Archive for the ‘Privacy’ Category

How to Turn Off Amazon Sidewalk

June 8th, 2021

The company is enlisting your Echo and Ring devices into an internet-sharing mesh network starting Monday. It’s not too late to opt out.

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Amazon devices will soon automatically share your Internet with neighbors

May 29th, 2021
Cartoonish promotional image for Amazon product.

Enlarge (credit: Amazon)

If you use Alexa, Echo, or any other Amazon device, you have only 10 days to opt out of an experiment that leaves your personal privacy and security hanging in the balance.

On June 8, the merchant, Web host, and entertainment behemoth will automatically enroll the devices in Amazon Sidewalk. The new wireless mesh service will share a small slice of your Internet bandwidth with nearby neighbors who don’t have connectivity and help you to their bandwidth when you don’t have a connection.

By default, Amazon devices including Alexa, Echo, Ring, security cams, outdoor lights, motion sensors, and Tile trackers will enroll in the system. And since only a tiny fraction of people take the time to change default settings, that means millions of people will be co-opted into the program whether they know anything about it or not.

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Posted in amazon sidewalk, Biz & IT, Policy, Privacy, security, Tech, wireless | Comments (0)

Android 12 Will Let You Fine-Tune Permissions for Apps

May 18th, 2021

A new privacy dashboard and “app hibernation” are coming to Google’s mobile operating system.

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WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy Just Kicked In

May 15th, 2021

Instead of a hard cutoff, the messaging app will gradually degrade and eventually cease to function if you don’t accept the changes.

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Apple releases iOS 14.5, the biggest update since iOS 14 first launched

April 26th, 2021
Apple's 2020 iPad Air.

Enlarge / Apple’s 2020 iPad Air. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Today is the day: Apple has finally released iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 worldwide after a longer-than-usual beta period. If you’re using a supported device, you should be able to find the update on the software update page in the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch’s Settings app.

This is arguably the biggest update of the iOS 14 cycle that began with iOS 14.0 and iPadOS 14.0 on September 16 of last year. The most consequential change for many is App Tracking Transparency, a new policy whereby app developers are required to get user opt-in to track users between apps.

But iOS 14 and iPadOS 14.5 also introduce a long-needed workaround for using Face ID when wearing a mask, support for the new AirTag accessory, several changes aimed at making experiences within the software more inclusive for a diverse user base, new Siri features and voices, and changes to the Reminders, News, Music, and Podcasts apps, among other things.

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Posted in AirTag, App Tracking Transparency, apple, apple music, Apple News, Apple Podcasts, apple watch, dualsense, Emoji, Face ID, iOS, iOS 14, iOS 14.5, ipad, iPadOS, iPadOS 14, iPadOS 14.5, iphone, Privacy, Tech | Comments (0)

The New iOS Update Lets You Stop Ads From Tracking You

April 26th, 2021

Facebook and other advertisers fought the move, but App Tracking Transparency is finally here.

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iOS and iPadOS 15 will feature major changes to notifications, home screen

April 22nd, 2021
A blue iPhone 12 lying flat on a table

Enlarge / The iPhone 12. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Yet another report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has emerged with details of Apple’s future product plans. Citing “people with knowledge of the matter,” the article broadly describes some of the key upcoming features in iOS 15 for iPhones and iPadOS 15 for iPads.

Apple is likely to reveal iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 at its annual developer conference, WWDC, which kicks off on June 7 in an online-only format this year. Typically, Apple then releases these updates in September or thereabouts—timed closely with the annual release of new flagship iPhones. Something close to that same timeline is likely again this year.

Bloomberg’s sources say the upcoming OS updates will allow users to set different notification rules based on their status—”status,” in this case, means some predefined buckets like working, sleeping, or driving, as well as custom statuses that users can define themselves.

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Posted in apple, Bloomberg, iOS, iOS 15, ipad, iPadOS, iPadOS 15, iphone, iPod touch, Mark Gurman, operating system, Privacy, Tech | Comments (0)

EU lawmakers propose strict curbs on use of facial recognition

April 20th, 2021
EU lawmakers propose strict curbs on use of facial recognition

Enlarge (credit: John Lamb / The Image Bank / Getty Images)

EU regulators have proposed strict curbs on the use of facial recognition in public spaces, limiting the controversial technology to a small number of public-interest scenarios, according to new draft legislation seen by the Financial Times.

In a confidential 138-page document, officials said facial recognition systems infringed on individuals’ civil rights and therefore should only be used in scenarios in which they were deemed essential, for instance in the search for missing children and the policing of terrorist events.

The draft legislation added that “real-time” facial recognition—which uses live tracking, rather than past footage or photographs—in public spaces by the authorities should only ever be used for limited periods of time, and it should be subject to prior consent by a judge or a national authority.

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Posted in European Union, facial recognition, law enforcement, Policy, Privacy | Comments (0)

The UK Is Trying to Stop Facebook’s End-to-End Encryption

April 4th, 2021

The government’s latest attack is aimed at discouraging the company from following through with its planned rollout across platforms.

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Android sends 20x more data to Google than iOS sends to Apple, study says

March 30th, 2021
A woman under a thick blanket looks at her smartphone.

Enlarge / Insomnia people and mobile-addiction concepts. (credit: Getty Images)

Whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, it’s continuously sending data including your location, phone number, and local network details to Apple or Google. Now, a researcher has provided a side-by-side comparison that suggests that, while both iOS and Android collect handset data around the clock—even when devices are idle, just out of the box, or after users have opted out—the Google mobile OS collects about 20 times as much data than its Apple competitor.

Both iOS and Android, researcher Douglas Leith from Trinity College in Ireland said, transmit telemetry data to their motherships even when a user hasn’t logged in or has explicitly configured privacy settings to opt out of such collection. Both OSes also send data to Apple and Google when a user does simple things such as inserting a SIM card or browsing the handset settings screen. Even when idle, each device connects to its back-end server on average every 4.5 minutes.

Apps and more

It wasn’t just the OSes that sent data to Apple or Google. Preinstalled apps or services also made network connections, even when they hadn’t been opened or used. Whereas iOS automatically sent Apple data from Siri, Safari, and iCloud, Android collected data from Chrome, YouTube, Google Docs, Safetyhub, Google Messenger, the device clock, and the Google search bar.

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Posted in Android, apple, Biz & IT, data, google, iOS, Privacy, Tech | Comments (0)