Items tagged with Privacy

A popular meme that has been making the rounds is the 10-year challenge in which people on social media (and primarily Facebook) post side-by-side pictures of themselves, one from a decade ago and a recent photo, to see how they have aged. Some have hypothesized that Facebook started the meme as a sneaky way of feeding data into an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, though the social media giant has outright denied the allegation. "The 10-year challenge is a user-generated meme that started on its own, without our involvement. It's evidence of the fun people have on Facebook, and that's it,"... Read more...
Memes are a big part of the web, especially on social media, and they serve different purposes. Humor is the primary reason memes exist, obviously, but they can also be used to make political statements and to share satirical thoughts. Could they also be used to harvest user data, though? That is a question that has been raised in response to the 10-year profile picture challenge that has gone viral on Facebook. You have probably seen this one already—the 'challenge' is to post your first profile picture alongside your most recent one to compare how much you have changed over the years. Oftentimes,... Read more...
Owners of Ring security cameras have reason to feel violated according to a new report. While most thought that the cameras were able to detect what was going on inside and around their homes using automated computer vision technologies, there may have been an entire team of humans watching the footage as well. An unnamed source claims that starting in 2016 Ring gave a team of research and development personnel access to a folder on the Amazon S3 cloud service. This move granted them complete and unfettered access to every video created by every Ring camera in the entire world (that includes... Read more...
Reports are making the rounds that some Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners who are fed up with Facebook after privacy blunders that leaked pictures and its history of sharing data without permission can't uninstall the app on their device.  Some Galaxy S8 owners are unable to delete the Facebook app completely from their devices; all owners can do is select an option to disable the app. Owners fear that by disabling the app rather than uninstalling it, Facebook might still be able to track them and share their data without permission. There is a movement trying to get people to delete Facebook... Read more...
The Weather Channel is one of the the most watched channels on TV and and its app is widely used to gather weather information for cities all around the country. The app claims to have 45 million active monthly users, and the city attorney for Los Angeles filed a lawsuit this week alleging that the app had deceptively collected, shared, and profited from location information on millions of American consumers. According to the lawsuit, the Weather Company, the company behind the app, had unfairly manipulated users into turning on location tracking by suggesting that the location data would... Read more...
Facebook doesn't exactly have the best reputation when it comes to protecting user privacy, so it should come as little surprise that several popular apps for Android are sharing data with the social network, and doing so without clear permission, according to a recently published study by Privacy International. The study examined 34 popular Android apps in all, and found that at least 61 percent of them "automatically transfer data to Facebook the moment a user opens the app." This happens regardless of whether the person even has a Facebook account, and if they do, the offending apps still transmit... Read more...
There's no shortage of places to run into spam. It seems like nowadays, all you need to do is open a new email account, and there will already be spam in there waiting for you. Alright, that may be a slight exaggeration, but the problem was bad a decade or even twenty years ago, and it hasn't slowed down. Many companies push out spam protection for this very reason, but its effectiveness is largely hit-or-miss. Google is likely one of the top guardians against spam out there, but even Gmail is prone to filtering out legitimate messages (which is why you should make it a habit to check your spam... Read more...
Many consumers have voiced concerns over privacy and the potential for unwanted eavesdropping with digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, or the Google Assistant. It turns out, that for one Amazon Alexa user in Germany – and let’s be honest, likely many more – those concerns are completely justified. According to story revealed by c’t (a Heise publication out of Germany), 1,700 unwanted audio recordings, search history, and an array of other telemetry stored by Alexa, were sent to another, unrelated Amazon customer that had requested a copy... Read more...
Mark Zuckerberg may end up finding out the hard way that even Facebook, the largest social network on the planet, is not invincible. After being dogged by numerous security gaffes and privacy outrages, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal that caused the company to be put under a microscope, it's now come to attention that Facebook allowed some of the biggest technology companies in the world to have greater access to people's data than it let on. No little thing, Facebook is home to around 2.27 billion monthly active users, after having surpassed 1 billion users six years ago. Privacy is... Read more...
As promised, Facebook has released a tool that lets users see if they are among the 6.8 million people who were potentially affected by a "photo API bug" that may have exposed their private photos during September. "When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline. In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories. The bug also impacted photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post," Facebook said... Read more...
Updated 12/13/2018: Microsoft has issued a response to its handling of Activity History in Windows 10, which you can read here. Microsoft is catching some heat for what appears on the surface to be a privacy violation in Windows 10, though what's actually happening might just be poor wording on the company's part. The issue at hand is a setting in Windows 10 to disable the OS from sending a user's activity history to the mother ship. At first glance, it seems Microsoft collects this data even when the setting is disabled. This was brought to attention by a user on Reddit who wondered why "some... Read more...
Go home, Australian government, you're drunk. That's the general sentiment among technology firms and privacy advocates around the world, in response to a controversial encryption bill Australia's parliament passed this week. The new legislation forces companies to crack their own encryption when and if it's requested by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. That in and of itself is controversial—Apple, for example, refused the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's demands to build a backdoor into iOS so that it could crack an iPhone that was confiscated from a crime scene. The issue... Read more...
Without any fanfare, Apple has gone out and acquired Silk Labs, a machine learning company that provides on-device artificial intelligence for businesses. Apple kept the acquisition quiet, and actually bought the small start-up based in San Mateo, California earlier this year without any fanfare or even a press release. As a company, Silk Labs isn't as widely known as Apple, though it has an interesting history. It was founded by three engineers who previously worked at Mozilla developing Firefox OS. Specifically, former Mozilla CTO Andreas Gal, former Mozilla platform engineer Chris Jones, and... Read more...
Some people look to their horror movie collection for a good scare, but others can just look at the realities of privacy invasion online. We're continually being tracked by companies all over the internet that use collected information for targeted marketing. This goes beyond simply seeing an ad for something you freely posted about or even searched online, but ads that come out of nowhere that seem to perfectly target you. The more you post on your social media accounts, the more information is technically out there about you. Facebook is arguably one of the biggest breach of privacy offenders... Read more...
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