Items tagged with Privacy

The FBI dropped its case against Apple yesterday claiming it had extracted the contents of the now infamous iPhone 5c model that belonged to Syed Farook, the terrorist involved in the San Bernardino shooting, with the assistance of a third-party. It's as much a win for Apple as it is for the FBI, though instead of celebrating, Apple released a statement saying the matter should never have went to court to begin with. "From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of... Read more...
Over the past couple of years, law enforcement at large has ramped up its efforts to try to gain access to communication mediums, which can include being able to browse unlocked smartphones. As it stands today, most jurisdictions do not give a member of law enforcement the ability to gain access to a smartphone without a warrant, and because a PIN code is personal information, it cannot simply be asked of someone to provide it. That hasn't halted efforts to get rid of such roadblocks, though. Even if it requires brute force, agencies like the FBI want in, especially in high stakes, high profile... Read more...
Last week, we learned about the company teaming up with others, such as Microsoft and Yahoo, to make SMTP 'Strict Transport Security' a reality, a protocol that would make it even harder for malicious users to gain access to our email. In a new blog post, the company draws our attention to SMTP STS as well as a couple of other recent (and not so recent) ways the company has improved our security. On Safer Internet Day, which happened a month-and-a-half ago, the company introduced a new Gmail feature that highlights when email is received or being sent to a domain... Read more...
Apple and the FBI have locked horns with one another over an iPhone 5c model that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters, but what seems like a suddenly contentious relationship may have roots that go even deeper. If a new report is to be believed, Apple's distrust of the U.S. government runs so deep that it's started designing its own servers to avoid any shady tampering. Citing a paywalled report published by The Information on Thursday, ArsTechnica says Apple has long been suspicious that servers it orders get intercepted prior to delivery. As the story goes, Apple believes that third-parties... Read more...
With agencies like the NSA and FBI wanting to peer into our personal communications at will, we have to be proactive about keeping ourselves safe. But what if there's a fault we can't work around and simply have to live with? Unless you're a skilled developer, you have to rely on other to come up with an improved solution. All of us want to stay a step ahead of those who want to intrude on our digital lives, and thankfully, many major companies do too. The latest example is with an improvement of SMTP, an extremely popular email protocol that lets you interact with your email in real-time, unlike... Read more...
Tired of reading about the FBI and Apple trading blows over an encrypted iPhone yet?  Well relief may be in sight.  This evening, the FBI filed a request to delay Tuesday's court hearing on the matter, and now that request has been accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym. Why has the FBI suddenly changed course?  According to the brief, the FBI has not stopped working on trying to access the data on Syed Farook's government issued iPhone 5C.  They state that an "outside party" demonstrated a possible method for unlocking the phone on Sunday, March 20th, sparking this about... Read more...
Could your smartphone be listening in on your life? If you download mobile apps without much care for their permissions requests, you might not ever know. The privacy threat is so significant though, that the Federal Trade Commission has stepped in and warned us to be aware of it. On Thursday, the FTC sent a letter to a dozen app developers warning them against their use of "audio beacons", which listen in on the environment and pick up hidden noise signals from TV shows. This is made possible with technology from an Indian company named Silverpush, and in effect it lets the app figure out what... Read more...
It's been an incredible month for Apple, the FBI, and all of us. We've been sitting back, watching the battle of these two giants, as a conclusion about whether or not the FBI should have a right to access encrypted data on someone's smartphone is reached. It seems like not a day can go by without an update to this interesting saga, and we've been keeping you informed throughout it all. Late last week, we saw an interesting twist: the FBI came out and said that if Apple doesn't want to help it out, or invest its own time to help the FBI accomplish its goal, then the company could simply hand over... Read more...
It looks as though the National Security Agency (NSA) crown jewels are about to be fondled by the rest of America’s intelligence agencies. The NSA monitors and collects various types of communications including emails, phone calls, and even transmissions conducted by our foreign allies (and foes). As we learned from the the Edward Snowden leaks, this information is stored in bulk and is one of the reasons for the ever-increasing use of encryption in our smartphones (see Apple vs FBI). Historically, the data collected has mainly been kept within the halls of the NSA and only offered to other intelligence... Read more...
During his tenure as FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler has taken on the telecom industry with net neutrality, and more recently, is looking to upend the cable box market by forcing cable and satellite providers to open their services to third-party hardware manufacturers. Now, Wheeler is turning his attention to another hot topic in the tech sphere these days — privacy. Wheeler penned a blog post this afternoon that outlines the FCC’s proposal for new privacy regulations that would require your Internet Service Provider (ISP) — be it a home-based service like Comcast or Time Warner Cable, or a wireless... Read more...
We have been hearing so much about the FBI's pressure on Apple in its encryption fight in recent weeks that it might be easy to forget that it's only just begun in recent weeks. But what a few weeks it's been! In the middle of February, a federal judge ordered Apple to break encryption on an iPhone that belonged to a terrorist part of the San Bernardino attack in December, and Apple wasted no time in defending its stance on things. In gist, CEO Tim Cook and the rest of Apple want to continue giving their customers a phone they can trust, and the government is working hard to cripple that.... Read more...
If you're passionate about the topics of privacy, government surveillance, and security and also how they relate to the FBI and DOJ's fight to unlock that fateful San Bernardino iPhone, the whole situation likely pales in comparison to what communist countries like China force their citizens to tolerate. In an effort to root out threats to society, the Chinese Communist Party has contracted for development of a data analytics technology of sorts that is best described as taking a page straight out of the 2002 movie staring Tom Cruise called Minority Report. Credit: Flickr TadokoroAs Bloomberg reports,... Read more...
We talk a lot about the importance of businesses beefing up security to protect from the threat of those who might want to gain access to internal networks. Last week, we were given another great example of why: an integral piece of Linux software suffered a bug that at first seemed modest but turned out to be quite severe. These issues can creep up out of nowhere, and those who actively beef up their security will be those who suffer the least amount of hassle in the future. As important as that kind of security is, though, some of the biggest flaws inside of a company can be the employees... Read more...
The greatest benefit wireless peripherals offer is what they help cut down on: wires. Fewer wires means that our desktops are easier to keep clean, and we're not kicking wires as often under our desk. It's a win-win overall. Or is it? As with most things convenient, wireless peripherals can suffer exploits just like anything else that's open to a wireless connection. While your keyboard is designed to handshake with an adapter that's plugged into your PC, there's usually nothing stopping the data stream from being intercepted. Though remote, no question, it could be a legitimate attack vector.... Read more...
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