Firefox 85 only brought one significant user-facing change — add-ons are now directly installable from addons.mozilla.org. But it turns out there is a lot more going on under the hood. The latest version of the Mozilla browser is cracking down on supercookies that evade regular anti-tracking techniques.
With WhatsApp's recent Facebook-induced privacy woes, Signal and Telegram are enjoying their time in the spotlight. Signal's privacy focus has specifically appealed to a lot of users who decided to switch away from WhatsApp, with the app seeing unprecedented growth and topping global app charts worldwide. But many of those newly-acquired users have quickly noticed Signal's limited feature set, forcing the app's devs to rush and try to plug some holes to keep everyone hooked. A few new features were promised last week, and now they're live in the latest beta version of the app.
After inviting users to accept its new data sharing policy with Facebook, many people turned their back on the popular messaging platform and looked for alternatives. As a result, Signal made it to the top charts on the Play Store, promising to respect its users' privacy. Even though WhatsApp tried to reassure the crowds claiming chats and calls would remain encrypted, it's decided to give more time to people before forcing them to accept its new terms.
Facebook has a long history of privacy lapses, including some more serious ones, and the mere fact that it owns some of the most widely used social media apps already concerns privacy-conscious users. While WhatsApp was still able to keep a fair distance from Facebook’s unreliable privacy practices, that fringe benefit is soon going away, as the messaging app has decided to enforce new usage terms that give its parent company more control over your WhatsApp data.
Earlier this week, we learned that Google is preparing a new smart home device for a possible release this year. FCC documents showed it has a display screen, uses a 14V power supply, and comes equipped with the same Soli motion-sensing technology used by the Pixel 4 and Nest Thermostat. Now a new report claims that the sensor could be used to power a surprising new inclusion: sleep tracking.
Fitness trackers have been around for a while now, but Amazon started testing its first fitness-focused wearable earlier this year. It can measure body fat percentage, analyze the tone of your voice, and it's available now for an initial $99.99 along with a $3.99 monthly fee — but the real cost might be your privacy.
As people become more conscious of the importance of data privacy, dominoes are beginning to fall. Earlier this week, we learned that the company behind the X-Mode SDK had been caught selling customer location data to government contractors. Now a new report claims that overseas surveillance vendors are siphoning location data from smartphones with the help of mobile advertising tools.
Apple and Google have both taken the exceptional step of banning any apps that include X-Mode's software from their respective app stores, according to The Wall Street Journal. The news comes after investigations revealed location data gathered by X-Mode in those apps were sold to parties with ties to the US government and national security efforts. Play Store developers have one week to comply before the banhammer falls.
Privacy-focused web browser Vivaldi debuted on Android only a few months ago with encrypted sync and native protection against trackers. In the following months, it got better at forcing dark mode on all websites, which worked well for the most part. The browser maker is now pushing a new update to its Android app that brings the option to clear your browsing data upon exiting the app, plus the ability to prevent WebRTC IP leaks, much like its desktop counterpart, in addition to a couple of other feature enhancements.
Google's rollout of its RCS-based "Chat" in the Messages app is now complete, delivering on the years-long promise of a better, universal messaging standard on Android. But, it's still not the "iMessage for Android" many of us hoped it might be. And, perhaps ironically, it's Apple that's standing in the way of that.