privacy

WhatsApp still isn’t as secure as you might think

WhatsApp still isn’t as secure as you might think

Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp in early 2014 raised all sorts of red flags for security and privacy interest groups. Facebook, then and to some extent now, isn't exactly the epitome of those two values. Over time, WhatsApp has tried to assuage fears by implementing features such as end-to-end encryption. Apparently, that may be futile after all. Forensic scientist Jonathan Zdziarski revealed that, while the app does encrypt the messages it stores, it doesn't actually completely delete them and its backups still leave users open to spying or law enforcement.

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Gionee M6, M6 Plus promise ultimate privacy, huge batteries

Gionee M6, M6 Plus promise ultimate privacy, huge batteries

These days, privacy is no longer a simple matter and people, especially in "hot" areas can no longer simply presume their comings and goings aren't being monitored. While there are things like VPNs to keep Web traffic safe and private, the same cannot be said about smartphones. Chinese manufacturer Gionee believes that the market is ready, and in fact hungry, for a truly safe, secure, and private smartphone. That's the promise it is making with the new Gionee M6 and Gionee M6 Plus, dubbing it the safest smartphone in the world.

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France chides Microsoft over Windows 10 privacy flaws

France chides Microsoft over Windows 10 privacy flaws

Microsoft is no stranger to being accused or even formally charged for violating consumer privacy protection laws or related regulations. Especially within the European Union, where American companies like Google and Facebook are facing increasing scrutiny over citizens' data. This formal notice from France's national data protection agency, or Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), is yet another chapter. But the issues the CNIL brought up also touch at the heart of an ongoing negotiation between the US and EU over the transfer of data across the ocean.

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Latest Google Transparency Report shows climbing number of requests for user data

Latest Google Transparency Report shows climbing number of requests for user data

Today Google issued its latest Transparency Report, giving us a fairly comprehensive look into how many times in a six month period governments around the world requested data on the company's users. This latest report spans the latter half of 2015, with the period ending on December 31. In the report, we see that the number of government requests has been rising as time goes on, crossing the 40,000 threshold for the first time since Google began offering these reports.

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Opera’s Chinese buyout falls through, cheaper deal in place

Opera’s Chinese buyout falls through, cheaper deal in place

Instead of getting $1.2 billion, Opera will have to settle for just half of that. That is the new deal that the once extremely popular mobile web browser maker and a consortium of Chinese Internet firms have reached after the original, more lucrative offer didn't get approved in time. The new deal also involves only selling parts of Opera's overall business, but it will naturally be the most significant parts, and the very parts that could cause some concern from privacy advocates and some governments.

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Sen. Al Franken quizzes Niantic about Pokemon GO data collection

Sen. Al Franken quizzes Niantic about Pokemon GO data collection

Pokemon GO — it’s wildly popular, and it’s also the source of more than a few conspiracy theories, most of them all pointing first and foremost at privacy concerns including that pesky full Google account access issue (which has since been limited). In a letter dated July 12 and sent to Niantic’s CEO John Hanke, Senator Al Franken has expressed concerns about the app possibly “unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information without their appropriate consent.”

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Smartwatches could make it easier for hackers to obtain PINs, passwords

Smartwatches could make it easier for hackers to obtain PINs, passwords

You would think wearables like smartwatches would be just as secure at protecting sensitive data like passwords and PINs as the smartphones they're paired with, especially when they run on the same software platform. It turns out, however, that smartwatches have a very distinct way of making it easier for hackers to obtain that data: the motion sensors used to detect movement and gestures.

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Google’s new pervasive ad tracking is thankfully opt-in

Google’s new pervasive ad tracking is thankfully opt-in

Google isn't exactly popular for its privacy practices, despite official protestations that it is, in fact, pro-privacy. So when the company initiates changes to its ad tracking that includes more of your Internet life, that's not exactly out of the ordinary. What is extraordinary, however, is that Google has made the changes opt-in, which means it is disabled by default and needs an informed and conscientious decision by the user to join in. And even when they do, they're being given fine-grained control on which things they will allow Google to track.

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US Customs wants to check social media accounts of foreign visitors

US Customs wants to check social media accounts of foreign visitors

In addition to providing documents on their identification and travel permissions, foreign visitors entering the US may soon be asked to give their Twitter and Instagram accounts to Customs and Border Protection. The Department of Homeland Security has submitted a new proposal to the Federal Register that would update the required entry forms with a question asking for travelers' accounts names on social media.

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It’s not paranoia to cover your laptop’s webcam

It’s not paranoia to cover your laptop’s webcam

Mark Zuckerberg may cover his laptop's webcam and microphone with sticky tape, but you don't have to be the billionaire founder of a massively-popular social network to be sensibly cautious about privacy. A photo shared by the Facebook founder this week - celebrating 500 million Instagram users - piqued the attention of eagle-eyed privacy advocates, who spotted a low-tech solution to helping secure Zuckerberg's laptop.

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What is Differential Privacy and why is Apple so excited about it?

What is Differential Privacy and why is Apple so excited about it?

The unexpected star of iOS 10 may well end up being a barely-known cryptography system to balance privacy and personalization, as Apple further positions itself as the bastion of user data protection. Differential privacy may not be as slick as Siri's increased skill set, or as timely in a cultural sense as new emojis and stickers, but it's arguably far more important than either.

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US developing real-time camera-based behavior monitoring system

US developing real-time camera-based behavior monitoring system

In the not-so-distant-future, your every public action may be monitored by cameras that deliver video feeds to behavior tracking systems capable of analyzing your actions for suspicious elements in real-time. The system is called Deep Intermodal Video Analytics, DIVA for short, and it is currently a research project with the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency. As you may have guessed, it is being developed under the banner of fighting terrorism.

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