privacy

Researchers claim that phone batteries do help spy on you

Researchers claim that phone batteries do help spy on you

There might be some credence to worries that your smartphone batteries can undermine your privacy after all. But not as ludicrous as the NFC antenna mistaken for a spying contraption. This new theory has the backing of French and Belgian researchers. But before you throw out that battery, be aware that it isn't the battery itself that is doing the potential spying. It is merely an unwilling accomplice for less than conscientious websites that might be trying to identify your device, whether you like it or not. And you probably don't.

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Sorry France, Google says “non” on privacy demands

Sorry France, Google says “non” on privacy demands

Google has rejected France's calls for the "right to be forgotten" program to be applied worldwide, risking the wrath of the European Union in the process. The French data protection regulator, CNIL, had issued Google with a formal notice in June demanding that any links ousted from Google's European search sites under the program should also be delisted from indexes globally. That, Google argues, is a path with potentially dangerous implications.

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EFF developing stronger ‘Do Not Track’ standards for web browsers

EFF developing stronger ‘Do Not Track’ standards for web browsers

While a "Do Not Track" setting has become standard in most browsers today, including Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, it's commonly known that internet advertisers still have ways of tracking users. Advertisers profit from tracking the browsing history of users, and whether users have turned the Do Not Track setting on or not, many will ignore it altogether in their quest for data. That's why the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced it's building a stronger standard for the setting, aimed to protecting user privacy.

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Silent Circle tries again: Blackphone 2 for Android for Work

Silent Circle tries again: Blackphone 2 for Android for Work

Given all the news about spying and hacking, you'd think mobile users would be more conscientious of their devices and habits, and yet they are none the wiser. Having somewhat failed to corner the consumer market, Silent Circle is now targeting a more reasonable audience: the enterprise. The company will be bringing its "privacy-first" smartphone, now the upcoming Blackphone 2, to the workplace and it won't be doing so alone. It has enlisted in Google's Android for Work thrust, hopefully to leave a better mark in the industry.

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Germany orders Facebook to let users choose fake names

Germany orders Facebook to let users choose fake names

Facebook's policy of forcing users to use their real names on the social network has been under fire for some time now from privacy advocates and those in the LGBT community who feel discriminated against. But now a privacy watchdog in Germany has said that is unacceptable in the country, and ordered Facebook to begin allowing users under pseudonyms. The Hamburg data protection authority ruled that the network's real name policy is in violation of Germany's privacy laws.

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NSA will delete phone records on 29th November, sort of

NSA will delete phone records on 29th November, sort of

Can an elephant forget? That might be the metaphorical question on people's minds after hearing about the NSA's move to restrict its access to phone records accumulated under the USA Patriot Act. On face value, it seems like a win for privacy and all that, but, as with all legal cases, there are always fineprints to be meticulously observed. In other words, the phone database won't exactly disappear immediately, but will hang around for a while, giving interested people some time to do what they can to squeeze out what they can.

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FTC: Lifelock failed to protect its customers (again)

FTC: Lifelock failed to protect its customers (again)

In 2014, the Lifelock Wallet iOS and Android apps were pulled due to concerns that they did not, despite being the company’s sole purpose, secure their users’ data adequately. That wasn't the company's first brush with security troubles, however. Back in 2010, the company settled with the FTC and 35 state attorney generals over "deceptive claims", and now the FTC has set its sights on the company again, saying Lifelock has failed to adhere to those settlement terms.

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CVS Photo temporally shut down following credit card hack

CVS Photo temporally shut down following credit card hack

It looks like CVS is the latest retailer to be affected by a data breach, as its CVSPhoto.com domain now only shows up with a message advising customers that the independent vendor it uses has been compromised. As a result of the hack, CVS has temporarily taken down its CVS Photo website, and says that during this time it is conducting an investigation into the matter. Customers who used the service with their credit card should be on alert.

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Etsy’s first transparency report details its crafty ne’erdowells

Etsy’s first transparency report details its crafty ne’erdowells

Etsy has followed the lead of many companies and has published its own transparency report, detailing the different aspects of its behind-the-scenes operations like complaints against accounts and user data requests. Etsy is different from many of the other companies that detail these numbers, though: they tend to be sites full of messages and personal data while Etsy is an e-commerce service. It isn't surprising, then, that a large amount of its numbers focus on complains about intellectual property violations rather than demands for account data.

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ProxyHam anonymity project bizarrely destroyed sans explanation

ProxyHam anonymity project bizarrely destroyed sans explanation

Staying private on the Internet has become a big concern for many and a problem for certain government agencies. The Edward Snowden leaks revealed a trove of data on government spying, and since then companies have moved to further encrypt data and many devices have cropped up promising high security. ProxyHam is one of those devices. The maker described the device as a hardware proxy that could be planted somewhere like your local cafe; it would use radio connections to transmit the signal up to 2.5 miles away, leaving the Internet user safely hidden. Now the project has been cancelled under bizarre circumstances.

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PSA: Disable auto backup when you uninstall Google Photos

PSA: Disable auto backup when you uninstall Google Photos

When Google formally divorced Photos from Google+, some thought it was the best thing to do. Others, however, thought nothing of it. It was, after all, just another way to give Google access to your digital life. While Google Photos offers a lot of conveniences and fun features, it does naturally require you to store your photos on Google's turf. Easy enough to disable right? Just uninstall Google Photos and you're safe. Not quite, because apparently, Photos doesn't exactly clean up after itself once you've decided to show it the door.

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Wi-Fi proxy could thwart cops, spies from finding you

Wi-Fi proxy could thwart cops, spies from finding you

The almost ridiculous extents which government agencies go through to get otherwise private data is sometimes being matched by equally almost ridiculous extents to protect it. Since Tor and VPNs no longer seem to be enough to protect user privacy, for good or for ill, some have taken seemingly drastic countermeasures. Like this Proxyham for example, which combines a Wi-Fi proxy with the concept of a HAM radio. Not only does it let users anonymously connect to Wi-Fi using almost unidentifiable low frequency radio channels, it also lets them connect from about 2.5 miles away.

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