Tag Archives: Smartphones

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 ›

Best Cell Phone Carriers: Small Providers Top The Big Four In New Consumer Reports Survey

by Mike Gikas, Consumer Reports

Using smartphone to hail a ride

Many of the most satisfied respondents are those who use smaller cell phone providers such as Consumer Cellular, Cricket, Page Plus Cellular, Republic Wireless, and Ting Wireless. Exceptional scores for value helped propel these cellphone providers to the top for overall customer satisfaction. These companies offer lower costs and responsive, knowledgeable staff members. And some of them compensate subscribers who use less service than they’ve planned for. Read More ›

Paris Attacks Spark Another Fight Against Encryption

by Sean Sposito, San Francisco Chronicle

walking smartphone aps illustration

[Encryption “back-doors” for law enforcement] won’t necessarily weaken terrorist organizations’ ability to communicate with each other over the Internet. … But what it could do is make it easier for criminals and terrorists to access our financial, medical and other personal records, said Pam Dixon, the executive director of the World Privacy Forum in San Diego. They might find a way through the back-door as well. “Strong crypto means good security for all of us,” she said. “It means that banks and hospitals can secure financial and other transactions in our digital world.” Read More ›

CFPB To Consider Rules That Would Revoke Banks’ “License To Steal”

by Chris Morran, Consumerist

Earlier this year, the Bureau released its first report on arbitration in the financial products sector. It found that while the clauses are incredibly prevalent — 92% of prepaid debit cards and 88% of cellphone contracts use them — most consumers are completely unaware if they are affected. According to the CFPB, of those Americans constrained by arbitration agreements, fewer than 7% understood that this meant they had given up their right to file a lawsuit. “Consumers should not be asked to sign away their legal rights when they open a bank account or credit card,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in statement. Read More ›

Judge: Cellphone Tracking Requires A Warrant

by Ross Todd, The Recorder

“Cellphone users do not expect that law enforcement will be able to track their movements 24/7 for a sixty-day period simply because the users keep their cellphones turned on,” [U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California] wrote in a 46-page order issued Wednesday night. … “This is a welcome ruling that will provide clarity for the government and important privacy protections for the public,” [Linda Lye, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California,] said. “Going forward, we should expect the government to seek a warrant for this information.” Read More ›

California Senate OKs Requiring Warrants To Search Smartphones, Tablets

by Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times

smart home

“What the bill does is brings our state statute into the 21st century to catch up with technology with regards to privacy,” [bill author Senator Mark] Leno told his colleagues. “Of course law enforcement needs a warrant before it can go into your mailbox and read your mail, but it does not currently need a warrant to read your emails or text communications or other electronic communications.” … Leno introduced a similar bill two years ago but it was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Read More ›

AB 886’s Privacy Protections For Uber Passengers Held Up

Using smartphone to hail a ride

Update 6/1/2015:  The deadline for bills to advance from committees to the Floor passed last week, forestalling any realistic chance of reviving AB 886 this session. The bill was defeated in the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee April 20. Committee Chair Anthony Rendon and Assembly Members Roger Hernandez, Miguel Santiago and Das … Read More ›

AB 886 Would Protect The Privacy Of Uber Passengers

uber user dials up a ride

Assembly Member Chau has pulled AB 886 from consideration. He and Consumer Federation of California are considering promising alternative strategies to protect the privacy of passengers using Uber and other so-called transportation network companies. The sensitive personal data collected by Uber, for example, includes name, address, bank account information, travel logs, as well as personal address books and online search records that it pulls from passenger smartphones. It’s becoming alarmingly common for corporations to “mine” such data and share – or sell – it to other businesses. Read More ›

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