privacy

UK Commons passes Investigatory Powers Bill, no backdoor clause

UK Commons passes Investigatory Powers Bill, no backdoor clause

Apple may have scored somewhat of a victory in the name of security and privacy in the UK just as it somewhat did in the US just recently. December last year, Apple voiced out its concerns over the UK's proposed Investigatory Powers Bill that would require companies to have backdoors to encrypted systems so that government access could be granted any time. That bill has now been passed by the UK's House of Commons but removes the sections that make such backdoors necessary, thanks partly to the opposition of companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and many others.

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Facebook denies reports it’s using phone mics to eavesdrop

Facebook denies reports it’s using phone mics to eavesdrop

Internet giant Facebook has released an official statement refuting recent reports that it uses the microphones on users' smartphones to eavesdrop and record conversations, using the data to deliver targeted ads. The company wrote that it "does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed," noting that ads are only based on users' profiles and interests.

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Why the MySpace hack matters to you, a non-MySpace user

Why the MySpace hack matters to you, a non-MySpace user

If you've ever used MySpace in the past, now is the time to change your current passwords. Don't bother changing your MySpace password - that ship has essentially sailed (unless you still use MySpace). I mean change every other password you have, especially if you happen to be using the same password now that you used back then, but here and now for a different service. This is more common than you might think. Lots of people do it.

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Android SoC security keys extracted: Qualcomm TrustZone in question [UPDATE]

Android SoC security keys extracted: Qualcomm TrustZone in question [UPDATE]

A security exploit appears to have been discovered which allows smart devices (mostly Android) with Qualcomm processors to be hacked into easily. This story began as documented on the blog Bits, Please back in April of 2015, when user "laginimaineb" decided to reverse-engineer Qualcomm's TrustZone implementation on Snapdragon processors. Using a Nexus 5 smartphone, this user detailed "a chain of vulnerabilities that I've discovered which will enable us to escalate our privileges from any user up to the highest privilege of all - executing our code within TrustZone itself."

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Snips “Intelligent Memory” AI promises to be private and smart

Snips “Intelligent Memory” AI promises to be private and smart

Today, artificial intelligence is seen as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it represents a bright future of possibilities the likes of Star Trek have painted on television for years. On the other hand, it also summons fears of robotic overlords hell bent on eradicating inefficient humans. But at its very core, AI is supposed to help relieve humans of mundane and repetitive tasks. Snips, a young Paris-based startup, believes in that kind of AI vision, and it is starting somewhat from the ground up with an iOS app that focuses on the first, and most important, foundation of artificial intelligence: memory.

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Runkeeper accused of tracking, distributing user data beyond limits

Runkeeper accused of tracking, distributing user data beyond limits

It is the nature of activity trackers to, well, track the activities of its users. But isn't a blanket permission to track everything and anything the user does, especially when it goes over and and beyond legal boundaries. That is basically the point that the Norwegian Consumer Council is trying to make as it files a complaint against Runkeeper with Norway's Data Protection Authority. Its beef is that the service's Android app keeps on tracking user's data, specifically their locations, long after the user has stopped his or her running activity. It even hands over that data to a third party, without the user's consent or knowledge.

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Hidden FBI microphones planted in public outside California courthouse

Hidden FBI microphones planted in public outside California courthouse

For a period of 10 months, the FBI planted hidden microphones in several public locations outside a courthouse in Oakland, California, it has recently been discovered. A warrant wasn't needed, but the microphones allowed the government to secretly record and monitor private conversations during the period between March 2010 and January 2011.

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Here’s why 45,000 people just signed an open letter to Netflix

Here’s why 45,000 people just signed an open letter to Netflix

At the beginning of this year Netflix made a huge announcement. For the first time, they were going to stop turning a blind eye to customers who VPNs to access content outside of their geographical location. Over the last few months they've made good on that promise, and they've managed to upset at least 45,000 users.

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Microsoft axes contentious Windows 10 Wi-Fi sharing feature

Microsoft axes contentious Windows 10 Wi-Fi sharing feature

One of the themes that Microsoft has tried to push with Windows 10 is how the latest OS tries to make life easier for users by making decisions for them. While an almost nice goal, that usually meant Windows 10 added or enabled features sometimes without the user's consent or even knowledge. One of those conveniences was Wi-Fi Sense, which supposedly made it easier to share Wi-Fi access, meaning passwords, with people in your social networks who happen to also be in the same area. Unsurprisingly, it was a controversial feature that Microsoft is now removing almost a year later, but for a different reason.

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FBI: Maybe we have, maybe we haven’t, wiretapped an Amazon Echo

FBI: Maybe we have, maybe we haven’t, wiretapped an Amazon Echo

Take a count of how many microphones are around your right now -- your phone, of course, which is probably always listening, and your laptop most likely. Your TV? Perhaps, if it's new enough. Your wireless speaker probably has a microphone, too, for speakerphone functions. Your smartwatch might have a microphone. There are even smart refrigerators cropping up with integrated microphones (for voice commands, not spying), and, of course, dedicated personal assistants like Amazon Echo and Tap. How many of those microphones has the FBI tapped?

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Report: Twitter strips US intelligence agencies of Dataminr access

Report: Twitter strips US intelligence agencies of Dataminr access

A couple years ago, we reported that Twitter had teamed with startup Dataminr to monitor, find, and surface tweets related to specific things. The intention was providing news agencies like CNN with fast-access to tweets that may aid journalists in forming their stories. Dataminr is the only company with Twitter’s blessing to have real-time access to its public tweets and to sell those tweets back to various clients, some of whom have been U.S. intelligence agencies. According to a source, Twitter has decided to cut off those agencies’ access to Dataminr’s harvested data.

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Waze: hackers can’t track you specifically, so stop worrying

Waze: hackers can’t track you specifically, so stop worrying

Researchers detailed a security vulnerability affecting navigation app Waze this week, and it ignited concerns about potential privacy violations and mass surveillance. Waze has been quick to respond, saying in a lengthy statement today that it has tighten up the vulnerability, but also that concerns were overblown and you shouldn’t waste your time worrying. Among other things, the vulnerability wouldn’t have allowed anyone to find you specifically.

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