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Apple's New Privacy Framework Pressures the Digital Ad Market
February 26, 2021
Apple's plan to release its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy enhancement feature in early spring has set the ad industry on its ear. ATT requires apps to get a consumer's authorization before tracking them or the devices they are using. Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder at Constellation Research, told the E-Commerce Times that "at least 40 percent of consumers will say no."
Is 2021 the Year Cyberattacks Force Privacy Laws to Grow Some Teeth?
February 4, 2021
Cyberattacks are increasing in frequency, ramping up the data privacy threats they pose to government agencies and businesses alike. Governments both domestic and foreign need to step up efforts to pass legislation that bolsters technological defenses this year, warn privacy groups. Stiffer privacy laws are gradually being reviewed and signed into the U.S. market. But that process is mostly taking place at the state level.
How Videoconferencing Can Put Trade Secrets at Risk
January 29, 2021
Like many companies in these pandemic-ridden days, the Smash My Trash group uses videoconferencing in its business dealings. One potential franchisee used the information gleaned from Smash's videoconferences to set up a direct competitor. Smash filed suit for injunctive relief, alleging its trade secrets were breached and confidential information was used. The court denied the injunction.
Google Touts Alternative to Crumbling Third-Party Cookies
January 26, 2021
Google sent a shock wave through the advertising and publishing industries last year when it announced it planned to scrap third-party tracking cookies, which are an important tool for online marketers. Not to worry, the company announced Monday. It has a viable alternative in the wings. "FLoC" will be available for public testing with the March release of Chrome.
Search Milestone Gives DuckDuckGo Something to Quack About
January 19, 2021
DuckDuckGo reached a significant milestone last week when it racked up more than 100 million searches in a single day. While still a paltry number compared to the more than five billion daily searches performed by Google, the milestone is a major one for the search engine that doesn't store any of its users' personal information, archive their search histories, or track their search activity.
FTC's Zoom Deal Signals Commitment to Security Enforcement
December 29, 2020
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is making good on a resolution to strengthen its enforcement of security deficiencies occurring in e-commerce transactions. The agency's recent action involving allegations of improper activities by teleconferencing provider Zoom Video Communications is a notable example.
FTC Demands Social Media Firms' User Data, Harvesting Tactics
December 16, 2020
The Federal Trade Commission seeks to obtain information on how many users certain social media companies have, how active the users are, what the companies know about them, how they got that information, and what steps the companies take to continue to engage users. The FTC also is gathering information on the companies' business models and how they target children and families.
Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony Issue Safe Gaming Manifesto
December 15, 2020
The Big Three makers of video gaming hardware have announced a united front to make online gaming safe for all their players. "We can accomplish more when we work toward the same goal, and so we will each continue investing in, evolving, and amplifying our approaches to user safety," stated Dave McCarthy, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Xbox operations.
New Internet Protocol Aims to Give Users Control of Their Digital Identities
November 18, 2020
The @ Company wants to give you a more secure and human-centric Internet built on providing you with true ownership and control of your personal data. To that end, the company has launched an app built on its new privacy protocol. This new standard will attempt to change how online vendors and companies wheel and deal with the personal information of billions of Internet users.
Social Media Companies Top Data Grabber List
October 27, 2020
When it comes to an appetite for data, social media outfits are the most voracious, according to a recent study released by cybersecurity company Clario Tech. The analysis of nearly 50 of the world's biggest brands found that Facebook collects more than 70 percent of all the data it can collect legally about someone using its service.
Whom Can We Trust to Safeguard Healthcare Data?
October 20, 2020
Healthcare records were digitized to help prevent medical errors such as misdiagnoses and mistakes with medication, but electronic health records have made it easier for bad actors to steal patients' highly personal information. Cybercriminals are further motivated by the fact that patient medical records are worth up to 10 times more than credit card numbers on the Dark Web.
US E-Commerce Companies in the Dark on European Privacy Rules
September 11, 2020
The U.S. Commerce Department is attempting to negotiate an agreement that would help thousands of U.S. companies comply with policies designed to protect the personal privacy of European citizens. Until the issues are resolved, U.S. companies will be operating in a twilight zone over how to ensure the privacy of personal data they collect and process electronically from European sources.
Google's New Phone App Feature ID's Legit Business Calls
September 9, 2020
Google has taken a step toward controlling spam voice calls on Android devices with a new addition to its phone app. The "Verified Calls" feature will display a caller's name, logo, reason for calling and a verification symbol indicating a business has been verified by Google. The service will initially roll out in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and India, with more countries to follow.
California's Early Warning Quake Alerts to Be Standard on Android Phones
August 12, 2020
Earthquake alerts are being incorporated into Android, Google's mobile operating system. The feature will be included in a refresh of Google Mobile Services, so a full operating system upgrade won't be necessary. That means the new addition will be available to most Android users -- except those in China, which doesn't use GMS.
Google Clamps Down on Ads for Spyware, Stalkerware
July 14, 2020
Advertising for software and hardware designed to stalk and spy on people will soon be banned on Google. Promotion of products or services that are marketed or targeted with the express purpose of tracking or monitoring another person or their activities without their authorization will be prohibited on the platform starting Aug. 11.
John McAfee Emerges With Private Cell Phone Data Service
July 8, 2020
The Ghost Cell Phone Data Service is part of a larger ecosystem which includes McAfee's Ghost cryptocurrency and GhostX Exchange for private cryptocurrency exchange. "The Ghost brand will encompass a range of practical, real world tools for people to protect our rights and take back our privacy," McAfee said. "Privacy is a human right."
Twitter's Security Blunder: More Dangerous Than You Think
June 29, 2020
Twitter had a data security problem last week that might sound trivial. Email addresses, phone numbers, and the last four digits of the credit cards used to buy ads on Twitter were left in browser cache after the transaction, and that cache was not secured. This may seem trivial, but the consequences could be far more significant than you might think. Let's explore how.
Macs Move to Apple Silicon Announced at WWDC
June 23, 2020
Apple's 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference will probably be known for two things: it was the first time the forum was staged virtually, and it's when Apple announced it would start making Macs based its own processor designs. "Now it's time for a huge leap forward for the Mac, because today is the day we're announcing that the Mac is transitioning to our own Apple silicon," Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the virtual keynote presentation.
Google Sued for Tracking Chrome Users While Incognito
June 5, 2020
Google is facing a class-action lawsuit for tracking people who used the Chrome browser's Incognito mode. Law firm Boies Schiller Flexner filed the complaint on behalf of people who used the privacy mode during the past four years. "Google tracks and collects consumers' history and other Web activity no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy," it states.
Apple-Google Contact Tracing App Gets First Trial in Switzerland
May 29, 2020
Switzerland has launched a pilot program for SwissCovid, a contact tracing app based on Apple and Google's jointly developed APIs. The APIs will work with iOS 13.5 and devices running Android 6.0 or higher. The pilot involves several thousand workers at Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, ETH Zurich, the Swiss Army, and staff at some hospitals and cantonal administrations.
How to Stay Safe on the Internet, Part 4: Fighting the Power
May 15, 2020
Category 2 adversaries are nothing to sneeze at, but their resources are finite. If you armor up enough, they will give up, and move onto an easier comparable target. In confronting the threat of category 3, everything you have learned ratchets up to a whole new level of paranoia. Category 3 adversaries have functionally unlimited resources for pursuing top targets.
How to Stay Safe on the Internet, Part 3: Drive the Black Hatters Mad
May 1, 2020
Like conventional criminals, criminal hackers choose easy, lucrative targets. One group in the crosshairs is made up of companies that have data on millions of users, such as private sector entities with a Web presence. Why go after one user at a time when data is collected in one place? Criminal hackers also like to hunt small organizations that have modest capital but weak information security.
UK Rejects Apple-Google Contact Tracing Approach
April 29, 2020
The UK's plans to launch a smartphone application to track potential COVID-19 infections won't include Apple and Google. The country's National Health Service has designed its own mobile software to do contact tracing of people exposed to the coronavirus. The NHS reportedly found that its own tech works "sufficiently well." The NHS chose a centralized model for its data collection and storage.
How to Stay Safe on the Internet, Part 2: Take Canaries Into the Data Mine
April 24, 2020
More than any other factor, it is our asset that determines our adversary. For most of us, our asset is the corpus of sensitive personal details used for online transactions. This all comes down to how much data an adversary can glean from you, and how thoroughly it can analyze it. If your data passes through some software or hardware, its developer or maintainer enjoys some measure of control.
How to Stay Safe on the Internet, Part 1
April 17, 2020
At this point, remarking that people now are more concerned about online privacy than ever before is not a novel observation. What's fascinating, though, is that interest in personal digital security has remained high since the issue exploded about seven years ago. In other words, instead of experiencing a short-lived spike, digital privacy awareness has been sustained. This is encouraging.
Contact Tracing Phone Apps: Health vs. Privacy
April 14, 2020
Google, Apple and MIT have made headlines with announcements of contact tracing mobile apps in the wings. Their purpose is to identify contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 so appropriate actions can be taken to stem its spread. However, a Cambridge University professor threw some cold water on those apps. The apps proposed by Google, Apple and MIT all have voluntary aspects to them.
The Pandemic's Toll on Privacy Laws
April 6, 2020
Life as we knew it before the coronavirus is gone forever, and many changes will manifest in the pandemic's aftermath. How will it impact privacy laws around the globe? No one knows for sure, and we will not know until after the coronavirus is behind us. Cybercriminals long have been taking advantage of the Internet, and now the spread of COVID-19 has sped up their evil work.
Zoom's Soaring Popularity Is a Double-Edged Sword
April 1, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic worsened in the U.S., Zoom Video Communications offered free access to its videoconferencing platform and demand skyrocketed. "Zoom has quickly become the de facto for teleconferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic," said James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4. "A lot of organizations are using it to keep in contact with their employees."
Ask Siri if You Have the Coronavirus
March 24, 2020
Apple users wondering if they've caught COVID-19 now can ask digital assistant Siri for advice. The company has rolled out a self-screening feature that allows users to ask, "Hey Siri, do I have the coronavirus?" Siri then takes them through a questionnaire prepared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Public Health Service to determine if they're exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
VPN, Ad Blocker Provider Caught With Hand in the Data Jar
March 11, 2020
A number of VPN and ad-blocking apps owned by Sensor Tower, a popular analytics platform, have been collecting data from millions of people using the programs on their Android and iOS devices, according to a report. The software involved includes Free and Unlimited VPN, Luna VPN, Mobile Data, Adblock Focus for Android devices, and Adblock Focus and Luna VPN for iOS hardware.
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