alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.


'Zuckerberg must resign': Outrage surges after report reveals Facebook let corporate partners read users' private messages

Just hours after civil rights groups called on Facebook's top executives to step down from the company's board for allowing "viral propaganda" and "bigoted campaigns" to spread on the platform, demands for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to resign intensified after a bombshell New York Times report late Tuesday detailed a "special arrangement" the social media behemoth had with tech corporations that gave them access to users' data and private messages without consent.

Keep reading... Show less

This Is Why the Kavanaugh Nomination Matters - And His Confirmation Is Not Guaranteed

As America's families send their children back to school, the U.S. Senate has begun its contentious hearings on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. There are several important cases waiting on the Court’s docket this fall, and whoever replaces Justice Anthony Kennedy will have tremendous power to impact our everyday lives at home, at work and in school for generations to come.

Keep reading... Show less

Republican PAC Publishes Security Application of Former CIA Agent Running As Democrat in Virginia

Abigail Spanberger is the Democratic candidate in Virginia’s 7th district, and a former officer in the CIA. The Congressional Leadership Fund is a Republican Super PAC associated with Paul Ryan, which plans to hand out over $100 million to GOP candidates for the election this fall. But money isn’t the only thing that the PAC is handing out. They’ve also produced the application Spanberger submitted in seeking security clearance with the CIA, making her personal information public. How the PAC obtained this form is an open, and important, question.

Keep reading... Show less

Walmart Patents 'Big Brother-Style' Surveillance Technology to Spy on Workers' Conversations

Just the latest corporation to spark privacy concerns over worker surveillance efforts, Walmart has patented audio technology that would allow the retail giant to eavesdrop on conversations among employees and between clerks and shoppers, to measure employee performance.

Keep reading... Show less

Facebook Allowed a Chinese Firm Deemed a 'National Security Threat' to Access Personal Data: Report

Facebook's scandalous handling of private user data somehow keeps getting worse.

Keep reading... Show less

Amazon Alexa Device Recorded a Family's Private Conversation and Sent It to Someone on Their Contact List

A family in Portland, Oregon reports that an Amazon Alexa device recorded a private conversation and randomly sent it to a contact in Seattle.

Keep reading... Show less

Would You Forfeit Your Privacy to Catch a Killer? The Golden State Killer Suspect and DNA

On Tuesday, police arrested the man they believe is one of the most notorious serial rapists and murderers in American history. The news came, astonishingly, thanks to some unidentified person who was likely just intrigued about genealogy and ethnicity. The Sacramento District Attorney's office has attributed the capture of suspected Golden State Killer, ex-cop Joseph James DeAngelo, to "genealogical websites that contained genetic information from a relative." Which, if you've ever spit into a tube and dropped it in the mail, has got to make you wonder.

Keep reading... Show less

The Trump Administration Wants to Gather Millions of U.S. Visitors' Social Media Handles

Spring break. It’s a vacation I am getting used to now that I have school-age children. I figure I’ve got 10 good years before my older daughter will start college and spending spring break with me will be the last thing she’ll want to do. We visited Disneyland—along with what felt like a million other people—and I realized the place is really a series of terminally long lines. Standing in those lines gives you an opportunity to listen to languages and accents from all over the world.

Keep reading... Show less

Those Six-Digit iPhone Passwords Are Becoming Obsolete for Protecting Your Privacy

Six-Digit iPhone Pass Codes Are No Longer That Safe

iPhones protected by a six-digit pass code may no longer be safe thanks to a cheap tool being marketed to police that can unlock a smartphone in just days. Grayshift has developed an iPhone decryption device called GrayKey that can break through some devices in just two hours. Presumably, the device is able to skip Apple’s…

Keep reading... Show less

Facebook’s Targeting System Can Divide Us on More Than Just Advertising

It’s heartening to see, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, growing skepticism about how Facebook handles data and data privacy. But we should take this opportunity to ask the bigger, harder questions, too — questions about discrimination and division, and whether we want to live in a society where our consumer data profile determines our reality.

Keep reading... Show less