Google announced on Monday that the company will be reducing the amount of time that it will keep sensitive, identifying log data on its search engine customers. To the naive reader, the announcement seems like a clear win for privacy. However, with a bit of careful analysis, it's possible to see that this is little more than snake oil, designed to look good for the newspapers, without delivering real benefits to end users.
Don't believe everything you read on the Internet: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama isn't a terrorist...or a porn star.
A malicious spam e-mail is spreading that claims to have a link to a sex video of Obama but is instead spyware that steals sensitive data from the computer, security firm Sophos warned on Wednesday.
The subject line says "Obama sex video!!!" and the e-mail appears to come from "firstname.lastname@example.org, Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, says on his blog.
Clicking on the link downloads an executable file that plays an amateur … Read more
Digital copies of death certificates have been removed from the Web site of Maricopa County in Arizona because they could be used for identity fraud, The Arizona Republic reported on Wednesday.
"There is so much personal information on them: a mother's maiden name, what they died from," said Helen Purcell, recorder for Maricopa County, which covers the state capital, Phoenix.
The county had received complaints from people about the posting of the information for years and removed them last month, she said. The state has one of the highest identity fraud rates in the country.
The County … Read more
Under pressure from European regulators, Google is halving the amount of time its stores Internet Protocol addresses.
In a blog post, Google said it would keep IP addresses on its server logs for 9 months before anonymizing them, down from the 18 months it had previously stored the data.
A European Commission advisory body issued an opinion paper earlier this year urging search engines to delete data collected about their users after six months.
SAN DIEGO--For most of us, if we lose our cell phones our mobile data is at risk of exposure by whoever finds or steals the phone.
Maverick Mobile announced a new application at DemoFall on Monday that helps people locate their lost or stolen phone, as well as track the phone, retrieve the phone book, and disable the device remotely.
If the SIM card is replaced, the application sends information about the new account, as well as call logs and messaging history, to a remotely controlled reporting device that helps the owner track down the phone.
All the contacts can … Read more
If you thought that the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping was limited to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, think again.
While these household names of the telecom industry almost certainly helped the government to illegally snoop on their customers, statements by a number of legal experts suggest that collaboration with the NSA may run far deeper into the wireless phone industry. With over 3,000 wireless companies operating in the United States, the majority of industry-aided snooping likely occurs under the radar, with the dirty-work being handled by companies that most consumers have never heard of.
A recent … Read more
Silicon Valley start-up NebuAd has suspended plans to deploy a controversial program that displays ads based on the monitoring of Web activity while Congress reviews privacy concerns, according to a report in The Washington Post.
The secretive company, which intercepts and performs deep-packet inspection of what's flowing through a company's network in hopes of delivering relevant ads, announced earlier this week that co-founder and CEO Bob Dykes was resigning. His departure comes as several Internet companies canceled or suspended trials of the tracking technique.
"Our platform was architected to be a multi-channel ad system," spokeswoman Janet … Read more
Privacy advocates are starting to sound the alarm over a feature in Google's Chrome that sends anything typed in the browser's Omnibox back to Google.
Google told CNET News earlier Wednesday that it plans to store about 2 percent of the data it gets back, along with the IP address of the computer that sent it. Google said it won't receive or store data if users turn off the auto-suggest feature or if they select a default search provider other than Google or if they are using the product's "Incognito" mode.
Still, EFF staff … Read more
This didn't take long. Just one day into Chrome's young existence and serious privacy questions are getting raised. Sleuthing by my colleague Ina Fried turned up the following:
The auto-suggest feature of Google's new Chrome browser does more than just help users get where they are going. It will also give Google a wealth of information on what people are doing on the Internet besides searching.
Provided that users leave Chrome's auto-suggest feature on and have Google as their default search provider, Google will have access to any keystrokes that are typed into the browser's … Read more
Updated 2 p.m., with change in license terms.
Google said on Wednesday that it plans to alter contract terms that gave the search provider broad rights to use anything entered into its new Chrome browser.
"In order to keep things simple for our users, we try to use the same set of legal terms (our Universal Terms of Service) for many of our products," Google said in a statement provided to CNET News. "Sometimes, as in the case of Google Chrome, this means that the legal terms for a specific product may include terms that don'… Read more