Facebook isn't the first company you think of when privacy comes to mind. Nor is it second, third, or anywhere near the top dozen. It's lucky if it's anywhere on the list at all. But the company does own WhatsApp, the widely used instant messenger that started encrypting all messages earlier this year. Now Facebook is testing out that same encryption in Messenger. Read More
Google makes most of its money from showing ads, both on its own services and on third-party sites running Google's ad network. When you use Google products, you have to be okay with some of the things you do being used to inform the ads you see. Today, Google is making a new tool available to users that lets you see and control the information Google uses to show you ads, but it comes with an (optional) expansion of Google's advertising personalization. Read More
Google Street View is awesome. With just a few taps of a button, you can get transported to new countries to explore their streets, landscapes, museums, and more. I remember using it two years ago to get a feel for my hotel's location in London and check the distance between the metro station exit and the hotel. I didn't want to look like a complete tourist upon my arrival for my first vacation in the city.
But Street View has caused lots of security and privacy concerns. Some countries have outright banned Google from driving their streets, others have spent years arguing with Google until they let it start collecting information (like Greece), and others have citizens who asked Google to blur their houses, and so on. Read More
Google will be launching its new Allo chat application in the coming weeks, and with it comes true end-to-end encryption. Open Whisper Systems has announced that its own Signal Protocol is powering the encryption in Allo. It's not on by default, which has sent some privacy purists into a fit, but this is still a very good thing. Read More
Yesterday Brazil made headlines by once again blocking the function of mega-popular SMS replacement service WhatsApp for 72 hours. The reasons were... complicated. Apparently. We don't actually know the reason - the purpose of the ruling has been sealed by the court in the state of Sergipe which issued it. But fear not, Brazilian WhatsApp users: you now have access to the service once again, thanks to some quick work on the part of WhatsApp and the ruling of an appeals court. Read More
Staying private online is easier said than done, but a few services are popping up that promise to shield your conversations from prying eyes. The Signal messaging app, previously known as TextSecure, comes to mind. But the WhatsApp team has been working on securing its messages using some of the same code, and now, after testing things out last month, the service is ready to roll out end-to-end encryption to all users. Read More
Say what you will about Facebook's commitment to privacy, the company does offer a Tor address for secure, anonymous connections. That's cool, but you need to use a Tor-enabled browser. That will change in the coming days as Facebook rolls out support for Tor in the Android app. Read More
Do you remember the huge scandal that was Carrier iQ? It's alright if you don't - it's been over four years since the company's data-logging mobile phone software was revealed, resulting in accusations of privacy violations, lax security, lawsuits both from and against the software maker and its partners, and eventually the removal of Carrier iQ code from phones via security patches. The months-long scandal basically killed Carrier iQ as a company... but now its corporate assets are owned by a carrier jokingly referred to as "the Death Star." There's no way that can go wrong, is there?
Yes, AT&T, in between attempts to snap up competing telcos and the country's biggest satellite TV provider, has somehow found time to buy a tiny but incredibly controversial software developer. Read More