The United States has a long history of unwarranted surveillance on its citizens, mostly stemming from the Patriot Act signed into law after the September 11 attacks. The Patriot Act allowed various law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance on citizens (without warrants) in the name of protecting against future terrorist attacks, and while that law has lapsed, a new amendment passed by the U.S. Senate once again allows law enforcement to rummage through your internet history with no probable cause.
The internet in China is different from the internet in the rest of the world. Services are heavily censored by the state, making it impossible to discuss unsanctioned political topics on the web openly. WeChat, in particular, is known to monitor and censor its platform in China. However, an investigation by The Citizen Lab shows that WeChat doesn't only monitor Chinese citizens, but also extends this activity to people all over the world using the app. It does that to feed its censorship algorithms, which helps filter out certain content proactively. WeChat essentially crowd-sources international users' data.
Android Police covers a variety of products under its umbrella — some of them aren't strictly in the Android ecosystem — and one such diverse category is home surveillance. Namely, smart home surveillance. So, any chance we get to highlight savings on some pretty hefty buys, we do it. This time around, Amazon and Best Buy are running dueling sales on Arlo Pro 3 cameras.
Google's plans for a Chinese search and news service, known internally as Dragonfly, continue to leak and create controversy. In August, it was revealed that Google would soon reenter the Chinese marketplace, which Google CEO Sundar Pichai denied, calling it "an exploration stage." Then on Sept. 14th, it was reported that Google would track users using their phone number.
Now a new memo gives further details regarding the extent of Dragonfly's tracking. The memo was created and circulated internally by an engineer who was asked to work on the project. It details the methods in which Dragonfly tracks a user, first by requiring them to log in.
Google has been largely absent from China for several years now, but last month, news broke that it was working on censored versions of Searchand News for the country. The reveal sparked outrage, both inside and outside of Google, and at least a few employees have left the company as a result. According to The Intercept, part of the plans include a way for users to be tracked by phone number, and modifying weather data to under-represent pollution levels.
tinyCam Monitor is probably the most feature-packed remote surveillance app on the Play Store. Almost everything you could imagine is here - two-way audio for select cameras, SSL support, MP4 video recording, Google Cast and Android TV support, and even a built-in web server. Version 7.0 of tinyCam has just been released, and to celebrate, the Pro version is 50% off until September 20.
Surveillance is a tricky subject. Are you comfortable with a world where you increasingly pass by cameras wherever you go? Maybe not. But at the same time, having a security camera can be a way to keep your home safe. While some of us wrestle with that philosophical dilemma, I will point others toward the Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit.
Since the Snowden leaks began back in 2013, there has been a justifiable increase in public scrutiny of the US federal government's attitudes towards surveillance and information access. So when President Obama voiced the opinion that encrypted files should be accessible to law enforcement (presumably via some kind of backdoor or exclusive decryption method), privacy advocates joined security experts in a nationwide groan. Thankfully the administration seems to have changed its tune nine months later.
According to a report by Reuters, White house spokesman Mark Stroh said that the administration is no longer looking to introduce encryption-weakening legislation to Congress.
tinyCam recently made the big leap to version six dot oh, dragging along a new icon and material design. On the functionality front, we saw the introduction of 24/7 background video recording. This allowed users to keep recording long after they've switched their attention to another app.
With version 6.2, the developer has added in an internal web server that lets users record video on one device and remotely access them from another. For someone who already has multiple Android phones and tablets lying around, this is a cheap way to make an NVR.
This may be the primary new feature, but the lengthy changelogs include a few other noteworthy additions.
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.