In their latest testing releases, Mozilla has launched two ambitious efforts to improve upon two areas where Firefox seeks to set itself apart: privacy and security.
To address privacy, they have changed the way their "private browsing mode," which is akin to incognito on Chrome, protects users. Rather than keep your info away from other people using your computer, which is more or less the intent of the feature, new versions of Firefox will also try to keep you more anonymous to web-based trackers. Read More
The Guardian Project, the group behind previous efforts to bring Tor and other privacy-preserving software to Android, is working on a Tor-friendly browser built on the desktop equivalent's codebase. This app, named Orfox, will replace its WebView-based predecessor Orweb.
Just like Orweb, Orfox will require the companion app Orbot to connect to Tor. Orfox sets itself apart by being a fully-featured standalone browser, with the basic trappings even privacy-conscious users would come to expect like bookmarks and tabbed browsing. Read More
Google's initiative to put privacy and security back into the hands of users through a revised permission system has received generally positive responses. It's no secret that this approach closely matches the way iOS prompts users for access to things like the contacts or location. Aside from the possibility that permission requests could become annoying with too much frequency, this has proven to be a pretty effective approach. However, since the announcement, one sticking point seems to have emerged around access to the Internet. Read More
As Googler Andy Bohm notes on G+, Google's Privacy team didn't appear on stage during the I/O keynote this year, but that doesn't mean the team didn't have anything awesome to talk about. Specifically, Google has launched a revitalized account management interface. The new My Account page injects privacy and security settings with simple navigation, easily understood explanations, and tons of awesome illustrations to walk users through checking, changing, and otherwise managing their account/privacy settings.
Chances are your Google account has a lot of information about you, and managing that information is important, so it's nice to see continued efforts from Google to make that process easier to understand and execute (Google's privacy checkup took me <60 seconds before finishing this post). Read More
As we expected, Android M will have a revamped permission system. No longer will apps ask for a bunch of permissions at installation time. Instead, apps will ask for important permissions the first time they need them. You can also change permission settings via an AppOps-like interface.
In the latest update on NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, The Intercept is reporting on the surveillance establishment's efforts to use the Google Play Store to distribute spyware. Another fun fact from the data dump is that these agencies found and exploited a security hole in the ultra-popular UC Browser for years until an activist group informed its developers about it just about a month ago.
The information comes from a set of slides distributed to agency specialists in 2012 discussing plans for the use of mobile devices in surveillance. These initiatives were a cooperative between the so-called "Five Eyes" countries: USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Read More
BitTorrent brought an alpha version of its Bleep private messaging client to Android last year, and today it's officially launching on all major platforms including Android. Bleep doesn't require an account to sign up and all your messages are encrypted with local keys so no one else can access your data.
The Galaxy S6 is the hottest Android phone on the market right now, but it's not perfect. Some owners of this device have started reporting a bug that prevents them from dismissing a Samsung terms and conditions popup. Oh, it goes away at first, but then it takes over the screen again several minutes later.
A brand new update to YouTube just started rolling out, and it gives users just a little more control over their privacy. The latest version adds a new option called "Pause watch history" so users can prevent new videos from joining their previously watched list. This joins an existing option to pause search history and two commands to clear the history from either list. Now we've got an easy way to keep prying eyes from discovering that we watch cartoons during lunch breaks.
The toggle for Pause watch history is located under the overflow menu -> Settings -> Privacy. Once it is enabled, videos you watch will not be added to your history. Read More