Look around your home or office. To the left is a new Amazon Echo. To the right, your Siri-enabled iPhone. Across the hall is a Nest thermostat.And each device is collecting data on you, your habits, and your lifestyle – every minute.
The suspected CIA spying tools that WikiLeaks has dumped have been linked to hacking attempts on at least 40 targets in 16 countries, according to security firm Symantec.
Android devices have an “Ok, Google” voice activation feature. This enables voice input of search and other functions on your Android device.
Google also records a copy of the audio when it does this. Google also occasionally records incidental audio having nothing to do with a search. It certainly has for me.
You can manually delete the records, one by one, which is very time consuming. You need to go to this Google page and log in, and then click on Manage Activity and go through Google’s cloud-based storage of your conversations in the past.
Google also records your location as you travel about, and even identifies what businesses or properties you have entered. Google’s Chrome logs every web site and page you visit in to the Google cloud.
In the past couple of weeks, Microsoft has come under fire for its Windows 10 keystroke logger, that when enabled, records you keystrokes and sends those to Microsoft. That means account names, passwords, personal search requests (even if using Tor) and so forth. You can disable their keystroke spying logger by going to Settings | Privacy and switch off the item labeled “Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future”.
Whenever someone else wants your personal data, you need to ask:
- who has access to this data?
- how will this data be stored securely?
- how long will this data be stored?
- how will the data being disposed of when it is no longer being stored?
If you do not know the answer to those questions, then you must be leery of donating your personal data to others. This also applies to non-computer world. When you are asked to fill out a paper form with lots of personal data, say to make a credit purchase, you should ask them how they will use the data, keep it secure, and how will they dispose of it?
Similarly, Microsoft’s docs.com web site for publishing and sharing your files makes all files public, by default. The result is that the docs.com search function readily unearths a lot of private data files that users probably do not even realize are posted online. These include school transcripts, medical records, passwords, credit card and other account data, banking statements and more.
THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE INTERNET IS TO SPY ON EVERYONE.
In a move taken by few other nations, it [new law] requires telecommunications companies to store for a year the web histories known as internet connection records — a list of websites each person has visited and the apps and messaging services they used, though not the individual pages they looked at or the messages they sent.
No warrant is required to access the data and the list of accessed web sites will be available to nearly any government agency, not just police investigating crimes.
This is the largest, publicly disclosed, mass surveillance system in history.
Facebook, Google and now Verizon are instead accelerating their tracking efforts, despite privacy concerns appearing consistently in the top reasons for using an ad blocker. They are in fast pursuit of the holy grail for digital advertising — syncing up a consumers’ personally-identifiable information with all browsing history and app usage: