privacy

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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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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