Sen. Ron Wyden slams data brokers as “dishonest” in the wake of the Grindr scandal involving a Catholic priest.
The Associated Press stated that US Senator Ron Wyden termed data brokers “dishonest” in the wake of the Catholic Priest Grindr affair.
The episode, according to the Democrat from Oregon, “proved yet again the dishonesty of a business that fraudulently claimed to protect the privacy of phone users.”
“For years, experts have warned that data acquired from Americans’ phones by advertising corporations might be used to monitor them and divulge the most personal elements of their lives. They were, unfortunately, correct,” Wyden added in a statement. “Data brokers and advertising firms have deceived the public by claiming that the information they gathered was anonymous. Those assurances were false, as this heinous instance demonstrates: “individuals can be followed and identified.”
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When a religious journal utilized data from a smartphone app to identify the sexual orientation of a high-ranking Roman Catholic official, it revealed an issue that extends beyond church teaching and priestly celibacy.
With few restrictions in the United States on what companies can do with the vast amounts of data they collect from web page visits, apps, and location tracking built into phones, similar spying on politicians, celebrities, and just about anyone who is a target of another person’s curiosityâ€”or maliceâ€”is a foregone conclusion.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill’s resignation on Tuesday, citing claims of “potential unethical behavior,” ahead of a report by the Catholic news outlet The Pillar that explored his private love life.
The Pillar claimed it received “commercially available” location data from an unnamed source and “correlated” it with Burrill’s phone to discover he attended homosexual bars and private residences while using Grindr, a popular gay dating app.
“Cases like this will only become worse,” said Alvaro Bedoya, head of Georgetown Law School’s Center for Privacy and Technology.
Privacy advocates have long pushed for legislation to prohibit such abuses, but they only exist in a few states, and then in varied versions, in the United States. According to Bedoya, Burrill’s firing should serve as a wake-up call to Congress and the Federal Trade Commission, prompting them to take action.
He believes that privacy concerns are frequently understood in abstract terms. This is a condensed version of the information.