This past December, we reported that a popular Android app called Brightest Flashlight could do more than just shine light. Brightest Flashlight was a simple flashlight app that was highly-rated and had over 50 million installs. However, it had one devious, hidden feature: It would share personal data, such as your location, with advertisers. The FTC caught wind of this and began investigating the developer. According to GigaOm, the FTC reached a settlement with the developer last week, and it looks like he got away easy. More →
Facebook has long been slammed for breaching the privacy of its customers in the past, but the company seems to be interested in introducing more privacy-guarding features that should help users better protect the things they share on the social network while also making sure Facebook still runs as it’s expected to. More →
Even though it bashed Google a number of times in ads for the way the Search giant is monetizing its services by accessing personal information from users to deliver better targeted ads, it turns out that Microsoft can equally “scroogle” one’s privacy if it wants to. Or at least it was able to do so in the past, as the company is now planning certain changes to further guard the privacy of users. More →
In the wake of the numerous Edward Snowden revelations about the extensive NSA digital spying operations, handset makers and app developers have come up with new devices and/or applications to help put a stop to all the spying. One such new app that aims to better inform users about the data their smartphone sends while they use apps or surf the web, and to better educate them on how to protect their privacy is viaProtect, PhoneArena reports.
In 1775, all-American patriot Patrick Henry helped spur on a revolution with his famous speech that included the quote “Give me liberty or give me death!” 239 years later, another American patriot has come up with his own version of this creed: “I will give away my privacy for utility.” Barron’s reports that Rackspace startup liaison officer and notorious Google Glass fan Robert Scoble told a panel at SXSW this week that he no longer thinks maintaining his privacy is nearly as important as it used to be if it means having access to all of the great services now available through mobile devices and wearable computers. More →
Free apps and services have a high price for some users. Take Julia Angwin, a senior reporter at ProPublica who writes in The New York Times that she spent $2,200 last year to make sure that she could still use the web while avoiding all of the free services offered by companies such as Google and Facebook that harvest her data and use them to sell more targeted ads. More →
There’s almost no privacy when going online, investigative reporter Julia Angwin discovered when looking into what Google and other companies knew about their users. The reporter has published a book – Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance – in which she explains what she did in an attempt to guard her privacy while online, including creating a fake identity for that very purpose, NPR writes. More →
President Obama is getting ready to announce some major changes to the NSA and the various spying programs we have learned so much about in recent months thanks to a series of leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, but the damage has already been done. Couple that with the fact that major breaches perpetrated by malicious hackers around the world are on the rise once again, and there really is no better time than the present for those concerned with privacy and security to begin erasing their digital footprints. For those interested in doing so but who might need some guidance, a how-to guide of sorts that was put together recently could be a huge help. More →
Two Facebook users this week filed a class action complaint against the social network, Ars Technica reports, alleging that the messaging system inside Facebook is not as private as it’s advertised to be, and that the company actively mines for data from personal messages and generates likes based on the content exchanged between users. Facebook described its messaging system as “unprecedented,” when it comes to privacy controls, but the filing alleges that the company is actually accessing data gathered from chats without the user consent. More →
In an age when we keep all of our personal information on vulnerable machines, it’s more important than ever to take every possible precaution to keep your data secure. As if the endless news surrounding the NSA wasn’t bad enough, hackers continue to put millions at risk by stealing credit card data or gaining access to our webcams without our knowledge. So how do you stay safe? How do you protect yourself from the countless risks of a connected society?
Thousands of German users that have used a porn website to stream shows have received threatening letters from a local law firm demanding €250 ($344) per certain watched clips, Chip.de reports. Apparently, a Swiss-based firm that owns the content hosted by porn site Redtube has tasked a law firm with collecting fines for each of its shows that was streamed online in the region. The law firm has apparently received a go ahead from a local court, and as many as ten thousand warnings may have been set to users, for porn shows watched in August. More →
Security firm AVG on Tuesday updated its PrivacyFix security app for Android devices to include mobile location tracking features that would prevent stores and advertisers to track users by monitoring their Wi-Fi connectivity habits. According to Forbes, the app, which also allows users to manage privacy settings across websites, will henceforward block Android devices from transmitting their MAC address when their owners are out and about, by blocking Wi-Fi access to untrusted hotspots. More →
A popular flashlight Android app with an installed base of between 50 million and 100 million users has also been collecting personal data including location and device ID and sharing it with advertisers even for users who had opted out, the Federal Trade Commission found. GoldenShores Technologies, LLC, the developer behind the “Brightest Flashlight Free” app that currently enjoys a 4.8-star rating from over 1 million reviews, on Thursday settled a case with the FTC, Fast Company reports. More →