Posts Tagged ‘Privacy

11
Aug
10

Google Street View throws light on web privacy

NEWS
Google Street View throws light on web privacy

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Google’s online map feature has become a flash point for people worried about the erosion of privacy in the Internet Age.

Street View images at Google Maps sparked controversy from the outset of the project three years ago.

Google dispatched cars and tricycles rigged with cameras and satellite positioning gear to take pictures of what one might see on streets around the world and synched the images to its free online mapping service.

Some people complained that faces could be recognised in pictures, raising the potential that people caught in compromising situations, perhaps stepping out of an adult video store, would have such moments memorialised online.

Others expressed fears that numbers from licence plates could be used to figure out who parks or lives on certain streets.

People were soon accusing Street View vehicles of straying onto private roads or yards to snap pictures in violation of the California-based internet giant’s policies.

Google adapted to ameliorate concerns. It began blurring faces and car licence plate numbers in images.

This year the Street View controversy rocketed to a new level with the revelation by Google that electronics in its picture-taking vehicles captured data from wireless internet systems not secured by passwords.

Google basically had access to unencrypted email, video downloads, web browsing or other digital information passing through wireless routers in homes or businesses as its Street View vans went by, said John Verdi, senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Centre.

Google has apologised repeatedly for what it called an accidental data grab, but authorities in more than a dozen countries are investigating whether the company broke privacy laws.

South Korean police on Tuesday searched the offices of Google Korea as part of its probe, an officer said.

Police seized computer hard discs and other material. After analysing the material they plan to summon the company’s staff for questioning.

Efforts by governments to get the Street View data threaten to multiply damage to people’s privacy even if Google is true to its word that it has done nothing with the information.

‘Simply handing over the data to governments can be a very bad idea,’ said Electronic Frontier Foundation international rights director Katitza Rodriguez.

‘In some cases, the remedy can be worse than the disease.’

Countries could use the pretext of investigating Street View to mine Google data in ways that ‘might create risky situations for human rights activists, dissidents, or bloggers fighting for their rights,’ she added.

Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle theorised that Google might have intended to map locations of open wireless ‘hot spots’ as a potential service to users.

‘Telling people where they can get on the internet for free while they are out and about sounds to me like a typical Google thing to do,’ Enderle said. ‘It wouldn’t surprise me.’

Identity thieves might view a roster of open wireless zones the way burglars might look at a list of homes left unlocked, according to the analyst.

Google said it would allow Germans to block out their homes on Street View ahead of its launch in the country this year but privacy watchdogs were still not happy.

‘Google Street View is a great tool, for instance, for tourists to scope out the location that he or she wants to visit,’ Rodriguez said.

‘However, Google’s technology is too invasive, and goes too far. We expect some degree of anonymity while we are walking on the streets.’
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07
Jul
10

Mozilla stokes Firefox 4 with first beta build

NEWS
Mozilla stokes Firefox 4 with first beta build

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

••• Mozilla released its web explorer Firefox 4‘s beta version Wednesday, PC World reported.

Firefox explorer, considered to be the largest rival of Microsoft Windows’ Internet Explorer, has upgraded to its newest version with multiple technologies in line with future Internet developing trend.

The beta version imitated Google chrome and a few other browsers by putting the tabs on top and providing webpage crash protection features.

Mozilla provides its Firefox users with versions used in operation system including Microsoft Windows, Apple’s Mac and the Linux OS.

The newly released beta version of Firefox is expected to widely compete with IE as the most popular Internet browser in the scientific arena.
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• Source(s): Mozilla Corporation
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22
Jun
10

U.K. police probing alleged Google privacy breach

NEWS
U.K. police probing alleged Google privacy breach

U.K. Police Investigating Alleged Google Privacy Breach Through Public Wi-Fi Networks

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

••• Britain has become the latest country to open an investigation into whether Google violated communication and privacy laws by mistakenly gathering data over public Wi-Fi networks.

London’s Metropolitan Police says it is looking into complaints that the search engine’s ‘Street View’ project picked up people’s online activities through unprotected networks.

It says it is determining what offences, if any, were committed.

Privacy International, a London-based privacy watchdog that filed the case with police, says it had received complaints from members of the public who feared their personal data could be at risk.

The French independent privacy watchdog CNIL said last week that Google, following a complaint, had handed over personal data sucked up by its technicians.

The attorney general of the U.S. state of Connecticut is also looking into whether Google broke the law.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced on Monday that his office will lead a multi-state probe of “Google’s deeply disturbing invasion of personal privacy.”

“Street View cannot mean Complete View – invading home and business computer networks and vacuuming up personal information and communications,” Blumenthal said.

Similar probes have begun in Germany, Australia and New Zealand, where police are investigating Google and some of the internet giant’s employees for collecting private information while they photographed streets for the Google Maps website.
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22
Jun
10

U.S. States step up ante against Google over wireless data

NEWS
U.S. States step up ante against Google over wireless data

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

••• The attorney general of a U.S. state is looking into whether Google broke the law by capturing people’s personal data from wireless networks.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced on Monday that his office will lead a multistate probe of “Google’s deeply disturbing invasion of personal privacy,” which has drawn ire and scrutiny in an array of countries.

“Street View cannot mean Complete View – invading home and business computer networks and vacuuming up personal information and communications,” Blumenthal said.

Similar probes have begun in U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand, where police are investigating Google and some of the internet giant’s employees for collecting private information while they photographed streets for the Google Maps website.

Blumenthal said people had a right to know what information Google gleaned, how it was done and why.

He also wanted the internet giant to detail what safeguards are in place to fix the situation.

“While we hope Google will continue to cooperate, its response so far raises as many questions as it answers,” Blumenthal said.

“Our investigation will consider whether laws may have been broken and whether changes to state and federal statutes may be necessary.”

Blumenthal has asked Google to explain how and when it learned its Street View bicycles and cars were capturing data from unencrypted wireless networks and why they recorded the quality of wireless networks they passed.
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11
Jun
10

AT&T hacked, iPad 3G owners email addresses harvested

NEWS
AT&T hacked, iPad 3G owners email addresses harvested

Friday, June 11, 2010

••• Hackers have obtained the email addresses of more than 114,000 owners of Apple iPads.

Valleywag, a property of Gawker Media, said on Wednesday the hackers turned over the email list and it contained the email addresses of a number of high-profile iPad users including U.S. business leaders, politicians and military officials.

Valleywag published the names of some on the list but not their full email addresses.

They included New York Times Co chief executive Janet Robinson, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

The iPad owners whose email addresses were compromised were subscribers to AT&T’s 3G plan which provides connectivity to the touchscreen tablet computer from Apple.

In a statement, AT&T acknowledged there had been a data breach and issued an apology to customers who had been affected.

‘AT&T was informed by a business customer on Monday of the potential exposure of their iPad ICC IDS,’ AT&T said.

‘This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday; and we have essentially turned off the feature that provided the email addresses.’

Valleywag said the AT&T breach revealed the email addresses of iPad owners in companies such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley and staffers in the Pentagon, Senate, House of Representatives, Department of Justice, NASA and Department of Homeland Security.
» Related: F.B.I. to investigate AT&T iPad data breach
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11
Jun
10

F.B.I. to investigate AT&T iPad data breach

NEWS
F.B.I. to investigate AT&T iPad data breach

Friday, June 11, 2010

••• The F.B.I. is investigating a security breach of AT&T’s website that allowed hackers to obtain the email addresses of iPad owners.

‘The F.B.I. is aware of these possible computer intrusions and has opened an investigation to address this potential cyberthreat,’ said Lindsay Godwin, an FBI spokeswoman.

AT&T acknowledged on Wednesday there had been a data breach at the U.S. telecom giant that allowed hackers to obtain the email addresses of owners of the 3G model of the iPad.

AT&T’s 3G plan provides the mobile connectivity for the touchscreen tablet computer from Apple.

According to Silicon Valley website Valleywag, a shadowy hacking group called Goatse Security hacked into the AT&T website and obtained the email addresses of over 114,000 iPad owners including those of business leaders, politicians and military officials.

Valleywag published the names of some on the list but not their full email addresses.

They included New York Times Co. chief executive Janet Robinson, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Earlier Thursday, retired rear admiral Jamie Barnett, chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s public safety and homeland security bureau, expressed concern about the incident.

‘I am concerned about the report of a security breach to AT&T’s network that exposed the personal data of more than a hundred thousand iPad users,’ Barnett said in a statement.

‘This breach underscores the need for robust cyber security,’ he said. ‘The F.C.C. will continue to work with all stakeholders to prevent future security breaches that violate consumer privacy and undermine trust in America’s communications infrastructure.’

AT&T apologised for the disclosure and said it has ‘turned off the feature that provided the email addresses.’

Valleywag owner Gawker Media also runs the popular technology blog Gizmodo, which obtained a secret prototype of an Apple iPhone in April after it was lost in a California bar and published details and pictures of the device.
» Related: AT&T hacked, iPad 3G owners email addresses harvested
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27
May
10

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces new privacy tools

NEWS
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces new privacy tools
Your privacy is important to us!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Facebook on Wednesday overhauled its privacy controls to fend off mounting criticism that it is betraying the trust that has made it the world’s biggest online social-networking service.

‘It’s been a pretty intense few weeks for us, listening to all the feedback coming in from all the changes we’ve made,’ Facebook’s 26-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg said as he unveiled simplified privacy controls.

‘Our teams internally have been cranking for the last couple of weeks.’

Facebook unveiled a redesigned privacy settings page to provide a single control for content and ‘significantly reduce’ the amount of information that is always visible to everyone.

Facebook also said it is giving users more control over how outside applications or websites access information at the service.

‘This is a pretty big overhaul to the system we already have,’ Zuckerberg said while outlining the changes during a press briefing at the social network’s headquarters in the California city of Palo Alto.

‘Now we are making it so there is less information that has to be public. People want a simple way to control the way information is shared with third parties, so that is what we are doing.’

The revamped privacy controls will roll out in the coming days, according to Zuckerberg.

Facebook last month sparked criticism from U.S. privacy and consumer groups, U.S. lawmakers and the European Union by adding the ability for partner websites to incorporate data regarding members of the social-networking service.

Zuckerberg was adamant that Facebook does not give advertisers access to members’ personal information.
• Source(s): Facebook Inc.
Facebook Blog
Privacy Settings
Mark Zuckerberg on ‘Making Control Simple’

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