Top 5 privacy violations of 2013

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It’s that time of year again. It’s time to look back at the year’s top stories. First up: the top 5 privacy violations of 2013. Check them out:

5. The problem with Facebook’s graph search feature


Facebook’s graph search was introduced early in the year and promised to make filtering through information easier. The new feature allowed users to see public profiles or public aspects of someone’s profile which match the user’s search terms. The problem? This allows strangers to discover parts of your profile that you might not have intended them to find.

4. China hacking into small businesses


Small businesses in the U.S. were targets of Chinese hackers this year. But apparently, the institutions that were hacked–like pizza restaurants, clinics, and universities–were just a guise for a bigger espionage campaign. The hackers aimed to steal intellectual property from big American corporations.

3. $17M settlement over Google’s Safari privacy violations

top 5 privacy violations

Just recently, Google has agreed to pay more than 30 states a total of $17 million for bypassing privacy settings in Apple’s Safari web browser two years ago. Google’s blunder? It circumvented settings to block tracking cookies, which Safari originally blocked by default.

2. Why Snapchat isn’t as “private” as we think it is


Your Snapchat photos may only last 15 seconds on your phone, but the fact is, they may be stored indefinitely on a server somewhere. Or so says Snapchat’s fine print. Their privacy page explains that the images shared over the service, however indiscreet they may be, are still owned by the company.

1. NSA leaks

edward_snowdenWhen Edward Snowden leaked confidential NSA documents to the media in the middle of the year, it caused a news frenzy all around the world. Little did we all know that the story would snowball into an ongoing disclosure of a significant portion of the full cache of 1.5 million documents. From the collection of U.S. phone records, and spying on U.S. citizens, to spying on other governments–the NSA leaks tops our list as the number 1 privacy violation(s) of the year.

What do you think is the biggest privacy violation story of 2013? Tweet us @rdigitalife. And for more on digital privacy, check out our series with The Walrus on digital privacy:


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