Is Zoom Safe To Use?

Zoom - usage is up, confidence is down due to security alarms

The world has adopted Zoom for video chats with friends and family while we shelter, for good reasons: it’s free or inexpensive, it’s easy to use, and it works very well.

Naturally, there’s been a backlash, because, I don’t know, good things must be punished? So there has been relentless coverage of alleged security problems with Zoom. […] continued

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The Dangers Of Location Tracking

Location tracking is a nightmarish invasion of privacy

Having government and big companies track our locations is a horrific invasion of privacy. We can be sure that big companies will be careless with private information about us, allowing it to be misused by bad actors. The government will almost certainly weaponize it against us. The risks of location tracking outweigh the benefits. […] continued

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Location Tracking Could Help Combat Covid-19 – But At What Cost?

Location tracking could help combat coronavirus - but is it worth giving up our privacy?

Health authorities could track your location and use the data to monitor and model the spread of Covid-19. It would help researchers learn how long the virus survives on a surface, what percentage of the population is asymptomatic, and where to target medical resources. The government could compare your movements with those of known coronavirus patients and alert you if you came into close contact. […] continued

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The Benefits Of Location Tracking

Location tracking is the best thing ever!

Having big companies track our locations is awesome. It improves our lives in ways big and small with services that are only possible because tech companies know where we are. The benefits of location tracking outweigh the risks.

Location tracking improves the world in two ways: it allows companies to provide services specifically to you; and it lets them combine your movements with information from other people and deliver services that benefit everyone. […] continued

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Location Tracking: Cell Towers, Key Fobs, And Cameras

Location tracking - cell towers, no permission required

Previously:

Location Tracking: They Know Where You Are

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

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

The phone carriers – Verizon, AT&T, and the others – track the location of your phone by keeping a map of the cell antennas you connect to as you move around. […] continued

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

Location tracking - an unwelcome message

Previously:

Location Tracking: They Know Where You Are

Look, I get it. I don’t blame you for wanting to tune out. We’re assaulted by bad news. Our political system is in chaos, we’re doing indescribable damage to the climate, we have no privacy, there are cameras and trackers and lions and tigers and bears. […] continued

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Location Tracking: They Know Where You Are

Location tracking - they know where you are

You carry a beacon twenty-four hours a day that broadcasts your location. We are being tracked wherever we go by dozens of companies, mostly unregulated. It is an unparalleled surveillance system, but it wasn’t created by sinister forces in an authoritarian government. It was built to make money. Technology companies have persuaded us to spy on ourselves. […] continued

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Google Real-Time Transcription Is The Coolest Technology Of 2019

Google real-time transcription - ancient version

You can record speech on a Pixel phone with Google’s new Recorder app, and it will transcribe the words into text in real time. You can save the text and search for words later.

You can see captions on any video or spoken audio on your phone. (Not phone calls or video calls – those bring up thorny privacy issues.) […] 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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Google Wants To Surround You With Invisible Assistants

Ambient computing - surrounded by invisible devices

Part 1: Ambient Computing – Buzzwords That Are Changing Your World

You don’t notice an automatic door when it opens.

Google, Amazon, and Apple want to make it so natural to interact with their devices that you don’t even notice that you’re doing it. We’ll be surrounded by devices. The more there are, the less we’ll notice them. […] continued

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How To Set Up A New Windows 10 PC Without A Microsoft Account

Windows 10 - how to set up a new PC with a local account

There are good reasons to set up a new Windows 10 PC without a Microsoft account, even if you intend to link it to a Microsoft account eventually.

The bad news is that Microsoft is pushing its own agenda and using deception to hide the option of setting up a local account instead of a Microsoft account. […] 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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