Articles about privacy

Lady  standing on a hand with a megaphone shouting into mans ear

Welcome to your sci-fi dystopia: Sonic firewalls to crumble inaudible ad-tracking phone cookies

Boffins in Austria have developed a defense against acoustic cookies, a form of ad tracking by which smartphones can send and receive data using sounds people can't hear. App developers can implement ultrasound data transfer on their own or using various SDKs, such as XT Audio Beacons or Lisnr, or the Google Nearby API. ads …
Thomas Claburn, 25 May 2018
Person hides face in shocked anticipation of something horrible. Photo via shutterstock

You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened

Updated It's time to break out your "Alexa, I Told You So" banners – because a Portland, Oregon, couple received a phone call from one of the husband's employees earlier this month, telling them she had just received a recording of them talking privately in their home. "Unplug your Alexa devices right now," the staffer told the couple …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 May 2018
Lab tech with urine sample - Shutterstock

Oz sports’ pee-samplers outed buying Cellebrite phone-crack kit

Australia is ramping up its use of phone-cracking technology to crack serious criminals: its peak sports anti-doping body has taken a Cellbrite licence. ASADA, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, announced the near-AU$13,000 licence at the government's tender site in April. The announcement says ASADA is using the …
child browsing on tablet outdoors. pHOTO BY SHUTTERSTOCK

Kids and the web latest: 'Won't somebody please think of the children!' US Congresscritters plead

US Congress is pondering a bipartisan measure to expand the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) – the law that, well, protects children's privacy online. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), along with Represetnative Joe Barton (R-TX) and Bobby Rush (D-IL) have introduced bills in both houses …
Shaun Nichols, 23 May 2018

Lawyer warned FCC of Securus phone-tracking risks 10 months ago

Some ten months before Sen. Ron Wyden would request the FCC examine legal concerns over the service, a US lawyer had alerted the agency to potential problems with the Securus THREADS database. Law360 found that Lee Petro, a Washington DC-based attorney at Drinker, Biddle, and Reath LLP, noted in a July 25, 2017 filing (PDF) to …
Shaun Nichols, 23 May 2018
Facial recognition

Folks are shocked – shocked – that CIA-backed Amazon is selling face-recog tech to US snoops, cops

Analysis The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday expressed dismay that Amazon Web Services has been urging US government agencies to use its Rekognition API for state-sponsored facial recognition. The advocacy organization published emails obtained over a six-month investigation documenting marketing efforts by Amazon employees …
Thomas Claburn, 22 May 2018
arms

GDPR for everyone, cries Microsoft: We'll extend Europe's privacy rights worldwide

Microsoft has said it will extend new privacy rights that become law in Europe this week to all its users worldwide. The promise was outlined in a blog post on Tuesday written by the Windows giant's new deputy general counsel, Julie Brill, who was until recently a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). "We've …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 May 2018
Facebook Hello

'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'

Anyone who uses the Facebook phone app knows what a toll it can take both on your mobile data and free time to be plugged into the social network through your device. But what happens if you don't even have an account, you can't remove the app, and the social network won't leave you alone? That's a problem facing folks around …
Shaun Nichols, 22 May 2018
Dunce

Victoria's educational apps-for-students let creeps contact kids

Updated Google and the Victorian Department of Education have set parents, students, teachers, and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner a poser: at what point does a feature become a vulnerability? Or just too creepy to put in front of kids? Victoria's teachers and students have adopted a system based on Google Apps …
Smartphone showing Chinese flag

Apple tells app makers to strip VoIP toolkit from iOS software in China

Developers of iOS apps distributed in China have started to receive notifications from Apple that they are required to remove CallKit, a software UI framework for integrating VoIP calling services, from their apps. A post in an Apple developer forum last week recounts having an app rejected by Apple's app review process …
Thomas Claburn, 21 May 2018
Facebook

Facebook Android app caught seeking 'superuser' clearance

Updated Social networking giant and market-leading data broker Facebook is once again taking heat for playing fast and loose with its access to personal information. This time, it's the Facebook Android app that is under the spotlight after folks noticed it requesting an extraordinary amount of access privileges – specifically, …
Shaun Nichols, 18 May 2018
phone

LocationDumb: Phone tracker foul-up exposes world+dog to tracking

Updated The parade of bad privacy news this week has managed to get even worse, as one of the companies associated with the selling of phone locations for cash scandal was subject to a publicly exploitable bug. Researcher Robert Xiao says LocationSmart was running a site riddled with vulnerabilities that could allow anyone to look up …
Shaun Nichols, 18 May 2018
Location pin with warning

US senators ask FTC to investigate Google's Location imbroglio

Two US senators have asked the nation's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take another look at Google's location harvesting. Democrat Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey fired off their request-that-can't-be-ignored (PDF) late last week, asking the FTC to “open an investigation into the potential deceptive acts and …

How could the Facebook data slurping scandal get worse? Glad you asked

Yet another rogue Facebook app that gathered and sold "intimate" details on millions of users has come to light. A report from New Scientist finds that the myPersonality app had collected and shared the personal information for as many as three million users who had installed the app on their Facebook profile. The data has …
Shaun Nichols, 15 May 2018

US prison telco accused of selling your phone's location to the cops

Updated An American telco that provides costly phone services to prisoners has been accused of harvesting location data on American phone users – and selling it to the police with no oversight. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has asked America's comms watchdog – the Federal Communications Commission – and wireless carriers to investigate how …
Thomas Claburn, 11 May 2018
Someone deleting their Facebook account

Sueballs flying over Facebook's Android app data slurping

Facebook can add a class action lawsuit to the list of legal woes it faces over data misuse revelations. A complaint [PDF] filed in the social network's home district of Northern California accuses Facebook of violating both state and federal law when it logged and collected information from the Android version of its mobile …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2018
US Border Patrol logo

US border cops told not to search seized devices just for the hell of it

A US Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling that American border agents cannot randomly order deep searches of travelers' electronic devices. The three-judge panel at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals all agreed on Wednesday that officials will need to have at least "reasonable suspicion" of a crime in order to obtain a …
Shaun Nichols, 10 May 2018
An executive slowly vanishing

Crypto chat app Signal's disappearing messages found hiding on macOS

Encrypted chat app Signal's disappearing messages may not actually vanish on Apple Macs, thanks to the way the encrypted messaging software interacts with the macOS Notification Center. On Tuesday, security researcher Alec Muffett noted: "If you are using the @signalapp desktop app for Mac, check your notifications bar; …

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