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Russian Site Exposes Thousands of Private Videocam Streams
November 20, 2014
A Russian website has been posting live video streams from unprotected webcams in homes and businesses around the globe, Britain's Information Commissioner's Office warned on Thursday. The website has gained access to the webcams using the cameras' default login credentials, which are freely available online but often don't get changed by their owners during the set-up process.
BitTorrent Sync Goes Pro
November 20, 2014
BitTorrent on Wednesday announced new plans for its Sync service, including a premium subscription option, along with other new paid products. Sync, which was released in beta in July, is billed as a cloud-free file-sharing solution. Currently in version 1.4, Sync soon will graduate to version 2.0, with both an improved free version and a Pro version offered by subscription for $39.99 per year.
WhatsApp Battens Down the Hatches
November 19, 2014
WhatsApp has added end-to-end encryption and enabled it by default in the latest version of its Android messaging application, partner Open Whisper Systems announced Tuesday. The new feature taps Open Whisper's open source TextSecure encryption protocol to ensure that only a conversation's participants can read the messages they exchange. WhatsApp itself won't be able to decrypt the messages.
IBM Begins New Email Chapter With Intelligent Verse
November 19, 2014
IBM on Tuesday introduced Verse, its entry into the reinventing email derby. Verse, which will be available in both an enterprise and freemium edition, integrates the many ways people communicate with each other every day -- email, meetings, calendars, file sharing, instant messaging, social media, video chats and more -- into a single collaboration environment.
Google Glass May Be Saved by Obscurity
November 19, 2014
Whatever happened to Google Glass? In the early days, people got punched in bars, bounced from movie theaters, and pulled over in cars for wearing them, and some establishments outright banned "glassholes" from their premises. Google claimed the white "Cotton" beta model sold out when it held a one-day sale of Google Glass Explorer for United States residents at $1,500 a pop in April.
US Marshals Have Their Own Cellphone Data Slurpfest
November 18, 2014
The United States Marshals Service reportedly is grabbing data from thousands, if not millions, of Americans' cellphones using high-tech devices deployed on five Cessnas. The aircraft operate out of at least five metro-area airports and apparently can cover most of the U.S. population. They are equipped with DRT boxes, popularly known as "dirtboxes," made by a subsidiary of Boeing.
Gadget Ogling: A Creepy Echo, Clever Home Connections, Bizarre Smartphones and Flexible 3D Printing
November 15, 2014
Echo, Amazon's newest attempt at a smart personal assistant, is set to take pride of place in your home. The black tower is voice-activated and can play music, as well as provide information and news updates. It's from Amazon, so it also can update your shopping list. It's always on, so it's continually listening to you, wherever you are in a room. That's just more than a little unsettling.
Facebook Lubes PR Gears to Dampen Privacy Worries
November 14, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced Privacy Basics, a set of interactive guides to answer the most commonly questions about how users can control their information on its site. It also aired proposed updates to its terms, data policy and cookies policy; improvements to ad targeting; and expansion of user control over ads. "This is mostly a messaging exercise," said tech analyst Rob Enderle.
Who Knew Tim Cook Would Fight for the American Way?
November 14, 2014
Ninety-one percent of Americans believe they have lost control of their personal information -- and many also don't trust companies that buy, sell, barter, and combine their habits and activities to better "serve" -- aka "manipulate" -- them, a recent Pew Research survey found. Along similar lines, they don't particularly trust governments either.
Americans Flip-Flop on Personal Data Privacy
November 13, 2014
Despite the publicity about Edward Snowden's controversial leaks, only 43 percent of 607 English-speaking adults surveyed in January had heard a lot about government surveillance efforts, and another 44 percent had heard a little, according to the Pew Research Internet Project. However, 80 percent of the respondents registered concern about government surveillance of communications.
Firefox Develops a Case of Selective Amnesia
November 11, 2014
Roughly 10 years to the day after the release of Firefox 1.0, Mozilla on Monday announced an updated version of its open source browser complete with a new Forget button aimed at protecting users' privacy. Forget asks you only one question, said Firefox Vice President Johnathan Nightingale. "How much do you want to forget?" Once you supply a time frame, "it takes care of the rest."
Verizon, AT&T Are Watching You
November 05, 2014
The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week renewed its protests against Verizon Wireless' and AT&T's use of supercookies that can't be deleted or disabled to track customers' mobile Web-browsing activities without their knowledge. The carriers' tracking isn't new -- Verizon has been using these supercookies for two years. However, that has not been generally known.
The Trouble With Facebook's Tor Link
November 05, 2014
Facebook recently announced that it was providing access directly over the Tor network. Its purpose was to let users access Facebook without losing the cryptographic protections provided by the Tor cloud. Facebook is providing an SSL certificate which cites its onion address. It will add onion address support for its mobile site later. The Tor link will work only in Tor-enabled browsers.
Dropbox, Microsoft Gang Up on Google
November 04, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership with Dropbox -- only eight days after announcing unlimited cloud storage for Office 365 subscribers in a move widely seen as a frontal attack on Dropbox and Google. The companies will integrate their services forphones, tablets and the Internet, so that users can access and collaborate on Office files either from Dropbox or Microsoft Office.
Russians Scrap Jobs Tribute Over Tim Cook's Being Gay
November 03, 2014
A group of Russian companies called the "Western European Financial Union" on Friday dismantled a 6-foot, 6-inch tribute to Steve Jobs following Apple CEO Tim Cook's announcement that he's gay. The Jobs tribute -- an interactive kiosk in the shape of an iPhone -- had graced the courtyard of the National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics in St. Petersburg.
Snail Mail Surveillance: Rules Are Weak - and Routinely Broken
October 30, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service didn't adequately follow its own rules last year, when it secretly recorded and shared information about some 49,000 pieces of mail to further criminal and national security investigations, according to an audit report from the Office of Inspector General. Information recorded under the service's longstanding mail cover program is limited to what's written on the exterior.
Apple Pay vs. CurrentC: Prelude to the Beacon Wars
October 30, 2014
The current dustup between Apple Pay and CurrentC is a stark, bleak mess. That's not because Apple promises an easier, more secure way of making a smartphone-based retail transaction. Nor is it because CurrentC wants to harvest data on you and provide behavior-bending coupons, incentives and special deals, while cutting out the middleman credit card processing industry. It gets worse.
FTC Snags Soltani for Chief Technologist Role
October 22, 2014
Privacy expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ashkan Soltani will be the FTC's new chief technologist, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced Tuesday. "Ashkan is well qualified and was an excellent choice for the agency," said Ginger McCall, an associate director with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Soltani will succeed Latanya Sweeney in the position beginning in November.
Chinese Officials Kick In Apple, MS Cloud Doors
October 21, 2014
Chinese authorities have launched man-in-the-middle attacks on Apple's iCloud.com and Microsoft's Login.live.co that are ongoing, according to Greatfire.org. Qihoo 360 browser users' local connections to iCloud.com are being rerouted to a dummy site that's identical to Apple's login page. Users of Firefox or Chrome land on a warning page instead. The attack on iCloud reportedly is nationwide.
Kickstarter Puts Kibosh on Tor-Based Router Funding
October 21, 2014
Kickstarter on Friday suspended a crowdfunding campaign for Anonabox, a portable networking device designed specifically to run Tor. The campaign for the privacy-minded router, which launched earlier last week, was wildly successful. In just a few days, it reportedly garnered more than $600,000 in pledged funds from thousands of backers. The Kickstarter goal for the $45 device was just $7,500.
Black Box Keeps Cybersnoops in Dark
October 21, 2014
Following Edward Snowden's revelations about indiscriminate government snooping on U.S. citizens, many Net surfers would like to find a way to lower their visibility on the Internet. There are a number of tools in cyberspace that can help a soul do that, but they can take time and savvy to set up. That's why Kerry Cox launched the Sierra Project, which he hopes to fund through Kickstarter.
Whisper Shouts Denials of Tracking Allegations
October 20, 2014
Whisper, an app that purports to send messages anonymously, reportedly has been tracking the location of its users, including those who have turned off their geolocation feature. Even more incendiary than the location-tracking accusation is the allegation that Whisper has identified smartphones used at military bases and has shared information gleaned from them with the Defense Department.
FBI's Comey Argues Against Encryption: Trust Us
October 20, 2014
FBI director James Comey, in a speech last week at the Brookings Institute, reiterated his concerns about encryption built into iOS 8 and Android stymieing law enforcement. "I'm a huge believer in the rule of law, but I also believe that no one in this country should be beyond the law," he said. However, the law has not kept pace with technology, Comey pointed out.
BBC to Preserve Memory of Its 'Forgotten' Articles
October 17, 2014
The BBC will publish and continually update a list of its published articles that were removed from Google searches under Europe's "right to be forgotten" rule. David Jordan, director of editorial policy and standards for the BBC, announced the move. The decision is a reaction to the EC ruling that search engines must remove "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" links upon request.

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