How Do Tech Companies Deceive You Into Giving Up Your Data And Privacy

from TED ? Have you ever actually read the terms and conditions for the apps you use? Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad and his team at the Norwegian Consumer Council have, and it took them nearly a day and a half to read the terms of all the apps on an average phone. In a talk about the alarming ways tech companies deceive their users, Myrstad shares insights about the personal information you’ve agreed to let companies collect — and how they use your data at a scale you could never imagine. More here.

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Amazon Patents Alexa Tech To Tell If You’re Sick, Depressed And Sell You Meds

from ars technica Amazon has patented technology that could let Alexa analyze your voice to determine whether you are sick or depressed and sell you products based on your physical or emotional condition. The patent, titled “Voice-based determination of physical and emotional characteristics of users,” was issued on Tuesday this week; Amazon filed the patent application in March 2017. The patent describes a voice assistant that can detect “abnormal” physical or emotional conditions. “For example, physical conditions such as sore throats and coughs may be determined based at least in part on a voice input from the user, and emotional conditions […]

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Most White Americans’ DNA Can Be Identified Through Genealogy Databases

from NYTs The genetic genealogy industry is booming. In recent years, more than 15 million people have offered up their DNA — a cheek swab, some saliva in a test-tube — to services such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com in pursuit of answers about their heritage. In exchange for a genetic fingerprint, individuals may find a birth parent, long-lost cousins, perhaps even a link to Oprah or Alexander the Great. But as these registries of genetic identity grow, it’s becoming harder for individuals to retain any anonymity. Already, 60 percent of Americans of Northern European descent — the primary group using […]

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Introducing the Internet Bill of Rights

from NYTs Should American citizens get a new Bill of Rights for the internet? Given all the damage that giant tech companies have done of late, including the disaster of the week — a breach at Facebook that exposed tens of millions of accounts and maybe lots more — many Democrats think the answer is yes. In an interview with me this week, Nancy Pelosi even suggested that a new agency could be created to manage tech’s growing impact. “Something needs to be done,” she told me, to “protect the privacy of the American people” and “come up with overarching […]

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Digital IDs Are More Dangerous Than You Think

from Wired THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT, real-world benefits to having an accepted and recognized identity. That’s why the concept of a digital identity is being pursued around the world, from Australia to India. From airports to health records systems, technologists and policy makers with good intentions are digitizing our identities, making modern life more efficient and streamlined. Governments seek to digitize their citizens in an effort to universalize government services, while the banking, travel, and insurance industries aim to create more seamless processes for their products and services. But this isn’t just about efficiency and market share. In places like Syria […]

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This New Tech Makes It Harder For ISPs To Spy On You

from Fast Company With the exception–perhaps–of your therapist or significant other, no one has more power to learn your secrets than your internet service provider. An ISP can see every website that you choose to access. And with the scrapping of Obama-era privacy regulations last year, the U.S. federal government has no rules against ISPs collecting and selling your information to marketers. But new tech fixes are plugging the privacy holes that the government won’t. The effort began in April, when Firefox browser maker Mozilla and content delivery network Cloudflare rolled out measures to block one of the easiest ways […]

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Activity Tracker Like Iphone Or Apple Watch Now Mandatory For John Hancock Life Insurance

from 9To5 Mac It will no longer be possible to buy a life insurance policy from John Hancock – one of the largest insurers in the US – without agreeing to use an activity tracker. This can be either a wearable device like an Apple Watch or Fitbit, or a smartphone capable of logging activity, like an iPhone. The firm announced the change today for new policies, with existing policies also adopting the requirement from next year … More here.

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If You Haven’t Already Switched To Firefox, Do It Now

from Fast Company This week, Mozilla announced that its browser Firefox will start blocking all cross-site third-party trackers–the cookies hiding in the background that follow your clicks across the web, reporting your activity to advertisers as you move between websites. Including these settings, by default, is the best way to protect users from inadvertently giving third parties data about users’ behavior. Just as people tend not to read long privacy policies, they also shouldn’t be expected to change the settings to disable third-party trackers on every single site they visit. As Mozilla’s head of product strategy Nick Nguyen writes on […]

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Minds Is The Anti-Facebook That Pays You For Your Time

from Wired During Mark Zuckerberg’s over 10 hours of Congressional testimony last week, lawmakers repeatedly asked how Facebook makes money. The simple answer, which Zuckerberg dodged, is the contributions and online activities of its over two billion users, which allow marketers to target ads with razor precision. In which case, asked representative Paul Tonko (D – New York), “why doesn’t Facebook pay its users for their incredibly valuable data?” It’s a good question, one that alternative social networks like Minds have attempted to answer. The idea isn’t entirely new—Minds launched in 2015—but the site and others like it feel especially […]

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Life Inside China’s Social Credit Laboratory

from Foreign Policy Rongcheng was built for the future. Its broad streets and suburban communities were constructed with an eye to future expansion, as the city sprawls on the eastern tip of China’s Shandong province overlooking the Yellow Sea. Colorful billboards depicting swans bank on the birds — one of the city’s tourist attractions — returning there every winter to escape the Siberian cold. In an attempt to ease bureaucracy, the city hall, a glass building that resembles a flying saucer, has been fashioned as a one-stop shop for most permits. Instead of driving from one office to another to […]

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I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.

from NYTs When I downloaded a copy of my Facebook data last week, I didn’t expect to see much. My profile is sparse, I rarely post anything on the site, and I seldom click on ads. (I’m what some call a Facebook “lurker.”) But when I opened my file, it was like opening Pandora’s box. With a few clicks, I learned that about 500 advertisers — many that I had never heard of, like Bad Dad, a motorcycle parts store, and Space Jesus, an electronica band — had my contact information, which could include my email address, phone number and […]

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‘Big Brother’ in India Requires Fingerprint Scans for Food, Phones and Finances

from NYTs Seeking to build an identification system of unprecedented scope, India is scanning the fingerprints, eyes and faces of its 1.3 billion residents and connecting the data to everything from welfare benefits to mobile phones. Civil libertarians are horrified, viewing the program, called Aadhaar, as Orwell’s Big Brother brought to life. To the government, it’s more like “big brother,” a term of endearment used by many Indians to address a stranger when asking for help. For other countries, the technology could provide a model for how to track their residents. And for India’s top court, the ID system presents […]

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Mark Zuckerberg Has Been Talking About Privacy For 15 Years — Here’s A Rundown

from Yahoo News Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke out on Wednesday after days of silence amid a firestorm of privacy concerns and government probes following reports of massive data mishandling. Research firm Cambridge Analytica is accused of improperly gaining access to the personal data of 50 million Facebook users, and the social media network is dealing with the fallout. This is not a new issue. Zuckerberg has been thinking and talking about privacy ever since he built the predecessor to Facebook, called Facemash, at Harvard back in 2003. When users of the service complained that their pictures were being used […]

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Tim Cook Speaks Out On The Cambridge Analytica Scandal, Says Facebook’s Collection Of User Data ‘Shouldn’t Exist’

from Tech Insider Apple CEO Tim Cook has weighed in on the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that Facebook has been grappling with for the past two weeks. British data company Cambridge Analytica was able to obtain Facebook user data for over 50 million people by abusing Facebook’s own tools, causing an uproar that knocked billions off of Facebook’s market value and forced CEO Mark Zuckerberg to publicly apologize. The Apple CEO said the situation is “dire” and that he believed regulation is necessary during a public speech in China on Saturday – without specifically mentioning Facebook by name,according to a […]

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The House That Spied on Me

from Gizmodo In December, I converted my one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco into a “smart home.” I connected as many of my appliances and belongings as I could to the internet: an Amazon Echo, my lights, my coffee maker, my baby monitor, my kid’s toys, my vacuum, my TV, my toothbrush, a photo frame, a sex toy, and even my bed. “Our bed?” asked my husband, aghast. “What can it tell us?” “Our breathing rate, heart rate, how often we toss and turn, and then it will give us a sleep report each morning,” I explained. “Sounds creepy,” he said, […]

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They Are Watching You – and Everything Else on the Planet

from National Geographic About 10:30 on a Saturday morning in the north London borough of Islington, two men on mopeds race down the shopping corridor of Upper Street. Sheathed in helmets, gloves, and jackets, they look more like manic video game figures than humans. They weave through traffic and around double-decker buses at kamikaze velocity. Motorists flinch at their approach. The bikers pop wheelies and execute speedy figure eights along the busy street. Still, something more purposeful than joyriding would seem to be on their minds. After three or four minutes, they abruptly turn off Upper and onto a quiet […]

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What It’s Like to Live in a Surveillance State

from NYTs Imagine that this is your daily life: While on your way to work or on an errand, every 100 meters you pass a police blockhouse. Video cameras on street corners and lamp posts recognize your face and track your movements. At multiple checkpoints, police officers scan your ID card, your irises and the contents of your phone. At the supermarket or the bank, you are scanned again, your bags are X-rayed and an officer runs a wand over your body — at least if you are from the wrong ethnic group. Members of the main group are usually […]

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In Carpenter Case, Justice Sotomayor Tries to Picture the Smartphone Future

from The New Yorker “I am not beyond the belief that someday a provider could turn on my cell phone and listen to my conversations,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said on Wednesday, in the oral arguments in the case of Timothy Ivory Carpenter v. United States. She is correct; indeed, there have been indications that that day may have already arrived. And yet the government argued that when prosecutors—without a warrant—looked at some of the most intimate information that a cell-phone company can collect about its customers, they were not doing anything distinctly intrusive. The Carpenter case began with a string of […]

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Supreme Court Will Decide The Fate Of Your Digital Privacy

from Axios The future of digital privacy is up for grabs today at the Supreme Court, as the justices hear arguments in a landmark case about whether police can track the location of a cell phone without a warrant. Why it matters: The tech industry’s most powerful companies argue that if police can access this information without a warrant, hardly anything will ever be private again. The justices clearly share some of those concerns — but their personal understanding of modern technology is on a collision course with the court’s past rulings.  The big picture: The Supreme Court has ruled […]

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Data Breach At Equifax Prompts A National Class-Action Suit

from WaPo The scenario that personal finance and credit experts feared most about the heist of consumer data from Equifax may already be underway: Criminals are using the stolen information to apply for mortgages, credit cards and student loans, and tapping into bank debit accounts, filing insurance claims and racking up substantial debts, according to a major new class-action suit. The suit pulls together dozens of individual complaints from consumers in all 50 states plus the District and suggests that cybercriminals aren’t wasting time using the Social Security numbers, credit card accounts, driver’s license numbers and other sensitive personal information […]

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