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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.
Congress vs. Big Tech: Breaking Up Is Hard (and Stupid) to Do
August 3, 2020
Like a lot of you, last week I watched the congressional testimony from the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google -- and there were a lot of apparent things that were problematic. One is that there are folks in Congress that likely shouldn't be in Congress, and another is that each company has some serious issues they haven't dealt with.
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.
Email Scammers Using Old Tricks With New Twists
June 26, 2020
With much of the workforce conducting business from home to escape the pandemic, scammers have revved up their trickery to scare victims into falling for credential harvesting schemes. Two new reports lay bare the new twists digital scammers are putting on old approaches to get you to unwittingly give up login credentials.
Twitter Apologies for Data Security Incident
June 24, 2020
Twitter on Tuesday notified business clients that their personal information, including email addresses, phone numbers, and the last four digits of their credit card numbers may have been compromised. Self-serve advertisers that viewed billing information on ads.twitter.com or analytics.twitter.com were affected. The issue occurred prior to May 20, 2020. However, Twitter only notified customers about it on June 23.
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.
Brave Browser Caught Redirecting URLs for Cash
June 9, 2020
A browser that has received plaudits for privacy protection has been exposed for redirecting Web searches to make money. Brave, a browser with some 15 million monthly users, has been redirecting searches for cryptocurrency companies to links that produce revenue for the browser's owners through advertising affiliate programs. Brave CEO Brendan Eich said the company would correct the "mistake."
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.
Firefox Scrambles DNS to Boost Consumer Privacy
February 26, 2020
Firefox users in the United States are getting an extra measure of privacy protection starting this week, the Mozilla Foundation announced. Firefox Desktop Product Development Vice President Selena Deckelmann heralded the rollout of encrypted DNS over HTTPS, or DoH, by default in Mozilla's browser. The DNS, or Domain Name System, is one of the oldest parts of the Internet.
2020: The Year for Custom CX and Privacy
February 24, 2020
With the introduction of the CCPA this year and GDPR in 2018, the age of data privacy has begun, bringing the opportunity for businesses to harness it to gain competitive advantage. There are both challenges and opportunities for those that aim to deliver superior CX while adhering to data privacy regulations. Data privacy protection concerns are driving new regulations around the world.
ACLU Blasts Clearview's Facial Recognition Accuracy Claims
February 14, 2020
The American Civil Liberties Union has leveled criticisms against facial recognition tool developer Clearview for making misleading claims about the accuracy of its product. Clearview apparently has been telling law enforcement agencies that its technology underwent accuracy testing modeled on the ACLU's 2018 test of Amazon's Rekognition facial recognition tool.
Oops - Google May Have Sent Your Embarrassing Private Video to a Stranger
February 5, 2020
Google misdirected a number of private videos that users of its Google Photos app intended to back up to Google Takeout, sending them instead to strangers' archives. The company emailed affected users to inform them that a technical issue caused the error. Google recommended that affected users back up their content again and delete their previous backup.
From Personal to Planetary: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 4
January 30, 2020
We asked ECT News Network's roundtable of industry insiders to reflect on their own personal tech preferences, to speculate on what popular gadgets may vanish from use in the next decade, to consider the role of wearable health tools -- and then to expand the discussion to the health of the planet, tech advances in traveling on it, and the prospect of leaving it altogether.
COPRA May Be Coming, and It's Not Too Soon to Prepare
January 28, 2020
All eyes are on the West Coast as California reins in the unfettered collection, use and sale of the personal data consumers share as part of the bargain for "free" online services. For years this bargain has been explained in privacy policies that few people read, because there is not a lot of negotiating in the personal data market. The CCPA gives consumers revolutionary rights.
Grabbing the Cybersecurity and Privacy Problems by the Horns: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 3
January 23, 2020
Cybersecurity and privacy threats aren't confined to the tech world. They've cast their pall on the world in general. Computer viruses, malware and data leaks have become commonplace, personal privacy has become a bad joke, and cyberwar looms like a virtual mushroom cloud. What sometimes gets lost in the gloom are the many ways security professionals have been working to shore up cyberdefenses.
Report: FBI Got Apple to Roll Over on iCloud Encryption
January 23, 2020
Apple shelved plans to give iPhone users control over encrypted backups stored on the company's iCloud service over concerns raised by the FBI and internal sources, according to a report. The company made the decision to retain control over iCloud encryption around two years ago, but it came to light just recently. The plan would have removed Apple's ability to decrypt users' backups.
Is Congress Finally Ready to Take On Cybersecurity?
January 23, 2020
The United States Congress made some significant progress this session when it comes to data privacy, but cybersecurity remains a blind spot for lawmakers. Congress currently is considering a national privacy law that mirrors legislation enacted in the European Union. It would allow people to access, correct and request the deletion of the personal information collected from them.
Google CEO Adds His Voice to AI Regulation Debate
January 21, 2020
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and parent company Alphabet, called for government regulation of artificial intelligence technology in a speech at Bruegel, a think tank in Brussels, and in an op-ed. There is no question in Pichai's mind that AI should be regulated, he said. The question is what will be the best approach. Sensible regulation should balance potential harm with potential good.
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How important is the availability of curbside service when you consider a physical store to do your shopping?
Critically Important - I will not shop at an establishment that does not provide curbside service.
Quite Important - During the pandemic I prefer not to go inside a physical location. Still, I will consider a business that does not offer curbside service.
Somewhat Important - I like a curbside option, but it’s not part of my decision-making process when I choose where to shop.
Not Important - I do not use curbside pickup. When I go out to shop I want to select everything myself.
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