All items tagged with "privacy"

Apple urges Obama to block government snooping

Apple has taken steps to avoid snooping.

Apple has taken steps to avoid snooping.

Apple has put its name to a letter which will be sent today, appealing to the White House to protect individual privacy rights in the face of suggestions that law enforcement should be able to access encrypted smartphone data via a backdoor.

“Strong encryption is the cornerstone of the modern information economy’s security,” argues the letter, which is signed by more than 140 tech companies, technologists, and civil society groups.

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Apple objects to RadioShack data selloff

RadioShack

Everything must (or must not) go.

RadioShack’s bankruptcy proceedings have hit another interesting bump; Apple has joined the states of Texas and Tennessee in trying to prevent the liquidating company from selling off its customers’ data.

The latest complaint is just one more obstacle to RadioShack’s already checkered attempts to go out of business.

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Terminated worker fires back at company’s 24/7 monitoring

Xora's app is at the center of the privacy argument.

The Xora StreetSmart app. Photo: Xora

A woman claims her employer wrongfully fired and retaliated against her for deleting a location-tracking app from her company-issued iPhone, and she’s taking her case to court.

Myrna Arias, formerly of money-transfer company Intermex, took issue with how the bosses were using productivity software Xora, which includes GPS tracking to monitor and optimize business travel. She claims that her higher-ups were using the data to keep tabs on her and coworkers even during off hours and that they terminated her shortly after she removed the offending app.

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Shield your iPhone fitness data from other apps’ prying eyes

Keep your activity data private. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Keep your activity data private. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

With the advent of Apple’s motion coprocessor chip (the M8 in recent iOS devices), any apps that you download and grant permission to can use this data to enhance their offerings.

This lets apps like RunKeeper, Carrot Fitness and others both gather fitness data from your iPhone as well as send it to the Health app.

This could raise privacy concerns for some, so being able to decide which apps we allow to access our fitness-tracking data — or whether the iPhone tracks these activities at all — can be a helpful.

Here’s our recipe for getting finer-grained control over your fitness-tracking data.

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NoFlyZone lets you control your air space

NoFlyZone allows property owners to register their addresses to alert drone operators to fly in their air space. Photo: DJI

NoFlyZone allows property owners to register their addresses to alert drone operators to not fly in their air space. Photo: DJI

Ben Marcus attracts attention whenever he flies his quadcopter and sometimes he lets the curious take the controls.

During those exchanges, many say this: That’s cool, but what about the privacy issues?

Marcus sensed that the concern about camera-outfitted drones unknowingly hovering over our lives was real enough that it could stunt the potential applications of drones.

So he started a company that will let people restrict their own air space.

NoFlyZone launched on Feb. 10 and already has more than 20,000 homeowners signed up to request drone pilots steer clear of their property.

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How to nuke pesky location data from your iPhone photos

"You were in Vegas without me!?" Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

“You were in Vegas without me!?” Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

These days, any photo you shoot with your iPhone or other smartphone will typically contain location data (unless you have that feature turned off) to allow apps like iPhoto to place your images on a map.

Even photo-sharing services use this data, with some — like Flickr — posting it prominently on your photo pages (along with all the other EXIF data, like shutter speed and f-stop).

If you don’t want the location of your photos to be known, the Yosemite version of OS X’s Preview can take care of it for you. Let’s strip that location data before we post that photo to the Web, OK?

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Your biggest online security mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Don't let online hackers get into your home...directory. Photo: Scott Schiller/Flickr CC

Don’t let online hackers get into your home … directory. Photo: Scott Schiller/Flickr CC Flickr

We all make compromises daily when it comes to online security. Everybody wants to be safe and secure when making purchases online, but practically none of us do everything necessary to keep our data secure.

“People, myself included, are basically lazy,” web developer Joe Tortuga told Cult of Mac, “and ease of use is inversely related to security. If it’s too difficult, then people just won’t do it.”

With all the recent hacks into private as well as corporate data — like the credit card grab from Home Depot and the hack into Sony’s files, there’s no better time to learn some of the things we all can do to protect ourselves. We spoke to some online security experts to get their advice.

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Keep OS X Yosemite from sending Spotlight data to Apple

Spotlight is sending your searches back to Apple Photo: Apple

Spotlight is sending your search information back to Apple. Photo: Apple

OS X Yosemite has changed the way your Mac deals with your privacy. On the one hand, Apple has decided to enable hard drive encryption by default, despite the FBI requests not to.

On the other hand, every time you type in Spotlight, your location and local search terms are sent to Apple, and, according to developer Landon Fuller, other third parties like Microsoft.

Fuller’s created a website, Fix Mac OS X Yosemite, where he’s posted up a way to stop Yosemite from sending such private data out. He’s also been contributing to a developer project on GitHub to find out and fix other ways that OS X phones home.

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iOS 8 privacy upgrade means Apple can’t unlock your phone for cops

iOS 8 is Apple's most privacy-conscious mobile OS yet.

iOS 8 is Apple’s most privacy-conscious mobile OS yet.

Updated security measures in iOS 8 make it impossible for Apple to give your data to the cops — even if the company wanted to.

Previously Apple could access a significant amount of data on any iOS device, which it would do if law enforcement approached the company with a seized device and a valid search warrant. Apple’s stronger encryption and updated privacy policy now mean it can no longer pull data from devices that have the latest version of the mobile OS installed.

“On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode,” Apple notes on its website. “Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

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Tim Cook says Apple tries to not collect data: ‘You’re not our product’

timcookcharlierose

The second part of Tim Cook’s interview with Charlie Rose is scheduled to air tonight on PBS, and as a teaser the show has released a short video of the CEO explaining that Apple’s stance on user privacy and company transparency is basically to never become like Google.

“You are not our product,” says Cook. “I think everyone has to ask, ‘How do companies make their money?’ Follow the money. And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried and you should really understand what’s happening with that data.”

Watch the three-minute clip below:

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