Items tagged with Privacy

What better way is there to start off a weekend than to hear about a massive data breach? I can't think of one, and thanks to AdultFriendFinder, we don't have to go without. According to UK news agency Channel 4, which traveled to the darkest depths of the Web to discover the issue, it found that the data of at least 4 million AdultFriendFinder members was leaked. Information includes sexual preference, marital status, date of birth, email address, and even home address. AdultFriendFinder isn't taking this issue lightly, as it's contacted local law enforcement and also hired the high-profile security... Read more...
Sen. Rand Paul spoke for nearly 10 and a half hours yesterday protesting the Patriot Act, which is soon to expire and is up for renewal. His attempted filibuster began at 1:18 PM and ended at 11:49 PM, though it wasn't quite as long as a 13-hour speech he gave two years ago on the topic of drones and to delay voting on the nomination of John O. Brennan as the Director of the CIA. This time around, the presidential candidate spoke out against the bulk collection of phone records that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been allowed to do as part of the Patriot Act. The apparent strategy is to... Read more...
If you thought that there couldn't possibly be more unbelievable stories to stem from Edward Snowden's leaks, you're sorely mistaken. Today, we learn of a truly appalling effort that the NSA and its partners worked together on to intercept Android users' connections to install malware and soak up information. The NSA's partners in crime are part of a group called 'Five Eyes', and in addition to the US, included countries are Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. Given other revelations that have trickled out in the past, this list shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The UK's GCHQ, which... Read more...
Apple and Google are part of a coalition consisting of more than 140 tech firms, cryptologists, and civil society groups who have come together to urge President Barack Obama to shut down any government proposals that would require smartphones and other communications to have so-called backdoors for law enforcement to view customer data. The coalition sent a letter obtained by The Washington Post talking about the importance of "strong encryption." It serves as a counterargument to the recent warnings of senior law enforcement officials who warn that restricting access to data and communications... Read more...
Give RadioShack credit, the iconic electronics chain lasted nearly a century and survived part of the Internet era before ultimately filing for bankruptcy. However, the chain's impressive 94-year run doesn't give it a free pass to treat customer data like an asset, or so that's the stance the Federal Trade Commission is taking. The FTC sent a letter (PDF) to the court appointed consumer privacy ombudsman in RadioShack's case. In the letter, FTC direct Jessica L. Rich notes that RadioShack is in possession of personal information for over 117 million customers, information that includes names, addresses... Read more...
In a 338-to-88 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday showed strong support for the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would effectively end the National Security Agency's ability to collect phone records on a mass scale. It would also make other changes to the scope of the NSA's surveillance program, though a similar bill was voted down in the Senate last year. "All I know is, these programs expire at the end of this month. They are critically important to keep Americans safe," House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said ahead of the vote. "The House is going to act, and I would hope the... Read more...
Google is making an effort to give users greater control of their privacy settings with Android M. Rather than giving apps a direct access to whatever user data that it desires, Android M users will be able to select on a per-app basis if they wish to grant access to photos, location data, and contacts. After all, there’s no reason why a flashlight app should need access to your location data or contacts, so why do we blindly allow these apps to access our data? It’s good to hear that Google is taking the steps to allow customer to have more control over their data, but it’s still up to user to... Read more...
The FTC has just laid the smackdown on yet another company that's been found guilty of exploiting mobile users without their knowledge. The FTC found that the company, called Nomi Technologies, even went against its own privacy policy mere months after it promised not to, in late 2012. Nomi's business model involves working with retail outlets to install sensors in their stores. As a customer walks in, these sensors fetch a phone's MAC address, which is broadcast broadcast via Wi-Fi, and begin to track it. You can see where this is going. With information in-hand, Nomi is able to tell these retailers... Read more...
The House has just passed two cybersecurity bills that should cause some major concern for those who believe the US government's spying efforts have already gone way too far. The House Permanent Select Committee passed the 'Protecting Cyber Networks Act', while the House Homeland Security Committee passed the 'National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act'. The two bills will be soon merged and forwarded to the Senate for advancement. The goal of both bills is to help thwart 'hackers' quicker. They could allow companies dealing with an issue to work with other companies, as well as the government,... Read more...
In an effort to lock down our devices with better security, fingerprint scanning is growing in popularity. Unfortunately, as it exists in many current smartphones, including Samsung's previous generation Galaxy S5 device, this type of biometric security may have a severe security flaw, as researchers from security outfit FireEye will present in more detail this week at RSA.According to a report in Forbes, FireEye is planning to talk about how affected handsets encrypt fingerprint data in a separate secure zone. Once the information is in there, it's virtually untouchable by hackers, but it's the... Read more...
Here we go again. This past November, the US' Department of Justice latched onto public heartstrings by saying that encryption on mobile phones could lead to the death of children, and in January, president Obama followed-up to plainly say that encryption should under no circumstance hinder police and spy agencies. The government can say what it wants, of course, but that doesn't mean that whatever it suggests will be kosher as far as our civil liberties go. Looking beyond the fact that criminals can benefit from encryption (just as they can benefit from a slew of other things), it stands to reason... Read more...
When is it fair to deem a botnet "complex"? Well, I think it's fair to label it as such when it requires a collection of cybercrime fighters from the US and Europe to ultimately give it its final blow. Here's some context: "On 8 April, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT), joined forces with the Dutch authorities and the FBI, and U.S-based representatives at the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force- International Cyber Crime Coordination Cell (IC4) along with private sector partners, to target the Beebone (also known as AAEH) botnet".... Read more...
Facing accusations from the Belgian Privacy Commission dating back to February that it is violating the privacy rights of its users, Facebook yesterday confirmed that the watchdog group had uncovered a "bug" that mistakenly tracked people even when they were not on the social media giant's website, but denied the body's assertion that the company gave users a "false sense of control" over their personal information. Facebook said that it has begun to fix the problem at hand, which leveraged cookies to track people who had not signed up for the service when they visited websites that employ certain... Read more...
If there's one thing that's beaten into the head of every computer user, it's to implement a data backup scheme. Like, right now. It's sound advice, but depending on how and where you backup your data, you could be exposing more about yourself than you care to share. Just think for a moment about the contents of your hard drive (or solid state drive) and how comfortable you would be with strangers sorting through your digital bits. A typical storage drive might contain everything from family photos and work documents, to annual tax returns containing personal information and perhaps even naughty... Read more...
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