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Firefox Develops a Case of Selective Amnesia
November 11, 2014
Roughly 10 years to the day after the release of Firefox 1.0, Mozilla on Monday announced an updated version of its open source browser complete with a new Forget button aimed at protecting users' privacy. Forget asks you only one question, said Firefox Vice President Johnathan Nightingale. "How much do you want to forget?" Once you supply a time frame, "it takes care of the rest."
Verizon, AT&T Are Watching You
November 05, 2014
The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week renewed its protests against Verizon Wireless' and AT&T's use of supercookies that can't be deleted or disabled to track customers' mobile Web-browsing activities without their knowledge. The carriers' tracking isn't new -- Verizon has been using these supercookies for two years. However, that has not been generally known.
The Trouble With Facebook's Tor Link
November 05, 2014
Facebook recently announced that it was providing access directly over the Tor network. Its purpose was to let users access Facebook without losing the cryptographic protections provided by the Tor cloud. Facebook is providing an SSL certificate which cites its onion address. It will add onion address support for its mobile site later. The Tor link will work only in Tor-enabled browsers.
Dropbox, Microsoft Gang Up on Google
November 04, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership with Dropbox -- only eight days after announcing unlimited cloud storage for Office 365 subscribers in a move widely seen as a frontal attack on Dropbox and Google. The companies will integrate their services forphones, tablets and the Internet, so that users can access and collaborate on Office files either from Dropbox or Microsoft Office.
Russians Scrap Jobs Tribute Over Tim Cook's Being Gay
November 03, 2014
A group of Russian companies called the "Western European Financial Union" on Friday dismantled a 6-foot, 6-inch tribute to Steve Jobs following Apple CEO Tim Cook's announcement that he's gay. The Jobs tribute -- an interactive kiosk in the shape of an iPhone -- had graced the courtyard of the National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics in St. Petersburg.
Snail Mail Surveillance: Rules Are Weak - and Routinely Broken
October 30, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service didn't adequately follow its own rules last year, when it secretly recorded and shared information about some 49,000 pieces of mail to further criminal and national security investigations, according to an audit report from the Office of Inspector General. Information recorded under the service's longstanding mail cover program is limited to what's written on the exterior.
Apple Pay vs. CurrentC: Prelude to the Beacon Wars
October 30, 2014
The current dustup between Apple Pay and CurrentC is a stark, bleak mess. That's not because Apple promises an easier, more secure way of making a smartphone-based retail transaction. Nor is it because CurrentC wants to harvest data on you and provide behavior-bending coupons, incentives and special deals, while cutting out the middleman credit card processing industry. It gets worse.
FTC Snags Soltani for Chief Technologist Role
October 22, 2014
Privacy expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ashkan Soltani will be the FTC's new chief technologist, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced Tuesday. "Ashkan is well qualified and was an excellent choice for the agency," said Ginger McCall, an associate director with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Soltani will succeed Latanya Sweeney in the position beginning in November.
Chinese Officials Kick In Apple, MS Cloud Doors
October 21, 2014
Chinese authorities have launched man-in-the-middle attacks on Apple's iCloud.com and Microsoft's Login.live.co that are ongoing, according to Greatfire.org. Qihoo 360 browser users' local connections to iCloud.com are being rerouted to a dummy site that's identical to Apple's login page. Users of Firefox or Chrome land on a warning page instead. The attack on iCloud reportedly is nationwide.
Kickstarter Puts Kibosh on Tor-Based Router Funding
October 21, 2014
Kickstarter on Friday suspended a crowdfunding campaign for Anonabox, a portable networking device designed specifically to run Tor. The campaign for the privacy-minded router, which launched earlier last week, was wildly successful. In just a few days, it reportedly garnered more than $600,000 in pledged funds from thousands of backers. The Kickstarter goal for the $45 device was just $7,500.
Black Box Keeps Cybersnoops in Dark
October 21, 2014
Following Edward Snowden's revelations about indiscriminate government snooping on U.S. citizens, many Net surfers would like to find a way to lower their visibility on the Internet. There are a number of tools in cyberspace that can help a soul do that, but they can take time and savvy to set up. That's why Kerry Cox launched the Sierra Project, which he hopes to fund through Kickstarter.
Whisper Shouts Denials of Tracking Allegations
October 20, 2014
Whisper, an app that purports to send messages anonymously, reportedly has been tracking the location of its users, including those who have turned off their geolocation feature. Even more incendiary than the location-tracking accusation is the allegation that Whisper has identified smartphones used at military bases and has shared information gleaned from them with the Defense Department.
FBI's Comey Argues Against Encryption: Trust Us
October 20, 2014
FBI director James Comey, in a speech last week at the Brookings Institute, reiterated his concerns about encryption built into iOS 8 and Android stymieing law enforcement. "I'm a huge believer in the rule of law, but I also believe that no one in this country should be beyond the law," he said. However, the law has not kept pace with technology, Comey pointed out.
BBC to Preserve Memory of Its 'Forgotten' Articles
October 17, 2014
The BBC will publish and continually update a list of its published articles that were removed from Google searches under Europe's "right to be forgotten" rule. David Jordan, director of editorial policy and standards for the BBC, announced the move. The decision is a reaction to the EC ruling that search engines must remove "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" links upon request.
Snapchat Hackers Could Be Prosecuted for Child Porn Offenses
October 13, 2014
Private videos and pictures shared between tens of thousands of Snapchat users -- possibly as many as 200,000 -- were posted online by hackers over the weekend in an episode dubbed the "Snappening." Much of the content is sexual, including many nude photos -- some possibly of minors. The hackers appear to have gone for maximum embarrassment and humiliation with this particular breach.
Tech Execs Issue Dire Warnings on Impact of NSA Surveillance
October 10, 2014
The NSA's wide-ranging surveillance of people's communications worldwide is hitting America's high-tech industry hard, said panelists on Wednesday at a roundtable held by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden in Palo Alto, California. Wyden set the tone from the start: "This is going to cost America jobs." Several foreign governments are planning to build domestic Internets.
DEA Lifts Woman's Identity, Creates Fake Facebook Page
October 08, 2014
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reportedly co-opted a woman's identity to create a fake Facebook page as a ruse to investigate suspects. The agency posted racy pictures of the woman, then known as "Sondra Prince," as well as a photo of her young son and niece, to the sham page. The photos were taken from her cellphone, which DEA had seized when Prince was arrested in connection with a drug ring.
Feds Seek Advice on Privacy Tech Spending
October 07, 2014
Various U.S. government agencies have been conducting research on how best to meet the challenge of privacy in the digital age, with investigations of a wide range of technology issues including encryption, data tagging, sensors, healthcare records and clinical informatics. As useful as this research eventually may become, the fragmented nature of these efforts poses a problem.
Being Facebook Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry
October 03, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced it had developed a framework for conducting research on its 1.3 billion or so users. The announcement clearly is a response to the onslaught of criticism the company recently received, when it blithely reported the findings of a study about how News Feed content affected a user's mood. Facebook withheld certain posts and promoted others to see how users would react.
EFF Raises Alarm Over ComputerCOP's Spying Ways
October 02, 2014
ComputerCOP software, a parental monitoring application that long has been recommended and distributed by law enforcement agencies, is little more than spyware with significant potential for abuse, the EFF reported Wednesday. The software includes a keylogger that could expose a family's personal information by transmitting what's typed to third-party servers without encryption, the EFF said.
BYOD Privacy: Do Employees Have Rights?
October 02, 2014
Using personal devices to conduct business has become commonplace, whether employers require it or employees voluntary do so. The use of personal devices creates a privacy challenge. Employers want access to the devices, and employees want to protect their personal data contained on them. The term "devices" itself is deceiving. Many consider employee-owned devices to be smartphones and tablets.
'Data Divination: Big Data Strategies' Is a Great Hip-Pocket Tool
October 02, 2014
Most of today's books about Big Data delve into highly technical tools, cloud technology, and high-level computer-assisted math calculations and algorithms. For most people in the business world, this is far from motivating readers to appreciate just what Big Data does and how to let it get you there. However, that's not so with Data Divination: Big Data Strategies by Pam Baker.
Darkcoin Steps Out of the Shadows
October 01, 2014
Darkcoin has exited beta and is now ready for mainstream use. Also, the software's code is now open source. Darkcoin is the first fully open source cryptocurrency with financial privacy built directly into the software, its developers claimed. Open-sourcing financial software is vitally important, they said, because it instills confidence that users' financial privacy is protected.
Consumers Fed Up With Data Breaches
September 30, 2014
Consumers are beginning to lose their patience with the custodians of their personal information. Survey results from 2,000 consumers released last week by HyTrust, suggest that 51 percent of those polled would bolt from any business involved in a data breach that compromised personal information such as address, Social Security number or credit card details.

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