Google tracks you even if you tell it not to

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A group called Google You Owe Us wants $1000 each after Google invaded their privacy
Google is still tracking users' locations without their permission.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Google’s claim that it allows users to completely turn off all location tracking is completely false, according to research conducted by the Associated Press.

Whether you’re using an iPhone or Android device, the AP found that many Google services store your location data, even if you’ve used a privacy setting that is supposed to prevent Google from grabbing your data.

Showdown! iOS 12 vs. Android 9 Pie

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Which wins the features arms race, Android 9 Pie vs. iOS 12? Here's how they compare.
Which wins the features arms race, Android 9 Pie or iOS 12? Here's how they compare.
Illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Android 9 Pie has landed on Google Pixel devices just a month before Apple rolls out iOS 12. Both come with a long list of new features and improvements, but is one better than the other?

Here’s how Android 9 and iOS 12 compare.

Military bans personnel from using location-tracking tech

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Significant Locations
This information shouldn't fall into the hands of enemies.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Whether it’s our phones, our fitness trackers, or even something as innocuous as a dating app, much of the technology we use on a regular basis tracks our physical location.

Knowing the potential security risk this poses, the Pentagon banned deployed military personnel from using tech with active location-tracking features.

Annotable makes annotation and markup powerful and easy [50 Essential iOS Apps #43]

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Annotable redacted information in document
With Annotable, you can easily hide sensitive information in photos and screenshots.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Annotable appSome of the most useful apps on iOS take system features and turn them up to 11. For a few years, the photos app has had basic markup tools but it’s felt underwhelming and lacked pro features. Annotable for iPhone and iPad adds pro-level annotation and markup tools to highlight or hide whatever you want in an image.

How to get YouTube’s incognito mode on iOS right now

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Youtube’s Incognito mode
YouTube’s incognito mode is already built into Safari.
Photo: freestocks.org/Pexels CC

Android has, or is soon to get, an incognito mode for the YouTube app, which will stop watched videos from showing up in your YouTube history. Google will still know exactly what you watch, of course. It’s just a way of keeping embarrassing movies out of your watched videos list.

iOS may or may not be getting the same feature, but that doesn’t matter. By using iOS’ (and the Mac’s) built-in tools, you can already watch YouTube videos without them showing up in your YouTube history. It even stops YouTube from tracking your history via cookies.

Trump administration takes a first step toward regulating Facebook, Google

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Facebook dev
The US government may soon be looking over Facebook's shoulder to better protect your privacy. Unless Facebook and Google can prevent it, of course.
Photo: Facebook

The Commerce Dept. is reportedly talking to social networking companies and consumer advocates about rules to protect online privacy. Also included are possible protections for companies that have data breeches.

This is supposedly laying the groundwork for legislation that might be proposed this fall.

Stop your boss from reading your private Slack chats with Shhlack

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Slacking off? Then hide your private chats from your boss with Shhlack.
Slacking off? Then hide your private chats from your boss with Shhlack.
Photo: Giorgio Minguzzi/Flickr CC

Did you know that your boss can read your private Slack chats? That’s right — whenever you switch to a direct messaging session to avoid Slack’s public chat thread, you might think you are chatting away from your boss’s prying ears, the virtual equivalent of a quick word in the stairwell.

However, that’s not the case. The boss can drop in and spy on your “private” chats at any time. Luckily, there’s a way to fix that, using a tool called Shhlack.

Pro Tip: How to hide photos in your iPhone Photos library

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It's easy to hide your photos in iOS -- and just as easy to find them.
It's easy to hide your photos in iOS -- and just as easy to find them.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bug Did you know that you can hide photos in your iPhone’s Photos library? This lets you keep photographs away from prying eyes, while still having access to them yourself. And — ironically — it also makes it very easy to find all the embarrassing/explicit photos on somebody else’s iPhone.

Scientists answer the question, are iPhone apps spying on us?

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James Bond
James Bond is a spy, but what about your iPhone? People want to know.
Photo: Eon Pictures

Ever been discussing some product to your friends and then had an ad for it appear on your iPhone the next day? It’s happened enough that people want to know “Is my phone listening to me all the time?”

A group of computer scientists decided to test this phobia, which they dubbed panoptispy: the fear that everyone is being spied on.

Leather webcam covers keep spies away in style

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webcam covers
Micro-suction-backed leather makes fashionable webcam covers.
Photo: Arthur Lhermitte

A Paris fashion designer, known for quirky clothing and accessories that catch eyes, uses scrap material to keep prying eyes from using webcams to spy.

Arthur Lhermitte makes webcam covers from leather offcut from his patterns. The tiny dots of leather stick to laptop webcams and smartphone cameras with a micro-suction tape that leaves no residue on the lens.