Items tagged with Privacy

While many of us were seeking out the hottest deals this weekend, the US government carried out the greatest reduction of its spying efforts since they were expanded-upon following the attacks of Sept 11, 2001. Adhering to a law passed some six months ago, the National Security Agency is no long allowed to blindly pull down phone records of millions of Americans, a move that's being considered a major win by privacy advocates. Effective immediately, if the NSA wants to gather phone data on a target, it must get a court order and work with phone carriers to enable monitoring, and only for up to... Read more...
It's no secret that a countless number of mobile apps indulge in a bit more of our data than we'd like, and many even handshake with external servers, causing us to wonder what on Earth they're doing. Well, as some researchers at MIT have found out, a huge number of the top 500 apps on Google's Play Store send data back and forth that has absolutely nothing to do with the functionality of the app. Cue the eerie music. The researchers like to call this kind of communication "covert", as the fact that it's happening is completely invisible to the user. While it's easy to jump to conclusions about... Read more...
Facebook is a great place for keeping in contact with long distance family and friends, posting pictures of an awesome meal, staying up to date with current events, and, if we're being totally honest, stalking ex lovers. Breaking up with a person in the social media era comes with an additional set of challenges that didn't exist before sites like Facebook, but thankfully Mark Zuckerberg and his team of engineers are taking steps to ensure that when relationships end, your privacy stays intact. "Starting today, we are testing tools to help people manage how they interact with their former partners... Read more...
Have you ever felt like you're being followed? Excuse us for feeding into your paranoia, but you are being tracked. It happens each and every time you surf the web, and it's going to keep happening, even if you've enabled that feel-good "Do Not Track" setting in your browser that most websites and online services ignore. They ignore it because they can, and the Federal Communications Commission isn't stepping in to help. Consumer Watchdog just tried forcing the FCC's hand by petitioning the government agency to "initiate a rulemaking proceeding requiring 'edge providers (like Google, Facebook,... Read more...
It could be argued that the "masses" didn't quite understand the importance of protecting themselves digitally until Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the unparalleled spying efforts of the NSA a few years ago. The problem, though, is that while for the experienced user, it's almost fun setting everything up to protect themselves, the regular user will feel immediately overwhelmed. A new router called Veiltower aims to fix that. Veiltower is an interesting looking router that's designed to intercept traffic from your ISP's router and put it through multiple layers of security before it reaches... Read more...
The fight between the Department of Justice and mobile OS creators continues, and as it stands right now, things are not looking so great on the vendor side. Over the past few years, and the past year especially, both Apple and Google have been battled against for allowing users of their respective OSes to encrypt their data, and in effect make it impossible for law enforcement to rummage through. Fortunately, both companies have been battling against this on behalf of consumers; rather than back down, both companies have actually strengthened the security, namely by making encryption default in... Read more...
It's been an exciting week for BlackBerry, its fans, and those who've been wanting to see the company score some big success with a new smartphone release. Kicking the week off, the company's PRIV smartphone was shown off in good detail, which included specs in addition to a close-up of the hardware design. Continuing that, we learned yesterday about what "PRIV" is all about: privacy, and security. That isn't just marketing; BlackBerry has gone to pretty impressive lengths to make sure that PRIV is indeed the world's most secure Android consumer phone. Being that PRIV sports high-end specs, a hardware... Read more...
With its upcoming PRIV smartphone, BlackBerry needs to strike the right chord with people. While the company was once a giant in the smartphone market, it's taken a nosedive in recent years, and has yet to deliver a product that anyone would consider a "win". Fortunately, PRIV does boast a couple of fantastic perks. For example, PRIV is a high-end model, sporting a Qualcomm 808 SoC under the hood, 3GB of memory, 32GB of storage, 18 megapixel rear camera, and a mammoth 3,410mAh battery. At 5.4-inch, it could also be argued that it's the ideal size for the businessperson or regular folk that want... Read more...
Following the philosophy that it's sometimes better to ask for forgiveness than for permission, a Chinese mobile advertising firm wants Apple and iOS users to know it's sorry for running afoul of Apple's App Store rules by sneakily plucking user data through hundreds of mobile apps that have been downloaded over a million times.Guangzhou Youmi Mobile Technology Co. (Youmi from here on out) was caught collecting email addresses, device IDs, and other private information through more than 250 apps built with a software development kit (SDK) it offers to developers. The developers may not have even... Read more...
If you go out of your way to protect your privacy with everything you do, you undoubtedly know how complicated it can be while mobile. Most phone makers simply don't put much of an emphasis on user privacy, usually sticking to the bare minimum, or in other words, what's generally expected. Some others, however, go the extra mile. A notable example from the past two years has been the Blackphone, a smartphone that promised great security protection right out of the box. While that phone's enhanced security came mostly from software, we saw Boeing put an interesting spin on a privacy smartphone later:... Read more...
California has just landed itself a landmark victory in the fight for better protections of people's rights, and given what it entails, all we can do is hope that the state becomes an example that all others will want to follow. In the past, law enforcement hasn't had much of a stumbling block when it's come to demanding someone's digital information. In our ever-expanding mobile world, this problem has become notable; if you're pulled over, and an officer wants to see data on your phone, you haven't have a legal right to refuse it. This new law changes that. With this law, law enforcement will... Read more...
Mere days after it was revealed that crowdfunding website Patreon had been breached, the entire collection of stolen digital goods has been posted online. Making this leak even more severe than typical ones is that not only is user account information included, but so too is some site source code (or potentially all of it), as well as private messages. If the encrypted information can be cracked, that could result in the revealing of social security numbers and tax IDs. Patreon is a website where "patrons" are able to support their favorite content creators with a monthly subscription.... Read more...
As our online and offline lives become increasingly intertwined, it's important to know what level of privacy various products and services offer. That hasn't always been easy to figure out, and in many instances it still isn't, though companies are making a concerted effort to put their customers' minds at ease. That includes Apple, which updated its privacy site with new information about iOS 9 and some of its features.Apple's overarching message is "we build privacy into everything we make." The pitch is that Apple's disinterested in your personal information, and whether "you pay for groceries,... Read more...
Microsoft launched its Windows 10 operating system on July 29th, and it was praised for its wealth of new features, remarkable stability, performance, and return of the Start menu. However, the operating system has been dogged by issues surrounding user privacy. From machine IDs, to key logging, to silently downloading a multi-gigabyte ISO of Windows 10 to Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines without user permission, Microsoft has a lot to answer for. Today, Windows chief Terry Myerson took to the official Windows blog to help clear the air with respect to Windows 10 and user privacy. Myerson starts... Read more...
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