privacy

Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET

The European Commission has fined Google $5 billion for violating the European Union's antitrust rules — specifically, by forcing manufacturers of Android phones to install the Google search app and the Chrome Web browser.

"Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine," Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. "These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits."

To an outsider, the fancy booths at a June health insurance industry gathering in San Diego, Calif., aren't very compelling: a handful of companies pitching "lifestyle" data and salespeople touting jargony phrases like "social determinants of health."

But dig deeper and the implications of what they're selling might give many patients pause: a future in which everything you do — the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV — may help determine how much you pay for health insurance.

This week, we're tackling questions from readers who are worried about health insurance roadblocks in the face of a serious illness or medical crisis.

Q: I think genetic testing could be a great tool for physicians. My fear is what the insurance industry will do with the information, especially in today's political climate. Could they decide that you have a pre-existing condition and charge a higher rate, or not cover you at all?

The city of Orlando, Fla., says it has ended a pilot program in which its police force used Amazon's real-time facial recognition — a system called "Rekognition" that had triggered complaints from rights and privacy groups when its use was revealed earlier this year.

California is testing new digital license plates on vehicles — opening up new possibilities and raising new privacy concerns.

The digital plates use the same technology behind Amazon's Kindle e-book reader to display large letters and numbers, as any other license plate would. But the devices are also able to show ads and personal messages and send data about their locations.

As secret recordings go, the Portland couple's conversation was pretty mundane: They were talking about hardwood floors.

But their Amazon Echo was listening and recording their discussion. The device then sent the recording to someone in their contacts — without the couple's knowledge.

Patients sitting in emergency rooms, at chiropractors' offices and at pain clinics in the Philadelphia area may start noticing on their phones the kind of messages typically seen along highway billboards and public transit: personal injury law firms looking for business by casting mobile online ads at patients.

The potentially creepy part? They're only getting fed the ad because somebody knows they are in an emergency room.

You've seen it in the movies for years: Security cameras find a face in a crowd, and — Enhance! — a computer comes up with a name. In real life, facial recognition was too error-prone to work that quickly, especially with live video streams.

But now the Hollywood fantasy is coming true.

Jim O'Connell / Flickr/CC

When Stormy Daniels rolled into West Palm Beach last month to perform at Ultra Gentlemen’s Club — just across the street from President Trump’s golf course — she brought a lot of things with her.

Two burly bodyguards. A rake to gather up tips from the stage. Plenty of intrigue.

Something Stormy did not bring: a license to strip from the Palm Beach County government.

After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress Tuesday and Wednesday, Facebook users — among many — are still wondering if online privacy still exists.

At the hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday, Rep. Ben Luján (D-N.M.) asked Zuckerberg if Facebook had detailed profiles on even those who had never signed up for the social networking site.

He replied, "In general, we collect data of people who have not signed up for Facebook for security purposes."

Facebook users have begun to see whether they're among the 87 million people whose information may have been compromised for use by a political research firm. For some, the news is good: "It doesn't appear your Facebook information was shared with Cambridge Analytica."

The notifications are appearing on Facebook's page about users' exposed data. The company had also said it would put the information at the top of users' news feed.

As the Facebook scandal over Cambridge Analytica's misuse of the personal data of millions of users continues to unfold, Facebook is suspending another data analytics firm over similar allegations.

According to reporting by CNBC, Cubeyou collected data from Facebook users through personality quizzes "for non-profit academic research" developed with Cambridge University — then sold the data to advertisers.

It started with a warning email last summer, from a security researcher who told Panera Bread that its website was exposing sensitive customer data. But after the problem went unfixed for months, the researcher went public with proof of the flaw. Another analyst said Panera's response was "half-baked."

It looks like one of the marquee cases before the U.S. Supreme Court is about to go bust — sabotaged by a needle in a legislative haystack.

The question in the case is whether a U.S. technology company can refuse to honor a court-ordered U.S. search warrant seeking information that is stored at a facility outside the United States.

Oral arguments took place at the Supreme Court last month, and they did not go well for Microsoft, the tech giant that is challenging a warrant for information stored at its facility in Ireland.

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