Tag: Privacy

China is exporting digital surveillance methods to other governments

The U.S. trade war with China is focused on products ranging from agricultural goods to household appliances, but the United States and other democracies should worry about a different type of Chinese export: digital authoritarianism.

China has consistently been ranked by digital advocates as the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom. The country, however, isn’t just tightening online controls at home but is becoming more brazen in exporting some of those techniques abroad including in Africa, says a new report from the U.S.-based think tank Freedom House.

Read more about the new Freedom House report on E Hacking News.

Why We Should Fear China’s Emerging High-Tech Surveillance State

Earlier this month, when Nikki Hayley, the US Ambassador to the UN, described China’s subjugation of Xinjiang’s Uighurs as being “straight out of George Orwell”, she pretty much nailed it. Xinjiang is a state surveillance laboratory, with unconstrained deployments of early-stage, commercial technologies being used to suppress an ethnic minority.

Upwards of a million people forced into re-education camps. Police checkpoints. Facial, iris and license plate recognition. Geofenced travel restrictions. Biometric registration. GPS tagging. Blanket video surveillance. And, of course, mandatory communications monitoring. This is the reality of a high-tech surveillance state.

Read why Forbes’ Zak Doffman believes that China has opened AI’s Pandora’s Box in Xinjiang, and why we should fear the developments there, on Forbes.

Facebook May Buy A Cybersecurity Company To Prevent Another Major Hack

Just weeks ago Facebook revealed a massive security flaw on its website. That flaw allowed hackers to compromise tens of millions of accounts. Ever since the hack went down Facebook has been scrambling to shore up its defenses.

Now it looks as though the company has come up with a solution. According to a report from The Information, Facebook is currently talking to several major cybersecurity firms about an acquisition. By the sound of things, Facebook is hoping that talks progress quickly. Sources familiar with company plans say that Facebook wants to close the deal by the end of this year.

Read more about this story on Forbes.

Nearly Half of Americans Willing to Give Brands a Pass for a Data Breach

New data shows that the U.S. public is surprisingly forgiving despite data breaches and controversies as long as companies demonstrate good faith.

Consumer Attitudes Toward Data Privacy and Security Survey by Janrain also found that 42 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed report at least being open to forgiving the brand, while 7% refuse to forgive brands for allowing bad actors access to their personal data. Fourteen percent have lost all faith in an organization’s ability to protect their data.

Read more about the findings of the new survey on Security Magazine.

Health websites routinely share your activity with 57 third-parties

B9 Systems conducted research into the use of cookies by health websites and discovered that all the major players share your private information with, on average, 57 other websites. These include advertising & marketing websites, social media outlets and resellers.

Further research indicated that in a survey of 100 internet users, 89% had used a medical website to help self-diagnose an ailment at some point, yet only 42% understood that the activity they conducted was then shared with other third-party companies. This means 58% of the users surveyed had no idea that their information was being passed onto companies after they had clicked ‘Accept’ on the site’s cookies policy.

Read more about the findings of the new research on Help Net Security.

Web inventor Berners-Lee creates a new privacy first way of dealing with the internet

When Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the web, he made it easy for everyone to use it and share information. Fast forward 28-years, and your personal information is controlled largely by major companies. Enough already. Berners-Lee wants to put our data back in our hands.

Berners-Lee wants to do this with a new open-source project: Solid. He’s not the first. People are sick of having their personal data locked in the hands of giant corporations. Berners-Lee who “was devastated” by recent privacy abuses, decided enough was enough.

Read more about how the creator of the web wants to save it now, on ZDNet.

Telegram fixes IP address leak in desktop client

Telegram users who specifically utilize the application for its anonymity features are advised to update their desktop clients as soon as possible to patch a bug that will leak their IP address in some scenarios. The bug was found by Dhiraj Mishra, a bug hunter from Mumbai, India, and was patched by Telegram with the releases of Telegram for Desktop v1.4.0 and v1.3.17 beta.

Mishra discovered that the Telegram desktop clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux would reveal users’ IP addresses. The leak happened only during voice calls. This is a dangerous bug, especially for users who utilize Telegram for its privacy and anonymity feature, such as journalists, political dissidents, or human rights fighters.

Read more about the new Telegram patch that addresses the original lack of privacy-enhancing option for voice calls in desktop clients, on ZDNet.

Google’s Forced Sign-in to Chrome Raises Privacy Red Flags

An update to Google Chrome’s sign-in mechanism could clear a path to compromising the privacy of users’ browser data, according to a researcher who stumbled across the change. Matthew Green, a cryptographer, noticed his Gmail profile pic strangely and suddenly appearing in his browser window—generally a sign that a user is logged in.

However, he hadn’t actually affirmatively signed in, which threw up a red flag. This led him to parse through Google’s last Chrome update (Chrome 69), where he discovered that “every time you log into a Google property, Chrome will automatically sign the browser into your Google account for you.”

Read more about the privacy issues caused by Google’s forced sign-in to Chrome mechanism on Threatpost.

 

Implications of the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018

It’s no secret, consumers are increasingly mindful of who is accessing, collecting, receiving, storing and otherwise processing their personal data. In an effort to standardize data protection requirements across the European Union and improve trust in the rapidly expanding digital economy, the European Parliament and Council introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect this past spring.

The GDPR is effectively changing the way business is conducted around the world, with massive implications for global ecommerce. And we’re now seeing the push for data protection in the United States with the adoption of the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA).

Read more about the CCPA and its implications on Help Net Security.

Researchers reveal new online user tracking techniques

Researchers have identified a number of online user tracking techniques that can’t be blocked by browsers’ built-in anti-tracking defenses and existing anti-tracking and ad-blocking extensions.

The good news is that they’ve also scanned the Alexa Top 10,000 most popular sites and found no evidence that these techniques are already being used by user tracking services and advertisers.

Read more about the research paper outlining the newly discovered user tracking techniques on Help Net Security.