Book Review: Privacy is Power – Carissa Véliz

by @edent | # # # # | 1 comment | Read ~116 times.
Book Cover.

Without your permission, or even your awareness, tech companies are harvesting your location, your likes, your habits, your relationships, your fears, your medical issues, and sharing it amongst themselves, as well as with governments and a multitude of data vultures. They’re not just selling your data. They’re selling the power to influence you and decide…

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Open Data – but not *too* open

by @edent | # # # | 2 comments | Read ~189 times.
If this address is correct and relates to your enquiry, please confirm that you are entitled to view the gas supply details.

I’m an advocate for open data – both in my professional role and in a personal capacity. One of the hard things is succinctly explaining that “open data” means “non-personally identifiable data at a sufficient granularity to be useful without proving a risk to any individual’s (or group’s) reasonable expectations of privacy while still being…

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GDPR and common sense

by @edent | # # # # | 3 comments | Read ~127 times.
Some giant question marks standing in a field.

Every so often, I get a glimpse into the thought processes of someone who has a very different view of the world to me. I don’t deal with people’s personal information often. So I was surprised to receive an email with a multi-megabyte spreadsheet called “Pay and Bonuses 2020”. The email contained this doozy of…

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It’s OK to lie to WiFi providers

by @edent | # # # | 6 comments | Read ~215 times.
Give social networks fake details, advises Whitehall web security official.

Another day, another data breach. The email addresses and travel details of about 10,000 people who used free wi-fi at UK railway stations have been exposed online. The database, found online by a security researcher, contained 146 million records, including personal contact details and dates of birth. It was not password protected. BBC News There’s…

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Who is Facebook’s mysterious “Lan Tim 2”?

by @edent | # # # | 13 comments | Read ~145,579 times.
Facebook activity page saying they received data from "Lan Tim 2".

Facebook has an interesting feature. It will let you see which companies have associated your off-Facebook activity with your Facebook account. If you visit: https://www.facebook.com/off_facebook_activity/ you’ll see what companies are snitching on you to Facebook. #AirBnB shares your activity with #Facebook ?! Delete that @Airbnb app, folks! Mine didn't even allow me to change its…

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Bluetooth MAC, K-Anonymity, and Population Privacy

by @edent | # # # | 3 comments | Read ~122 times.
List of Bluetooth devices.

I recently went to a university hackathon, where students were trying to invent novel ways to help prevent pandemics. This was purely an academic exercise – they were not developing a fully-fledged app, nor were they creating official policies. I spent some time with one group discussing the privacy implications of what they had built.…

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Bitly finally starts taking privacy seriously

by @edent | # # # | Read ~181 times.

I’ve been ranting about Bitly for years! The ubiquitous link shortener had an interesting “feature” – add a + to the end of the URl and you could see all the statistics for the link. How many clicks, referers, location of users. Here’s a blog post I wrote about it way back in 2011. I…

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Why does my remote control need to know my location?

by @edent | # # # # | 3 comments | Read ~10,256 times.
Allow Pioneer Remote App to access this device's location?

Here’s an interesting user-hostile pattern which could easily be avoided if programmers and business-people thought like regular humans. I have a Pioneer / Onkyo sound system. It’s pretty nice and comes with a (not too crappy) Android app to let me remote control it. One day, the app updated itself. The changelog was the usual…

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Harvesting phone numbers and email addresses from GitHub

by @edent | # # # | 2 comments | Read ~214 times.
A user's email signature - the phone number has been blurred out.

Code-sharing site GitHub automatically sends email notifications to users. If you’ve commented on an issue, you’ll get an email each time there’s an update. That’s pretty handy. It also allows users to reply by email. The reply is then automatically posted in the issue thread. Also handy. But a little dangerous. Lots of people have…

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Responsible Disclosure – Citizens Advice Bureaux

by @edent | # # # # # | Read ~249 times.

A quick report into a nasty privacy vulnerability I found with the CAB. Unusually for me, this has no Internet component. Regular readers will know about my recent court visit. As part of that, I had to telephone the CAB Volunteers at the court who look after witnesses. I called, and was put on hold,…

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