data privacy

Tech Privacy 101 – Ways to keep private things private

Tech Privacy 101 – Ways to keep private things private

Privacy is no longer a concern of a few well-informed, conscious, or even paranoid individuals. Given how much of our lives we have stored on computers, phones, or the cloud, digital privacy should already gain the same level of attention that we give our physical spaces. Sadly, that just isn't the case and many, sometimes even the best of us, take such things for granted. And with governments seemingly more invested in actually invading citizens' privacy, the responsibility of securing our digital lives falls on us. Fortunately, you don't need to be a computer scientist nor a lawyer to implement these simple steps to protect your privacy, whether online or offline.

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Can my phone be tracked?

Can my phone be tracked?

Absolutely yes, your smartphone can be tracked - the question we should be asking is: what can we do about it? Today we're going to run down several easy ways in which we can see our phone being tracked, first of all. Then we're going to shut down this tracking in a few easy steps. It's really not too big of a hassle, just a trade-off - location tracking lets us map where we're going, but in exchange, our phone has to know where we are.

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Voxer walkie-talkie latest chat app to be encrypted end-to-end

Voxer walkie-talkie latest chat app to be encrypted end-to-end

This morning the folks at Voxer have released their first walkie-talkie functionality in their own app. This functionality will work with end-to-end encryption, making it the only end-to-end encrypted walkie-talkie-specific messenger on the market right this minute. This release from Voxer will be made available for iOS and Android devices immediately.

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Uber Movement gives cities a peek into company’s trip data

Uber Movement gives cities a peek into company’s trip data

It’s something urban planners have been dying to have and users will (or should) be dying to protect. Uber is a treasure trove of data about the comings and goings of people because of how it so conveniently integrates GPS locations, trip data, and such. It is, naturally, ripe for the picking for city planners and administrators who want raw and relevant data on how to improve their infrastructure as well as traffic management. To that end, Uber is announcing Movement, a website that gives everyone, from those urban planners to you and me, a look at that very data.

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President Obama’s Russia sanctions response to election-related hacking

President Obama’s Russia sanctions response to election-related hacking

This afternoon President Obama issued an executive order to expand upon response to cyber threats - in this case against Russia. The original Executive Order (13964), "Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities", was issued on April 1st, 2015 by President Barack Obama. This order was expanded to allow sanctions to be ordered against people who fiddle with United States election processes or institutions.

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Behold: This North Korean tablet is the worst tablet of all time

Behold: This North Korean tablet is the worst tablet of all time

Let me introduce you to the worst tablet ever made - a new tablet by the name of "Woolim" made for citizens of North Korea. This isn't the sort of device you'd be able to pick up at a local Electronics Department Store - nor is it available to every citizen of the country's totalitarian dictatorship. Instead, made for what would appear to be "someone with money," according to researcher Florian Grunow, suggesting that this tablet is not meant for "the normal working class."

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Senator urges Uber to add in-app location tracking controls

Senator urges Uber to add in-app location tracking controls

US Senator Al Franken has fired off a letter to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick urging the company to update its privacy policy and add in-app controls regarding its recently announced background location tracking. Though Franken says it seems the update is “well-intentioned,” he expresses concern about the change and urges Uber to ‘amend [its] privacy statement to reflect the company’s public assurances and justifications related to the most recent app update.”

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The EU just smacked down the UK’s “Snooper’s Charter”

The EU just smacked down the UK’s “Snooper’s Charter”

A new ruling from the European Union's Court of Justice in Luxembourg is opening up the potential to challenge the UK's Investigatory Powers Act, which was passed earlier this year. Otherwise known as the Snooper's Charter, the Investigatory Powers Act has proven to be quite controversial as it requires ISPs within the UK to keep records of the websites their users visit for a full year. Today, the EU's judgement is saying that's illegal.

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Evernote backtracks, makes employee peeking opt-in

Evernote backtracks, makes employee peeking opt-in

Well that was quick. Just as Evernote's privacy mess escalated rather quickly, its resolution came quickly as well. Whether forgiveness and redemption will also quickly follow remains to be seen. Sensing that a inconsequential apology from CEO Chris O'Neill wasn't enough to quell flaring tempers, Evernote has quickly followed with a statement that they are revising their stance. Sort of. They will still offer users the "privilege" of enhancing their experience by letting employees read snippets of notes. This time, however, they're making it optional by default rather than the other way around.

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Why Yahoo’s latest hack doesn’t matter

Why Yahoo’s latest hack doesn’t matter

It's my opinion that Yahoo's biggest account breach ever does not matter in the grand scheme of things. Yahoo Mail users don't seem to care - they're still searching for "yahoo mail" about 10x as much as any other term according to today's Google Trends. After the query Yahoo Mail, the most popular search term related to Yahoo is Yahoo Finance. This hack is not a big deal to Yahoo users, and I don't expect that it will be any time soon.

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Evernote’s apology changes nothing

Evernote’s apology changes nothing

This morning Evernote CEO Chris O'Neill sent an email to apologize for and clarify this week's Privacy Update blunder. This apology suggests that two factors make what they're doing OK in their eyes. One of these factors is the user's ability to opt-out. The other is the idea that "select" Evernote employees may see "random content" from Evernote users. This is not good enough.

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Privacy should never be sacrificed for the sake of free

Privacy should never be sacrificed for the sake of free

Yesterday was not a very good day for privacy. First was the revelation that Evernote’s new privacy policy will basically allow its engineers to take a peek at any of your notes. Then there’s Google’s lawsuit settlement, which involves still scanning your (and non-Gmail users’) e-mails. And to top it all off, Yahoo has admitted that an even more massive breach happened in 2013, affecting no less than 1 billion accounts. All this should send chills down your spine, and yet most people will probably react to the news with a shrug. Have we become accustomed, even numb, to intrusions of privacy in exchange for service? Common sense tells us we shouldn’t, and yet that might not be the case.

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