Articles about Privacy

Go dark with the flow: Lavabit lives again

It's taken longer than first expected, but the first fruits of Lavabit founder Ladar Levison's Dark Mail Technical Alliance have landed with the relaunch of the encrypted mail service he closed in 2013. After shuttering Lavabit, Levison joined hands with Silent Circle to form the DMTA and promised Lavabit would flow again in …
Hippie peace, image via Shutterstock

Mozilla wants infosec activism to be the next green movement

Mozilla has issued a prototype of its first internet health report in a bid to make humans give security and privacy the same level of attention they devote to climate change. The prototype report details rising breaches affecting healthcare and medical industries but largely serves as a pulpit from which the browser baron and …
Darren Pauli, 23 Jan 2017
Mike Pompeo

CIA boss: Make America (a) great (big database of surveillance on citizens, foreigners) again!

While Washington is busy with the inauguration of President Trump, not all political business has stopped. The incoming administration is hoping to get its new CIA boss appointed today, but the Senate is having none of it. Trump's pick for the top job is Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS), who has some interesting views on data …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jan 2017

Welcome to the Wipe House: President Trump shreds climate change, privacy, LGBT policies on WhiteHouse.gov

With Donald Trump taking over the presidency Friday morning, a different type of transition has also taken place: a digital transition. A novel approach was taken with respect to the Twitter accounts of the president, vice-president and first lady: the accounts were both retained and cloned to new accounts – if you followed @ …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Jan 2017

My hole is a private thing – see for yourself

Something for the Weekend, Sir? My neighbours are staring at my hole and shaking their heads disapprovingly. They were a little surprised to receive my invitation to view my orifice, and it may not be as big as theirs, but I needed their advice on how to fill it. The problem with this particular pothole is that it’s directly at the end of my drive at the …
Alistair Dabbs, 20 Jan 2017

Viral Chinese selfie app Meitu phones home with personal data

PIC The Meitu selfie horrorshow app going viral through Western audiences is a privacy nightmare, researchers say. The app harvests information about the devices on which it runs, includes invasive advertising tracking features and is just badly coded. But worst of all, the free app appears to be phoning some to share personal …
Darren Pauli, 20 Jan 2017

ProtonMail launches Tor hidden service to dodge totalitarian censorship

ProtonMail, the privacy-focused email business, has launched a Tor hidden service to combat the censorship and surveillance of its users. The move is designed to counter actions "by totalitarian governments around the world to cut off access to privacy tools" and the Swiss company specifically cited "recent events such as the …
zombie_648

Linux is part of the IoT security problem, dev tells Linux conference

The Mirai botnet? Just the “tip of the iceberg” is how security bods at this week's linux.conf.au see the Internet of Things. Presenting to the Security and Privacy miniconf at linux.conf.au, embedded systems developer and consultant Christopher Biggs pointed out that Mirai's focus on building a big DDoS cannon drew attention …

Adobe's naughty Chrome telemetry code had XSS problem

Adobe's pushed out a fix for its already-controversial Chrome telemetry extension after Project Zero's Tavis Ormandy found an egregious bug. The update that shipped last week pushed the extension to Chrome users. It was presented as a convenience update that let people print Web pages to PDF, and use Reader instead of Chrome's …

Australia's Department of Social Services pushing ahead with data-matching plans

The Centrelink “robo-debt” debacle hasn't dimmed the Australian government's enthusiasm for data-matching as a policy tool. The Department of Social Services (DSS) has confirmed to The Register that it plans to go ahead with its own big data project conceived in the February 2015 “McClure review” (full name: A New System for …

Valley techies to protest outside Palantir – Trump adviser's creepy citizen database biz

Silicon Valley engineers will protest outside the headquarters of data analytics firm Palantir Technologies Wednesday, demanding greater transparency over how its databases may be used by the incoming Trump Administration. "Palantir and Peter Thiel should be held accountable for potentially enabling Trump's efforts to deport …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Jan 2017

UK's lords want more details on adult website check plans

A House of Lords committee has called for greater detail on how the UK government intends to introduce online porn age verification plans in the Digital Economy Bill. Under the proposed legislation, pornographic websites that fail to implement checks would be blocked by all UK internet service providers. The Digital Econonomy …
Kat Hall, 17 Jan 2017
Zuckberg Facebook wow photo via Shutterstock

Facebook pimping for politicos despite fake news 'purge'

National elections in the UK and US, and Britain's 2016 referendum on membership of the EU demonstrated the growing power of social media to swing views and win votes. Twitter gets a lot of attention due to its use by journalists and politicians – not least president-elect Donald Trump – and its relative openness making it …
SA Mathieson, 17 Jan 2017

Nadella calls for AI sector to move beyond 'worshipping' a handful of companies

The tech sector is currently "worshipping" a handful of artificial intelligence companies, but is yet to show how it will make the technology accessible to and useful for its human end users, Microsoft head Satya Nadella has said. Speaking at the DLD technology conference in Munich, he said: "The way at least I have defined AI …
Kat Hall, 16 Jan 2017

Father of Android II: A Hardware Comeback

The "Father of Android" Andy Rubin is plotting a return to hardware – and he could beat Google's own Android successor Andromeda to market. According to Bloomberg, Rubin, who left Google in 2013, has hired former Android engineers for his new venture Essential, with the idea that a "high-end" smartphone will act as a kind of …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2017

Oh, for F...acebook: WhatsApp, critics spar over alleged 'backdoor'

Updated WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption can be potentially exploited by determined snoops to intercept and read encrypted messages, it was claimed today. Essentially, if an attacker can reroute a redelivered encrypted message, it is possible to decrypt the text. WhatsApp stresses it is not a serious flaw nor a deliberate backdoor in …
John Leyden, 13 Jan 2017
Data_image_via_Shutterstock

EU policy makers consider FRAND licensing of machine-generated data

EU policy makers are considering introducing a new licensing regime for anonymised "machine-generated data". It is one of the options the European Commission said could be introduced to facilitate greater access to the ever-growing volumes of data generated by "computer processes, applications or services, or by sensors …
OUT-LAW.COM, 13 Jan 2017
A robot and person shaking hands

Europe mulls treating robots legally as people ... but with kill switches

The European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs has proposed a legal framework for robots that clarifies whether they should have the legal status of people, even as it recommends the inclusion of kill switches in automated systems. "A growing number of areas of our daily lives are increasingly affected by robotics," said …
Thomas Claburn, 13 Jan 2017
finger pointing

It's not just your browser: Your machine can be fingerprinted easily

It just got a lot harder to evade browser fingerprinting: a bunch of boffins have worked out how to fingerprint the machine behind the browser, using only information provided by browser features. Like so many ideas, it's obvious once someone's thought of it: activities that aren't processed in the browser are treated the same …

The top doc, the FBI, the Geek Squad informant – and the child porn pic that technically wasn't

Lawyers for a California doctor accused of hoarding child sex abuse images are challenging the legitimacy of crucial evidence a PC repairman handed to the FBI. While fixing top surgeon Mark Rettenmaier's HP Pavilion computer, a Best Buy technician found what was claimed to be an indecent photo of a child and passed it onto the …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Jan 2017

EU wants power to fine behavioural data bad boys and the ad men aren't happy

The EU has proposed only incremental changes to data protection law in Europe, but their significance lies in a new ability to fine digital services – including the giant platforms – for privacy breaches. The law covers the consent users give to the acquisition and processing of behavioural data. This is considered valuable by …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jan 2017
Privacy

New Windows 10 privacy controls: Just a little snooping – or the max

Microsoft has built an online dashboard of privacy controls in an attempt to soothe lingering anger over Windows 10 and its ability to phone home people's private information. The new web portal lists some of the personal data that is collected from PCs and devices and sent back to Redmond, and allows people to somewhat limit …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jan 2017
Bus jump from 'Speed'

NSW bus Wi-Fi privacy, regulation: 'Move along, nothing to see here'

On Monday, we noted the privacy nightmare that is the NSW State Government's latest attempt at public transport Wi-Fi, and asked APN Outdoor, owner of Catch, questions about security and its regulatory status. Our questions have travelled around a bit, to finally get a response from the State Transit Authority. Its stance? …
Cookie Monster

EU tosses Europe's cookies... popups

The EU’s most famous contribution to the internet era could be snuffed out soon, and few will mourn it. As expected, Brussels will no longer mandate that websites receive the user’s consent for placing cookies on their device. Scrapping the consent form is one of the options floated in the European Commission new public …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2017
Statue of Liberty

NGO to crowdfund legal challenge against Investigatory Powers Act

Civil liberties advocacy group Liberty is seeking to crowdfund a judicial review of the Investigatory Powers Act. Liberty is launching the legal challenge following a landmark EU ruling in December which found that data retention had to be targeted and not practiced on a population-scale to be lawful. This is not the case …

Renault goes open source with next-gen electric buggy you might generously call 'a car'

Renault is embracing open source with its new car – an electric vehicle named POM. As the car industry unveils its latest and greatest at the North American International Auto Show, the French carmaker is pushing the POM – which stands for Platform Open Mind – as the future of cars. The space-age golf cart, pictured above, …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Jan 2017
logo for mcubed conference

Get smart on machine learning before the machines beat you to it

Reg Events 2017 looks like being the year of AI. Or at least that’s what a friendly computer keeps telling us. So we’re partnering with our friends at Heise to bring you M3, a conference which aims to bring together researchers, academics and, crucially, practitioners, to show you how to put the latest in artificial intelligence, machine …
Team Register, 09 Jan 2017

Why the UK is unlikely to get an adequacy determination post Brexit

Opinion This article adds two reasons to why I think a post-Brexit UK is very unlikely to offer an adequate level of protection in terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). One reason relates to recent comments made by Prime Minister Theresa May about human rights. The other relates to the non-compliance of the national …
Flying pig

NSW government drops a Catch: Bus Wi-Fi is a privacy nightmare

Privacy activists and the NSW Greens in Australia have come out against the NSW State Government's umpteenth Wi-Fi-on-buses trial. The reason: instead of trying to offer the Wi-Fi itself, as has happened in past attempted-but-abandoned rollouts, the Baird government is letting a company called Catch run the hotspots. Catch is …
Image by Arak Rattanawijittakorn http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-2364116p1.html

Dodgy dealer on Amazon lures marks towards phishing site

Amazon UK customers would do well to be vigilant about the post-holiday deals they find on the retail site following the discovery of a sophisticated scam. A rogue merchant, called Sc-Elegance, is primarily offering high-end electronics, advertising them as "used – like new" at significantly lower costs than in the shops. …
John Leyden, 06 Jan 2017

Former car rental biz staff gave customers' details to phone pests

Former staffers at a Cardiff-based car rental company have been sentenced for conspiring to steal customer information to sell to ambulance chasers. The three data thieves were employees of Enterprise-Rent-A-Car sold the details of tens of thousands of the company's customers and sold them on for hundreds of thousands of …

D-Link sucks so much at Internet of Suckage security – US watchdog

America's trade watchdog is suing D-Link, alleging the router and camera vendor failed to implement basic security protections in its gear. The FTC said that its complaint was based on D-Link's failure to take "reasonable steps" to secure its products, putting the privacy of citizens everywhere at risk as a result. "Hackers …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Jan 2017

Australia telcos warn: Opening metadata access will create a 'honeypot' for lawyers

Australia's telecoms industry advocacy body the Communications Alliance is renewing its push for the federal government to revise its data retention regime, amid fears that a review will see stored data sucked into civil lawsuits. The take-out-the-trash timing of the review, announced in the afternoon of Friday December 23, …

Google nukes ad-blocker AdNauseam, sweeps remains out of Chrome Web Store

Google has removed ad blocking and privacy extension AdNauseam from its Chrome Web Store, and has taken the unusual step of flagging the extension as malware, thereby preventing AdNauseam from being used by those who have installed the software via Chrome's developer mode. Chrome users who put their browser into developer mode …
Thomas Claburn, 05 Jan 2017
Wages

Google gives up YOUR private data to US govt – but won't hand over its OWN staff personal info

The US Department of Labor is suing Google for details of its staff's wages – though the Chocolate Factory claims it's bending over backwards to comply with the bureaucrats' demands. This is the same advertising giant that loves keeping tabs on hundreds of millions of netizens, and coughs up people's private information to …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jan 2017
Couple in snorkelling gear at the travel agents... Comedy snap. Photo by Shutterstock

Travel booking systems ‘wide open’ to abuse – report

Updated Legacy travel booking systems disclose travellers’ private information, security researchers warn. Travel bookings worldwide are maintained in a handful of Global Distributed Systems (GDS) built around mainframe computers linked to the web but without adequate security controls, say the researchers. “The systems have since …
John Leyden, 04 Jan 2017
Mark zuckerberg in a buena vista style flat cap. Photo: shutterstock mashup

The Zucker Mister Social Club: Facebook's daddy wants to be your friend, for realsies

There is only one appropriate response to obnoxious self-improvement posts on Facebook: instant de-friend. But unfortunately Mark Zuckerberg's New Year's resolution is to make more pals in person. The billionaire nerd wrote on Facebook: "Every year I take on a personal challenge to learn new things and grow outside of my work …
Kat Hall, 04 Jan 2017
A quadcopter drone seized by the Metropolitan Police

Joe Public likes drones and regulations, finds UK.gov 'public dialogue'

The general public is keen on drones of all shapes and sizes but wants their operators to be registered and trained, according to a study carried out by the UK Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence. A joint exercise between the two government departments to encourage "public dialogue on drone use in the UK" …
Gareth Corfield, 04 Jan 2017
Hello Barbie

Mattel's parenting takeover continues with Alexa-like dystopia

Today in “what could possibly go wrong?”, the company that gave the world the infamous “Hello Barbie” now wants its Amazon Alexa look-alike in kids' bedrooms. To wild applause from consumer gadget media, Mattel is pitching its Aristotle (with a female voice because that's how Greek philosophers roll these days) as a virtual …

Top-Secret-cleared SOCOM medics hit in 11GB govt database leak

A Pentagon subcontractor has exposed the names, locations, Social Security Numbers, and salaries of US Military Special Operations Command (SOCOM) healthcare professionals. The cleartext and openly accessible database – said to be at least 11 gigabytes in size – also included names and locations of at least two Special Forces …
Darren Pauli, 03 Jan 2017

The Register's Top 20 Most-Commented Stories in 2016

Brexit and Windows 10 stories dominated reader discussions in 2016. It’s no surprise that the departure from the European Union of its second biggest economy should be a major talking point. It was the biggest political shock in the UK since 1945, few UK readers are unaffected, and it most likely terminates a political project …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2016

US cops seek Amazon Echo data for murder inquiry

Amazon has resisted a warrant to release information to US police seeking data from its Echo device, in order to gather evidence on a murder investigation. The device is owned by James Andrew Bates from Arkansas, who is accused of strangling his friend Victor Collins, who was found dead in a bath at the suspect’s home in …
Kat Hall, 28 Dec 2016

A year in infosec: Bears, botnets, breaches ... and elections

How often can we say that an IT blunder might have changed the course of world history? Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server whilst serving as outgoing US President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State became a key element in the US presidential election this year. The FBI investigation around Clinton’s use of a …
John Leyden, 26 Dec 2016
Trump with flag photo via Shutterstock

A vintage year for snoopers and big state-ists

Year in Review If 2016 proved anything, it proved the existence of the law of unintended consequences making this a miserable year for lovers of liberty and privacy. A vote by the British electorate to secede from the European Union in June led to former Home Secretary Theresa May becoming Prime Minister — to the fright of many who had …

Tesla set to up prices by 5% in new year because of 'currency fluctuations'

Tesla Motors is bumping up its vehicles' prices in the UK by five per cent, purportedly because of currency effects post-Brexit. According to the business, that change will arrive as soon as 2017 does, because of "currency fluctuations". These fluctuations have seen the sterling drop in value against the dollar. Today, £1 is …
Apple

Apple drops requirement for apps to use HTTPS by 2017

One of the initiatives Apple trumpeted at its 2016 WorldWide Developer Conference was a requirement for all iOS and OS X apps in its Store to use adopt App Transport Security as of December 31st 2016. App Transport Security (ATS) arrived in 2015 iOS and OS X in 2015, in Apple's own words, “improves privacy and data integrity …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2016
Electronic Trojan horse

Sneaky chat app Signal deploys decoy domains to deny despots

The latest update of Signal, one of the most well-regarded privacy-focused messaging applications for non-technical users, has just been revised to support a censorship circumvention technique that will make it more useful for people denied privacy by surveillance-oriented regimes. In response to reports that Egypt and the …
Thomas Claburn, 23 Dec 2016
Uber moving its self-driving cars via self-driving truck

Uber's self-driving cars get kicked out of SF, seek refuge in Arizona

Analysis The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on Wednesday revoked the registration of 16 self-driving Uber vehicles, sending a signal to the regulation-averse startup that the agency is not to be publicly defied. Privately, it appears to be a different matter. Uber's subsidiary Otto has been, by its own admission, testing …
Thomas Claburn, 22 Dec 2016
EU flag photo via Shutterstock

Did EU ruling invalidate the UK's bonkers Snoopers' Charter?

Analysis Yesterday's judgment from the EU Court of Justice offered hope to many of those critical of the wider culture of communications data retention, but what does this mean for the UK's Investigatory Powers Act? Nothing immediately, of course. The original case will now go back to the UK's Court of Appeal, from whence it initially …
Internet-enabled baseball

Building IoT: Forget the vision, just show us how to build it

If you’ve had all the vision you can handle, and just want to know how to actually develop devices, applications and networks to exploit the internet of things, you really need to join us next March for Building IoT London. Between March 27 and 29, we’ll be bringing together an array of experts with extensive real world …
Team Register, 22 Dec 2016