privacy

Snapchat employees spied on users by abusing access to special tool

Snapchat employees spied on users by abusing access to special tool

Snapchat's claim to fame has always been its privacy feature, automatically deleting so-called ephemeral messages or after a period of time. Ironically, the social network's biggest criticisms have also been on its privacy practices. Now former employees are coming out, anonymously, of course, to reveal that the company hasn't exactly been exercising due diligence in making sure that a special tool primarily used for law enforcement and fighting abuse isn't being abused by employees themselves to spy on Snapchat users.

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Instagram influencers and celebrities had their private data exposed

Instagram influencers and celebrities had their private data exposed

In the midst of the storm that blasted Facebook over the past two years, Instagram remained mostly unshaken and a shining beacon in the company's portfolio. Yes, it had its fair share of lapses, but those seemed to pale in comparison to Facebook's faults. Now, however, it seems that Instagram's past may be coming back to haunt it, as a still unresolved mystery may cause its most popular and most profitable users to lose trust in the social network.

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Google Purchases is a creepy list of your online shopping history

Google Purchases is a creepy list of your online shopping history

A barely-publicized Google page may have been tracking every purchase you make online, sucking in online order details from Gmail accounts without most people knowing it's happening. The revelation comes amid Google's attempts to shift the focus away from the huge quantity of personal data it holds on people, and instead position itself as a champion of privacy.

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Twitter accidentally shared iOS users’ location data to a partner

Twitter accidentally shared iOS users’ location data to a partner

Often times you only hear of bugs or even "features" that violate users' privacy after someone reports it on the Internet. Often times the companies involved have to deal with the PR mess and backlash involved after the fact. Perhaps learning from its peers, Twitter has decided to beat others to the news and own up to its own privacy blunder. While it doesn't exactly excuse them from making such a simple misstep, it has to at least be complemented for not waiting until the last minute to come clean.

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WhatsApp bug allowed Israeli spyware to infiltrate phones

WhatsApp bug allowed Israeli spyware to infiltrate phones

There are currently quite a number of messaging services, a handful of them from Google itself, but few have withstood the test of time and of the market. WhatsApp, even before its acquisition by Facebook, was already making waves but its popularity and notoriety rose after being snatched up by the social networking giant. It prided itself for its end-to-end encryption, one of the few mainstream platforms to advertise such a feature, but that turned out to be pretty useless if a vulnerability allowed certain actors to inject spyware into phones by simply ringing up the phone.

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Finally, Android lets me turn off all phone sensors

Finally, Android lets me turn off all phone sensors

So you'd like to make certain your phone isn't connecting to anything, hearing, seeing, or sensing anything at all, right? Now you can make that happen. Before now, users needed to gain root access (read: not easy for the average person) and potentially void their warranty. Now it's easy. All you need to know is where to look!

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The Amazon Blink XT2 security camera’s simple allure

The Amazon Blink XT2 security camera’s simple allure

Amazon announced a new security camera today called the Blink XT2. This camera was made by Blink Home, a company acquired by Amazon back in December of 2017 (see story in timeline of links below). This camera is one hundred dollars and has no contracts or monthly fees. Also the camera works for two full years on the power of two AA batteries.

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I/O 2019 Takeaways: Google is no longer after your data (sort of)

I/O 2019 Takeaways: Google is no longer after your data (sort of)

Facebook, and more recently Amazon, may be at the center of most privacy-related reports these days but there was a time not too long ago when it was Google who was always on the hot seat. Reports, regulations, and sanctions have made Google change much of its processes, at least the public ones, and is slowly turning its image around. At I/O 2019, the pervading theme, more than AI and technology, is privacy. It's not that Google is no longer interested in your data. It's just making it a lot easier for users to opt out. If they remember or know how to, that is.

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Chrome will allow blocking third-party tracking, show more ad info

Chrome will allow blocking third-party tracking, show more ad info

The pervading theme in Google I/O 2019 seems to be privacy. Ironic considering the company was, at one point, regarded to be its biggest violator. Whether you believe it turned over a new leaf or is cooking up something is for you to decide. The fact is that, at least for the moment, Google is giving users, especially Chrome users, more control or at least more information about the things that could violate their privacy on the Web.

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Android Q pushes privacy: New app location controls, easier security updates

Android Q pushes privacy: New app location controls, easier security updates

Privacy is moving to the fore in Android Q, part of Google's big push to reassure wary users that their devices and services aren't eavesdropping on them or sharing their personal data. The topic was a repeating theme at the opening Google I/O 2019 keynote, reflecting the greater attention tech behemoths and their attitude to privacy has had among both users and regulators.

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Amazon Alexa reportedly has no option to stop recording commands

Amazon Alexa reportedly has no option to stop recording commands

Smart speakers and their cousins smart displays and smart thermostats are the new darlings of the consumer tech market. The convenience and sometimes entertainment provided by these products and services seem to outweigh privacy concerns in users' minds. Many simply accept that companies need them to improve their service and presume said companies will protect their privacy. That's not always the case and, thanks to a series of reports from various news sources, Amazon's Alexa might come out as the worst offender.

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Four US carriers sued for selling location data to third-parties

Four US carriers sued for selling location data to third-parties

2018 was a big year for privacy and not in a good way. It was a year where privacy violations were exposed left and right and not all of them involved Facebook. Just as scandalous was the revelation that the four major US carriers have, at one point or another, sold their customer's location data to third-parties, which then ended up with bounty hunters and illegal users. Although AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have promised to stop that practice, customers are still taking them to court for it.

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