For all the hoopla surrounding NSA surveillance activities, it’s shockingly easy to forget that Google often knows an awful a lot about more than 1 billion users across the globe. Google knows what you search for, what videos you watch, what music you listen to, and even the places you travel to. Of course, Google having access to this information doesn’t quite shock the system given that Google users are typically all too happy and willing to sacrifice a bit of their privacy in exchange for a wide array of free and useful services.
Controlling both the hardware and software gives Apple a unique marketing tool, that the company is exploiting to the fullest – though the recent squabble with the FBI shows that the iPhone maker is ready to walk the walk when it comes to enhancing the user’s privacy and security.
Because Apple makes money off of products whose software it also designs, it doesn’t feel the pressure of exploiting user data for personal gain, like other Internet companies whose revenues are tightly linked to sharing knowledge about customers with third parties for advertising purposes.
Apple’s unwillingness to transform personal data into a commodity is, thus, a feature of iOS and OS X that other operating systems do not have. And it turns out that Apple has a special team in place that oversees everything that’s related to user data and privacy. Comprised of three people who have other duties and responsibilities inside Apple, the group isn’t secret, but you don’t often hear about it in the news. More →
Modern Internet browsers have private or incognito modes that let you surf the web without leaving any traces. That is, you’re not leaving any traces for anyone using the same computer once you’ve done with your session. Your searches and viewing history will not be recorded for others to see, which can be useful both at home and at work.
But that doesn’t stop third parties from tracking your activity. In fact, private browsing functionality is probably the most misunderstood feature of web browsing. More →
Wearing an Apple Watch, Steve Wozniak appeared on Conan last night and – unsurprisingly – defended Apple in the case against the FBI. That’s hardly surprising, considering that Wozniak is a co-founder of both Apple and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – the latter recently explained why Apple is right to advocate strong encryption.
Everyone remember the film Minority Report that revolved around people with psychic abilities who used their powers predict crimes so that cops could arrest perpetrators before they could commit any wrongdoing? Well it looks like the Los Angeles City Council has watched that movie, but instead of seeing it as a dystopian warning about convicting people for crimes they haven’t yet committed, it’s used it as an instruction manual. More →
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday alleging that Google is collecting student data from Chromebooks used in schools, violating a pledge that Google signed in January. More →
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are supposed to help users protect their online privacy. VPN services obfuscate the user’s real IP address by routing traffic through other international servers. There are plenty of online companies who offer free or paid access to VPN subscriptions that many users rely on to avoid geofences (read: access Netflix U.S. content from anywhere in the world), download pirated content or just to simply mask their online activity to enhance privacy protection.
However, a discovery has revealed that VPN services aren’t as secure as you’d think, as a huge security flaw can apparently expose the real IP address of their users.
Legislation that would force Internet service providers to store more data about their customers’ browsing habits, as well as ban encrypted devices including the iPhone, is currently being discussed in the U.K. where the government is looking to expand its powers when it comes to surveillance programs. To show what kind of information the proposed Investigatory Powers Bill would offer secret agencies, one developer created a Chrome plugin that records all the sites you visit. More →
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a smart device in hour home is collecting data about you that can be used later for advertising. The latest company to be caught doing it is Vizio, whose Smart TVs will quietly track the way you use the television and share that data with third parties. The data collecting feature is turned on by default, meaning the device will start collecting information about yourself the minute you set it up and start watching.
Even worse, the TV associates that data with your IP address, which can also be shared with advertisers, allowing them to target you with ads and promotions on other devices that connect to the Internet using the same IP address. But we’ll show you how to stop it. More →
There are many tips and tricks to follow if you’re looking to hide your traces online, but no plan is bulletproof. Ultimately, some of the online services you depend on might still be able to collect enough data for you to piece together a profile. But is there a way to completely disappear online, without actually ditching social media or email, and without ruining your Internet browsing experience? One tech site proposes an out of the box solution: hiding in plain site. More →
Protecting personal data stored on mobile devices is of utmost importance for savvy smartphone users who’re familiar with all the recent privacy-related spying scandals and online data thefts. But you should not get too crazy about the way you protect the lock screen of your smartphone like the following individual, whose iPhone password has more than 60 characters in it, with each unlock requiring between 10 to 15 seconds. More →
Leave it to the brilliant minds at MIT to come up with a device so technologically advanced that you’re not quite sure if you should be excited or perhaps a little bit nervous about its long-term ramifications.
Recently, scientists at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory came up with a device that can effectively see through walls and identify which persons are standing behind it.
The future is here, and apparently it’s being created in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Like it or not, your favorite websites and online services all track you in some way, though some have stronger protections in place than others. Some share the data they gather with third parties or use it to target you with better ads. Some use the data for internal purposes only. There are many ways to try to limit what Internet companies can learn about you from your browsing habits, likes, and searches, including the following five quick tricks you can use. More →