Privacy Police

Meet FinSpy, the Favorite Spyware of Oppressive Governments Everywhere [Video]

Creepy. (Screengrab)

Google engineer Morgan Marquis-Boire and Ph.D. computer science student Bill Marczak introduced New York Times readers today to FinSpy, one of the scariest spyware packages you’ve probably never heard of. Mr. Marquis-Boire and Mr. Marczak have been on FinSpy’s trail, mapping all its nasty flavors, since earlier this year. The software suite is available to law enforcement for legitimate investigative use, but the researchers have found it is also being used by oppressive governments to track the communications, activities and personal connections of political dissidents.

In a report  linked by the Times, Mr. Marquis-Boire and Mr. Marczak detail how they first learned of the spyware as a Trojan payload attached to emails sent to Bahraini human rights activists, then began peeling apart its other, much creepier uses–tracking everything a target does with a smart phone. Pretty much any smart phone. The researchers’ list of what FinSpy Mobile can do is chilling: Read More

Apple in Your Eye

Apple Protest Over Conditions at Foxconn Planned for Grand Central Terminal at 10 AM Today

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Consumer groups are planning to protest Apple stores this morning in the wake of The New York Times explosive investigation into working conditions at Foxconn, Apple’s primary manufacturer. We’re curious what took everyone so long, considering Wired magazine’s similarly eye-opening feature about Foxconn came out almost a year prior. (Perhaps they wanted to see whether that iPhone 4S was going to be 4G?) But regardless, blood iPhones are the new Nike sweatshops and people are thinking about the hidden costs of coveted objects again.

Leading the charge are the lobbying group SumOfUs and social activism site Change.org. As part of the effort, they’re staging a protest at 10 am today outside the gleaming crown jewel in Apple’s retail empire: its new store inside Grand Central Terminal. Read More