privacy

Siri, Cortana saves voice commands, passes to 3rd parties

Siri, Cortana saves voice commands, passes to 3rd parties

The recent privacy scandal that Samsung's Smart TVs have brought the issue of privacy and security with such voice-controlled features into the spotlight. But if you thought that Samsung was alone in this behavior, you'd be dead wrong. Perhaps it isn't common knowledge yet that smart assistants like Siri, Google Now, or even Cortana do keep your commands for some time for the purpose of improving services. But the duration of that storage as well as its reach is probably not so known. Until now.

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Ad company’s drones are tracking mobile locations in LA

Ad company’s drones are tracking mobile locations in LA

Personal drones are once again a hot topic in the media, but this time in a not so favorable light. Recent events, like the drone that landed at the White House and the FAA's proposed rules, have cast drones in a negative light. This latest news might very well sour the taste buds of the public even more. Several drones flying over San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles have been reported to be tracking smartphone and tablet locations. Their purpose? To eventually serve ads to mobile device owners.

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Snapchat’s Safety Center wants to educate parents

Snapchat’s Safety Center wants to educate parents

Snapchat is one of those big ironies of Internet history. It was originally designed to be safe and private due to the "ephemeral" nature of shared content. That, however, was used as a license to share revealing photos, which would eventually get leaked circulated to the public. Add to that more recent complaints about the company's security practices, or lack of it, and you would understand why Snapchat is now trying to save its reputation with a Safety Center that informs parents and teachers what Snapchat is all about.

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Your phone’s power usage can reveal where you’ve been

Your phone’s power usage can reveal where you’ve been

When you think of smartphone location tracking, both legitimate or otherwise, and you will most likely think of technologies that directly relate to locations, like GPS, WiFi, or even Bluetooth. But a group of researchers from Standford University and Israeli defense group Rafael are proving even something so innocent sounding like your phone's battery consumption can be used to track your movements. The good news is that it's not exactly as easy or as informational as those more dedicated sensors. At least not yet.

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Lenovo found installing adware on its computers

Lenovo found installing adware on its computers

Bloatware might be a common curse on smartphones these days, but it didn't start with mobile devices. Even PCs and laptops bought from manufacturers and dealers had them long before. Now the biggest PC maker has just been found installing adware on machines. Lenovo used software from Superfish to inject ads into users' browsers without them knowing it, but the somewhat innocent sounding adware might actually be more trouble and more dangerous that it might initially look.

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Nope, Samsung doesn’t actually encrypt Smart TV voice data

Nope, Samsung doesn’t actually encrypt Smart TV voice data

If Samsung thinks it's already safe from the latest Smart TV scandal, it better put its PR team into action again. The company publicly stated that its Smart TVs were not eavesdropping on users and that it follows security best practices when transmitting voice queries, and only voice queries, to a third-party company for processing. Apparently, for the Korean consumer electronics giant, such "best practices" don't actually include encryption, leaving owners' voice commands, or practically anything they say to the TV, open for hackers to hear.

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Equation group creates “The Death Star of Malware”

Equation group creates “The Death Star of Malware”

According to the Kaspersy Labs Global Research and Analysis Team (GREAT), one piece of malware has infected thousands of victims throughout the world. The team suggests that it may be possible that tens of thousands of victims have been infected with malware made by Equation APT, or The Equation Group, through a number of "implants" - otherwise known as Trojans. These infection points are called upon by Kaspersy to identify the spread. Kaspersy calls this team of hackers The Equation group - their real identities remain a mystery.

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DARPA’s “Dark Web” revealing Memex tool is also pretty scary

DARPA’s “Dark Web” revealing Memex tool is also pretty scary

In the realm of cybersecurity, balancing national security and personal privacy is undoubtedly a tough act to pull off. The Internet has long been held as the bastion of free speech, but it has also become a breeding ground and hiding place for miscreants. So it isn't surprising that law enforcers would want to penetrate all corners of the Web in order to catch the bad guys. That is exactly what DARPA's new search engine called Memex is trying to do, by diving even into the depths of the "Dark Web".

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Obama signs divisive cyberthreat bill amid privacy fears

Obama signs divisive cyberthreat bill amid privacy fears

President Obama publicly signed the executive order driving through new cyber security legislation today, using an appearance at Stanford to discuss the controversial balance of privacy and protection. The bill - already a topic of fierce debate in Congress, which had continually refused to pass it - demands greater information sharing between government and private industry, "sharing appropriate information" as relevant to ensure vital infrastructure isn't compromised by hackers or malicious governments. However, exactly what counts as "appropriate", and what impact that has on individual privacy, remains to be seen.

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Facebook Legacy Contact elects a guardian for your digital grave

Facebook Legacy Contact elects a guardian for your digital grave

Facebook is making it easier to handle your post-death digital footprint, introducing a new Legacy Contact feature which allows a pre-determined contact to turn a profile into a memorial. Legacy Contact builds on an existing option that converts the profiles of deceased Facebook users into stable shrines to their memory, allowing a trusted person to be nominated and that individual to then have some basic editing rights after a death has been confirmed. Alternatively, however, there's the option to have your Facebook account self-destruct when you yourself pass away.

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