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
Following tons of negative press for its weak security protocol over the past few weeks, Snapchat has today announced a permanent ban on Snapchatters utilizing third-party applications to access its service.
All users recorded signing into the Snapchat servers via a third-party app will receive an email requesting them to stop, change their password and revert to the official application. If they fail to do so, their account may be “permanently” disabled.
Snapchat promises it will be developing a public API in an effort to put a stop to such security breaches in the future, but gives no indication as to when its likely to be up and running
Hit the break below to see a copy of the email Snapchat is sending out; requesting users to stop using third-party apps.
Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook was on Charlie Rose and questioned Google’s data collection practices. He said, “When an online service is free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.” Now it’s Eric Schmidt’s turn as he appeared on CNN Money and obviously had some things to say about Tim Cook’s comments.
New hardware and software isn’t all Apple has launching this week. Tim Cook, the chief executive officer, personally wrote a new privacy statement located on the company’s site. In it, there are jabs at other tech firms and Google is seemingly the prime target. Unlike other tech firms, Cook states that Apple treats users as customers and not a product.
Google will not be alone in its quest to design an encrypted email system. Yahoo has announced it will be joining Google in doing so. The encrypted email system would be ready sometime next year and act as an optional, not mandatory, feature for users. Both companies would be able to bring privacy their more than 500 million combined users, a subject that has long been in question. Read more
John Henry Skillern is a registered sex offender that spent 19 years in prison for sexually assaulting a child and now, thanks to Google, is back behind bars. After Google found suspicious photos in Skillern’s Gmail inbox they tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who in turn notified Houston police.
As Google has grown throughout the years, one result has been their investment in the massive computing power needed to drive all of their services. In a new effort to make use of that computing power, a new Wall Street Journal report indicates Google has turned to their Google X team to start a new project called the Baseline Study to collect anonymous genetic and molecular information in an effort to paint a picture of what a healthy human should be like. That can then be used to help researchers identify potential markers that signal problems and help people become more proactive in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As Dr. Andrew Conrad, who is heading up the project, notes, “We are just asking the question: If we really wanted to be proactive, what would we need to know? You need to know what the fixed, well-running thing should look like.” Read more