Recent events in the US and elsewhere have given rise to renewed and more mainstream interest in cryptography. But while the more popular methods are slowly proving to be inadequate, a stronger option might soon be available in the form of DissidentX, a software made by Bram Cohen, more popular for having created the BitTorrent file sharing protocol.
Ford is working with US regulators on ways to protect driver privacy as more cars become connected, with chief exec Alan Mulally being forced to backtrack on suggestions that the company tracks drivers when they break traffic laws. Ford is "supporting and participating" regulators on potential legislation, Mulally said while at the North American International Auto Show this past week, quick to insist that Ford "do not track the vehicles" and does not collect data on how law-abiding drivers of its cars are.
Shopping at Starbucks is convenient for the mobile users among us via the use of the company's mobile payment app. As it turns out, this same app stores user data in clear text, causing a potential privacy issue. Confirmation of this was made by Starbucks yesterday night, and executives confirmed they were previously aware of the method of storage. The discovery was first made known by Daniel Wood, a security researcher who reportedly attempted to contact the company about it this past November.
Coming a few hours after word surfaced that Google will be appealing a fine issued by France over privacy violations, issues have arisen over another breach of privacy, with this particular instance resulting in Canada. According to the nation's Privacy Commissioner, Google utilized so-called "sensitive personal information" to target certain advertisements in violation of privacy law.
Last week, France's Commission Nationale de L'informatique et des Libertes, more commonly known as the CNIL, hit Google with a fine over a long-brewing spat concerning privacy laws and the Internet giant's requirement to follow them. Today in a statement, Google revealed it is appealing the $205,300 fine, the largest ever issued by the CNIL.
Many people feel that if a nefarious user wanted to get at the data inside their phone, with enough time and resources they probably could. Privacy is a big concern for many smartphone users around the world as more and more personal data is stored inside. A new joint venture between Silent Circle and Geeksphone has been announced called Blackphone.
In what could be best described as a conspiracist's, especially the tinfoil wearing kind, worse nightmare come true, the NSA was reported to have been employing years-old technology to aid its spying missions. Using only radio transmission, the agency has been able to infiltrate and collect data even from computers that have been walled off from the Internet.
Personal banking apps make managing a checking or savings account easy, eschewing the need for a laptop or firing up a browser. Whether they keep your personal data secure is another matter, however, one that IOActive Labs Research says needs more attention. In a recent study, the research group looked into forty different so-called home banking apps from what it says are the world's top 60 most influential banks, none of which were specified by name.
In December, it was reported that security firm RSA -- according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden -- was paid millions by the NSA to put a back door into its encryption products. A couple days later, the company denied having a secret contract with the government agency, and said that it never knowingly put a back door in its offerings. That didn't stop some companies from gravitating away from RSA, however, and one such company was Wickr. The company's founder, Nico Sell, announced this change at an RSA Security Conference, during which she made it clear her company would not have a back door and that users' security was important. Immediately after, an FBI agent approached her with a request -- to add a backdoor on behalf of the agency.