China's state-run broadcaster has called the iPhone a "national security concern" because of its location tracking features, basically the same GPS-based features you can find on any modern smartphone and mobile platform. Apple has now released a statement via it's China office claiming that it does not participate nor does it condone any act of spying using its products. However, the Chinese government might have been looking not for an explanation but for a scapegoat instead.
Companies like Google and Facebook know quite a bit about you. Their services, which we use for free, have to monetize somehow. Advertisements are typically how those companies make their money, but how much do they know about you? More to the point, can you control it?
Apple has found itself at the heart of a fresh national security storm in China, with the iPhone branded a danger not only to individual users but to state secrets as a tool of the NSA. The accusations, made by state broadcaster China Central TV (CCTV) this week, are being described as the latest example of "post-Snowden" fallout, with the US surveillance activities exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden raising tensions between the two nations.
Many of us update to new smartphones fairly frequently, and many elect to sell their old phone on eBay or elsewhere, doing a quick factory reset beforehand. To demonstrate that such a method isn't adequate enough to protect your privacy, security company Avast bought 20 used phones and set out to see how much data it could harvest from them.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has discovered what could be a serious privacy leak in most recent Android device. According to them, smartphones and tablets running Android 3.1 or later whose screens are turned off are broadcasting their previous WiFi connection history to anyone within WiFi range willing to listen, leaving the user vulnerable to future attacks.
Privacy-promising Blackphone has begun shipping, offering a locked-down version of Android dubbed PrivatOS which claims to address some of the post-Wikileaks concerns about monitoring and tracking. The phone, announced earlier this year and sold unlocked, has access to an encrypted cloud storage service for those wary of Google Drive, uses anonymous browsing by default, and encrypts messages.
Facebook is, unsurprisingly, embroiled in yet another scandal. Surprisingly, it isn't directly related to privacy but comes quite close. The social networking giant has been revealed to have manipulated their news feed ever so slightly in order to see the effects on the moods of its users. Sounds almost harmless until you learn that the findings were recently published in a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) paper.
Nest's announcement that it will share user data with Google as well as third-party services like Logitech and Jawbone has unsurprisingly reawakened privacy concerns, coinciding with a new hack of the Smart Thermostat that could in theory give nefarious backdoor access. The Nest Developer Program will allow fitness wearables like UP24, Mercedes-Benz cars, and Logitech Harmony remotes to link with the thermostat, but it's Google Now integration - and what that means for Nest's privacy promises - that have some concerned.
It could be a privacy advocate's worst nightmare, but soon the city of Chicago will have lamp posts that are aware not just of its surroundings but also of the people that pass by it. However, in theory, the sensors on these posts will only be taking in environmental data and human numbers to aid the city government in urban planning and nothing else.