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 →
The National Telecommunication & Information Administration (NTIA) on Tuesday announced that it plans to hold a variety of meetings next year, starting in early February, to discuss the use of facial recognition technology in modern devices. The NTIA will also look to develop a “voluntary, enforceable code of conduct that specifies how the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies” for the technology. More →
After an LG Smart TV owner discovered that his unit was sending personal data including channel history and even name files from external storage devices to an LG web address while ignoring privacy settings, the South Korean TV maker admitted the problem exists and promised to issue a firmware update to fix it. The company said that it has been collecting private data on some Smart TV models even when the feature was turned off, Engadget reports. More →
An LG Smart TV owner in the United Kingdom has shockingly discovered that his device is sending unencrypted data over Wi-Fi containing TV watching habits, as well as file names from external storage units hooked up to the TV to an LG website, even though the TV’s privacy settings should have prevented such behavior. The Smart TV model in question is the LG 42LN572V that was manufactured in May 2013. More →
It’s doubtful that Microsoft will recruit its former privacy advisor Caspar Bowden to help it come up with witty one-liners for its next round of “Scroogled” ads. The Guardian reports that Bowden this week claimed he had no knowledge of Microsoft’s involvement with the National Security Agency’s PRISM data collection program while he worked as the company’s top privacy advisor from 2002 through 2011. What’s more, he said that major tech companies’ cooperation with the NSA should lead their customers to seriously rethink how much information they’re willing to share on the web. More →
John McAfee is one of the strangest characters in the tech world, and for a while everyone thought he might be a murderer, so it only comes as a moderate shock that his most recent plans involve thwarting the NSA. Future Tense Central is the homepage for the D-Central device, which McAfee claims will create a private network for a small group of users that cannot be traced by any outside sources. D-Central has supposedly been in the planning phases for several years, but a countdown on Future Tense Central is currently leading up to next March, when a prototype of the device might see the light of day. If McAfee’s plans do come to fruition, D-Central will sell for less than $100 and NSA analysts will no longer be able snoop on our files or, even worse, attempt to date us.