Posts Tagged ‘#privacy’

Facebook Apps

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis March 16th, 2012

Facebook is officially APP crazy.  Since the wild popularity of Farmville, there are tons of games and gizmos for millions of Facebook users to play with.  First off I have to say I DON’T DO FB APPS.  So for all my friends that invite me daily to challenge 5th graders or join the mafia – Forget It.  Why?  Privacy.  Each one has access to information from your page, and (if they’re smart) they’ll sell that. There have already been “breeches” in the flow of information from the app vendors, and who knows what they’re collecting or who they might be selling it to.  Besides, there are plenty of games elsewhere that are better, faster, and less intrusive.  I noticed that since the change to timeline that they made it more difficult to banish requests from a given app.  Before, you could just go to the request and one of the options was to Ignore This App, or basically ban it from ever bothering you again.  But since this is one of the major selling points for advertisers (especially the “sticky app’s”… the ones people spend a lot of time on) they evidently made it more difficult to make them GO AWAY.  If you want this, go to the Apps panel on the left column, then click any invites.  You should be able to opt out of any future invites.  I always giggle about some customers I had that REFUSED to give up their PC’s because they had to check their farms on Farmville.  They would rather have a virus than let their crops dry up.  Bizarre.

Google Privacy

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis February 29th, 2012

OK, the clock is ticking;  Google announced a few weeks ago that it will change its privacy policies and begin harvesting information…about YOU (and me).  According to the Digital Journalin about a week they will start the process, in an attempt to tie sites together that you use and make it a seamless, personalized experience.  Here’s the opt-out page for you to stop this Lots of people are really gun-shy about this kind of thing, and it’s more than a little creepy in my opinion.  Given the far-reaching depths of information that Google already has access to, it’s starting to sound a little like a George Orwell story (i.e. Big Brother is Watching).  But to put things in perspective, just imagine the Terabytes of information gathered every day by the NSA.  I’m fairly certain that a big chunk of the many $BILLIONS of debt since the 9-11 incident were spent on computer gear and software with SERIOUS muscle.  I’m guessing that the new show “Person of Interest” isn’t too far off in their estimate of the information harvesting power of the US government.  So THERE… does that make ya feel better?  😉  Thanks to Mitch and Judy for the articles on this.

Facebook Stalkers

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis February 20th, 2012

Yes, it happens.  So there are LOTS of good reasons to enable privacy on your account.  ESPECIALLY women and kids.  But you’ll often see ads that claim they can tell you things like 1) who is looking at your page and 2) who’s searching the engines for you.  THESE ARE FALSE, and might get you a virus instead.  There’s no way to do this without a warrant, so it’s just another scam.  They’re trying to get you to sign up/pay for something that’s impossible.  Meanwhile, make sure you enable full privacy on FB and don’t friend anyone you’re unsure of.   If you or someone in your family suspect ANY bad feelings about an individual, just remove them from the friend list.  Better safe than sorry.  I’ve also posted some good stuff in previous blogs to help protect/monitor your children It’s interesting to note here that LinkedIn (another social site geared more towards business) CAN tell you who’s watching, for a price.  You have to pay them for a premium account to get this feature.

Phone Privacy (again)

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis December 1st, 2011

The hot tech topic lately is PRIVACY.  Facebook is getting its hands slapped for tracking where all it’s visitors go on the web, and in the meanwhile a hidden ROOTKIT style spying critter was found on nearly every class of smartphone except Windows phones.  i-phones, Android, and Blackberry devices have all been exposed to have Carrier IQ, which is software that can log, well, just about ANYTHING, including keystrokes.  Of course, all the major carriers and manufacturors are denying any misuse, and are claiming that they either don’t use it, or that it’s only for diagnostics. (we all believe that, right?).  Meanwhile the politicians are all jumping on board to scream foul play.  Here’s a great ZDNet article  that describes all the details of this debaucle.  Should you be worried? Naaa,  I think that pressure will create a simple solution soon.  I’m guessing there will be an easy way to simply turn the feature off.  BUT in the meanwhile, if you want rid of it here’s a site where you can get software that will check if it’s logging, and if so will remove it (if you buy the product for a buck).  WARNING:  There have been some reports that if you remove Carrier IQ that it will BRICK YOUR PHONE.  So be sure you have a backup, or just wait for an easy solution.

Privacy vs Marketing

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis September 28th, 2011

The battle rages on.  Every major company on the planet wants to know YOU, and every detail of your life, so they can SELL YOU STUFF.  It’s gotten to the point that it’s nearly impossible to avoid, and the end goal is to riddle you and your family with a deluge of information designed to TRIGGER you to buy their products.  They use every possible means to do this, from sex to hunger, safety to downright fear.  In the US, you must have money to avoid it.  (i.e. if you’re willing to pay for commercial free radio, software, TV, etc. you can dramatically reduce the amount of garbage assaulting your senses.)  Yet money doesn’t solve every issue.  I encourage everyone to READ THE FINE PRINT when anyone sends you privacy notifications.  There are some very shady practices out there; let’s take the recent ONSTAR fiasco for example.  GM decided it was going to track customers EVEN IF THEY CANCELLED SERVICE.  They could track everything; location, driving habits, crashes, service on the vehicle, possibly more.  The only way you could stop this was to request that the satellite link be cut!  See the full article here.  Fortunately, the public outcry was so intense that GM retracted shortly afterward, and decided not to do this.  Read the follow-up announcement here.  Kudos to Forbes for timely reporting.

Email Privacy

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis September 20th, 2011

With all the spam and junk mail out there, it’s a good idea to keep a few things in mind for email etiquette.  1) Business email should include a confidentiality notice to legally protect the contents (the easiest way to do this is to put it in your signature).  2) If you send to a large group, or forward FROM a large group, remove extraneous addresses from the body, and email it to YOURSELF.  Then put the list in the BCC line (this protects the recipient’s privacy)  3) To prevent getting filtered by spam blockers, I encourage my clients to use Rich Text or Plain Text rather than HTML format for sending.  In Outlook the default settings can be found in Tools, Options, Mail Format tab.  Next time:  Encrypting your email.

9/11 Backlash

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis September 11th, 2011

On this 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist strikes, I felt it necessary to inform you, the readers, of the abuse that resulted.  Keep in mind that we KNEW.  We HAD THE INTELLIGENCE needed to stop the attacks.  And yet, afterwards the (Busch) administration passed SWEEPING laws that not only invaded your privacy, but are UNCONSTITUTIONAL.  You have the right, for example, to face your accusers.  To know what lists you may be on, and who is tapping your phone, or looking at your phone bills.  But not any more.  Obama promised he’d stop the nonsense.  He didn’t.  So we go on, allowing every citizen’s rights to be violated daily.  Is it helping?  Evidently not, from the reports I’ve seen.  We are spending $BILLIONS more on Homeland Security, yet the result seems to be more confusion than before.  It’s pretty sad.  I think that those who gave their lives on that fateful day would be pretty let down, to say the least.  Here’s an article with more details. 

Phone Hack technology

Helpful Hints, News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis July 23rd, 2011

Ya just never know...The Murdock scandal in the UK has a lot people asking HOW?!  There are four different technologies involved here ; 1) Voicemail Hacks are relatively easy if your phone supports checking with a 4-digit PIN.  (there just aren’t that many possible combinations so patience pays off)  2)  Random Air-wave Pirates can sit around, with the right equipment, and scan/listen to any and all cell phone calls emanating from a given tower.  This is difficult and yields very random results  3)  TAPPING is using a device or station to intercept your conversation or text, etc..  These are typically illegal without a warrant.  WARNING:  Smart phones can be SOFTWARE hacked within 5 minutes of being in someone else’s hands!  See an article here 4)  Cell Phone PINGS are GPS locators that are built in to phones, and required by the FCC since the 9/11 attacks.  The US Supreme Court is reviewing a case to decide if it should be legal for law enforcement to track people this way without a warrant.  (See more details here.).  NOTE :  These are all about privacy hacks.  There’s a whole ‘nuther topic about breaking into your phone’s operating system that is also referred to as a hack.  Anyone interested?  :-)


Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis January 2nd, 2011

Most people (and businesses) are rightfully concerned about their privacy  with all this high-tech surrounding us.  It’s a good idea to be careful, especially with the CLOUD.  If your data is out there on a server, you need to know what they’ll do with it, and if they protect it.  In some cases (think HIPAA) it may be illegal unless properly encrypted, etc.  Encryption allows you to control who can or cannot access the information, and prevents interception.  In the news:  Apple is being sued for allegedly letting mobile apps on the iPhone and iPad send personal information to ad networks without the consent of users. Read more: