Archive for the ‘Privacy’ Category

Ancestry Sites Could Soon Expose Nearly Anyone’s Identity, Researchers Say

Genetic testing has helped plenty of people gain insight into their ancestry, and some services even help users find their long-lost relatives. But a new study published this week in Science suggests that the information uploaded to these services can be used to figure out your identity, regardless of whether you volunteered your DNA in […]

Instagram explores sharing your precise location history with Facebook even when not using the app

Instagram is currently testing a feature that would allow it to share your location data with Facebook, even when you’re not using the app, reports app researcher Jane Manchun Wong (via TechCrunch). The option, which Wong notes is being tested as a setting you have to opt-in to, allows Facebook products to “build and use […]

Lawyers for Vizio data grabbing Smart TV owners propose final deal, around $20 per person. Lawyers themselves get $5.6 million.

Lawyers representing Vizio TV owners have asked a federal judge in Orange County, California to sign off on a proposed class-action settlement with the company for $17 million, for an affected class of 16 million people, who must opt-in to get any money. Vizio also agrees to delete all data that it collected. Notice of […]

New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords ‘You shall not pass!’

Customs laws in New Zealand now allow border agents to demand travellers unlock their phones or face an NZ$5,000 (around US$3,300) fine. The law was passed during 2017 with its provisions coming into effect on October 1. The security conscious of you will also be pleased to know Kiwi officials still need a “reasonable” suspicion […]

Tim Berners-Lee Announces Solid, an Open Source Project Which Would Aim To Decentralize the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web, thinks it’s broken and he has a plan to fix it. The British computer scientist has announced a new project that he hopes will radically change his creation by giving people full control over their data. Tim Berners-Lee: This is why I have, over recent years, […]

Google Chrome Is Now Quietly Forcing You to Log In—Here’s What to Do About It 

Once again, Google has rankled privacy-focused people with a product change that appears to limit users’ options. It’s easy to miss the fact that you’re automatically being logged-in to Chrome if you’re not paying attention. Chrome 69 released to users on September 5, and you likely noticed that it has a different look. But if […]

Open-source alt-droid wants to know if it’s still leaking data to Google

/e/, a Google-free fork of Android, reached a milestone this month with its initial ROM release. It’s available for download, so you can kick the tires, with nightly builds delivered via OTA (over the air) updates. El Reg interviewed the project’s leader, Gael Duval, in the summer. Duval launched and led the Linux Mandrake project. […]

Top European Court Rules UK Mass Surveillance Regime Violates Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled this week that the United Kingdom government’s surveillance regime violated human rights laws. The matter first came to light in 2013 when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed British surveillance practices—namely that the government intercepts social media, messages, and phone calls regardless of criminal record or suspicions of […]

How Location Tracking Actually Works on Your Smartphone (and how to manipulate it – kind of)

As the recent revelation over Google’s background tracking of your location shows, it’s not as easy as it should be to work out when apps, giant tech companies and pocket devices are tracking your location and when they’re not. Here’s what you need to know about how location tracking works on a phone—and how to […]

Google Reportedly Bought Your Mastercard Data in Secret, and That’s Not Even the Bad News

Bloomberg reports that, after four years of negotiations, Google purchases a trove of credit card transaction data from Mastercard, allegedly for “millions of dollars.” Google then reportedly used that data to provide select advertisers with a tool called “store sales measurement” that the company quietly announced in a blog post last year, though it failed […]

TSA says ‘Quiet Skies’ surveillance snared zero threats but put 5000 travellers under surveillance and on no fly lists

SA officials were summoned to Capitol Hill Wednesday and Thursday afternoon following Globe reports on the secret program, which sparked sharp criticism because it includes extensive surveillance of domestic fliers who are not suspected of a crime or listed on any terrorist watch list. “Quiet Skies is the very definition of Big Brother,” Senator Edward […]

Spyware Company Leaves ‘Terabytes’ of Selfies, Text Messages, and Location Data Exposed Online

A company that sells surveillance software to parents and employers left “terabytes of data” including photos, audio recordings, text messages and web history, exposed in a poorly-protected Amazon S3 bucket. Image: Shutterstock This story is part of When Spies Come Home, a Motherboard series about powerful surveillance software ordinary people use to spy on their […]

Android data slurping measured and monitored – scary amounts and loads of location tracking

Google’s passive collection of personal data from Android and iOS has been monitored and measured in a significant academic study. The report confirms that Google is no respecter of the Chrome browser’s “incognito mode” aka “porn mode”, collecting Chrome data to add to your personal profile, as we pointed out earlier this year. It also […]

UK snooping ‘unlawful for more than decade’ – but seemingly (and amazingly) responsible

The system that allowed spy agency GCHQ access to vast amounts of personal data from telecoms companies was unlawful for more than a decade, a surveillance watchdog has ruled. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal said that successive foreign secretaries had delegated powers without oversight. But it added there was no evidence GCHQ had misused the system. […]

Robocall Firm Exposes Hundreds of Thousands of US Voters’ Records

Personal details and political affiliations exposed The server that drew Diachenko’s attention, this time, contained 2,584 files, which the researcher later connected to RoboCent. The type of user data exposed via Robocent’s bucket included: ⬖  Full Name, suffix, prefix ⬖  Phone numbers (cell and landlines) ⬖  Address with house, street, city, state, zip, precinct ⬖  […]

Chinese mobile phone cameras are not-so-secretly recording users’ activities

It has been widely reported that software and web applications made in China are often built with a “backdoor” feature, allowing the manufacturer or the government to monitor and collect data from the user’s device. But how exactly does the backdoor feature work? Recent discussion among mobile phone users in mainland China has shed some […]

App Traps: How Cheap Smartphones Siphon User Data in Developing Countries

For millions of people buying inexpensive smartphones in developing countries where privacy protections are usually low, the convenience of on-the-go internet access could come with a hidden cost: preloaded apps that harvest users’ data without their knowledge. One such app, included on thousands of Chinese-made Singtech P10 smartphones sold in Myanmar and Cambodia, sends the […]

Mitsubishi Wants Your Driving Data, and It’s Willing to Throw in a Free Cup of Coffee to Get It

Automakers want in on the highly lucrative big data game and Mitsubishi is willing to pay for the privilege. In exchange for running the risk of jacking up its customers’ insurance premiums, the car manufacturer is offering drivers $10 off of an oil change and other rewards. Consumers will have to decide if a gift […]

‘Plane Hacker’ Roberts: I put a network sniffer on my truck to see what it was sharing. Holy crap!

Cars are turning into computers on wheels and airplanes have become flying data centres, but this increase in power and connectivity has largely happened without designing in adequate security controls. Improving transportation security was a major strand of the recent Cyber Week security conference in Israel. A one-day event, Speed of Light, focused on transportation […]

Is My Phone Recording Everything I Say? It turns out it sends screenshots and videos of what you do

Some computer science academics at Northeastern University had heard enough people talking about this technological myth that they decided to do a rigorous study to tackle it. For the last year, Elleen Pan, Jingjing Ren, Martina Lindorfer, Christo Wilson, and David Choffnes ran an experiment involving more than 17,000 of the most popular apps on […]

Europe is reading smartphones and using the data as a weapon to deport refugees

Across the continent, migrants are being confronted by a booming mobile forensics industry that specialises in extracting a smartphone’s messages, location history, and even WhatsApp data. That information can potentially be turned against the phone owners themselves. In 2017 both Germany and Denmark expanded laws that enabled immigration officials to extract data from asylum seekers’ […]

Google allows outside app developers to read people’s Gmails

Google promised a year ago to provide more privacy to Gmail users, but The Wall Street Journal reports that hundreds of app makers have access to millions of inboxes belonging to Gmail users. The outside app companies receive access to messages from Gmail users who signed up for things like price-comparison services or automated travel-itinerary […]

Dear Samsung mobe owners: It may leak your private pics to randoms

Samsung’s Messages app bundled with the South Korean giant’s latest smartphones and tablets may silently send people’s private photos to random contacts, it is claimed. An unlucky bunch of Sammy phone fans – including owners of Galaxy S9, S9+ and Note 8 gadgets – have complained on Reddit and the official support forums that the […]

This popular Facebook app publicly exposed your data for years

Nametests.com, the website behind the quizzes, recently fixed a flaw that publicly exposed information of their more than 120 million monthly users — even after they deleted the app. At my request, Facebook donated $8,000 to the Freedom of the Press Foundation as part of their Data Abuse Bounty Program. […] While loading a test, the website […]

Facebook Patent Imagines Triggering Your Phone’s Mic When a Hidden Signal Plays on TV

You may have seen the ads that Facebook has been running on TV in a full-court press to apologize for abusing users privacy. They’re embarrassing. And, it turns out, they may be a sign of things to come. Based on a recently published patent application, Facebook could one day use ads on television to further […]

 
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