Items tagged with Privacy

Recently, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been on the hook for privacy and data tracking concerns. While the company is not backing down on the new policy, it is implementing new features which help with other concerns, such as cloud backups. At present, users can backup their conversations to the cloud, but they are not encrypted. This may be changing soon. Though we do not yet have an official announcement from WhatsApp, app beta-tester @WABetaInfo on Twitter has posted screenshots of the possible new feature for both Android and iOS. In both mobile OSs, a phone number and password are required to encrypt the data sent to the cloud. Moreover, the password will not be sent to WhatsApp and will remain... Read more...
Its widely understood that Google will collect data about people to customize and better-target ads for each person with a Google account. What you may not have realized is that the data gathered about you for tailoring ads is also only a Google search away, and you too can see what Google thinks it knows about you. A few days ago, TikTok user @yorgoandlea posted a video that has since amassed thousands of comments and hundreds of thousands of views. In the short video, she showed that all you need to do, to see what Google knows about your internet-connected travels and search activity, is perform a simple Google search for the text string “ads settings google.” The search will... Read more...
Remembering a bunch of different passwords for multiple websites can be difficult, and that is especially true if you are using hard-to-guess ones that mix letters, numbers, symbols, and capitalization, as is good practice. Password managers offer to handle the remembering part for you, and a for a long time, LastPass has been one of the most popular options. However, a security researcher says you should look elsewhere after discovering LastPass engages in "extremely questionable" tracking habits. The recommendation comes on the heels of LastPass announcing last week that it plans to hobble its free tier by making users choose between either "computers" or "mobile devices," rather than continuing... Read more...
When sending an email or message to someone, it is nice to know that the receiver got the message and read it. This is why we have read receipts in text messaging that gives senders a checkmark to say the receiver got the message. However, email clients for the most part do not have that functionality, at least not unless the recipient chooses to acknowledge a receipt request. This is the reason some email senders, especially in marketing organizations, add a "spy pixel," which raises some obvious privacy concerns. Spy pixels, email pixels, or tracking pixels are typically 1-pixel images hidden among email elements. They can be impossible to see by the average user, and even email security... Read more...
One would think that a company would learn from its mistakes after causing mass public outcry and departure from its platform. However, it seems that is simply not the case for WhatsApp, which has decided to plunge forward with its new privacy policy though it has since bled millions of users. According to a blog post that was uploaded yesterday, WhatsApp wants to put its privacy policy updates in the rearview mirror and push forward. In the coming weeks, the company will show an updated privacy policy to people that they can “read at their own pace.” WhatsApp then explained that people might go shopping around for other messaging apps, and some of the competitors may not be all they... Read more...
Billions of people worldwide use Android daily to learn, work, and play. As such, people have come to expect upgrades and improvements to the operating system over time. To make this happen, Google has started work on Android 12 and released a developer preview of the OS to get it polished before launch. With the developer preview launch, privacy and security are taking center stage alongside improved user experiences and compatibility features. Privacy And Security Privacy and security have become incredibly important to end-users in recent years, and Google seems to be listening. First in the list of new features is something called “Modern SameSite cookie behaviors in WebView,”... Read more...
It is getting to be about that time when Google pushes out a preview of its next version of Android. While we wait, however, some supposed screenshots of Android 12 have emerged, plucked from what is purported to be an "early draft" from Google summarizing what changes are headed to the next major release. As such, this could be our first look at Android 12. Potentially, anyway—the leaked document and the screenshots contained within it have not been confirmed to be real. The timing is interesting, though, because whether these are accurate reflections of Android 12 or not, the first developer preview is likely just around the bend at this point, based on Google's past time frames (the... Read more...
One of the software options for running a Raspberry Pi module is Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian), the officially supported Debian-based operating system put out by The Raspberry Pi Foundation. It has been around since 2015 without too much complaint. However, a recent update has some Raspberry Pi OS users up in arms over a key change involving Microsoft. The latest update installs a Microsoft apt respository on all any machine running Raspberry Pi OS, and does it without any admin consent. As discovered by Reddit user fortysix_n_2, the official reason is an endorsement of Microsoft's integrated development environment (IDE), Visual Studio Code (VSCode), which is fine and dandy. However, it's... Read more...
Facebook has been working hard to adhere to Apple's new privacy policy that will soon be implemented across its iOS and iPadOS platforms. Apple's goal is to give users more granular control over what personally-identifiable data can be obtained and used by installed apps. And that pertains to all third-party apps; no one is going to be getting a free pass here. Well, with the exception of Apple apps, which we'll discuss a bit later. This of course is of obvious concern to a company like Facebook, which has built an entire business model around knowing just about everything possible about you and your likes/dislikes to build a global social networking behemoth. But after Apple announced the elimination... Read more...
When Apple introduced privacy labels, it seemed to be a solid way to provide transparency for users to know what data is collected on their devices. This system relies on honesty from the app developers, but some developers crossed their fingers behind their back when they agreed to the privacy labels it seems. New research has shown that some apps had outright false or misleading labels that they present to users. Recently, Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler downloaded an app called “Satisfying Slime Generator,” which, as of writing, has a privacy label that states “developer does not collect any data from this app.” It seems that is not the case, though,... Read more...
In this episode of Misbehaving Bots, automated Telegram miscreants have been found selling private Facebook user data in an unscrupulous forum, for $20 a pop (or even less). Maybe this is why the bots gobbled up all the latest generation CPUs, graphics cards, and game consoles—it's not cryptocurrency mining, but hawking Facebook data! Not really, of course. Those are two completely separate scenarios, they just happen to both involve bots. And of course there are humans pulling the strings of these automated tools, so no offense meant to our future robot overlords, if any of them in the making are reading this. But anyway, let's talk about the latest privacy screw-up involving Facebook.... Read more...
Cookies of the edible kind are delicious and comforting, whereas cookies of the technological kind can save, store, and track data in web browsers across browsing sessions. Companies can use them for good or bad things depending on the implementation from a website, like Twitter, Facebook, or others. When it comes to advertising on the internet, some cookies get to hitch a ride on other websites and then get placed on your computer, which leads to privacy concerns. Therefore, Google is ending support for third-party cookies and replacing the technology with the “Federated Learning of Cohorts” (FLoC). In 2019, Google announced the “Privacy Sandbox,” hoping to find better... Read more...
Facebook does not exactly have a squeaky clean record when it comes user privacy (remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal?), so naturally an ambiguous update to its WhatsApp privacy policy concerned many people. Millions of them, actually, who have decided to leave WhatsApp behind and seek out alternative services for their secure instant messaging needs. Let's back up a moment, for context on the current mass exodus. Earlier this month, Facebook tweaked the privacy policy for WhatsApp, which suggested that effective February 8, the app would automatically send some data to Facebook. In essence, WhatsApp users would effectively be forced to share certain data with Facebook. This caught the attention... Read more...
As time goes on, people are becoming more aware of their privacy and data security regarding the products they use. We saw this with the outpouring of concern over WhatsApp’s privacy policies, causing confusion. People do not typically think about their search engine, though, but that is changing as well. DuckDuckGo is a search engine that touts privacy and security for its users, and the company’s search query numbers show that people are taking notice. DuckDuckGo (DDG) was founded in 2008 with the principle that companies should not make money from private information being sold without consent. DuckDuckGo operates by not collecting information while making money from ads sold in... Read more...
The crazy train that is WhatsApp right now does not look like it will be stopping any time soon. After the privacy policy fiasco, which is still developing, other issues have popped up simultaneously. It appears that Google is indexing a WhatsApp subdomain that can share users’ phone numbers. Furthermore, there are also other issues with WhatsApp that scammers can use to social engineer people, as we are just now learning. This is an absolute nightmare for privacy and security again, and should concern every WhatsApp user at present. Last year, WhatsApp had chat invite links indexed on Google, meaning they were searchable by anyone who knew what to look for. The search techniques could... Read more...
WhatsApp has been embroiled in a flurry of confusion since a change in the company's privacy policy sparked the ire of many. People such as Elon Musk suggested that users switch to rival Signal as it does not collect nearly as much data, and that call to action sparked millions to download Signal. All this chaos did not fall on deaf ears, though, as WhatsApp is pushing back its changes and trying to clean up the mess it made. Today, WhatsApp penned a blog post in an attempt to make amends and try to clear the air after what happened earlier this week. The explained that it "heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update," and it lays the blame on "a lot of misinformation... Read more...
Sometimes it is not what you say, or even how you say something. Rather, it is what you do not say that can speak the loudest, or be of the biggest concern. And so it goes with Facebook's recently updated privacy policy for WhatsApp, a cross platform messaging service that became massively popular because of its focus on privacy. Facebook seems to have shot itself in the foot, however, when last week it announced a revised policy that will effectively force users to accept Facebook data collection through the app. The policy goes into effect next month (February 8), and as you might imagine, not everyone is happy about the changes. Quite the opposite. This prompted Facebook to post a WhatsApp... Read more...
Earlier this week, WhatsApp unveiled a new privacy policy that effectively forced users to share data with Facebook. For an app that touted its user privacy and end-to-end encryption in the past, this recent development is none too kosher. It did not sit well with many users and prominent ones, like Elon Musk, who quickly and directly suggested on Twitter to switch to Signal. After Facebook bought out WhatsApp, there were concerns that the app would head down the wrong path as far as data privacy goes. It appears now that those concerns were on the mark, as Facebook will now be collecting data from the app starting on February 8th. If you do not want data collected, you do not have an option... Read more...
WhatsApp was once hailed as an excellent and secure method for contacting people. However, Facebook bought out WhatsApp, and since then, it has dealt with several privacy and security lapses. Now, Facebook is tightening the noose around WhatsApp by forcing users to accept Facebook data collection through the app. Starting on February 8th, users joining WhatsApp will automatically be sending data to Facebook due to the terms and privacy policy changes going into effect. Current users will likely soon see a notification in-app, which will give them the option of accepting these terms or deleting their account. You can see what this notification looks like below. If you follow the link to the... Read more...
Do you own and operate a drone, or plan to? If so, be aware that the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is introducing some key rule changes for "Unmanned Aircraft" (UA), otherwise known as drones. They include being able to fly over people and at night under certain conditions, and having to broadcast your location at all times when using your drone. There are obvious privacy implications for both rule changes. And they come at a time when the FAA says drones have emerged as the fastest-growing segment in all of transportation, noting that there are now over 1.7 million drone registrations, and over 200,000 FAA-certified remote pilots. Indeed, drone usage... Read more...
The battle over privacy online rages between key platform holders who strive to protect their users from monopolistic megacorps that earn their money turning personal data into cash. In this particular case, the platform owner is Apple, a megacorp of its own whose recent App Store policy changes on iOS and macOS force app developers to disclose how user data is utilized. The opposition here is Facebook, which has made its fortunes on the backs of the users who willingly post all the intimate details of their lives on the free service.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has taken its stance, and unsurprisingly, it's backing Facebook's user base, and by extension, Apple's position on... Read more...
Advertisers and companies like Facebook that thrive on the targeted ads model are a little miffed at Apple right now, because an upcoming privacy policy could hamper their bottom line. Facebook in particular claims one of its targeted ad models could see up to a 50 percent hit in revenue when the new policy goes into effect. Cue the tiny violin. Companies have time to adjust, though not a lot time. Beginning sometime in 2021, Apple will start booting apps from the App Store that track users without receiving permission to do so. And not by way of burying permission in the fine print, presumably. Instead, this move effectively forces many app makers to change their targeted ad strategy. How so?... Read more...
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