Items tagged with Privacy

Apple and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been at odds over the tight security on iPhone and iPad devices, and in particular the Cupertino company's unwillingness to build a back door into iOS for law enforcement officials to use. Be that as it may, Apple does cooperate with law enforcement, and is said to be erecting a website that will make it easier for police and other officials to request and obtain information on iPhone users. This is not to say that if you are an iPhone user, suddenly your information will be up for grabs, at least not willy-nilly. In a letter sent by Apple... Read more...
One of the neat things about Google Maps and its Timeline feature is that you can bring up view of everywhere you have been within a specific time frame—you'll see little red dots scattered on the map. What some users are finding not so cool, however, is that Google still collects location data after turning off the "Location History" option. That revelation has led to a lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco on Friday. In the lawsuit, Napoleon Patacsil and his attorneys allege that Google is running afoul of the California Invasion of Privacy Act. "As revealed in... Read more...
Does Google track your location? A study by the Associated Press and Princeton University discovered that some Google services store your location regardless of your privacy settings. It is believed that over 2 million Android users are affected by this issue. Google claims that if users turn off their “Location History”, it will no longer store the places the users have been. The AP and Princeton University insist that some Google apps store time-stamped locations, even if the user has disabled “Location History”. Some of these exceptions make sense, but others seem illogical.... Read more...
Usually when the government and Apple butt heads over a technology topic, it has to do with encryption, and specifically the lack of a built-in backdoor for lawmakers to bust through when investigating crimes. That is an ongoing topic, though it is not the only one. Concerned over the growing use of digital assistants like Siri, US lawmakers asked Apple if its devices invade user privacy by recording conversations. The question was posed to both Apple and Google in a letter by representatives Greg Walden, Marsha Blackburn, Gregg Harper, and Robert Latta. In the letter, the representatives pointed... Read more...
Data security and user privacy are hot topics following the high profile Cambridge Analytica scandal that resulted in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress. However, Facebook is not the only major company facing scrutiny by our elected officials. Apple and Google have both received letters from members of the US House of Representatives with questions about each company's mobile phone privacy and location data policies. The letters follow a couple of recent and concerning privacy incidents that came to light. In May, it was reported that Apple had begun cracking down on apps that... Read more...
Are you concerned about who might be reading your emails? You should be, especially if you allow third-party app developers to access your Gmail account, as many of them request. A recent report highlighted the extent of which third-party app developers can access private information, prompting Google to respond with what amounts to a soothing message saying, 'There, there, everything will be okay'. Google is not necessarily wrong, either, provided you are tech savvy enough to understand the risks associated with giving a third-party app certain permissions, and know how to take control of your... Read more...
Privacy advocates are celebrating a Supreme Court ruling that bans law enforcement from tracking a user's cellphone location without first obtaining a warranty. In a majority 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court found that allowing police officers to access a cellphones location data without a warrant violated the Fourth Amendment, and that it is precisely the type of surveillance that the Constitution protects against. Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority decision, likened warrantless cellphone tracking to wearing an electronic ankle bracelet, such as those worn by criminals on house... Read more...
Instagram is no longer testing a feature that alerted users when someone else would take a screenshot of their story. The feature had been in place for several months and would plop a starry icon next to the username of anyone who snapped a screenshot, thereby letting the user know that someone saved a potentially embarrassing post. With the test concluded, users are free to grab screenies all they want without Instagram ratting them out. This is either a good thing or potentially bad thing, depending on your perspective. For users who like to save photos that others take, Instagram's alert system... Read more...
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently testified before Congress, one of the common criticisms by multiple elected officials is that the social network has a history of screwing up in various ways, and then later apologizing and promising to do better. That's also what happened with the Cambridge Analytica scandal that prompted the testimony. Now just weeks later, Facebook is apologizing once again, this time for a bug that changed the default settings for millions of users, causing them to publicly share posts that they may have thought were private. "We recently found a bug that automatically... Read more...
The intricacies of Facebook's full data collection and sharing policies are not really known outside of the social network, but it is safe to assume that your information changes hands. Facebook does not hide this tidbit, even if the full scope is not known. What is known, however, is that Facebook has data sharing deals with four Chinese companies, perhaps more, including Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo, and TCL. These are not small firms by any means. Huawei is the world's third biggest smartphone player, while Lenovo often jostles with Hewlett-Packard for the top spot in computer shipments and market share.... Read more...
A woman from Portland, Oregon has claimed that her Amazon Echo recorded part of her conversation and sent it to a random person on her contact list. The woman claims that she learned about the issue when a person who worked for her husband contacted her at her home after receiving the message and told her that she was “hacked.” Amazon has confirmed that this issue happened and issued the statement, “Amazon takes privacy very seriously,” an Amazon representative told Fox. “We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking... Read more...
Google is at the center of another privacy lawsuit, this latest one filed in the UK on behalf of around 4.4 million iPhone owners who may have had their browsing data improperly collected. Should Google lose the legal battle, it could be on the hook for 3.2 billion pounds, or roughly $4.29 billion, the company revealed in a court filing. Google denies the allegation and doesn't believe the issue even belongs in a London court. The crux of the lawsuit is the use of tracking cookies of Apple's Safari browser. It's similar to what led Google to pay the United Stated Federal Trade Commission (FTC)... Read more...
New Spectre flaws have been revealed by the former head of Intel's advanced thread team, Yuriy Bulygin. This is a man who knows what he's doing, so his opinions and findings are not to be treated as fly-by-night like some others. Through his new security agency, Eclypsium (a neat name, it must be said), Bulygin posts of a new application of speculative execution attacks which hinge on Spectre variant 1 (bounds check bypass), although it's believed that the same exploit would work with variant 2 (branch target injection), as well. Ultimately, Bulygin's exploit leverages the bounds check bypass element... Read more...
Facebook has another small crisis on its hands, and users are panicking all over social media. Over the past 24 hours, Android users have been receiving prompts from the Facebook app requesting superuser privileges.  For those that might not be familiar with Android's permissions system, superuser access would basically grant the Facebook app full or "root" access to your phone. And that's not all; the app is requesting superuser access "forever" -- yikes. Needless to say, the scores of users that received the prompt immediately took to their favorite place to vent their frustrations:... Read more...
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