Spy firms push iPhone-hacking tools to trace coronavirus, raising privacy concerns

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Systems like that from Cellebrite are now being pushed to track COVID-19, but have serious privacy concerns.

Multiple companies that created software to hack into mobile phones now offer versions of their products to trace the spread of COVID-19, according to a published report Tuesday.

Very different from contact-tracing technologies that focus on finding the virus but at the same time protect privacy, these new systems would not need a patient’s consent to gain entry into the device.

How to stop Facebook eavesdropping on your conversations

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Learn how to stop apps from accessing your iPhone's microphone.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

A few months back, we started hearing a lot of creepy stories about folks having real-life, in-person conversations with friends, and then getting Facebook ads on the same subject soon after. Was Facebook using their iPhone/iPad’s microphone to eavesdrop on them, then serving ads based on what it heard? Technically, it’s not much different to Google scanning your email and serving ads based on their content. In reality, it’s a whole ‘nother level of creepy.

Watch Dogs’ scary app puts the power of the NSA in your browser

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It's pretty, but all kinds of creepy, too.
It's pretty, but all kinds of creepy, too.

If you think that the conceit behind Ubisoft’s hacker-themed video game Watch Dogs isn’t real enough, be sure to take a look at this website.

Watch_Dogs We Are Data takes real world, publicly-accessible location-based data and parses it into a display ripped directly from the video game of the same name. You can visit Berlin, Paris, or London, and zoom on down into the various regions of each city to see where mobile phones are, read tweets originating from specific spots, and see icons that represent CCTV feeds, traffic lights, and more.

If this doesn’t freak you out even just a little, then more power to you.

Protect Your Home For One Year With The Mobiscope Home Surveillance Starter Kit [Deals]

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It shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to keep your home or business safe. That’s where Mobiscope comes in. It makes simple, affordable and effective video surveillance available for everyone.

Mobiscope streams live video feeds from IP or web cameras to any mobile device.
Easily connect your iPhone or Android to the Mobiscope app or simply sign into your account on Mobiscope’s website to view your security network cameras or regular webcams – anywhere, anytime. And Cult of Mac Deals is offering you one year of home service and a free webcam from Mobiscope for only $99.

Everything You Need To Know About The NSA’s Leaky Apps

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Photo: Rovio
Photo: Rovio

While accusations about NSA backdoors to Apple devices have been doing the rounds for a while now, yesterday’s revelations about spying agencies using so-called “leaky apps” to capture user data has reignited the debate. Below is a Q&A covering everything we’ve learned so far:

Q) What is a leaky app?

A) An app that transmits private user information across the Internet. While apps have come under fire for collecting private user information before, the current outcry follows revelations leaked by Edward Snowden, suggesting that leaky apps have been the focus of spying organizations such as the NSA and its UK counterpart, GCHQ (Government Communications HQ). The NSA has cumulatively spent more than $1 billion in its phone targeting efforts. A 2010 NSA presentation cites poor secured apps as a “golden nugget” for gathering user information — including, but not limited to, address books and friend lists.