Posts Tagged ‘Personal privacy’
Edward Snowden – the NSA whistleblower – is making some bold claims again, this time, saying that Apple’s iPhones have built-in spy software that can be used to track you. That’s some bad PR for Apple if it turns out to be true, eh?
Snowden’s lawyer says that this software can be activated without the user knowing, and remotely.
“Edward never uses an iPhone, he’s got a simple phone,” says Anatoly Kucherena. “The iPhone has special software that can activate itself without the owner having to press a button and gather information about him, that’s why on security grounds he refused to have this phone.”
Of course, this is at odds with Apple’s recent campaigns to improve privacy for users. You may recall Apple saying that it would be nigh-on impossible for government officials to get personal data from those using iOS 8. Apple have also pushed for stronger privacy protection policies, along with a number of other big tech firms.
According to the Independent, the NSA have published documents that reveal how GCHQ (the British intelligent agency) used this software in the iPhone – known as its UDID – to keep tabs on some people. These documents don’t refer to specific spyware, but there might be more documents on the way.
Kucherena did note that, while Edward Snowden doesn’t use an iPhone, if you want to, no-one is stopping you. Very kind of him that.
So what does that mean on a day-to-day basis? Cameron doesn’t like the fact that certain messaging apps are encrypted, which means your messages are private and the PM wants to be able to see inside them, y’know, just in case you’re a terrorist. So if you use Snapchat or WhatsApp, they could end up being blocked, nationwide.
Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime also have encrypted data, which is no good for a man who wants to increase surveillance and revive the Snoopers Charter, which helps the government to peer into your internet goings-on.
Cameron said: “In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?” The answer for most sensible people is ‘Yes, actually.’ Of course, there’s going to be some people saying ‘I don’t care – I’m not doing anything wrong so why should I be bothered that someone’s looking at my boring messages?’ To those, we admire your belief that government officials won’t end up losing all your private messages and them ending up online or, indeed, misreading some joke you made which sees you getting called in for questioning.
The short version is this: Are you happy with a Prime Minister who says that there should be no “means of communication” which “we cannot read”?
Of course, companies like WhatsApp are committed to keeping their services encrypted and unreadable by authorities, which is something that has become a real point of principle in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s claims about NSA surveillance.
Privacy groups are, as expected, angry at the idea of governments being able to snoop around your private correspondence, so this is a row that’s only going to get louder in the coming weeks. There’s an election afoot, so we’ll have to see how Cameron plays it.
Why? They reckon that this is all for your own protection.
Marriott have signed a petition (which you can see here) before the FCC so they can clarify or tinker with the rules that cover interference for unlicensed spectrum bands. In plain language, they want to be able to jam the network on their premises.
You can assume that this means they’ll introduce their own hotspot, which they’ll charge customers for and, if you don’t want in, your devices won’t be able to pick up any signal. Of course, Marriott have previous, as they’ve already been fined for jamming those on their premises in Nashville.
Marriott have said in response: “We understand there have been concerns regarding our position on the FCC petition filing, perhaps due to a lack of clarity about the issue. To set the record straight it has never been nor will it ever be Marriott’s policy to limit our guests’ ability to access the Internet by all available means, including through the use of personal Mi-Fi and/or Wi-Fi devices. As a matter of fact, we invite and encourage our guests to use these Internet connectivity devices in our hotels. To be clear, this matter does not involve in any way Wi-Fi access in hotel guestrooms or lobby spaces.”
“The question at hand is what measures a network operator can take to detect and contain rogue and imposter Wi-Fi hotspots used in our meeting and conference spaces that pose a security threat to meeting or conference attendees or cause interference to the conference guest wireless network.”
“In light of the increased use of wireless technology to launch cyber-attacks and purposefully disrupt hotel networks, Marriott along with the American Hotel & Lodging Association on behalf of the entire hotel industry is seeking clarity from the FCC regarding what lawful measures a network operator can take to prevent such attacks from occurring. We feel this is extremely important as we are increasingly being asked what measures we take to protect our conference and meeting guests and the conference groups that are using Wi-Fi technology in our hotels.”
What do you make of that? On social media, there’s a lot of people calling bullshit on the whole thing, with Marriott cutting and pasting a link to the above statement.
WhatsApp will now have encrypted messages from now, which is a boon for those who are concerned about personal privacy when chatting and sending photos of their junk to hook-ups. Of course, governments and spy-agencies won’t be at all happy about this, as they get jumpy and start shouting ‘TERRORISTS!’ as soon as anyone hides what they’re talking about.
WhatsApp said that this is the “largest deployment of end-to-end encryption ever.” What that means, in English, is that your messages are safe from people listening-in, unless of course, WhatsApp have a deal with someone where they’ll pass all that information on. Seeing as they’re owned by Facebook, you’d be daft to not indulge that in your thoughts.
Thus far, it’ll only work on Android and is limited to one-on-one text-only chats. So group chats and photos are not as locked down.
Whisper Systems – the company behind the software which is being used to encrypt your WhatsApp messages – have said: ”We have a ways to go until all mobile platforms are fully supported, but we are moving quickly towards a world where all WhatsApp users will get end-to-end encryption by default.”
It does look like chat-apps are all working toward utilising this kind of encryption, which is a headache for the NSA and GCHQ. In their eyes, the only people who should have encrypted messages are government officials and people like the FBI.
The Snapchat nudes leak is a real thing, now dubbed ‘The Snappening’ after the iCloud leak was referred to as ‘The Fappening’.
Videos and images of around 200,000 people, which were stored on a third party website, have been put online. This time, it doesn’t just focus on celebrities.
It appears the third party site in question is Snapsaved.com, which allows users to grab a screenshot of the Snapchat images that usually expire after a few seconds.
Snapsaved appears to have saved not only the images, but also, the users’ login details so that, in the torrent that stores all the images, you can search for images under people’s usernames. This third party is not to be confused with Snapsave, which only stores images on the phone of the user.
4chan, as ever, were the ones to announce the 13 gigabytes of images, but one of the problems here is that much of the content could be from underage users, meaning that anyone who distributes the photos or hosts them, could be in legal trouble for hosting child porn or sexual images of minors.
After the huge celebrity leak of photos, dubbed ‘The Fappening’, looks like we’re due ‘The Snappening’ as rumours abound that hackers have got a load of Snapchat photos and plan release all the mucky, naked ones that match with usernames.
They’ll be available on October 12th on a torrent.
According to reports, the hackers have a 13GB library of snaps from a third-party app which allows users to save Snapchats without the sender knowing.
Snapchat are deflecting blame away from themselves, but if they were really vigilant, they should’ve got third party apps removed from app stores or something.
What should worry people though is that a lot of young people use Snapchat, which means anyone looking at any potential leaks could basically be looking at compromising images of underage kids.