years for temporarily blocking access to popular sites, including Facebook and Twitter, in the wake of major events such as mass protests or terror attacks.

Savvy internet users frequently resort to the use of VPNs to get around these bans although there have been complaints that the use of VPNs has now also started to be blocked.

The government says such measures are always temporary and needed for national security but critics see them as another restriction on civil liberties under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The move to block Wikipedia caused an uproar on social media in Turkey with users angrily denouncing the decision to restrict access to one of the world’s most popular websites.

Some speculated the decision may have been prompted by deeply unflattering updates by critical users to Erdogan’s Wikipedia profile after he won the April 16 referendum on enhancing his powers.

The government insists that the new presidential system – largely due to come into force in 2019 – will improve efficiency but critics fear it will lead to one-man rule.

 

 

source:http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/04/29/turkish-authorities-block-access-wikipedia