Ireland’s data privacy regulator has agreed to levy a record fine of 405 million euros ($402 million) against social network Instagram following an investigation into its handling of children’s data, a spokesperson for the watchdog said.
Instagram plans to appeal against the fine, a spokesperson for its parent company, Meta, said in an emailed statement.
The investigation, which started in 2020, focused on child users between the ages of 13 and 17 who were allowed to operate business accounts, which facilitated the publication of the user’s phone number and/or email address.
“We adopted our final decision last Friday and it does contain a fine of 405 million euro,” said the spokesperson for Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, the lead regulator of Instagram and Facebook’s (FB) parent company.
Instagram updated its settings over a year ago and has since released new features to keep teens safe and their information private, the Meta spokesperson said.
The DPC regulates Facebook, Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGL) and other technology giants due to the location of their EU headquarters in Ireland. It has opened over a dozen investigations into Meta companies, including Facebook and WhatsApp.
WhatsApp was last year fined a record 225 million euros for failing to conform with EU data rules in 2018.
Many Verizon Wireless customers have been infuriated after receiving notification from the telecom that their monthly bill for data will go up as much as $12 due to “rising operational costs.”
Of course, price increases are part of the telecom business shell game, but they typically heat the proverbial waters around the ol‘ lobster by marginal increments — such as the $1.35 “economic adjustment” fee increase applied by Verizon this month to its postpaid customers for “administrative cost” increases.
But consumers will definitely feel 12 bucks.
Verizon’s move follows a very similar price bump announced earlier this month by AT&T — single-line-of-service customers got a $6-a-month increase, while AT&T shared data customers saw a monthly surge of $12.
Verizon said its increase will take effect “no sooner” than August 2.
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg raised the possibility of such a price bump during his company’s first-quarter earnings report, suggesting something simply had to be done to keep up with inflationary pressure. (He didn’t mention any adjustments to his own executive compensation, which exceeded $20 million last year.)
Blaming the current administration for inflation has been a go-to messaging point for far-right media outlets as they propagandize for the November midterm elections. And that agenda seems to be catching on, based on President Joe Biden’s currently low approval ratings. But increasingly, it appears that corporate greed might be a principal driver for the current upward price pressure we’re all experiencing.
A study by the Economic Policy Institute published in April found that more than half of the overall increase in consumer pricing can be attributed to initiatives intended to drive “fatter corporate profits.”
The Federal Trade Commission levied a $150 million fine on Twitter, alleging that the social network let advertisers use private data to target specific users — without informing users of the practice.
According to the agency, Twitter violated a 2011 FTC order that “explicitly prohibited” the company from misrepresenting its privacy and security practices. In addition to the $150 million fine, Twitter is banned from “profiting from its deceptively collected data,” the FTC said.
In a blog post, Twitter chief privacy officer Damien Kieran wrote, “Keeping data secure and respecting privacy is something we take extremely seriously, and we have cooperated with the FTC every step of the way. In reaching this settlement, we have paid a $150M USD penalty, and we have aligned with the agency on operational updates and program enhancements to ensure that people’s personal data remains secure and their privacy protected.”
In a statement about the FTC’s fine against Twitter, FTC Chair Lina Khan said, “Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads. This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.”
According to a complaint filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC, Twitter in 2013 began asking users to provide either a phone number or email address to enable two-factor authentication, an enhanced form of security (beyond just a password).
From 2014 to 2019, more than 140 million Twitter users provided their phone numbers or email addresses after the company asked for the info, according to the complaint. Twitter, however, “failed to mention that it also would be used for targeted advertising,” allowing marketers to target specific ads to users by matching the information with data they already possessed or obtained from third-party data brokers, the FTC alleged.
On Thursday, it was revealed that messaging platform WhatsApp had been fined a whopping €225 million (US$267,337,400) by an Irish data protection regulator due to the platform’s privacy breaches.
Operating as an EU privacy watchdog, the Data Protection Commission (DPC) shared that the inquiry was made into whether WhatsApp conformed to EU data transparency rules in 2018, otherwise known as the GDPR.
This covered information “about the processing of information between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies,” the regulator states in its press announcement.
The European Data Protection Board stepped in at the end of July. This came after the Irish agency received criticism for allegedly delaying its decision in cases involving tech giants and letting them off with lighter fines than what was deserved.
After a “clear instruction” was issued by the board, the DPC was prompted to “reassess and increase” the proposed fine, which led to the final amount of €225 million.
Apart from paying up, the texting platform will also need to “bring its processing into compliance by taking a range of specified remedial actions.”
“We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate,” a spokesperson for WhatsApp is reported to have said in a statement to Reuters.
It’s stated that the company is filing for an appeal, but it appears to be watched very closely by regulatory firms and it’s doubtful that a lesser fine will be granted.
The Irish regulator DPC, according to Reuters, had 14 major inquiries into Facebook, including WhatsApp and Instagram, open at the end of last year.
While the introduction of chip-and-pin technology made it more difficult for someone to use a stolen credit card for fraudulent transactions in person, hackers tend to be endlessly creative when it comes to theft. The reality is, there are plenty of ways thieves can get their hands on your credit card account numbers, which they can easily use to make purchases or wreak other types of havoc using your name.
A stolen credit card or account number could also be one of the first signs of identity theft, so keep an eye out for credit card fraud and take steps to mitigate the damage if you find any.
Phishing emails may look official, but these fraudulent messages are crafted with a nefarious purpose. Most phishing emails try to get you to click a button or link that takes you to a familiar-looking fraudulent site to enter your account information.
Another common phishing tactic is to provide an urgent (and entirely bogus) reason that you need to call a company, like your credit card company or Social Security office, list a fraudulent phone number and when you call, request your personal information, and even your card details, to “confirm your identity.”
Downloading, or even opening, the wrong file from an email or website can add spyware to your computer, which is put there with the goal of exporting your card details and other information hackers can use to steal your money or your identity. Be careful what you download and prevent spyware by purchasing your own antivirus software. 3.
3. Public Wi-Fi networks
Public internet networks, like the ones you find in hotels and airports, can easily put you at risk if you enter your account information or open sensitive documents and someone is monitoring the network. Make sure to install a VPN on your computer if you need to use the internet away from home fairly often.
4. Your trash
Finally, don’t forget that some thieves still try to steal your credit card data the old-fashioned way. Your trash can be a treasure trove when it comes to finding credit card and account numbers or for figuring out which companies you use for your savings or investment accounts.
5. Major data breach
Large institutions, including banks and retail businesses, may be the victim of a data breach that puts your credit card information and other personal details at risk. Some of the biggest data breaches of the last decade, including the Capital One data breach of 2019, led to tens of millions of consumers having their information stolen.
What to do if your credit card number is stolen
If your credit card number has been stolen, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlines the steps you should take right away:
• Report the loss of your credit card or card number to your issuer immediately, which you can usually do using its toll-free number or 24-hour emergency phone number.
• Follow up with a letter or email that includes your account number, the date and time the card was noticed missing and when you reported the loss.
• Check your credit card statement carefully for purchases you didn’t make, and let your card issuer know of any fraudulent transactions immediately.
• Carefully monitor your credit reports to make sure nobody has more of your information and that the theft of your card hasn’t led to other instances of identity theft.
• You can check your credit reports for free once a year from all three credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—using the website AnnualCreditReport.com.
How to protect your credit card information
When it comes to protecting your credit card information and identity, there are plenty of steps you can take right away. Most of them are also easy to implement, including the following:
Only use secure websites
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), it’s crucial to avoid entering your credit card numbers and personal information on unsecured websites. “Sometimes a tiny icon of a padlock appears to symbolize a higher level of security to transmit data,” according to the bureau’s site. “This icon is not a guarantee of a secure site but provides some assurance.”
Don’t give your account number over the phone
The FTC warns that you should proceed cautiously with anyone who wants your credit card number over the phone. This is especially true if they called you to initiate the transaction.
Check your credit card statements regularly
The best way to protect against credit card fraud is by keeping a close eye on your accounts. Check your statements at least once a month to make sure each charge on your credit card is actually yours. If you find suspicious charges or purchases on your accounts, inform your credit card issuer right away.
Keep an eye on your card during in-person transactions
If you’re using a credit card in a restaurant or a retail store, try to avoid situations where the employee processing your card walks away from you and takes your card out of your view. If they are able to take your card into another area away from you, they might have the chance to write down your card number, expiration date and security code.
EaseUS was the software that helped me recover old files that I accidentally overwritten on my external hard drive. While extremely thankful, it has been a nightmare trying to process a subscription cancelation. Only needed it for a one-time use.
The average office worker in the United States must keep track of between 20 to 40 different username and password combinations. With so many passwords to remember, many of us use the same ones over and over, or have a running list of passwords saved somewhere. Passwords are a very serious and expensive security risk. It’s why companies like Microsoft , Apple and Google are trying to reduce our dependence on them. But the question is, can these companies break our bad habits?
Update (January 21, 2020): A website mentioned in this video, WeLeakInfo, was shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. The site claimed to have more than 12 billion usernames and passwords from more than 10,000 data breaches.
Passwords are a very serious and expensive security risk. A report by Verizon looked at 2,013 confirmed data breaches and found that 29% of those breaches involved the use of stolen credentials.
Another study by the Ponemon Institute and IBM Security found that the average cost of a single data breach in the U.S. was more than $8 million. Even when passwords are not stolen, companies can lose a lot of money trying to reset them.
“Our research has shown that the average fully loaded cost of a help desk call to reset a password is anywhere between $40 or $50 per call,” says Merritt Maxim, vice president and research director at Forrester.
“Generally speaking, a typical employee contacts a help desk somewhere between 6 and 10 times a year on password related issues,” Maxim said. “So if you just do the simple multiplication of six to 10 times, times 50 dollars per call, times number of employees, in your organization, you’re talking significantly hundreds of thousands of dollars or even potentially millions of dollars a year.”