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Privacy

Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems

Posted by timothy
from the mixed-motivations dept.
oxide7 (1013325) writes "In June 2011, Julian Assange received an unusual visitor: the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. They outlined radically opposing perspectives: for Assange, the liberating power of the Internet is based on its freedom and statelessness. For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with U.S. foreign policy objectives and is driven by connecting non-Western countries to Western companies and markets. These differences embodied a tug-of-war over the Internet's future that has only gathered force subsequently. Assange describes his encounter with Schmidt and how he came to conclude that it was far from an innocent exchange of views."
Facebook

We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello 150

Posted by timothy
from the pick-your-battles dept.
Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes: Facebook threatened to banish drag queen pseudonyms, and (some) users revolted by flocking to Ello, a social network which promised not to enforce real names and also to remain ad-free. Critics said that the idealistic model would buckle under pressure from venture capitalists. But both gave scant mention to the fact that a distributed social networking protocol, backed by a player large enough to get people using it, would achieve all of the goals that Ello aspired to achieve, and more. Read on for the rest.
Privacy

Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait 142

Posted by timothy
from the making-a-list-checking-it-twice dept.
jfruh writes If you get into the TSA security line at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, you'll see monitors telling you how long your wait will be — and if you have a phone with Wi-Fi enabled, you're helping the airport come up with that number. A system implemented by Cisco tracks the MAC addresses of phones searching for Wi-Fi networks and sees how long it takes those phones to traverse the line, giving a sense of how quickly things are moving. While this is useful information to have, the privacy implications are a bit unsettling.
Advertising

Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M 144

Posted by timothy
from the now-how-much-would-you-pay? dept.
Social media site Ello is presented as the anti-Facebook, promising an ad-free social network, and that they won't sell private data. Today, they've also announced that Ello has become a Public Benefit Corporation, and that the site's anti-advertising promise has been enshrined in a corporate charter. The BBC reports on the restrictions that Ello has therefore entered into, which mean the site cannot, for monetary gain,
  1. Sell user-specific data to a third party
  2. Enter into an agreement to display paid advertising on behalf of a third party; and
  3. In the event of an acquisition or asset transfer, the Company shall require any acquiring entity to adopt these requirements with respect to the operation of Ello or its assets.

While that might turn off some potential revenue flows (the company says it will make money by selling optional features), as the linked article points out, it hasn't turned off investors; Ello has now raised $5.5 million from investors.

Privacy

Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected 392

Posted by timothy
from the short-term-memory dept.
countach44 writes that (in the words of the below-linked article) "Chicagoans are costing the city tens of millions of dollars — through good behavior." The City of Chicago recently installed speed cameras near parks and schools as part of the "Children's Safety Zone Program," claiming a desire to decrease traffic-related incidents in those area. The city originally budgeted (with the help of the company providing the system) to have $90M worth of income from the cameras — of which only $40M is now expected. Furthermore, the city has not presented data on whether or not those areas have become safer.
Facebook

Facebook To DEA: Stop Using Phony Profiles To Nab Criminals 236

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-that-with-linkedin-like-everyone-else dept.
HughPickens.com writes: CNNMoney reports that Facebook has sent a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration demanding that agents stop impersonating users on the social network. "The DEA's deceptive actions... threaten the integrity of our community," Facebook chief security officer Joe Sullivan wrote to DEA head Michele Leonhart. "Using Facebook to impersonate others abuses that trust and makes people feel less safe and secure when using our service." Facebook's letter comes on the heels of reports that the DEA impersonated a young woman on Facebook to communicate with suspected criminals, and the Department of Justice argued that they had the right to do so. Facebook contends that their terms and Community Standards — which the DEA agent had to acknowledge and agree to when registering for a Facebook account — expressly prohibit the creation and use of fake accounts. "Isn't this the definition of identity theft?" says privacy researcher Runa Sandvik. The DEA has declined to comment and referred all questions to the Justice Department, which has not returned CNNMoney's calls.
Encryption

'Endrun' Networks: Help In Danger Zones 28

Posted by timothy
from the pinging-mr-bourne-mr-jason-bourne dept.
kierny writes Drawing on networking protocols designed to support NASA's interplanetary missions, two information security researchers have created a networking system that's designed to transmit information securely and reliably in even the worst conditions. Dubbed Endrun, and debuted at Black Hat Europe, its creators hope the delay-tolerant and disruption-tolerant system — which runs on Raspberry Pi — could be deployed everywhere from Ebola hot zones in Liberia, to war zones in Syria, to demonstrations in Ferguson.
OS X

If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data 312

Posted by timothy
from the so-they-can-notify-next-of-kin dept.
fyngyrz (762201) writes It would seem that no matter how you configure Yosemite, Apple is listening. Keeping in mind that this is only what's been discovered so far, and given what's known to be going on, it's not unthinkable that more is as well. Should users just sit back and accept this as the new normal? It will be interesting to see if these discoveries result in an outcry, or not. Is it worse than the data collection recently reported in a test version of Windows?
Advertising

Snapchat Will Introduce Ads, Attempt To Keep Them Other Than Creepy 125

Posted by timothy
from the trying-to-keep-the-golden-goose-alive dept.
As reported by VentureBeat, dissapearing-message service Snapchat is introducing ads. Considering how most people feel about ads, they're trying to ease them in gently: "Ads can be ignored: Users will not be required to watch them. If you do view an ad, or if you ignore it for 24 hours, it will disappear just like Stories do." Hard to say how much it will mollify the service's users, but the company says "We won’t put advertisements in your personal communication – things like Snaps or Chats. That would be totally rude. We want to see if we can deliver an experience that’s fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted."
Cellphones

Florida Supreme Court: Police Can't Grab Cell Tower Data Without a Warrant 113

Posted by timothy
from the let's-hope-it's-catchy dept.
SternisheFan writes with an excerpt from Wired with some (state-specific, but encouraging) news about how much latitude police are given to track you based on signals like wireless transmissions. The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that obtaining cell phone location data to track a person's location or movement in real time constitutes a Fourth Amendment search and therefore requires a court-ordered warrant.

The case specifically involves cell tower data for a convicted drug dealer that police obtained from a telecom without a warrant. But the way the ruling is written (.pdf), it would also cover the use of so-called "stingrays" — sophisticated technology law enforcement agencies use to locate and track people in the field without assistance from telecoms. Agencies around the country, including in Florida, have been using the technology to track suspects — sometimes without obtaining a court order, other times deliberately deceiving judges and defendants about their use of the devices to track suspects, telling judges the information came from "confidential" sources rather than disclose their use of stingrays. The new ruling would require them to obtain a warrant or stop using the devices. The American Civil Liberties Union calls the Florida ruling "a resounding defense" of the public's right to privacy.
Privacy

How Whisper Tracks Users Who Don't Share Their Location 39

Posted by timothy
from the we'll-just-share-it-for-you dept.
blottsie (3618811) writes "On Thursday, the Guardian reported that secret-sharing app Whisper was tracking users' locations even when they opt-out of sharing their location. [See also this earlier, related story.] Whisper has denied the accusations—but this may be a matter of semantics. Whisper allegedly uses an outdated version of GeoIP by MaxMind, which uses your IP address to estimate your location on a map. Whisper's Chad DePue said in a comment on Hacker News that the tool is "so inaccurate as to be laughable," suggesting that determining something as broad as your country or state won't bother the basic user (and he could be right, but what is and isn't an upsetting degree of user information is another argument entirely)."
Networking

Kickstarter Cancels Anonabox Funding Campaign 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the almost-before-it-began dept.
An anonymous reader writes: On Friday, the controversy surrounding Anonabox reached its zenith with Kickstarter officially canceling the project's funding campaign. Anonabox began with a modest goal of $7,500, but quickly reached its goal 82 times over. Then funders and interested parties began to scrutinize the project's claims, and that's when the project ran into trouble. From hardware that wasn't actually custom-made to software that didn't actually fulfill promises of privacy-focused routing on the internet, the facts regarding Anonabox proved that it was in blatant violation of Kickstarter's rules against false advertising. This project clearly failed, but if the support it initially garnered is any indication, the public is hungry for easy-to-use technology that encrypts and anonymizes all personal internet traffic.
Transportation

An Air Traffic Control System For Drones 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-your-house-isn't-underneath-an-approved-drone-route dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Personal drones are become more popular, and many companies are trying to figure out ways to incorporate them into their business. So what do we do in 10 years, when the skies are full of small, autonomous vehicles? NASA and a startup called Airware are working on a solution: air traffic control for drones. "The first prototype to be developed under NASA's project will be an Internet-based system. Drone operators will file flight plans for approval. The system will use what it knows about other drone flights, weather forecasts, and physical obstacles such as radio masts to give the go-ahead. Later phases of the project will build more sophisticated systems that can actively manage drone traffic by sending out commands to drones in flight. That could mean directing them to spread out when craft from multiple operators are flying in the same area, or taking action when something goes wrong, such as a drone losing contact with its operator, says Jonathan Downey, CEO of Airware. If a drone strayed out of its approved area, for example, the system might automatically send a command that made it return to its assigned area, or land immediately."
Privacy

The Guardian Reveals That Whisper App Tracks "Anonymous" Users 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-keep-using-that-word-I-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means dept.
New submitter qqod writes this story at The Guardian that raises privacy concerns over the Whisper app. "The company behind Whisper, the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be the “the safest place on the internet”, is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed. The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users – including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services – will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives. Whisper is also sharing information with the US Department of Defense gleaned from smartphones it knows are used from military bases, and developing a version of its app to conform with Chinese censorship laws."
Privacy

Anonabox Accused of Lying About Its Product Being Open-Source On Kickstarter 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-tell-the-truth dept.
blottsie writes The "anonabox" has raised more than $550,000 on Kickstarter in only three days. But some believe the company's claims that the router-like device, which is said to automatically route users' Internet traffic through Tor, is entirely open-source are false. Anonabox developer August Germar tells the Daily Dot, however, that the device was commissioned specifically to run their code.
Privacy

Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race 304

Posted by Soulskill
from the trust-is-so-20th-century dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Michelle Cottle reports in The Atlantic that today, spouses have easy access to an array of sophisticated spy software that record every keystroke; compile detailed logs of calls, texts, and video chats; that track a phone's location in real time; recover deleted messages from all manner of devices (without having to touch said devices); and that turn phones into wiretapping equipment. One might assume that the proliferation of such spyware would have a chilling effect on extramarital activities. But according to Cottle, aspiring cheaters need not despair: software developers are also rolling out ever stealthier technology to help people conceal their affairs. Right or wrong, cheating apps tap into a potentially lucrative market and researchers regard the Internet as fertile ground for female infidelity in particular. "Men tend to cheat for physical reasons and women for emotional reasons," says Katherine Hertlein. "The Internet facilitates a lot of emotional disclosure and connections with someone else."

But virtual surveillance has its risks. Stumbling across an incriminating email your partner left open is one thing; premeditated spying can land you in court. A Minnesota man named Danny Lee Hormann, suspecting his wife of infidelity, installed a GPS tracker on her car and allegedly downloaded spyware onto her phone and the family computer. In March 2010, Hormann's wife had a mechanic search her car and found the tracker. She called the police, and Hormann spent a month in jail on stalking charges. "I always tell people two things: (1) do it legally, and (2) do it right," says John Paul Lucich, a computer-forensics expert and the author of Cyber Lies, a do-it-yourself guide for spouses looking to become virtual sleuths. Lucich has worked his share of ugly divorces, and he stresses that even the most damning digital evidence of infidelity will prove worthless in court — and potentially land you in trouble — if improperly gathered. His blanket advice: Get a really good lawyer.
Crime

Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation 314

Posted by timothy
from the convenience-of-the-state dept.
jones_supa writes The Finnish Police are concerned that larger banknotes, namely the €200 and €500 banknotes, encourage criminal activity and should therefore be removed from Finnish cash circulation. Markku Ranta-aho, head of the Money Laundering Clearing House of Finland, says criminals prefer cash because it is harder for police to track. In contrast, a record of electronic money transfers remains in the banking system, which makes the police's job considerably easier. Ranta-aho also says citizens rarely use the larger banknotes anyway, with which The Bank of Finland's advisor Kari Takala agrees. However, The Bank of Finland is skeptical about the ability of a ban on €500 banknotes to eliminate underground labor and trade in Finland. Takala suggests criminals would just switch to smaller bills. More illegal transactions take place via bank transfers, he says.
Privacy

Dropbox Wasn't Hacked, Says Leaked Credentials Are From Unrelated Services 29

Posted by timothy
from the effect-is-the-same-to-users dept.
An anonymous reader writes Dropbox has denied that they have been hacked, and that the login credentials leaked by an unknown individual on Pastebin are those of Dropbox users. "Your stuff is safe. The usernames and passwords referenced in these articles were stolen from unrelated services, not Dropbox. Attackers then used these stolen credentials to try to log in to sites across the internet, including Dropbox," Anton Mityagin from the Dropbox security department noted in a post.
Open Source

Tiny Wireless Device Offers Tor Anonymity 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the fits-discreetly-in-left-nostril dept.
Lucas123 writes: The Anonabox router project, currently being funded through a Kickstarter campaign, has surpassed its original $7,000 crowdfunding goal by more than 10 times in just one day. The open source router device connects via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable making it harder for your IP address to be seen. While there have been other Tor-enabled routers in the past, they aren't small enough to fit in a shirt pocket like the Anonabox and they haven't offered data encryption on top of the routing network. The device, which is being pitched as a way for consumers to securely surf the web and share content (or allow businesses to do the same), is also being directed at journalists who may want to share stories in places where they might otherwise be censored.
EU

Google Rejects 58% of "Right To Be Forgotten" Requests 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-my-name-out-of-it dept.
gurps_npc writes CNN Money has a short, interesting piece on the results of Google implementing Europe's "Right to be Forgotten." They are denying most requests, particularly those made by convicted criminals, but are honoring the requests to remove salacious information — such as when a rape victim requested the article mentioning her by name be removed from searches for her name. "In evaluating a request, we will look at whether the results include outdated or inaccurate information about the person," Google said. "We'll also weigh whether or not there's a public interest in the information remaining in our search results -- for example, if it relates to financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions or your public conduct as a government official."

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