Location Tracking: Who’s Following You? How Do They Know Where You Are?

Location tracking - Google Maps timeline

Previously:

Location Tracking: They Know Where You Are

Location Tracking: LA LA LA I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOU

Our phones track our movements every minute of every day. We carry around beacons that continuously broadcast their location. Our phones are remarkably efficient surveillance tools.

But it’s not just our phones. […] continued

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Google, Microsoft, And Unethical Behavior

Google & Microsoft choose the dark side to promote their businesses instead of protecting consumers

Two weeks ago, Google changed its web search results to fool you into clicking on paid ads by mistake.

Last week Microsoft announced that an upcoming update for Office will force web searches in Chrome to go through Bing instead of Google – without consent and with no notice.

These are both terrible ideas, the kind of thing that erodes public trust and makes us understandably angry. […] continued

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Rules For Computer And Online Safety 2020

Computer and online safety 2020 - only your vigilance will protect you!

These are the rules for computer and online safety in 2020. You can download a copy here.

Only your vigilance will protect you against bad guys. You will be safe if you are cautious. Stop and think before you click on links, before you call unfamiliar phone numbers, before you install programs, and before you fill in passwords. […] continued

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The 2019 Bruceb News Year In Review

The 2019 Bruceb News year in review

(This will be the last Bruceb News article until I recover from an upcoming business conference trip to Hawaii. Happy holidays!)

I think I accomplished two goals in 2019: writing articles about privacy and security that were so terrifying that they kept you awake at night; and making those articles so dull that they helped you sleep. […] continued

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Data Brokers: The Companies Hiding In The Shadows That Know Everything About You

Tight focus on the data broker industry

Your personal information is being bought and sold by companies that lurk in the shadows. You’ve never heard of them. That’s the way they like it.

This is the most important issue that affects your privacy today.

Let’s start with a tight focus.

Assume there’s a company that methodically scrapes information from public records – drivers licenses, voter registration, property rolls, census and change of address records, birth certificates, marriage licenses, bankruptcy records. […] continued

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Should You Pay For Dark Web Monitoring?

Dark web - hackers are trading your personal information

Your personal information is for sale on the dark web.

Don’t worry, I’ve got in mind that you don’t know what the “dark web” is, other than a scary name. I’ll tell you more down below.

I believe all articles about the dark web are required to use the above picture to convince you it’s pure evil. […] continued

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Headcrabs And The Future Of Virtual Reality

Half-Life headcrab zombie

The future of virtual reality may depend on headcrab zombies.

Last week, game developer Valve Corporation made a bombshell announcement: it will release a new VR game, Half-Life: Alyx, in March 2020. The gaming and virtual reality communities are going nuts – gamer forums exploding with excited comments and complaints; nonstop articles in the tech press evaluating the announcement from every angle; emotions ranging from elation to anger; and mostly hope that the game will be good enough to justify all the angst. […] continued

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Dark Patterns Are Evil – And They’re Everywhere

Dark patterns - deceptive opt in choices

I hate to interrupt the steady flow of happiness and joy in the news, but I want to call your attention to a small way that our civilization is degrading into a dystopian hell. Once I describe it, you’ll notice it everywhere.

The web is filled with dark patterns – deliberately confusing and deceptive choices, designed to trick us into signing up for junk newsletters, subscribing to unwanted services, spamming everyone in our address book, or giving up our privacy. […] continued

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Gaming 2019: Virtual Reality

Gaming 2019 - virtual reality

Oculus released two virtual reality headsets a couple of weeks ago. Doesn’t mean anything to you? Trust me – this is the most fun you can have with technology in 2019. I’ll try to describe it but more important: if you have a chance to get a demo of a VR headset, take advantage of the opportunity, even if you know full well you’re not the kind of person who will ever own something like it. […] continued

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Breaking News: Special Google Edition, May 13, 2019

Breaking news - special Google edition

Google, Microsoft, and Facebook held developer conferences last week to showcase new products and services. Google had some exciting announcements. Microsoft and Facebook, not so much.

MICROSOFT  Microsoft is an enterprise company. At its Build Conference, it showed off new cloud services for developers and enterprises. That’s it. That’s what it does now. […] continued

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We Believe In Free Speech Until People Exercise It

Freedom of speech and content moderation

We believe in freedom of speech in the US, except when people actually exercise it. Then we discover there are lots of people who should be seen but not heard – and a fair number that we wish we couldn’t see, either.

Governments, regulators and large tech companies are launching into a debate about content moderation that will be long, messy, and unsatisfying. […] continued

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Privacy And Trust Part 5: What Can We Do?

Privacy in the surveillance era - relax

A series of articles about privacy and trust in the era of tech overlords.

•  Part 1: Data about you is being gathered by the big tech companies (as well as many other companies) in startling ways. Their ability to analyze that data and predict your behavior is more like magic than technology – and it has the potential to change the world, for better or worse. […] continued

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Privacy And Trust Part 4: Facebook’s Unforgivable Acts

Facebook and invasions of privacy

A series of articles about privacy and trust in the era of tech overlords.

•  Part 1: Data about you is being gathered by the big tech companies (as well as many other companies) in startling ways. Their ability to analyze that data and predict your behavior is more like magic than technology – and it has the potential to change the world, for better or worse. […] continued

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Privacy And Trust Part 2: No Escape!

There is no escape from surveillance by big tech companies

A series of articles about privacy and trust in the era of tech overlords.

•  Part 1: Data about you is being gathered by the big tech companies (as well as many other companies) in startling ways. Their ability to analyze that data and predict your behavior is more like magic than technology – and it has the potential to change the world, for better or worse. […] continued

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Privacy And Trust Part 1: Data Collection By The Tech Overlords

Privacy & trust in the era of tech overlords

Tech companies know all your secrets.

Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are studying your every thought, word, and deed. AI analysis has already given them spooky abilities to predict your behavior for advertisers, with enough accuracy to make them the richest companies on the planet. Now they are exploring ways to influence your behavior, which opens up tremendously difficult moral, legal and political questions. […] continued

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