This story was originally published and last updated .
Google Maps is an amazing and often indispensable service, and a big part of that is just how good it is at figuring out where you are. And the reason it's so good at is, like so many things Google does, lots and lots of data. Maps doesn't just use GPS to find, but also a huge database of home and business Wi-Fi networks the company has mapped out over the years via crowdsourcing and Street View cars. You can set your phone to GPS-only, but what if you want to hinder Google from collecting data on your Wi-Fi network? There's a solution for that: Just add "_nomap" to the end of your SSID.
After being in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, Facebook is moving to allay data privacy concerns and restore some semblance of trust. This comes after the Cambridge Analytica scandal — in which data from 87 million users was improperly shared — and another controversy surrounding data harvesting in Facebook's apps. The FTC has been watching these stories with interest and is now investigating the company's practices.
Looks like Vizio is pulling itself out of some hot water. The popular television manufacturer (among other products) has been fined $2.2 million, payable to the FTC and the State of New Jersey, for some pretty serious privacy violations. Starting in 2014, Vizio has sold Internet-connected TVs that track what the customers watch and send that data back to its servers.
If you're the sort who already worries Google has too much of your personal information, this is not for you. For everyone else, Google is reportedly developing a new opt-in data collection service that will reward users for passing additional mobile usage data back to Mountain View. The so-called Mobile Meter app is expected to come to both Android and iOS.
Android already provides Google with various bits of data like location and search activity. Mobile Meter would presumably go much farther, perhaps monitoring which sites you visit and which apps you're using. The data would be anonymized and fed into the Google machine so that it may better understand us.
Carrier IQ has been a hot topic as of late, but not without good reason. The "service" that no one had really heard of before October of this year has been raising eyebrows for the last couple of months, leaving us all wondering how much data was actually being extracted from our devices.
While it definitely has a deep ditch to dig its way out of, CIQ has started on that long and tedious process by releasing a nineteen-page document detailing exactly what information is collected. The document gives a pretty in-depth explanation of what CIQ is really doing with the data being collected, how much of it is actually human-readable, and even goes as far as to address (and justify?) many of Trevor Eckhart's findings from a few weeks ago.
There have been rumblings lately regarding suspicious data collection happening with HTC's Evo 3D. For those not familiar, it was recently discovered that a service in the latest update for the Evo 3D collected usage, location, and device information, causing some concern among users and developers alike.
Xda reported today on a statement made by HTC officials which attempts to quell fears surrounding the data collection, letting users know that the data is encrypted and all identifying information is excluded. Additionally HTC clarified that the data is related to opt-in error-reporting, and not simply being collected on a whim. Here's the full text of the statement:
We’ve seen some questions about Sensation and Evo 3D and want to provide more information.