Tag Archives: Smartphones

The Risk On Your Wrist: Are Hackers Targeting Your Wearables Data?

by Donal Power, ReadWrite.com

Fitbits from Samsung Creative Commons feed

“Health care providers and health plans have a gold mine of information that criminals can monetize – such as SSNs, health insurance information, and general health information,” [said an attorney focused on privacy and data protection]. … “The most concerning finding was to see that hacking/phishing/malware was the leading cause of incidents last year, especially the increase we saw in health care incidents,” [she] said. “We could feel the tide begin to turn in 2014, which continued into 2015. However, with the number of incidents we handle, it was surprising to see that was the leading cause.” Read More ›

Health Apps: Unlimited Promise Or ‘Like Having A Really Bad Doctor’

by Soumya Karlamangla, Los Angeles Times

More than 165,000 [apps] involving health and wellness [are] currently available for download — a blending of technology and healthcare that has grown dramatically in the last few years. Experts see almost unlimited promise in the rise of mobile medical apps, but they also point out that regulation is sometimes lagging the pace of innovation, which could harm consumers. … Federal regulators say certain higher-risk apps — such as those that perform EKGs or measure blood glucose levels — must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration before reaching the market. Apps considered less of a risk … won’t face much scrutiny from the FDA. Read More ›

CFC Applauds FCC Move To Protect Broadband Privacy

“Today’s vote is a significant advance for privacy protection. Consumers should decide whether their online activities and other personal data are shared with third-party strangers,” CFC Executive Director Richard Holober said. “It is essential that any final FCC rule prohibits broadband carriers from charging extra for privacy. Privacy is a right that should not be available only to the wealthy.” Read More ›

WhatsApp Encryption Said To Stymie Wiretap Order

by Matt Apuzzo, New York Times

If the Apple dispute is akin to whether the F.B.I. can unlock your front door and search your house, the issue with WhatsApp is whether it can listen to your phone calls. … Those who support digital privacy fear that if the Justice Department succeeds in forcing Apple to help break into the iPhone in the San Bernardino case, the government’s next move will be to force companies like WhatsApp to rewrite their software to remove encryption from the accounts of certain customers. “That would be like going to nuclear war with Silicon Valley,” said Chris Soghoian, a technology analyst with [the ACLU]. Read More ›

FCC Cracks Down On Verizon Wireless For Using ‘Supercookies’

by Andrea Peterson, Washington Post

The practice came to the public’s attention in late 2014, when it received criticism from privacy advocates who called the code a “supercookie” because it was almost impossible for users to avoid. … Last January, researcher Jonathan Mayer revealed evidence that others could hijack the supercookie for their own purposes: An online advertising company called Turn was using the codes to help follow people around online, he said. Turn used the supercookie to “respawn” its traditional cookies — even if users took steps to protect their privacy by removing the cookies. Read More ›

CFC, Other Groups Urge FCC To Protect Personal Privacy From Internet, Telecom and Cable Companies

A young mixed race woman types on her laptop computer while she is being watched by a giant eye on the laptop screen.

The letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler rejects the looser regulatory framework advocated by broadband Internet service providers (ISPs). The ISPs’ approach relies in large part on existing Federal Trade Commission rules that have done little to restrain ISPs’ aggressive mining of their subscribers’ data for marketing purposes, the consumer and privacy groups warn. ISPs such as Verizon, Comcast and Cox can exploit the personal data they amass on Web surfers, cable and streaming television viewers and smartphone users – not just marketing to their own customers but also selling the information to third parties. Read More ›

Hey, Siri And Alexa: Let’s Talk Privacy Practices

by Elizabeth Weise, USA Today

The worry is that this trickle of helpful adjuncts could become a flood of invasive devices bent on listening and learning from everything we say around them. … Could there come a day when talking about buying a faucet in the kitchen could be overheard by your TV in the living room, changing the types of commercials that show up when you’re watching your favorite program the next night? … One concern has been that law enforcement might subpoena sound files recorded in a home when investigating a crime, or that they could be discoverable in a divorce proceeding. Read More ›

Police Agencies Tap Secret Cellphone System

by Teri Sforza and Lily Leung, The Orange County Register

The devices mimic wireless telecommunications towers and can trick cellphones into connecting to them rather than the towers. Police then can collect data from the phones, including phone numbers and GPS points. Their use has grown increasingly controversial, particularly as it has spread from federal to local agencies. … “My concern is whether there are sufficient safeguards to ensure the protection of privacy with regard to this technology,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law scholar and dean of UC Irvine’s School of Law. “Public knowledge of this technology is an essential first step.” Read More ›

How Apple Ended Up In The Government’s Encryption Crosshairs

by Brandon Bailey and Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press

[The Center for Democracy and Technology, which has criticized government surveillance,] warned that other companies could face similar orders in the future. Others said a government victory could encourage regimes in China and other countries to make similar requests for access to smartphone data. … “This case is going to affect everyone’s privacy and security around the world,” said Lee Tien, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group in San Francisco. Read More ›

Taming Drug Prices By Pulling Back The Curtain Online

by Katie Thomas, New York Times

Stethoscope on money

A few entrepreneurs say they are aiming to fundamentally change the way people buy drugs, bringing the industry into the digital age by disclosing the lowest prices for generic prescriptions to allow comparison-shopping. … Nearly 90 percent of the prescriptions dispensed in the United States are for generic drugs, according to IMS Health, a consulting firm. … The listed price for a 30-day supply of the generic version of Lipitor, for example, is $196 at Kmart, according to GoodRx, and $61 at Kroger. With a coupon obtained through GoodRx, the drug is about $12. Blink Health is offering Lipitor for $9.94. Read More ›

Something New to Worry About: Connected Toy Security

by Bree Fowler, Associated Press

boy with stuffed toys reading

Rapid7 researchers examined the Fisher Price Smart Toy, an interactive stuffed animal for children aged 3 to 8 that connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi. They also took a look at HereO, a GPS smartwatch that allows parents to track their child’s location. In both cases, they found that the toys failed to safeguard children’s information such as their names and in the case of the watch, their location, storing it on remote servers in such a way that unauthorized people could access it by masquerading as legitimate users. … Toy-related security problems began to grab headlines late last year. Read More ›

Internet Providers Want To Know More About You Than Google Does, Privacy Groups Say

by Brian Fung, Washington Post

“An [Internet service provider] has access to your full pipe and can see everything you do” online if you aren’t taking extra steps to shield your activities, said Chris Hoofnagle, a law professor at the University of California Berkeley. … Privacy and consumer groups are now calling on federal regulators to fast-track rules … governing when and how an Internet provider may gather and share personal information. Read More ›

Our Privacy Is Losing Out To Internet-Connected Household Devices

by David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times

smart home

Roughly 5.5 million devices are hooked up to the Internet of Things every day. … “As with many emerging technologies, security is not effectively built into most connected devices today,” [one online security consultant] said. “The primary development priority for most manufacturers of connected devices is to build functionality first and foremost.” … [Another analyst] predicted that control of smart-device data will be the focus of aggressive industry lobbying in years ahead. “You can see this being painfully legislated,” she said. Read More ›

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