Category - Privacy & Security News

Verizon is spying on you

Verizon Wireless has decided to change their privacy policy and they will collect some data from your phones. Irrelevant data such as:

  • URL’s and search strings
  • Device location
  • Apps that you use
  • Demographic information such as gender and age range

The good thing is you can opt out: http://www.vzw.com/myprivacy
The bad thing is that you might not know about it.

Reid Hoffman – Privacy is for old people

In case you have no idea, who Reid Hoffman is, well, he is the founder of LinkedIn.

Now LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network used by firms and HR departments worldwide, and in this area there should be great interest in privacy. But after seeing their User Agreement things start to make sense. Did LinkedIn ever asked your permission to sell your information to recruiters and HR departments? I think not. So, don’t be concerned about LinkedIn selling your job-hunting information to advertisers or to your current colleagues or why not your current boss: Privacy is for old people.

How to Block Facebook Facial Recognition

Earlier this summer, Facebook released a feature that automatically opts you in and recommends that your friends tag you in photos when it recognizes your face. Here’s how to opt-out of it.

Start by clicking the drop-down menu on the top-right of your screen, then select “Privacy Settings.” Choose “Edit Settings” next to “How Tags Work,” then click the link next to “Tag Suggestions” in order to disable it.

Do note, however, that this setting does not prevent friends from tagging you entirely—they can still do so manually.

@KickMyAss: No, you’re not right!

Originally stated by HideMyAss just as a ‚Lulzsec  fiasco‘, the arrest of two anonymous members by the US-American FBI is becoming more and more a serious affair about their little helper, a so called anonymizer, who knows his users way too much. Much more than any provider should, be it in or outside a data retention country, and certainly much more than it could be good for its image.

What happened? After the arrest of two assumed hacktivist, one of them named the provider of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) as the service he used to hide his activities, e.g. for hacking into company websites like Sony Network, the FBI assumes. The name of the company mentioned is HideMyAss (HMA), a well known commercial, British based VPN provider, whose task it is to hide users identities while they are surfing the Internet. Very fast it became pretty clear, that the arrest could have only taken place after HMA handed over personal data to the FBI. Read More

Silk browser and your privacy

Amazon just announced their new product: Kindle fire – a tablet that runs Android with a little touch from Amazon. What is interesting about this new tablet is the browser it comes with, called Silk. Amazon crafted this browser having in mind both speed of mobile browsing and battery life and how it does that, is by using their Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud also known as EC2 that would behave as an intelligent proxy. Silk will use the power of EC2 to retrieve the pages and pre-render the objects in a way that won’t require too much power from the tablet.

That means, all your traffic will go via Amazon rather than directly to the pages you want to access, which of course raises some privacy alarms: all your habits, history, basically all you data will transit Amazon. Google is watching you, Facebook keeps all the data you give them, but Amazon just went to a new level and will see EVERYTHING you do online.

Also the Silk’s Terms and Conditions states that your IP and MAC address will be logged and retained for 30 days. To make matters worse, as an US company Amazon meaning that the company could be asked by an US court to intercept and record you secure communications.

Ok, the good news is, that Amazon will support an “off-cloud” mode for Silk, letting users to opt-out EC2. So… is that 1-2 milliseconds faster web worth trading your privacy in?

Canadians asked to take a stand against online spying

Privacy in Canada is also at risk. The Government is trying to create a new set of laws that would permit the authorities to access private information of any Canadian, whenever, no warrant needed.
Which means? Spying on email, messaging, IP and so on.

This is more intrusive even more than the laws in the USA and that’s why a new campaign started on the web in Canada informing every citizen thru funny, but explicit videos, what those laws mean and how they could affect their lives.

Also the videos encourage people to sign a petition that can be found at http://stopspying.ca/
The videos are listed below for you to watch them.

Newsflash: Facebook doesn’t like privacy

Maybe you don’t know, but when you visit a website, that has Facebook widgets, even the Like button, Facebook already harvest information about you. No, you don’t have to click or to interact with the widget … it’s enough to visit a page with such an implementation and Facebook “see’s” you.

So what did heise.de do to prevent Facebook from collecting information about their users? They implemented a script, called Facebook 2-Klick-Button, which requires a user, who wishes to interact with Facebook, to click twice: once for activating the Facebook script and once for interacting with Facebook. All seemed good until Tina Kulow of Facebook Germany accused haise.de that their script violates Facebook’s Platform Policies, which states:

8th You must not use or make derivative use of Facebook icons, or use terms for Facebook features and functionality, if such use could confuse users into thinking that the reference is to Facebook features or functionality.

But how exactly the heise.de solution violates this Policies is not clear yet. What is clear, is that Facebook doesn’t like it and is asking websites, that made such an implementation, to remove it.
Later on Tina Kulow revealed Facebook’s reservations. In a tweet, she wrote: “To clarify: a 2-click button is not ideal – but not a problem. Only a Like button that merely visually pretends to be one is not OK. That’s all.” Since heise changed the design of the button for the first click that activates the Like function, there should now be no obstacles on Facebook’s part to further use of the 2-click button by heise online and other websites.

So what we at CyberGhost want to inform you guys about, is that we are planning to implement the heise.de solution as well.
PS: the title is ironic.

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