privacy

VTech says 6.4 million kids affected by recent hack

VTech says 6.4 million kids affected by recent hack

In a statement issued today, VTech announced that 6.4 million kids were affected by the data breach disclosed last week. This is the latest update to the hack, which has grown in scope over the last few days. On Friday, VTech had stated that 4.9 million adults were affected by the breach, which targeted the maker’s Kid Connect messaging system and Learning Lodge app store.

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BlackBerry exits Pakistan amid demands for backdoor access

BlackBerry exits Pakistan amid demands for backdoor access

The folks at BlackBerry have announced that they're leaving Pakistan as soon as possible. Apparently the government in said country isn't too keen about BlackBerry keeping their cellular information to themselves, and want full, unfettered access to the information about and within BlackBerry's BES e-mail and BES BBM messaging systems - all BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic. BlackBerry will be doing nothing of the sort. They won't hand over access to the systems to the Pakistani government, so they'll be leaving the country very, very soon.

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NSA has ended its bulk data collection

NSA has ended its bulk data collection

Privacy advocates have scored a major victory this Sunday as the National Security Agency of the United States finally shuts down its en masse surveillance program that has left many of its own citizens vulnerable to invasions of privacy. But though the new Freedom Act does curtail the NSA's powers, it of course does not completely nip it in the bud. Instead of bulk spying, the agency will have to target specific people or groups which they can then monitor for months, of course with a court order and the cooperation of involved telecommunications companies.

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No, Nest Cam isn’t secretly spying on you

No, Nest Cam isn’t secretly spying on you

Is your Nest Cam watching you when you thought it was turned off? The WiFi streaming camera has found itself at the center of a security maelstrom this week, after research questioned just what was happening when the indicator light shuts off. Turns out, as with the Internet of Things in general, it's complicated.

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Updated Windows 10 this month? Check your privacy settings

Updated Windows 10 this month? Check your privacy settings

Two weeks ago, Microsoft rolled out its so far biggest update to Windows 10, bringing in a couple of new customization features, improvements under the hood, and some rather important new features. But just a few days ago, that update, version 1511 to be exact, was suddenly pulled out and the Media Creation Tool also yanked from the Internet. Now both are back in business and Microsoft has some explanation ready. Apparently, the update reset at least four privacy settings to their defaults, which practically gave Microsoft some advertising advantage on users.

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Tech industry reaffirms stance against weakening encryption

Tech industry reaffirms stance against weakening encryption

The violent events that befell Beirut, Paris, and most recently Nigeria, has once again given rise to the US government's favorite debate topic with the technology sector: encryption. On the one hand, you have the government calling for a backdoor into all encrypted devices and services. On the other corner, you have tech companies insisting on how dangerous that would be for the very people the government claims to protect. The irony of the matter is that both sides are claiming to fight on the side of security, both personal and national.

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Blackphone maker Silent Circle distances itself from criminals

Blackphone maker Silent Circle distances itself from criminals

Rampant spying by governments, spates of large scale hackings, and a general atmosphere of vulnerability over the Internet and mobile networks has made many look at heavily encrypted services and devices just to feel safe even while swimming in this digital age. Silent Circle has been one of the loudest voices in that market, putting out not only encrypted communication services but also an encrypted communication device: the Blackphone. Sadly, one of its most recent endorsers is one that the startup could do without, the Islamic State, more notoriously known as ISIS. 

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Report: Facebook AI could alert parents when sharing kid pics

Report: Facebook AI could alert parents when sharing kid pics

Facebook could be working on a feature that would alert parents when they share a photo of their children on the social network. The feature seems to be geared toward safety, making parents aware, when applicable, that anyone can see the shared images of their children. This is part of Facebook’s larger work with deep learning and artificial intelligence, something that has been used to create other photo-centric features.

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Facebook’s latest report shows jump in government requests

Facebook’s latest report shows jump in government requests

On Wednesday, Facebook released its newest government requests report, revealing an increase in government requests of both the blocking and snitching sort. This latest report spans the first half of 2015, and covers data on both the number of content that governments wanted restricted and how much data requests governments submitted. As well, this report also details any info that can be revealed about National Security Requests received from the US government during that period.

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Vizio Smart TVs may be watching you while you watch it

Vizio Smart TVs may be watching you while you watch it

Earlier this year, Samsung was accused of eavesdropping on owners of its Smart TVs, or at the very least transmitting data to hits servers in an unsafe manner. Although the issue has since then died down, we might actually have something far worse but thankfully probably less widespread. Vizio, a brand associated most with digital displays, has recently launched its new line of smart TVs. And with those come a smart feature that gathers data about your viewing habits, which Vizio can then sell to the highest bidder.

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Belgium: Facebook must stop tracking Internet users

Belgium: Facebook must stop tracking Internet users

In less than 48 hours, if Facebook fails to comply with the orders of a Belgian court, it will be fined as much as $269,000 every day until it does. This is the verdict that the court has imposed on the social networking giant on behalf of the country's privacy watchdog, the Belgian Privacy Commission. The crime? The widespread tracking of any Internet user who, willingly or otherwise, ventures into any Facebook page, regardless of whether said user is registered on Facebook or, which is the contention of this case, not.

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FCC can’t, or won’t, impose Do Not Track on Google, Facebook

FCC can’t, or won’t, impose Do Not Track on Google, Facebook

The FCC is sometimes seen as the enemy and sometimes as the advocate of consumer rights and interests, depending on which side of the fence you're on. Or on which issue. Recently, its new net neutrality rules have put it on not so friendly terms with some in the Internet and tech businesses. But this latest statement might earn it back some points, at the expense of irking some privacy advocates. It has said that it won't be imposing rules on Internet companies that would block or hinder them from tracking user's online activities.

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