Tagged With privacy


Sick of Snapchat? Tired of Twitter? Fed up with Facebook? This is a great time to completely eradicate yourself from social media. All of these online services let you scrub out your accounts if you want a cleaner, leaner life online. Even better, plenty of them let you export your data for safekeeping before you do. So you can always remember that time The Rock answered your desperate tweets or your roommate plastered your Facebook wall with photos of your dog.


Open up a web browser or power up a smartphone — pretty much essential for modern-day living — and you're walking straight into a privacy minefield. That much you know. Especially after the news earlier this week that Unroll.me, a popular service that lets you unsubscribe from multiple email lists with a single click, was selling data it had mined from all your mail. What you might not realise is that your surrendering of your privacy isn't just an accident — it's the purposeful design of a particular breed of app makers and web designers employing a practice known as "dark patterns."


You may have noticed in your travels around the internet that your browser's address bar occasionally turns green and displays a padlock — that's HTTPS, or a secure version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, swinging into action. This little green padlock is becoming vitally important as more and more of your online security is eroded. Just because your ISP can now see what sites you browse on doesn't mean they have to know all the content your consuming. Below is the rundown on HTTPS, so you can better understand this first, and easiest line of defence against potential snoopers and hackers.


For years now, people have been letting Unroll.me read the contents of their email inboxes, to help them unsubscribe from email spam. The service was endorsed by our sister site Lifehacker in 2011 for its effectiveness in finding and cleaning out unwanted subscriptions (and Gizmodo wrote about its iOS app release last year).

But a New York Times profile of Uber this weekend revealed, in passing, that Unroll.me, which is owned by a company called Slice Intelligence, isn't just in the business of tidying up customers' inboxes. Slice makes money by scanning its users' email for receipts, then packaging that information into intel reports on consumer habits. Uber, for example, was paying Slice to find users' Lyft receipts, so it could see how much they were spending each month, "as a proxy for the health of Lyft's business."


Today is the day, people. From now on, the Federal Government's Metadata Retention Scheme is unavoidable for telcos and internet service providers. They will be keeping your metadata - including text messages, location information, and internet connection details - for a full two years, ready to be passed on to Government agencies when requested, without a warrant. Compliance is mandatory.

So, of course, online rights organisations are calling today "National Get a VPN Day".


That recent tech innovation known as the internet has made keeping in touch with family and friends easier than ever — but it might also have brought you some unwelcome attention from people you'd rather not keep up correspondence with. If you want to minimise the chances of getting contacted out of the blue, here's what to do.


Digital security and its discontents — from Hillary Clinton's emails to ransomware to Tor hacks — is in many ways one of the chief concerns of the contemporary FBI. So it makes sense that the bureau's director, James Comey, would dip his toe into the digital torrent with a Twitter account. It also makes sense, given Comey's high profile, that he would want that Twitter account to be a secret from the world, lest his follows and favs be scrubbed for clues about what the feds are up to. What is somewhat surprising, however, is that it only took me about four hours of sleuthing to find Comey's account, which is not protected.


On a recent trip to Disney World, I had an unusual experience. I rode a ride. It broke. We were evacuated, and a few minutes later, I got a picture on my phone. It was an empty raft sliding down Splash Mountain, taken at precisely the moment I was walking down the emergency stairwell. It was weird.


The US House of Representatives voted today to repeal rules preventing internet service providers from selling their customers' web browsing and app usage data without explicit consent. The Senate passed the same bill last week, which means the only obstacle that remains is a signature from President Trump — and the White House has already signalled he will do so.


Your existence is scattered across the internet. You likely have accounts at forums you haven't been to in a decade, and social media services so bereft of users they resemble graveyards. And each and every one of those accounts is a potential avenue into your private life for a hacker. So you need to secure them.


On Monday, Facebook updated its platform policies to prohibit mass surveillance on its platform by explicitly blocking developers from using "data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance". The move came after sustained pressure from civil rights organisations to make it harder for police agencies to surveil Facebook and collect data on users without their knowledge.


While Facebook has its lower age limit set at 13 years old, recent research from NordVPN shows a majority of kids from 10 to 12 own social media accounts, and 96 percent of teens from 13 to 18 participate in social networks.

Since it is now a normal part of children's lives, education about online safety crucial. Here's some of the more basic lessons to pass on.

Shared from Theconversation


On January 30 – three days after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order restricting immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries – an American scientist employed by NASA was detained at the US border until he relinquished his phone and PIN to border agents. Travellers are also reporting border agents reviewing their Facebook feeds, while the Department of Homeland Security considers requiring social media passwords as a condition of entry.