Investors are nervous about bitcoin’s future value after Bitfinex, one of the world’s “big four” bitcoin exchanges, was hacked and had nearly $65 million worth of bitcoins stolen. Also in recent GRC news: Tinder has been accused of violating EU privacy laws and the popular augmented reality mobile game Pokémon GO could cause some unwanted HIPPA violations.
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Hack leaves bitcoin investors spooked
Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange Bitfinex was breached by hackers who stole nearly 120,000 bitcoins that by some estimates were worth more than $70 million. Experts told CNBC that future investors may be hesitant to consider bitcoin a stable currency to purchase stakes in, as this is not the first time a major breach of a bitcoin exchange has occurred.
In 2014, Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox became insolvent after discovering a breach that was left undetected for years. Mt. Gox remains the most famous and devastating bitcoin exchange breach of all time, as Mt. Gox once managed nearly 70% of all bitcoin exchanges worldwide, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Tinder accused of breaching EU privacy laws
The popular mobile dating app Tinder has been accused by a Belgian Member of the European Parliament of violating EU privacy laws. Marc Tarabella told the BBC that Tinder fails to notify users of the amount of data the app manages on users’ mobile devices, thereby violating EU privacy rules.
Tinder, however, is not the only mobile app that has recently been in the spotlight due to users’ rights to privacy. In May, Ars Technica reported that the fitness tracking app Runkeeper was accused of violating EU privacy laws by the Norwegian Consumer Council. According to the Consumer Council, Runkeeper’s practice of recording and sending users’ location data to a third party in the United States — even while the app is not in use — is a violation of EU data privacy laws.
The record-breaking augmented reality mobile game Pokémon GO has been making headlines for reasons other than its massive financial and cultural success. Shortly after the game was released in early July, it was discovered that Niantic, the game’s developer, was able to access a large amount of private and personal information from user’s Google accounts that were used to create a Pokémon GO account. According to Adam Reeve, a principal architect at RedOwl Analytics security farm who was the first one to break this news, Niantic had the ability to read and send users’ email, access users’ Google Drive documents, look at users’ search history, view users’ Google Maps navigation history and access users’ private photos stored in Google Photos. Niantic has now updated its permissions policy in response to the privacy issues, stating that the game is only able to access basic Google account information and nothing more.
Pokémon GO poses risk to HIPPA violations
The National Law Review detailed the benefits and detriments of healthcare facilities allowing Pokémon GO to be played on their premises. Reasons to let the game stay include the benefits of physical activity, because the game’s objectives can help healthcare facilities motivate patients to exercise. One of the reasons for banning Pokémon GO from healthcare facilities includes the possibility of HIPPA violations of patient privacy.
The mobile game’s augmented reality feature allows users to view and capture photos of animated characters in the real world through their device’s camera so users can share the images via social media. This poses an obvious privacy issue in a healthcare environment, as patient’s private health information, and the patients themselves, could be recorded and shared on social media.
Niantic has made concessions to allow businesses and organizations to opt-out of the Pokémon GO craze. By submitting an online complaint on Niantic’s website, healthcare facilities can have their location removed from the game and essentially block Pokémon GO characters from spawning in and around their facility.