What’s in your inbox? Some risque dirty talk? Maybe a handful of regretful messages about how hammered you were last night? If a law enforcement-backed proposal going before a House subcommittee today gets passed, wireless companies will be one step closer to having to store all of your text messages, sexy or not. Read More
It was only a matter of time before some frighteningly powerful security firm decided to write a program that collects and analyzes all of the tiny wisps of ourselves we leave across the web every day. From tweets to Facebook likes to where you got your last cup of coffee on Foursquare, a new piece of software developed by one of the world’s biggest defense contractors knows exactly what you’ll do next, perhaps even before you do. Read More
A company that everyone trusts wholeheartedly with the troves of personal data you’ve turned over is reportedly developing an app that will further engender great faith and confidence from the public.
Just kidding, it’s Facebook. Facebook is doing another creepy thing because it is a day that ends in “y.” Read More
On Thursday the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), sponsored by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, was unanimously passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The ECPA has actually been around since 1986; the new version has been updated for the 21st Century. Now law enforcement will be required to have a search warrant if they want a peek at emails, private messages and data that’s been uploaded to the cloud.
Sure, being a James Bond-level spy is a glamorous job, one that most people would love to humblebrag about online. But if you’re a secret agent working in international espionage, you might not want to let people know about that on LinkedIn.
Flemish daily newspaper De Standaard reports that a simple search for “State Security” on LinkedIn pulls up a crop of spies who have copped to their “secret” jobs on the social network. This is essentially the Belgian equivalent of listing your position as “Top Secret Spy at the CIA” on LinkedIn. Read More
Perhaps it’s time for a burner phone? The New York Times reports that the NYPD has begun quietly and methodically accumulating heaps of call logs and putting them into a searchable database called the Enterprise Case Management System.
It works like this: When someone has their cell phone stolen, the NYPD frequently subpoenas the call logs for that phone, hoping that if the thief used the phone, the recordings will provide evidence that can help track him or her down. But instead of deleting the logs after closing the case, they continue to exist in the NYPD’s database, and could “conceivably be used for any investigative purpose.” Read More
Whenever Facebook is taken to task for its complicated yet miraculously ineffective privacy settings, its canned response typically amounts to, “We’re working to make our privacy settings as nuanced as possible.” But this statement, and the concept that Facebook cares about its users’ privacy, is almost antithetical to the actual business of Facebook–mainly, that it makes its money off of users using their real names and lax privacy settings.
As the Wall Street Journal puts it, “The company says its commitment to ‘real names’ makes the site safer for users. It is also at the core of the service they sell to advertisers, namely, access to the real you.” Read More
Those of you with a history of sketchy dealings lurking in your Facebook messages and/or Gmail archives are one step closer to search-and-seizure protection.
Last week, Senator Patrick Leahy introduced an amendment that would require the cops to show up with a warrant if they want access to personal data stored in the cloud. And earlier today, reports The Hill, that amendment was officially adopted by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
But don’t open up a Gchat conversation with your weed dealer just yet. Read More
Last night, news broke that Facebook had beta launched a new mobile ad network that allows advertisers to make bids on ads based on Facebook’s trove of highly specific user data.
It’s a natural move for a company that’s most prized possession is its database of fleshed-out stats, collected in painstakingly detail for every person who’s ever signed up for Facebook. The company knows your interests, your friends, your location, age and gender–after all, you volunteered that information for them to happily gobble up. Now, all that info is being channeled into ads for apps and websites outside the Facebook environment. Read More
Good News for Everyone with Embarrassing Gchat Logs: Cops May Soon Need a Warrant to Read Your Gmail
Gchat can be a welcome haven from the turmoil of the work day, a blinking beacon that serves as an important reminder of your humanity. And yet, the things you’ve typed into that little chat box without clicking the “off the record” button–the fights and breakups and conversations that basically amount to cybering? And all those emails you sent in college with thinly veiled references to drugs? It’d be embarrassing for anyone to read all that, let alone the Po Po.