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The Markup


Big Tech Is Watching You. We’re Watching Big Tech.

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1.  Online Abortion Pill Provider Hey Jane Used Tracking Tools That Sent Visitor Data to Meta, Google, and Others  

2022-07-01


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Personal information from reviewers was also exposed until The Markup’s inquiry

3.  Police Are Looking to Algorithms to Predict Domestic Violence  

2022-06-29


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But will they be effective or reinforce bias-based practices?

6.  Tech Giants Make Headway on Gig Worker Classification  

2022-06-22


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Georgia and Alabama laws say gig workers won’t be considered employees

7.  LaMDA’s Soul, Apple’s Give and Take, and Meta’s New Battlegrounds  

2022-06-17


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Tech and privacy perspectives from around the globe

8.  Facebook Is Receiving Sensitive Medical Information from Hospital Websites  

2022-06-16


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Experts say some hospitals’ use of an ad tracking tool may violate a federal law protecting health information

10.  Facebook and Anti-Abortion Clinics Are Collecting Highly Sensitive Info on Would-Be Patients  

2022-06-15


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The social media giant gathers data from crisis pregnancy centers through a tracking tool that works whether or not a person is logged in to their Facebook account

11.  New York State’s “Right to Repair” Law Could Have a Ripple Effect  

2022-06-13


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The passage of the bill could result in a national policy shift

12.  Dall-E, Data Protection for Teens, and Alphabet Criticism  

2022-06-10


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Tech and privacy perspectives from around the globe

13.  An Amazon Warehouse Worker’s Life Was Turned Upside Down After She Was Hospitalized for COVID  

2022-06-09


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In California, OSHA records show the tech giant has reported no worker deaths and no hospitalizations related to the virus

14.  From 21st-Century Elections to Ancient Rome  

2022-06-08


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This week's roundup of notable data

15.  DuckDuckGo, Data Collection Innovation, and Right to Repair  

2022-06-03


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Tech and privacy perspectives from around the globe

18.  Tech Industry Groups Are Watering Down Attempts at Privacy Regulation, One State at a Time  

2022-05-26


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Coordinated industry lobbying is overwhelming the scattered efforts of consumer groups and privacy-minded lawmakers

19.  From Supercomputers to Art Garfunkel’s Library  

2022-05-25


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This week's roundup of notable data

20.  Techno-Globalism, Content Moderation, and Decentralization  

2022-05-20


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Tech and privacy perspectives from around the globe

22.  Apple Privacy Push, Euro Bills, and India Debate  

2022-05-13


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Tech and privacy perspectives from around the globe

23.  Facebook Promised to Remove “Sensitive” Ads. Here’s What It Left Behind  

2022-05-12


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Facebook pledged to remove race, health conditions, and political affiliation from ad-targeting options, but The Markup found advertisers can still easily target the same people

24.  Lawmakers Question Education Department About Facebook Student Aid Tracking After Markup Investigation  

2022-05-11


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Two Republican lawmakers said the department “has failed to protect the privacy of individuals seeking to further their education”

27.  How We Built a Meta Pixel Inspector  

2022-04-28


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The first large-scale, crowdsourced study that monitors how Meta tracks people across the internet

28.  Why Is My Internet So Slow?  

2022-04-12


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Small tubes good, big tubes better

29.  Following Markup Investigation, U.S. Regulators Questioned Life360’s Data Practices  

2022-04-01


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The family safety company was approached by regulators about its data sales

30.  Can Chatrooms Replace Courtrooms?  

2022-03-30


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Online dispute resolution systems have many problems, but supporters believe they are better than costly, slow courts

31.  Lawsuit Highlights How Little Control Brokers Have Over Location Data  

2022-03-21


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The case suggests this loosely regulated industry can’t deliver on its promises of privacy

32.  Payday Lenders Are Big Winners in Utah’s Chatroom Justice Program  

2022-03-16


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The state’s new online system for small claims cases was meant to help residents; instead they suffered

33.  House Antitrust Committee Accuses Amazon of Lying to Congress, Asks DOJ to Investigate  

2022-03-09


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As evidence, the committee cited The Markup’s investigation into Amazon’s preferencing of its own brands and exclusive products in search results

34.  What Does the “Connection Not Private” Warning Really Mean?  

2022-03-08


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How to decide when it's safe to proceed, and what's at risk if you do

35.  Bill in Washington State Would Be First to Bar Uber and Lyft Drivers from Being Classified As Employees  

2022-03-04


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The gig companies and a local Teamsters union helped shape the measure’s language

36.  Who Is Policing the Location Data Industry?  

2022-02-24


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Google and Apple have tried to crack down, but location data brokers are moving to a new way to collect your whereabouts that’s much harder to detect

37.  Facebook Scammers Are Shilling Fake Cryptocurrency Using Big Tech’s Biggest Names  

2022-02-22


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Facebook ads have popped up to advertise nonexistent Amazon, Tesla, and even Facebook cryptocurrencies

38.  Family Safety App Touting Digital Security Leaves Its Own Users’ Sensitive Data at Risk  

2022-02-17


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Former employees said Life360 executives knew about security gaps

39.  A Network of Fake Test Answer Sites Is Trying to Incriminate Students  

2022-02-15


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But some experts say such “honeypots” are educational entrapment

40.  Is Momentum Shifting Toward a Ban on Behavioral Advertising?  

2022-02-03


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Data-driven personalized ads are the lifeblood of the internet. To a growing number of lawmakers, they’re also nefarious

41.  Life360 Says It Will Stop Selling Precise Location Data  

2022-01-27


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The announcement comes after The Markup identified the family tracking app as one of the largest sources of raw data for the location data industry

42.  Gay/Bi Dating App, Muslim Prayer Apps Sold Data on People’s Location to a Controversial Data Broker  

2022-01-27


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The Markup identified 107 apps that sold data to X‑Mode in 2018 and 2019

43.  Help Us Investigate Facebook Pixel Tracking  

2022-01-21


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The full extent of how Facebook tracks people on the web is not understood—but you can help uncover what data the tech giant is gathering about you

44.  Help Us Investigate the Ed Tech Industry  

2022-01-19


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There’s a booming business in classroom software—and in some cases, the data on students that it produces

45.  Amazon Is Rolling Back COVID Protocols in Its Warehouses. Workers Say It’s Premature  

2021-12-21


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Two Oregon warehouses have been in an active outbreak for nearly 19 months. Elsewhere in the country, warehouse workers report continual cases

46.  The Markup’s Work Cited in Effort to Outlaw Discriminatory Algorithms  

2021-12-17


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Investigation on tenant screening used to illustrate needed reforms

47.  The Shadows of Removed Posts Are Hiding in Plain Sight on Reddit  

2021-12-16


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Offending posts—including sexually explicit images—linger in comment histories long after their removal from subreddits

48.  Federal Study Acknowledges Failures in Police Surveillance Oversight  

2021-12-13


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For years researchers have called out the Wiretap Report for being outdated and incomplete

49.  Legislators, Regulators Call for Additional Scrutiny of Mortgage-Lending Industry After Markup Investigation Finds Disparities  

2021-12-09


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Minnesota attorney general warns lenders: Don’t be surprised if you’re investigated

51.  Crime Prediction Software Promised to Be Free of Biases. New Data Shows It Perpetuates Them  

2021-12-02


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Millions of crime predictions left on an unsecured server show PredPol mostly avoided Whiter neighborhoods, targeted Black and Latino neighborhoods

52.  Introducing Amazon Brand Detector  

2021-11-29


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A browser extension that reveals Amazon brand and exclusive products while you shop on the site

55.  Dozens of Uber and Lyft Drivers Are Victims of Reported Carjackings in Minneapolis This Fall  

2021-11-11


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Over the past two-and-a-half months, there have been nearly 50 reported carjackings of ride-hail drivers, who say the companies have done little to warn of the threat

56.  Federal Agency Recommends Changes in Tenant Screening, Citing Investigation by The Markup  

2021-11-09


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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advised screening agencies to stop error-prone practice

57.  Thousands of Geofence Warrants Appear to Be Missing from a California DOJ Transparency Database  

2021-11-03


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California requires law enforcement to report the controversial warrants to a state database—but The Markup found massive discrepancies in how they’re reported

58.  Leaked Facebook Documents Reveal How Company Failed on Election Promise  

2021-10-29


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CEO Mark Zuckerberg had repeatedly promised to stop recommending political groups to users to squelch the spread of misinformation

59.  How Big Tech Is Pitching Digital Elder Care to Families  

2021-10-28


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Spurred by the pandemic, Google, Amazon, and Apple are all offering tools for monitoring older adults, raising privacy concerns

60.  Senator Calls for Review of Powerful Tenant Screening Industry  

2021-10-26


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The move comes after a Markup and New York Times series revealed screening agencies relying on faulty information to deny people homes

61.  Markup Investigation Cited by Officials in Announcing New Mortgage Discrimination Enforcement  

2021-10-22


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The multi-agency effort will target redlining—including digital redlining through black-box algorithms

62.  Nonprofit Websites Are Riddled With Ad Trackers  

2021-10-21


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Such organizations often deal in sensitive issues, like mental health, addiction, and reproductive rights—and many are feeding data about website visitors to corporations

63.  Citing Markup Investigation, Lawmakers Demand Answers from Amazon  

2021-10-18


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Members of Congress have asked Amazon to respond to an investigation by The Markup about giving its private label brands a leg up

64.  When Amazon Takes the Buy Box, It Doesn’t Give It Up  

2021-10-14


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Many merchants sell the exact same item, including Amazon, which picks a winner–often itself

65.  Amazon Puts Its Own “Brands” First Above Better-Rated Products  

2021-10-14


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The online giant gives a leg up to hundreds of house brand and exclusive products that most people don’t know are connected to Amazon

66.  Why Are Some Instacart Workers Calling for an App Boycott?  

2021-10-12


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The grocery delivery company’s new CEO said she wants to make working conditions better; worker groups say nothing has changed

67.  Help Us Find the Apps That Sell Your Location  

2021-10-08


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Send us screenshots or share your knowledge of the location data industry

68.  How Can You Safely Store Your Vaccine Status on Your Phone?  

2021-10-06


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Vaccine cards don’t actually contain very much sensitive information, but you can protect it nonetheless

69.  What’s Missing from the Infrastructure Bill’s $65 Billion Broadband Plan?  

2021-10-03


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The proposal would represent a “once in a generation” investment in broadband networks. Here’s what it would do, and what it leaves out

70.  Germany’s Far-Right Political Party, the AfD, Is Dominating Facebook This Election  

2021-10-03


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Ahead of a national vote this month, Citizen Browser data shows that posts promoting the AfD party appeared more than three times as often as rivals'

71.  Facebook Rolls Out News Feed Change That Blocks Watchdogs from Gathering Data  

2021-10-03


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The tweak, which targets the code in accessibility features for visually impaired users, drew ire from researchers and those who monitor the platform

72.  What Does Facebook Mean When It Says It Supports “Internet Regulations”?  

2021-10-03


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Since companies typically try to avoid regulation, Facebook’s support for it is weird. Or is it? There’s more to the company’s proposal than meets the eye

73.  California May Be the First State to Legislate Amazon Warehouse Conditions  

2021-10-03


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A bill headed to the governor’s desk aims to curb injuries in warehouse distribution centers run by a broad spectrum of employers and outlaw punishment for bathroom breaks

74.  The Downside to Surveilling Your Neighbors  

2021-10-03


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In one town, police say products like Nextdoor and Ring are helping fight crime. But racism and vigilantism are pervasive on safety platforms

75.  What Does It Actually Mean When a Company Says, “We Do Not Sell Your Data”?  

2021-10-03


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Experts say the privacy promise—ubiquitous in online services and apps—obscures the truth about how companies use personal data

76.  Millions of Prequalified Households Are Missing Out on a Crucial Internet Benefit  

2021-10-03


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The Emergency Broadband Benefit fund was supposed to be widely available, but not everyone is getting the money

77.  Dozens of Mortgage Lenders Showed Significant Disparities. Here Are the Worst  

2021-10-03


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Mortgage companies affiliated with the nation’s three largest home builders were at least twice as likely to deny applicants of color than similar White borrowers