Entries in Privacy (6)


School Official Accused of Accessing Student’s Facebook Page

LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- The parents of an Everett, Wash., middle school student are furious after they said a school administrator forced their daughter to log onto her Facebook page so he could investigate a cyber bullying case.

Samantha Negrete, a student at North Middle School, told her parents last Thursday she had been called to the front office and was ordered by her assistant principal to log on to her Facebook account so he could access her friends’ private pages.

“There was no right for anybody to come in and ask her to open up her personal information to obtain any information about anybody else.  That’s just something you cannot do,” said Samantha’s mother, Connie Becerra.

“He proceeded to sit down and go through students’ pages and opened up numerous kids’ Facebooks and was looking at pictures and postings,” she said.

A student was later called to the office and suspended for what the assistant principal saw, Samantha’s parents told ABC News’ Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV.

Everett Public Schools is investigating the incident, according to a district spokeswoman.

“What we do know is the bullying took place and the technicalities of how that was uncovered are part of the investigative process,” spokeswoman Mary Waggoner said.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it will also conduct an investigation to determine whether Negrete’s rights were violated.

“Schools can’t search students’ private belongings or their private communication.  That student’s private communication is private,” an ACLU spokesperson said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


California First to Endorse Comprehensive Social Media Privacy Law

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Starting Jan. 1, 2013, California will be the first state to enact comprehensive social media privacy legislation, officials say.

As he signed the measure known as the Social Media Privacy Act on Sept. 27, California Gov. Jerry Brown posted on his Google+ page: “Today I am signing Assembly Bill 1844 and Senate Bill 1349, which prohibit universities and employers from demanding your email and social media passwords. California pioneered the social media revolution. These laws protect Californians from unwarranted invasions of their social media accounts.”

Bill number SB 1349, authored by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco-San Mateo, provides protections for students and applicants at colleges and universities throughout California. And bill number AB 1844, authored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, gives the same protections to employees and job applicants.

“Violation of online privacy has become a trend nationally, we wanted to put an immediate stop to it and stop it from reaching to California,” Adam J. Keigwin, state Capitol-based chief of staff of Yee’s office, told

In May 2012, Maryland became the first state to pass social media legislation that protects employees’ digital privacy. In July 2012, Delaware enacted a similar legislation that protects college students and post-secondary schools. In August 2012, Illinois passed social media legislation similar to Maryland’s.

Bradley Shear, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney practicing social media and technology law, served as an adviser on California’s bills. He told on Thursday that the states of New Jersey and Michigan will follow suit next year.

“This means that a total of six states will enact the social media privacy acts, with Michigan being the second after California to enact a comprehensive one,” said Shear.

“The practice of employers or colleges demanding social media passwords is entirely unnecessary and completely unrelated to someone’s performance or abilities,” said Yee in a news release issued by his office. “Today, California has declared that this is an unacceptable invasion of personal privacy.”

But Shear thought that there was more to these bills than issues of privacy.

“This is a win-win situation for all parties. People should understand that it is pro-privacy and pro-business because with access comes responsibility,” said Shear, adding that employers deciding to keep profit-generating employees while aware of their legally questionable acts can get in legal trouble.

“I would tell such employers, careful what you wish for,” Shear said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Facebook Users Careless with Sensitive Information, Survey Finds

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- People are still providing too much information about themselves to third parties on the Internet, especially social networking websites like Facebook.

“We found that almost 10 million people are still not using the privacy controls on Facebook,” said Jeff Fox with Consumer Reports, whose latest State of the Net survey finds widespread carelessness by Internet users. For example, Fox said, many people won’t think twice before posting their child’s name and photo on the website, and “that’s not a great idea,” he said.

Millions are exposing too much personal information, according to the report, a mistake that could lead to identity theft and other crimes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


For Sale: Tiger Woods' Wedding Gift to Ex-Wife Elin Nordegren

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(ISLEWORTH, Fla.) -- Tiger Woods has just put his 155-foot yacht named Privacy on the market for $25 million, according to the New York Post.

The vessel was a luxurious wedding gift to Elin Nordegren, who has since divorced the golfer and returned the yacht.

According to the Post, experts are saying he'll be lucky to break even and get back the $20 million he paid for the yacht.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court to Weigh Child Abuse Against Family's Privacy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court will debate the sensitive issue of child abuse on Tuesday as it hears arguments over whether a child protection investigator should have obtained a warrant or parental consent before pulling a nine-year-old out of class and interviewing her about alleged sexual abuse in the home.

Children's rights advocates on both sides of the issue are carefully watching the case. The issue pits the privacy rights of students and their families against a state interest in aggressively combating child abuse. It's been 21 years since the court has heard a case involving the child welfare system.

The case stems from the 2003 arrest of Nimrod Greene, a man accused of sexually abusing a seven-year-old boy in Oregon. As a part of that case, investigators became suspicious that Greene may have been also sexually abusing his own daughters.

Bob Camreta, a caseworker for the Oregon Department of Human Services, and James Alford, a deputy sheriff, visited one of the daughters' schools and interviewed the child for two hours about her relationship with her father, asking whether he had touched her inappropriately. Based on the girl's responses, Greene was later indicted on six counts of felony assault. His daughters, known in court documents as "S.G." and "K.G.," were put briefly in foster care.

S.G. later recanted much of her testimony, and the charges that Greene abused his daughters were eventually dismissed.

The girls' mother, Sarah Greene, sued Camreta, arguing that he violated the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure when he interviewed her daughter without her consent or a warrant.

A lower court ruled that the interview of the girl was unconstitutional, but said that Camreta was immune to such lawsuits. But Camreta, concerned with the ramifications of the ruling on future cases of alleged child abuse, decided to appeal the portion of the ruling that found that the interview had been unconstitutional.

"The most recent study on child abuse shows that between 750,000 and 900,000 children are the victims of various forms of child abuse or neglect every year," the attorneys argue. They cite statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which say that a parent is the abuser in 80 percent of child abuse cases.

Camreta contends that he chose to interview the girl at school because schools are a place "where children feel safe" and because doing so allowed him to conduct the interview away from potential suspects, including the child's parents. He says the interview was reasonable.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Report: Homeland Security Assembling Massive Database on Americans

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Department of Homeland Security(WASHINGTON) -- Worries about homegrown terrorism have compelled the Department of Homeland Security to put together the largest database ever assembled of information collected on Americans, according to a story in the Washington Post.

Spurred by billions of dollars in grants to state governments since the 9/11 attacks, state and local authorities will collect data that the DHS says will help to enhance the counterterrorism efforts of the FBI.

Citing interviews and documents, the Post says that the database will include personal information on thousands of Americans, who may be judged to be acting suspiciously even if they’ve never been charged with breaking the law.

All together, more than 4,000 federal, state and local organizations are participating in this vast domestic spying network.  In addition, surveillance technologies first used in Iraq and Afghanistan are being employed to keep a closer watch on Americans.

Naturally, news of this elaborate spy effort has alarmed privacy advocates, who argue the government is going too far in efforts to protect the public from terrorist attacks.

Michael German, a former FBI agent at the American Civil Liberties Union, cautions, “It opens a door for all kinds of abuses.  How do we know there are enough controls?”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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