Items tagged with Privacy

Tinder does not have the most stellar reputation when it comes to their users’ physical safety. Although there have been many people who have safely used the app, there have also been several users that have been physically harmed by their Tinder dates. Tinder recently implemented a panic button and artificial intelligence technology to help keep their users safe. However, it was also discovered that these security measures may be sharing your information with third-parties. Tinder has teamed up with Noonlight, a safety platform and mobile app, to offer a panic button and catfish detection AI. The panic button allows users to quietly contact an emergency dispatcher. Users will be able to... Read more...
Up until last month, an anti-tracking featured introduced to Apple's Safari browser in 2017 actually left users potentially more susceptible to being tracked by hackers due to multiple vulnerabilities discovered by Google's engineers. Fortunately, Apple patched the security holes in December, though it's a bit of an unsettling situation. The feature in question is called Intelligent Tracking Prevention. It leverages a machine learning model to classify which top privately-controlled domains are able to track users from one site to another, based on a set of collected statistics. If the site is one the user frequently visits, it is allowed to perform cross-site tracking. But if it's a site the... Read more...
Microsoft is coming under fire for a breach in customer privacy after it was revealed that the records of 250 million customers were exposed late last year. The data leak was initially reported on by security firm Comparitech, which found the information spread across five Elasticsearch servers. According to Comparitech, all five servers contained identical information from the 250 million customer records. The scope of the data unearthed was vast, covering a time period spanning from 2005 through December 2019. And what's even more unsettling is that this information was publicly indexed, meaning that anyone could access the information. Information that was exposed included customer email addresses,... Read more...
Apple and the FBI have clashed over encryption policies on numerous occasions, with the latter pressuring the former to build a backdoor into iOS to make it easier for authorities to crack into locked iPhone handsets. To this point, Apple has not wavered, or so we thought. New information suggests Apple had planned to support fully encrypted iCloud backups, but relented after objections from the FBI. In case you have not been following this saga, Apple and FBI butted heads publicly following the deadly San Bernardino shooting in late 2015. The FBI recovered an iPhone 5C that belonged to one of the terrorists involved in the shooting, who was killed in a showdown with police. It then sought Apple's... Read more...
Apple has found itself in trouble more times than we could count over privacy issues with its iPhones and other products. Apple recently issued an iOS 13.3.1 beta that is aimed in part at patching a flaw in location tracking on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. Apple had promised to bring a toggle switch to allow customers to turn off this tracking feature specifically. The toggle can be found in Privacy > Location Services > System Services, and it is labeled "Networking & Wireless." Apple warns that turning off location services for Networking & Wireless could affect Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ultra wideband performance. Those particularly concerned about having their location tracked... Read more...
In a recent post to Twitter, President Donald Trump offered up harsh criticism on Apple's policy of refusing to "unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers, and other violent criminals," which boils down to a fundamental argument over privacy and encryption, and the iPhone maker's resistance to building a backdoor into iOS. Apple's stance drew widespread attention following the shooting by a pair of San Bernardino terrorists a few years ago. Authorities had recovered an iPhone 5C that belonged to one of the shooters, but he perished in the gunfire during a confrontation with police. Initial attempts to bypass the iPhone's security to unlock the handset were unsuccessful, leading to a legal showdown... Read more...
Starting next month, Google will tighten the controls on its Chrome browser by limiting cross-site tracking, and within the next two years, it plans on eliminating third-party cookies from the equation. These and other steps are part of a larger initiative Google is calling "Privacy Sandbox," which entails open standards to enhance user privacy when surfing the web. "Our goal for this open source initiative is to make the web more private and secure for users, while also supporting publishers," Google said. On the surface, getting rid of third-party cookies may seem to go against the latter part of that statement, but Google believes there is a better way of satisfying both users and publishers.... Read more...
Many smartphone users would agree that bloatware, or pre-installed apps that cannot be deleted, are fairly irritating. However, several organizations are now also arguing that bloatware could potentially violate users’ privacy. An open letter from over fifty groups has requested that Google prevent bloatware from exploiting users’ data. Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International, and Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) addressed an open letter to Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai regarding pre-installed apps and privacy. This past year, Pichai stated in a New York Times op-ed that “Privacy cannot be a luxury good offered only to people who... Read more...
We have a winner, winner, duck dinner! Google announced the winners of its Android screen auction ballot, which determines the three other default browser choices (in addition to Google's own) users in Europe will see when setting up an Android device. In all applicable territories but one (United Kingdom), DuckDuckGo is the first option, while Bing is the big loser. However, DuckDuckGo is not celebrating the victory, and instead is chastising Google over the situation. Let's back up a moment. Back in 2018, the European Union smacked Google with a $5 billion fine for forcing smartphone makers to preinstall Google Search and Chrome, in order to be granted access to the Play Store. The EU determined... Read more...
Facebook can't seem to do anything right when it comes to privacy. Despite that fact, people continue to use the social network, and the latest privacy issue has exposed the phone numbers of 267 million users. The phone numbers were in a database that included both phone numbers and Facebook user IDs. Security researcher Bob Diachenko along with Comparitech discovered the Elasticsearch database. They believe that the database belongs to a cybercriminal organization rather than Facebook. Diachenko went to the ISP managing the IP address to remove it. The database was left unsecured on the web for nearly two weeks before it was removed. The team says that such an extensive database is likely being... Read more...
Privacy in the internet era is a myth, folks. We learn this lesson all the time, though sometimes the lesson hits particulary hard. One example is when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the US government's extensive spying program. Now several years later, an investigation into the extent that smartphone devices are tracked has led to some startling details that drives this point home yet again. The parallels between these two revelations are hard to ignore, even though they are not exactly the same. When Snowden came forward with information about the government's efforts to spy on the public at large, it was through the media, which published documents and information... Read more...
In what a security researcher called "one of the more curious behaviors" of Apple's iPhone 11 Pro, and perhaps the entire iPhone 11 lineup, the latest generation iPhone can and does track users in some instances even disabling Location Services for each individual app. As far as Apple is concerned, there is nothing wrong with this. While Apple might not see anything wrong, however, the continued tracking is seemingly not in line with what the company states in its privacy policy. The policy explains that if Location Services is enabled, the iPhone will sometimes "send geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers (where supported by a device) in an anonymous and encrypted form... Read more...
Pretty much all new TVs these days have smart functionality built into them. This can vary by model—some are simply loaded up with streaming apps, like Netflix and Hulu, while others offer voice control. Some even have built-in cameras, both for facial recognition and to utilize apps like Skype. In response to these increasingly sophisticated TV sets permeating the market, FBI Portland has issued a warning that they can pose security and privacy threats. Of course, this has been known, and for quite a while. Around this time in 2012 (seven years ago), it was discovered that some smart TV models (including some Samsung smart TVs) were susceptible to a vulnerability that could allow an attacker... Read more...
California, a state that is known for its tough talk on privacy regulations, is coming under fire for its own actions regarding the misuse use of drivers’ personal information. Thanks to an inquiry by Motherboard, it's been discovered that the California Department of Motor Vehicles has been selling private records to third parties, and has been pulling in quite a bit of money in the process over the past decade. According to the report, during the fiscal 2017/2018 period alone, the California DMV pulled in over $52 million by selling this data. Personal information within the records contains drivers’ full name, physical address, and car registration. However, the... Read more...
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