In a ruling issued by the Supreme Court this week, Los Angeles saw an ordinance overturned in which they sought to give their police force the ability to seize information from hotel registries on demand and without a warrant. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing the majority opinion in the 5-4 ruling, deemed the ordinance unconstitutional and importantly, found the ordinance as written could have been extended to apply to any business, not just hotels. It was on that point that Google had jumped into the case via an amicus brief. Read more
Privacy and security are big issues for consumers lately, especially when it comes to technology. It’s such an important topic that during Apple’s keynote last week, they used privacy as a selling point for their products. Staying in control of your data and information is invaluable to customers now, and companies are striving to make sure their users stay in control of those things.
With Apple making such a huge push in the direction of privacy, that puts eyes on Google to see what they’re planning on doing to help out on the security front. A Google executive recently sat down to discuss some of what goes into managing user info, especially when it comes to apps on a smartphone, and why it took the company so long to get things to where they are now. Read more
Over the years owners of smartphones have learned the hard way that they need to keep their devices secured against attempts to get private information off of the devices. The worry is not so much that someone will intercept data on the fly, but that a misplaced device could fall into the wrong hands that have plenty of time to try to break through security to access private data. Researchers from the University of New Haven have started work on examining how secure a new crop of devices – smartwatches – may be and the results are not promising. Read more
Ready for some new features to spice up your Snapchat selfies this week? The app’s been updated with a few new tricks and a very useful new authentication method.
The biggest change is the ability to switch between cameras while you’re shooting a video; double tapping the screen will alternate between your front and rear cameras, making it much easier to record something and still somehow work your face into the video. It’s really what we all needed. Read more
As Google continues to deal with the European Commission over a variety of claims that the company has become too large and is creating an anticompetitive environment, a new complaint has been lodged by Disconnect Inc., developers of an ad-blocking and privacy app. The crux of the complaint is Google’s decision to ban the Disconnect Mobile app from the Google Play Store. Disconnect is demanding their app be included in the Play Store along with unspecified damages. Read more
Google unveiled major changes to its privacy and security management tools today. Users can now take an active approach to managing the data Google holds on them, in one centralized hub.
The US Court of Appeals has ruled that the NSA’s unlimited phone data collection program is illegal, claiming that the NSA exceeded its powers granted by Congress. The NSA was insdiscriminately tracking phone history, including numbers, time stamps, and call duration, which was obviously a huge breach of privacy. Chalk this ruling up as a win for common sense. Read more
Starting today, Verizon customers have the option to remove themselves from the Relevant Mobile Advertising program. The carrier describes the program as a way for marketers to reach audiences with relevant content. However, it was discovered that this form of cookies was undeletable and stuck with individual users. Some labeled them ‘supercookies’ because of their permanence.
Silent Circle, part of SGP Technologies, has announced they have reached an agreement to buy out their partner in the joint venture, Geeksphone. SGP Technologies’ primary claim to fame is their Blackphone, a smartphone developed for users interested in maintaining a high level of privacy. Silent Circle will take over 100% ownership of SGP Technologies when the acquisition closes later this week allowing the company to implement “operation efficiencies” and pursue an “integrated product roadmap.” Read more
Blackphone has announced an update to their PrivatOS software that brings in several new features focused on enhancing user security and privacy. The update brings the highly tweaked Android OS fork to version 1.1 and is due out sometime in early 2015. Read more