Google Sidewalk Labs document reveals company’s early vision for big brother city in city with private tax powers, criminal justice and huge personal data slurp based on a social credit system

A confidential Sidewalk Labs document from 2016 lays out the founding vision of the Google-affiliated development company, which included having the power to levy its own property taxes, track and predict people’s movements and control some public services. The document, which The Globe and Mail has seen, also describes how people living in a Sidewalk Read more about Google Sidewalk Labs document reveals company’s early vision for big brother city in city with private tax powers, criminal justice and huge personal data slurp based on a social credit system[…]

Facebook ends appeal against ICO Cambridge Analytica micro-fine: Doesn’t admit liability, gives away £500k

Facebook has ended its appeal against the UK Information Commissioner’s Office and will pay the outstanding £500,000 fine for breaches of data protection law relating to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Prior to today’s announcement, the social network had been appealing against the fine, alleging bias and requesting access to ICO documents related to the regulator’s Read more about Facebook ends appeal against ICO Cambridge Analytica micro-fine: Doesn’t admit liability, gives away £500k[…]

GitLab pulls U-turn on plan to crank up usage telemetry after both staff and customers cry foul

VP of product Scott Williamson announced on 10 October that “to make GitLab better faster, we need more data on how users are using GitLab”. GitLab is a web application that runs on Linux, with options for self-hosting or using the company’s cloud service. It is open source, with both free and licensed editions. Williamson Read more about GitLab pulls U-turn on plan to crank up usage telemetry after both staff and customers cry foul[…]

Google has officially purchased Fitbit for $2.1 billion. Now has your fitness data and a wearable OS that’s actually quite good.

Google’s Senior Vice President of Devices & Services, Rick Osterloh, broke the news on the official Google blog, saying: Over the years, Google has made progress with partners in this space with Wear OS and Google Fit, but we see an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Read more about Google has officially purchased Fitbit for $2.1 billion. Now has your fitness data and a wearable OS that’s actually quite good.[…]

Google Accused of Creating Spy Tool to Monitor Employees

Google employees are accusing the company’s leadership of developing an internal surveillance tool that they believe will be used to monitor workers’ attempts to organize protests and discuss labor rights. Earlier this month, employees said they discovered that a team within the company was creating the new tool for the custom Google Chrome browser installed Read more about Google Accused of Creating Spy Tool to Monitor Employees[…]

BBC News launches ‘dark web’ Tor mirror

The BBC has made its international news website available via the Tor network, in a bid to thwart censorship attempts. The Tor browser is privacy-focused software used to access the dark web. The browser can obscure who is using it and what data is being accessed, which can help people avoid government surveillance and censorship. Read more about BBC News launches ‘dark web’ Tor mirror[…]

Junior minister says gov.UK considering facial recognition to verify age of p0rn-watchers

The UK government could use facial recognition to verify the age of Brits online “so long as there is an appropriate concern for privacy,” junior minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Warman said. The minister was responding to an urgent Parliamentary question directed to Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan about the future of Blighty’s Read more about Junior minister says gov.UK considering facial recognition to verify age of p0rn-watchers[…]

Google And Facebook Are Reading Your License Plates and making them searchable

For years I’ve gone back and forth over the practice of obscuring license plates on photos on the internet. License plates are already publicly-viewable things, so what’s the point in obscuring them, right? Well, now I think there actually is a good reason to obscure your license plates in photos because it appears that Google Read more about Google And Facebook Are Reading Your License Plates and making them searchable[…]

The Creators Of Pokémon Go Mapped The World. Now They’re Mapping You – how companies are monetising your location data

Today, when you use Wizards Unite or Pokémon Go or any of Niantic’s other apps, your every move is getting documented and stored—up to 13 times a minute, according to the results of a Kotaku investigation. Even players who know that the apps record their location data are usually astonished once they look at just Read more about The Creators Of Pokémon Go Mapped The World. Now They’re Mapping You – how companies are monetising your location data[…]

Apple Safari browser sends some user IP addresses to Chinese conglomerate Tencent by default

Apple admits that it sends some user IP addresses to Tencent in the “About Safari & Privacy” section of its Safari settings which can be accessed on an iOS device by opening the Settings app and then selecting “Safari > About Privacy & Security.” Under the title “Fraudulent Website Warning,” Apple says: “Before visiting a Read more about Apple Safari browser sends some user IP addresses to Chinese conglomerate Tencent by default[…]

Human Employees Are Viewing Clips from Amazon’s Home Surveillance Service

Citing sources familiar with the program, Bloomberg reported Thursday that “dozens” of workers for the e-commerce giant who are based in Romania and India are tasked with reviewing footage collected by Cloud Cams—Amazon’s app-controlled, Alexa-compatible indoor security devices—to help improve AI functionality and better determine potential threats. Bloomberg reported that at one point, these human Read more about Human Employees Are Viewing Clips from Amazon’s Home Surveillance Service[…]

Twitter: No, really, we’re very sorry we sold your security info for a boatload of cash

Twitter says it was just an accident that caused the microblogging giant to let advertisers use private information to better target their marketing materials at users. The social networking giant on Tuesday admitted to an “error” that let advertisers have access to the private information customers had given Twitter in order to place additional security Read more about Twitter: No, really, we’re very sorry we sold your security info for a boatload of cash[…]

Remember the FBI’s promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US citizens? Well, guess what… It was worse than the privacy advocates dreamt

The FBI routinely misused a database, gathered by the NSA with the specific purpose of searching for foreign intelligence threats, by searching it for everything from vetting to spying on relatives. In doing so, it not only violated the law and the US constitution but knowingly lied to the faces of congressmen who were asking Read more about Remember the FBI’s promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US citizens? Well, guess what… It was worse than the privacy advocates dreamt[…]

US, UK and Australia want Zuckerberg To Halt Plans For End-To-End Encryption Across Facebook’s Apps – because they want to be able to spy on you. As will other criminals. What happened to the “Free world”?

Attorney General Bill Barr, along with officials from the United Kingdom and Australia, is set to publish an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the company to delay plans for end-to-end encryption across its messaging services until it can guarantee the added privacy does not reduce public safety. A draft of the letter, Read more about US, UK and Australia want Zuckerberg To Halt Plans For End-To-End Encryption Across Facebook’s Apps – because they want to be able to spy on you. As will other criminals. What happened to the “Free world”?[…]

U.S. Plans to Test DNA of Immigrants in Detention Centers

The Trump administration is moving to start testing the DNA of people detained by U.S. immigration officers, according to reports of call on Wednesday between senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials and reporters. Justice Department officials are reportedly developing a new rule that would allow immigration officers to begin collecting the private genetic information Read more about U.S. Plans to Test DNA of Immigrants in Detention Centers[…]

EU court of justice rules opt in is not on if the tickbox is pre ticked

In a court case vs Planet 49 the EU has ruled that you can’t start collecting data just by showing a warning that you are doing so or by having a preselected tickbox stating it’s OK to collect data. The user has to actually go and click the tickbox or OK before any data collection Read more about EU court of justice rules opt in is not on if the tickbox is pre ticked[…]

MS really really wants to know who is using Windows, make it very hard for Win 10 users to create local accounts.

Microsoft has annoyed some of its 900 million Windows 10 device users after apparently removing the ‘Use offline account’ as part of its effort to herd users towards its cloud-based Microsoft Account. The offline local account is specific to one device, while the Microsoft Account can be used to log in to multiple devices and Read more about MS really really wants to know who is using Windows, make it very hard for Win 10 users to create local accounts.[…]

House Antitrust Investigators Now Scrutinizing Google’s Plans to Add DNS Encryption to Chrome

Antitrust investigators with the House Judiciary Committee are looking into Google’s plans to add Domain Name System over Transport Layer Security (DNS over TLS) to its Chrome browser, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, in the latest escalation of scrutiny over the company’s business practices. The Department of Justice has also heard complaints, a Read more about House Antitrust Investigators Now Scrutinizing Google’s Plans to Add DNS Encryption to Chrome[…]

Both YouTube and Facebook allow politicians to ignore their community standards.

Facebook this week finally put into writing what users—especially politically powerful users—have known for years: its community “standards” do not, in fact, apply across the whole community. Speech from politicians is officially exempt from the platform’s fact checking and decency standards, the company has clarified, with a few exceptions. Facebook communications VP Nick Clegg, himself Read more about Both YouTube and Facebook allow politicians to ignore their community standards.[…]

US immigration uses Google Translate to scan people’s social media for bad posts – Er, don’t do that, says everyone else, including Google

Google recommends that anyone using its translation technology add a disclaimer that translated text may not be accurate. The US government’s Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) nonetheless has been relying on online translation services offered by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to read refugees’ non-English social media posts and judge whether or not they should be Read more about US immigration uses Google Translate to scan people’s social media for bad posts – Er, don’t do that, says everyone else, including Google[…]

This Guy Made an Ad Blocker That Works on Podcasts and Radio

Meet AdBlock Radio, an adblocker for live radio streams and podcasts. Its creator, Alexandre Storelli, told Motherboard he hopes to help companies “develop alternative business models for radio and podcast lovers that do not want ads.” “Ads exploit the weaknesses of many defenseless souls,” Storelli told Motherboard. “Ads dishonestly tempt people, steal their time and Read more about This Guy Made an Ad Blocker That Works on Podcasts and Radio[…]

The Game of Life: Visualizing China’s Social Credit System

This infographic explores how China’s proposed social credit system will monitor and surveil citizens, and how it’ll be used to reward or punish them. Source: The Game of Life: Visualizing China’s Social Credit System How scary is this? If you don’t get along well with your horrible parents you may end up not being eligible Read more about The Game of Life: Visualizing China’s Social Credit System[…]

Facebook suspends apps belonging to 400 developers for slurping user data

We initially identified apps for investigation based on how many users they had and how much data they could access. Now, we also identify apps based on signals associated with an app’s potential to abuse our policies. Where we have concerns, we conduct a more intensive examination. This includes a background investigation of the developer Read more about Facebook suspends apps belonging to 400 developers for slurping user data[…]

When were you at Tesco? Let’s have a look. parking app hauled offline after exposing 10s of millions of Automatic Number Plate Recognition images by Ranger Services and NCP

Tesco has shuttered its parking validation web app after The Register uncovered tens of millions of unsecured ANPR images sitting in a Microsoft Azure blob. The images consisted of photos of cars taken as they entered and left 19 Tesco car parks spread across Britain. Visible and highlighted were the cars’ numberplates, though drivers were Read more about When were you at Tesco? Let’s have a look. parking app hauled offline after exposing 10s of millions of Automatic Number Plate Recognition images by Ranger Services and NCP[…]