Articles about privacy

A person hiding in a box

Private browsing isn't: Boffins say smut-mode can't hide your tracks

A group of boffins working at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory believe that “private” browsing modes aren't private, so have given developers a framework to fix it. The problem, wrote Frank Wang with his thesis advisors (Nickolai Zeldovich and luminary James Micken), is that even if you're using “ …

Facebook told to stop stalking Belgians or face fines of €250k – a day

Facebook has been told to stop tracking Belgian citizens' online habits, and to delete all the data it holds on them, or it could be fined up to €100m. The Brussels Court of First Instance today ruled that Facebook doesn't provide users with enough information on what data it gathers on people's web use or how long that data …
Rebecca Hill, 16 Feb 2018

Ubuntu wants to slurp PCs' vital statistics – even location – with new desktop installs

Poll Desktop computers powered by future versions of Ubuntu GNU/Linux may collect information on the PCs – unless users opt out. "We want to be able to focus our engineering efforts on the things that matter most to our users, and in order to do that we need to get some more data about sort of setups our users have and which …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Feb 2018

Techno-senator tells Tinder to hook up its app with better security

Cyber-senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is asking execs from the parent company of Tinder to please use protection when spreading the love around. Wyden, a ranking member on the US Senate committee on finance (and a member of four other committees), said in a letter addressed to Match Group CEO Greg Blatt that he wants Tinder to use …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Feb 2018

Top tip: Don't bother with Facebook's two-factor SMS auth – unless you love phone spam

Forget fake news, Russian trolls and the gradual cruel destruction of journalism – now Facebook is taking heat for spamming a netizen's phone with text messages after he signed up for SMS-based two-factor authentication. Software engineer Gabriel Lewis said this week that after he activated the security measure with his …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Feb 2018
Pixellated Facebook thumb

Roses are red, Facebook is blue. Think private means private? More fool you

Privacy settings on Facebook do not protect users from handing over photos, posts or metadata that is relevant to a court case, a New York judge has ruled. In a decision (PDF) handed down yesterday, chief judge Janet DiFiore said that a court could ask someone to hand over any relevant materials as part of discovery ahead of a …
Rebecca Hill, 14 Feb 2018
car acceleration

We already give up our privacy to use phones, why not with cars too?

Discussions about the future of cars quickly turn to the pros and cons of autonomous vehicles. But the acronym of choice in such discussions is CAVs – connected and autonomous vehicles – and the "connected" part is already with us. While there are only a handful of fully autonomous vehicles trundling about public roads, most …
SA Mathieson, 14 Feb 2018

Let's get to know each other first: Joe Public won't share their data with just anyone

The British public are much more likely to hand over personal data to an organisation they know than one they don't, and are willing to accept a trade-off if it will help science – or themselves. That's according to a survey carried out by pollsters YouGov for the Open Data Institute (ODI), which asked it to find out what the …
Rebecca Hill, 13 Feb 2018
Map from Wandera blog post

New strife for Strava: Location privacy feature can be made transparent

Analysis by mobile device management outfit Wandera has suggested that newly notorious exercise-tracking app Strava's “location privacy” feature isn't very good at hiding users' homes. Wandera's analysis comes after Strava released a "heat map" that was found to offer clues to the location of military bases. Such data was only …

Boffins crack smartphone location tracking – even if you've turned off the GPS

Religiously turning off location services may not save you from having your smartphone tracked: a group of IEEE researchers have demonstrated it's possible to track mobes even when GPS and Wi-Fi are turned off. And, as a kicker: at least some of this data can be collected without permission, because smartphone makers don't …
Max Schrems

Facebook-basher Schrems raises enough dosh to get his Noyb out

EU-based campaigner Max Schrems – famous for taking Silicon Valley to task over citizens' privacy rights – has set up a non-profit outfit called Noyb, having exceeded a crowdfunding target. Noyb stands for “none of your business," and has, we're told, raised at least 300,000 Euros (£264,000, $373,354) from a Kickstarter …

You can find me in da club, database full of faces… but this ain't privacy watchers' jam

Five clubs in Bournemouth are now accepting ID in the form of an app that verifies who you are through facial recognition – to the disdain of privacy activists. The town is the first in the UK to accept the digital identity app Yoti, which claims to offer users a safer way to prove they are who they claim to be. Users sign up …
Rebecca Hill, 2 Feb 2018

Info Commish offers privacy addicts a 12-step GDPR programme

Data privacy addicts are being urged to take a 12-step programme – by no less than the UK's Information Commissioner's Office. The ICO, which is the Brit government agency responsible for enforcing Britain's rather weak data laws, has issued guidance for companies to seek redemption ahead of the EU GDPR rules coming into force …
Screengrab from Brit MP MATT HANCOCK's new app

What a Hancock-up: MP's social network app is a privacy disaster

Move over, Zuckerberg, there's a new social media overlord in town: grime aficionado and Tory MP Matt Hancock. In his new role as the UK government's digital secretary, Matt Hancock has decided to up his tech game by launching his very own app – but reports have emerged that it doesn't adhere to the data protection policies he …
Rebecca Hill, 1 Feb 2018

Firefox to emit ‘occasional sponsored story’ in ads test

Some users who bravely test betas of Mozilla’s Firefox browser will soon also test an “occasional sponsored story” as the browser-maker tries to re-invent web ads. This story starts with Mozilla’s February 2017 acquisition of web-clipping app Pocket. Pocket let users bookmark content they like, then sync that list of sites …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jan 2018
Man ties laces on running shoe pre-jog. Photo by Shutterstock

All your base are belong to us: Strava exercise app maps military sites, reveals where spies jog

In November, exercise-tracking app Strava published a “heatmap” of user activity which it cheerily boasted comprised a billion activities, three trillion lat-long points, 13 trillion rasterized pixels and 10 TB of input data. It took a while, but late last week someone wondered “how many Strava users are members of the …

Hey – cute tweaks to snoop regime. Your EU law reading needs work

The government's attempt to bring the UK's data retention regime in line with European Union laws have been slammed by privacy campaigners, which has accused politicians of trying to avoid making necessary changes. A landmark ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union deemed indiscriminate data retention illegal, …
Rebecca Hill, 26 Jan 2018

Schrems can't throw collective sueball at Facebook but individual action OK

Max Schrems can sue Facebook in Vienna as an individual, but can’t bring a class action suit, in a ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union without a knock-out blow for either side. The decision, handed down this morning, relates to a case the Austrian activist and lawyer brought as a consumer in the Austrian …
Rebecca Hill, 25 Jan 2018

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