privacy

Beijing deploys facial recognition to foil toilet paper thieves

Beijing deploys facial recognition to foil toilet paper thieves

Talk of facial recognition tends to settle around either concerns about privacy or the security systems used at events to spot potential terrorists. China, though, has deployed the technology in Beijing for a different reason: to catch toilet paper thieves. The thieves are (were?) stealing toilet paper from public toilets, something made much harder thanks to modern dispensers with facial recognition abilities.

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Three Android phone screen privacy apps to foil snoops

Three Android phone screen privacy apps to foil snoops

Ever feel paranoid when using your phone in public? Perhaps you have a super-secret Instagram account you don't want your coworkers to know about, or maybe you worry someone will spy your Reddit username on incoming notifications. Whatever the reason, privacy is important to most people and doubly so when it comes to phones, perhaps our most intimate of personal gadgets. Here to help is a litany of screen privacy apps for Android, all of them designed to obscure your phone's display so others have a hard time snooping over your shoulder.

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Facebook policy update forbids using platform for surveillance tools

Facebook policy update forbids using platform for surveillance tools

Facebook has announced a policy update that more clearly forbids developers from using the social network as a way to get data for surveillance tools. The policy update applies to both Facebook and Instagram, with the company saying its goal ‘is to make our policy explicit.’ That's not to say that such use of Facebook data was acceptable before; rather, Facebook is updating the language of its policies to make sure 'everyone understands.'

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Signal encrypted chat app adds video calls, iOS users beware

Signal encrypted chat app adds video calls, iOS users beware

At the height of the great Snowden whistleblowing phase of history, highly secure and encrypted messaging services became en vogue. While some of that has died down, a notable few like Signal remain. Developed by Open Whisper Systems, which also developers the Signal protocol now used by Whatsapp for encryption, the Signal app started out as a simple, text-based chat app. Now it is on the cusp of its next evolution, adding that oh so popular video chatting capability, though still in beta format.

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Even old email will need search warrants if US law is passed

Even old email will need search warrants if US law is passed

While recent events are still fresh in the memory and lives of those in the US, a new but related matter might rock the boat even more. Especially for those in the tech who are still in the middle of a tussle with the government. The House of Representatives has just voted to pass a bill that will require search warrants even for old emails. But while considered a win for privacy advocates, the bill could still be blocked in the Senate, just as it was last year.

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Vizio settles huge TV privacy case after spying on viewers [Updated]

Vizio settles huge TV privacy case after spying on viewers [Updated]

Vizio will pay $2.2m in penalties to settle a huge privacy lawsuit, that alleged its smart TVs tracked millions of viewers and then sold that personal data without permission. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in a joint-complaint filed with the New Jersey Attorney General, Vizio automatically tracked what owners of its connected TV sets were watching, despite not warning viewers that the monitoring was taking place. That information was then sold to advertisers and others for a profit.

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US judge orders Google to turn over foreign emails in FBI case

US judge orders Google to turn over foreign emails in FBI case

Google has been ordered by a US court to turn over emails stored on servers outside the country to the FBI, in turn complying with a search warrant related to fraud investigation. The order came from Philadelphia's US Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter, who ruled that transferring the emails to the US for FBI review did not technically count as seizure of foreign information.

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Lavabit, the encrypted email once used by Snowden, returns to operation

Lavabit, the encrypted email once used by Snowden, returns to operation

Back in 2013, when Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the US government's mass surveillance programs, it was discovered that his preferred email provider was the encrypted service called Lavabit. As the government then tried to get its hands on the former NSA contractor, the federal authorities demanded Lavabit turn over its SSL encryption key. Instead, founder Ladar Levison shut the entire service down, as cooperating meant giving the government access to the private data of all of its 410,000 users.

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Gmail PSA: This phishing scam is all too easy to fall for

Gmail PSA: This phishing scam is all too easy to fall for

A simple but astonishingly effective Gmail scam continues to compromise even adept internet users, with phishers taking advantage of how browsers present URLs to steal emails and other information. The exploit presents users with what looks like a regular login page but, rather than being hosted by Google, is in fact running on a different server waiting to steal account details. What sets it apart in phishing terms is how well that server is hidden.

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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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Microsoft Privacy Dashboard shows what Microsoft knows about you

Microsoft Privacy Dashboard shows what Microsoft knows about you

There are some tech companies, like Google, who are often accused of privacy violations, but it wasn't until Windows 10 that Microsoft was put in a hot seat. The company received no small amount of flak for the gaping privacy holes in the OS it was pushing to everyone, which, in turn, pushed Microsoft to make changes to its policies and implementations. Today it is announcing yet another step forward with the launch of its Privacy Dashboard, a web-based tool that lets you see and control what Microsoft sees about you.

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