Items tagged with Privacy

As Mozilla’s Firefox, Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and Apple’s Safari all compete against one another to try to see who can be the No. 1 Web browser, certainly privacy is a key factor that influences success. While many of us hope to never have to deal with the repercussions of a flawed browser and/or stolen information, there are no guarantees. As a result, we must all realize surfing the Web is a bit of a gamble, though often times it’s a very small one. Being informed of the latest threats and flaws is key to making an informed decision about which browser to use. Kate McKinley, a researcher at San Francisco security firm iSec Partners, recently took a closer look into the... Read more...
We’re sure many of you have suggestions for how we could change the copyright laws, patent system, and privacy rules in this country. However, we’re guessing not many of you have acted upon it. The Pirate Party in Sweden is doing just that, and they’re gaining some serious support in the process. Heading into the 2009 European Parliament elections, more than half of all Swedish men under 30 are considering voting for them. Thanks in large part to the Internet, the party’s membership has grown 50% during the last quarter, surpassing that of the well-established Green Party, which currently holds 19 seats in the Swedish parliament. In a recent poll, 21% of all Swedes indicated they would consider... Read more...
There is a famous New Yorker cartoon from 1993 with a dog using a computer, where the dog says: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." The implication is that you can be completely anonymous when online and be anyone, or anything, you want to be. That might have be mostly true in the early 1990's, but privacy advocates will tell you that today it's almost impossible to be completely anonymous online. We leave tracks wherever we go online in the form of stored login data, IP addresses, search terms used, and cookies stored on our own systems. Businesses claim that they need this data in order to deliver relevant content and targeted advertising. Advocates claim that too much personal information... Read more...
There's been talk recently over private browsing features in upcoming browsers such as Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.1 (Safari already has this feature).  Privacy, of course, is an important subject for many end users (despite the somewhat pejorative term "porn mode" frequently used for it).  Well, a new browser has been recently released that --- rather than making this feature an afterthought, focuses directly on privacy as the base of its capabilities. Level 9 Technology, Inc. has launched the ArmorSurf Private Browser - a free web browser & downloader that lets users surf in complete privacy while keeping their files secure. In addition to privacy features, the software... Read more...
Faced with concerns that users might switch over to IE8 or Google's new Chrome so they can browse porn, er, we mean privately, Mozilla has reversed course on Privacy Mode, which had been out for Firefox 3.1.  The upcoming release will indeed support Privacy Mode, popularly known as "Porn Mode." Both IE8 in its current Beta 2 form and Chrome in its (barely) beta form support Privacy Mode.In a note from this week's weekly status meeting, Mozilla said: "Private Browsing Mode: Ehsan [Akhgari] went and implemented Connor's functional spec bug 248970 -- way to go! Now back on track for beta date."Cryptic, but it means that bug 248970 has been  addressed, and that entry in Bugzilla, Mozilla's... Read more...
If you think the contents of your work computer are your business and only your business, then think again. Applying federal rulings from other jurisdictions to help guide its ruling, the New Jersey State Appeals Court ruled in a recent case that "an employee has no reasonable expectation of privacy in personal files stored on a company-owned computer." This is a significant finding as it sets a precedent for the state of New Jersey, and adds to other similar rulings from the 4th and 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (U.S. v. Angevine and U.S. v. Simons, respectively). In fact, not only did the court rule that a employee of a company has no expectation of privacy of the contents of his work... Read more...
A recent U.K. study by AOL finds that most online users are concerned about their online privacy and about providing personal details to Websites. No surprise there. In fact, the study found that 84 percent of respondents said that "they would not give away income details online." What to make then of the fact that 89 percent of those same respondents actually provided the very same income details that they claimed they wouldn't give? Oops. Apparently the perception of users does not always match the reality of the situation. Another example of this perceptual disconnect is that the study also found that 34 percent of respondents expected to experience credit card fraud as a result of their activities,... Read more...
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a dangerous legal precedent has just been set that can potentially unravel existing federal privacy protections for e-mail and Internet usage. The alert from the EFF is not just to sound a general warning, but it also takes the form of an Amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief, filed with the federal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for the court's legal finding to be overturned. In the recent case of "Justin Bunnell, Forrest Parker, Wes Parker and Valence Media, LTD., vs. Motion Picture Association of America" (MPAA), the owners of TorrentSpy accused the MPAA of violating the federal Wiretap Act by intercepting e-mails. Apparently,... Read more...
'Tis the season to be upset - upset at Google over privacy, at least.  Actually, it's year-round, and here's yet another.On Dec. 14th, in Google Reader Help and on the Official Google Reader Blog, they posted about a new feature, which, as they put it:The short description of it is this: If any of your friends from Google Talk are using Reader and sharing items, you’ll see them listed in your sidebar under “Friends’ shared items.” Similarly, they’ll be able to see any items you’re sharing. You can hide items from any friend you don’t want to see, and you can also opt out of sharing by removing all your shared items.This is still a very experimental feature, so we’d love to hear what you... Read more...
This week the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) released a report which investigated DRM used in 16 different products and services. The conclusion was that many DRM technologies fail to comply with basic requirements of Canadian privacy law.The study, published by the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), indicated that DRM is being used to collect, use and disclose consumers’ personal information for secondary purposes, without giving the user adequate notice or the opportunity to opt-out of collection. The report investigated DRM systems used in 16 different digital products and services including Apple’s... Read more...
Google has begun challenging various governments (via the U.N.) to adopt a global standard for protecting users' private data.Peter Fleicher, Google's chief privacy officer, has set himself up with quite a serious challenge.  Laws in different countries are quite different, as is they degree to which they are enforced.  Even here in the United States laws vary from state to state, and even within each state. “Another problem facing companies such as Google is that many of the laws are extremely out of date when compared to how the Internet has progressed.  An Internet law created by lawmakers just 10 years ago cannot fairly be used today.”With technology changing faster than some government bodies... Read more...
AT&T recently announced that when it comes to piracy it plans to do what other high-speed internet providers have fought to keep from doing; work hand-in-hand with Hollywood. While the details are still rough, AT&T and Hollywood studios hope to work in unison to stop offshore pirates from distributing pirated files across AT&T's network. According to AT&T's senior executive James W. Cicconi a new technology would be developed "to address the legal issues that flow out of using such technology." Cicconi insists that he does not want AT&T to become a member of the internet police, but that for a company involved in content distribution it's a smart business move to combat piracy... Read more...
For a time, AOL was intent on creating a huge database containing what types of things people usually search for. When the operation was revealed, AOL apologized, removed the file, but not in time. 21 Million search queries is what the file contains, and with a number like that, you know you're going to see a great variety in what people like to search for. Love, revenge, material things, all of the usual stuff is there, mixed with some other things you may or may not expect. "That database does not include names or user identities. Instead, it lists only a unique ID number for each user. What that means is that it's possible to view the... Read more...
I'm sure many of our readers are fully aware of what it takes to maintain a safe level of privacy while using the Internet, but on the other hand, I'm sure there are many of you out there who think having a firewall is all you'll need. Privacy and Anonymity can't just be found in a program, you need to practice it on a daily basis. Don't expose your personal information, unless absolutely necessary. Even printing your full name and address on an internet forum could open up a can of worms if the wrong person were to view it. Keep personal information off public profile sites such as MySpace. These are just a few basic tips, as there are many areas of the internet that allow... Read more...
Is the convenience of Google Desktop worth the privacy risks? As with a lot of "free" software out there, or almost anything free for that matter, there's always the fine print you need to consider. With privacy concerns being raised over Google's service, Bigbruin.com has taken some time to examine the old Convenience vs. Privacy debate. "Google recently released an update to its desktop search product, Google Desktop 3. It offers several different features which add both a convenience factor and privacy issues. I am going to be looking into these, seeing how they relate, and if the convenience is out weighted by the privacy issues.... Read more...
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