MIT grad student Abe Davis, along with colleagues, has demonstrated the ability to eavesdrop by reading the vibrations on objects such as a potato chip bag. Dubbed the “Visual Microphone”, Davis was able to use a regular digital camera to perform this feat. Which means that someone could appear to be filming the table next to you, but are actually about to decode what you are saying. Davis, along with MIT professors Frédo Durand and Bill Freeman, have also used this method to eavesdrop on the vibrations in a glass of water, and even on the leafs of a potted plant.
A recent rebroadcast on 60 Minutes about data brokers raises an interesting question: is dating site OK Cupid selling your answers to their questions, along with enough information to personally identify you, such as your IP address?
Canvas fingerprinting has been on the news a lot lately, described as the alternative to Internet tracking cookies that is impossible to turn off. But it’s actually not that hard to block canvas fingerprinting.
Behavioral advertising, also known as behavioral targeting or behavioral marketing, is when an advertiser or advertising server hooks into the data that is stored by your browser or app, to serve you interested based ads. These things tell the advertisers and networks things such as what searches you recently conducted, what sites you visited, etc.. Behavioral advertising is increasingly being used by advertisers and their publishers (Facebook just announced they are using behavioral advertising), and consumers are becoming increasingly concerned for their privacy. So how can you opt-out of behavioral advertising?
Facebook says that they are “improving Facebook ads” – but for whom? For themselves, of course, because remember, you are not Facebook’s customer – you are their commodity. This new development means that Facebook is now using what is known as ‘behavioral advertising’ (when it’s on their website), or ‘remarketing’ (if their ads are following you around). Basically Facebook is using your data from your browser use – and your mobile app use – when you are not on Facebook – to target ads to you.
Email Privacy Tester is exactly what it says – a way to test your email program for privacy and security leaks. And it’s free!
Coincident with the Reset the Net effort, in which they are taking part, Google and Yahoo, along with Microsoft and Facebook, and others, are moving at speed to block the NSA’s snooping, and to tighten up their systems to make it more difficult for the NSA, and others, to eavesdrop on their data.
You may have heard about NPR’s Steve Henn’s experiment he calls “Project Eavesdrop”, to simulate and determine what information the NSA can get from your data, and, if so, you may be wondering what a “Pone Plug” is. That is, of course, one of the drawbacks to radio – you hear something, and it isn’t at all how it sounds. It’s not a “Porn Plug” either. It’s a Pwn Plug, sold by Pwnie Express.
“Reset the Net” is a ‘take back the net’ grassroots campaign, launched on June 5 as a citizen initiative to tell the NSA, with apologies to the Who, “we’re not gonna take it.” But those who have jumped on board are anything but grass level. Heavyweight companies like Google, Yahoo, and Twitter, and orgs such as the ACLU and the EFF, have all jumped on board. And, of course, Edward Snowden.
If you are one of the legion who think that Google Glass sucks, at least in terms of privacy invasion, you may also be wondering if it is possible to jam Google Glass. Until now there was no simple way to block Google Glass wearers from taking a video or photos of you, but now there may be. Julian Oliver has written a script, glasshole.sh, with which, says Oliver, you can “Find a Google Glass and kick it from the network.”
Snapchat, the subject of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) action stemming from their claims that “snaps” would disappear forever after mere seconds – which of course wasn’t true – has settled with the FTC.
Last week Yahoo quietly let slip that Yahoo is no longer honoring your “Do Not Track” request when you are on a Yahoo website. They announced this on their “Global Public Policy blog” which is on Tumblr, not even on a Yahoo property.
Running iMessage (formerly iChat) on your Mac is awesome, because you can send messages to other Mac, iPhone and iPad users from your computer. But those popup alerts notifications can be really annoying, intrusive, and even a privacy issue. Here’s how to turn off those alert popups.