privacy

Verizon OneSearch is powered by Bing, promises to be private and serve ads

Verizon OneSearch is powered by Bing, promises to be private and serve ads

Gone are the days when almost anyone that can set up a web server would offer a search engine of their own. These days, any custom engine is often powered by either Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or Yandex and Baidu in certain countries. That is exactly what is happening with Verizon's unexpected OneSerch engine, which actually serves up results from Microsoft Bing. That, however, isn't what makes it interesting. Rather it is its promise to protect users' privacy that will probably raise not a few eyebrows.

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Google wants third-party cookies out of Chrome in two years

Google wants third-party cookies out of Chrome in two years

Google seems to be putting its products on a sugar diet. First, it gets rid of Android's dessert names, now it wants Chrome to go cookie-free. Granted, web cookies have gone beyond being useful to the point of being a liability. And Google should know, considering how close it is not just to the Web but to the whole advertising industry that corrupted those cookies. Now it's making rather bold moves that will shake up that very industry by removing support for cookies from one of the world's most used browsers.

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Skype calls no longer transcribed in China, security concerns remain

Skype calls no longer transcribed in China, security concerns remain

After its acquisition, Microsoft has tried to reinvent Skype's image as something not just for businesses anymore but as a communication tool for groups as well as personal chats well. In other words, Microsoft wants people to know they can use Skype for any and all chats, be it text, audio, or its original video functionality. Unfortunately, it seems that putting all your communication eggs in one Microsoft basket may have repercussions in terms of privacy, especially after the latest report that exposes the company's rather lax security standards for the service.

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Samsung apps and services now at the center of a privacy controversy

Samsung apps and services now at the center of a privacy controversy

Despite all of the privacy issues that have hounded major tech companies including Facebook, Google, Huawei, and even Apple, Samsung has so far remained out of that kind of news. That wasn't going to last forever, though, and as they say, when it rains, it pours. Samsung now finds itself with not one but three separate pieces of news that may make some think twice about using Samsung's mobile apps and cloud services, even if they may not be avoidable in some cases.

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iOS 13 recurring tracking notification is annoying developers and users

iOS 13 recurring tracking notification is annoying developers and users

Apple has recently positioned itself as a champion of privacy and has, in a way, marketed that as both a feature and a service. It has consistently added new features or made changes that, at least on the surface, work to protect users especially from tracking. One of the most pervasive forms of tracking has always been location tracking in apps. But while iOS 13 exposed those activities to the user, the persistent warnings it displays may be souring both developers and users to the idea of protecting privacy.

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There is no “simple trick” to privacy

There is no “simple trick” to privacy

As 2019 draws to a close, if the past twelve months - indeed, the past decade - have taught us anything, it's that you can't take privacy for granted. While there have been plenty of high-profile hacks, leaks, and data exposed through general mismanagement by companies large and small, the reality is that much of the time our personal information gets distributed not because it's stolen, but because we don't take sufficient care with it.

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ToTok chat app removed from app stores, cites technical issue only

ToTok chat app removed from app stores, cites technical issue only

It's not uncommon for apps to suddenly disappear from app stores for any number of reasons. Sometimes the developer or publisher decides to pull out an app, other times Google or Apple slaps them with some violation of policy. The latter might be the case with the once-popular but now notorious ToTok messaging app that has been reported to be a spying tool used by the Emerati government. Curiously, the app's developers only cite a technical issue but skirts around addressing any of the allegations that brought about the removal in the first place.

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ToTok messaging app is the latest tool in government-sanctioned espionage

ToTok messaging app is the latest tool in government-sanctioned espionage

From time to time you hear about apps that carry some malware used to spy on users. At times, those apps are even associated with governments instead of some rogue hackers or groups. This "digital arms" war is increasing in frequency and audacity that governments seem to be less keen to hide their ties to such apps. The latest to join that notorious club is a messaging app called ToTok and it comes not from China or even Russia but from a country the US considers an ally in the war on terror.

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iPhone exemption in San Francisco face recognition ban opens can of worms

iPhone exemption in San Francisco face recognition ban opens can of worms

Governments and legal systems are often criticized for being slow to adapt to the times especially when fast-changing technology is concerned. Some do try to catch up, sometimes in haste and often with rather disastrous results. One example is the battle to protect privacy and security against face recognition. A new San Francisco law that banned such technologies from government use amusingly included even the use of Apple iPhones. Now a silent amendment that undoes that error may have also created a precedent for surveillance equipment to be exempted as well.

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Facebook OS’ scariest aspect is that it could succeed

Facebook OS’ scariest aspect is that it could succeed

News of Facebook working to create its own operating system has probably raised a lot of eyebrows and ruffled many feathers. The social giant made no secret that its goal is to be independent of Google and its ecosystem, particularly Android. At a time when Huawei is trying and struggling to do the same due to political circumstances, there will definitely be doubts about whether Facebook can pull it off. It definitely can and that's the most frightening part about it.

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Phone location tracking is frighteningly real: how to protect yourself

Phone location tracking is frighteningly real: how to protect yourself

A new report reveals something that we probably already know, perhaps in jest. Corporations are out to get us and our privacy is pretty much a commodity already. It does, however, demonstrate the implications of that massive covert surveillance and the social and legal structures that empower or at least permit such activities. While it is admittedly difficult to escape that sad reality without shunning technology altogether, there are still a few things you can do to minimize the data that others can gather about you.

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Facebook finally agrees to end its most frustrating security practice

Facebook finally agrees to end its most frustrating security practice

Facebook is ending one of its most frustrating growth practices, promising to no longer use phone numbers provided by users for extra security to also suggest potential friends on the social network. The company admitted last year that it used numbers registered as part of two-factor authentication (2FA) to also power the "people you may know" feature that attempts to bolster users' friends lists.

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