privacy

Is internet privacy impossible?

Internet privacy is becoming more and more of a topic of discussion these last few months as issues with Google, Apple and Sony are in the headlines. Privacy advocates are going as far as saying that privacy does not exist, it can’t exist and on the internet privacy is virtually impossible. In some way they are right,  people don’t take the time to read privacy policies, terms of use and any agreements when they sign up to services that they really have no idea where their data is going or what its used for.

Here at Hide Yourself Online we dont agree with this assumption. There are several steps users can take to protect their privacy both online and offline, if you play it smart you can remain totally anonymous by following some simple rules.

It all starts with being smart, if you really need to use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Myspace etc than don’t put all your personal details in your accounts. Don’t use your real name, it is well known that employers are now searching Facebook to find out more about the people they hire. Don’t list your address or phone numbers and don’t go posting private pictures that can be viewed by the whole world. Better yet you should just stay away from these services all together.

There are other steps to take such as privitzing emails, not keeping the same password for all your accounts, forum privacy, instant messaging, wireless internet protection and several encryption methods. The most important factor when protecting your privacy online is a VPN to hide your IP address.

All these things can be explained on our webpage but a good start can be found by reading this page on Internet Security. One important thing to remember though is you must use your brain, most of this is just common sense.

Internet Privacy

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Friday, June 10th, 2011 Internet, Privacy No Comments

Internet Privacy Bill rejected in California for the 2nd time

Bill SB242 also known as the internet privacy bill was rejected 19-17 by lawmakers in California for the 2nd time after coming under heavy opposition by those pesky social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook who want the bill abolished because it will defeat the purpose of their website which is to exploit internet privacy.

The bill would have prevented any website from displaying users personal information publicly and any request to remove personal information would have had to be done within 96 hours or they face a fine of up to $10,000 per offense. It would also allow parents to control the accounts of their children and remove anything personal such as phone numbers or addresses which had been posted publicly online.

The bill has been wildly supported by the Child Abuse Prevention Council, California State Sheriffs’ Association and the Consumer Watchdog association.

It seems that companies such as Facebook are paying off lawmakers in order to reject these bills, because we cant think of any reason why anyone with a child would reject such a bill, it seems insane…

Internet Privacy Bill

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Sunday, June 5th, 2011 Internet, Privacy No Comments

Ant Video Downloader addon for Firefox a privacy concern

If you are a user of Firefox and have the Ant Video Downloader add on installed than we strongly recommend you remove it ASAP. The app which has recently been removed from the Firefox website has been found to be secretly collecting data about every website you visit and combines it into traceable data even when Private Browsing is enabled. The add on which had over 7 million downloads with more than 7000 new downloads daily was very popular.

A researcher found the problem in the middle of developing web applications. He discovered that every single HTTP request his computer made was being sent to Ants servers which is owned by a company called Reality Check Network Corp.

The developer Simon Newton was quoted as saying

“”As there is this unique identifier, patterns could be built up about where I go — for example if I use my laptop at work, at a public wifi hotspot, at home or a friends house — that [UUID] and cookie can be tied to all of those IP addresses, building a picture of not only what I am doing online, but where I am doing it from.”

“What alarms me a bit more is that the data that is transmitted about me and my browsing (even anonymously) is going onto servers in New York, USA,” he continued. “What if I were visiting [a] site I did not want anyone to know about? What if the US government subpoena ‘Reality check network corp’ for all information stored on their servers about my IP address, cookie, or UUID?”

Another concern is that Firefox did not check this application carefully enough when it was approved to be listed on their site. Firefox currently has more that 5000 add ons listed and this could be the first of many secretly disguised applications that are tracking the movements and data of its users.

Should you get rid of Firefox? We don’t think that is necessary, but you should always be careful what add ons you are installing. The add on is also available for download on Internet Explorer. If you are looking for an alternative we recommend Download Helper with more than 91 million downloads.

Ant Video Downloader Addon

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Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 Privacy No Comments

Facebook used as a syping tool for the government

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was interviewed by Russia Today yesterday on Facebook privacy concerns, the Arab uprising, social networking, media manipulation and Guantanamo Bay

Assange calls Facebook the “most appalling spying machine” that has ever been invented.

“Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to US intelligence. Facebook, Google, Yahoo – all these major US organizations have built-in interfaces for US intelligence. It’s not a matter of serving a subpoena. They have an interface that they have developed for US intelligence to use. ”

You can view the entire interview by watching the video below.

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Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 Privacy No Comments

Secret Iphone feature tracks your movements [Update]

As a follow up to yesterdays post on the secret Apple iPhone tracking fiasco, the below video shows its making it onto some of the main stream media outlets. So far Apple has still not responded. We will post another update when Apple does respond to their secret tracking software on the iPhone 4.0.

 

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Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 Data, Privacy No Comments

Michigan State Police searching cell phones of citizens

Quite a bizarre story for you today, one so outrageous it doesn’t even sound true, however it was posted at the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) website earlier this month.

According to a complaint filed against the Michigan State Police, the police are using specialized portable devices to search and extract your personal information, videos, call history, emails and messages etc. on your cell phone during random routine stops on the cities roads. The device the police officers are using is called the UFED Physical Pro which are sold by a company called  Cellebrite with a a slogan of “mobile data secured” well not in this case. The device which seems to be made to restore access to phones including a data dump and also recovering the lock and sim passwords does not appear to be made for the purposes of searching private citizens phones but the police are using it for their own purposes in violation of your 4th Amendment rights.

The ACLU has been investigating this case all the way back to 2008 with no success. You can find Information on the ACLU website. Just a thought though, imagine if this hardware and these tactics were used everywhere, including on laptop in airports at road blocks etc, is that a country you would want to live in? Perhaps this is just a trial and its success could see it rolled out in other cities across the USA.

UFED Physical Pro

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Friday, April 22nd, 2011 Data, Privacy No Comments

1000′s of private documents dumped on the street

A reader recently sent me in some pictures of a huge pile of secret and potentially dangerous documents dumped outside a business that had been shut down in his city which appear to be somewhere in France as alot of them are in French. I will post some of the images below but not all of them, they include company documents such as bank account numbers, bank statements, customer data, phone numbers, names and addresses, employee data such as names, phone numbers and addresses as well as resumes and qualifications. There were also purchase invoices, receipts and pretty much every single document a company would have on file dating back to 2003.I have removed some of the sensitive information to protect the employees.

I was quite shocked to see what this anonymous reader sent in, not only at what had been discarded simply on the street but that absolutely no care had been taken to protect their own data. This is just 1 company going out of business, now just think of the thousands or millions that went bust during the 2008 crash, and the ones that will go bust in the new crash, what do they do with all their documents, looking at the pictures below doesn’t it make you wonder?

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Saturday, April 16th, 2011 Privacy No Comments

Tagged.com email scam

Tagged.com the 3rd largest social networking site after Facebook and MySpace is being charged in New York with stealing 60 million identities of their users. The scam which sent emails to their members urging them to view photos posted by their friends tricked the users into becoming members of a new website and the address books would then be stolen including the names and emails of all of their friends and used for Tagged only personal use, probably email marketing and further scams.

Tagged was forced to apologize this week for its unethical and illegal behavior which sent privacy groups into s fury. Andrew Cuomo a privacy advocate plans to sure the popular social networking site that calls itself a “premier social-networking destination”.

This is just another reason not to use these social networking sites, they cannot be trusted and they have way to much personal information, with Facebook now collecting home addresses and phone numbers which we suspect they are selling to marketers. Do yourself a favor and stay away. If you need friends go out and try and find some in real life. If you want to connect with your own friends, do it by email.

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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 Scam No Comments

Retailer gets rid of Internet Eyes

As a follow up to our recent post on Internet Eyes, there is a new report about one of their retailers (3 Budgens stores in London) that stopped using the system due to complaints from customers. The owner of the stores Jinx Hundal had just been using the cameras for a week before he pulled the plug.

“The last thing I wanted to do was upset my customers. I have spoken to customers via our customer forum and there have been concerns raised, with several saying they were uneasy about being viewed by members of the public.” Mr Hundal was quoted as saying.

In the week that the Internet Eyes system was running Hundal received 12 alerts but only 1 was related to shoplifting and he would need to find a better way to deter shoplifters.

The founder of Internet Eyes is disappointed that Hundal has stopped using his system, but it just goes to show the people have the power and if they don’t like something such as this its s sign they value their privacy and this may have more consequences for other retailers.

Internet Eyes

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Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 Privacy No Comments

Google fined 100,000 euros for privacy violations

The privacy watchdog agency recently issued a fine to Google for 100,000 euros ($140,000), for privacy violations with their street view service in France. French officials said that Google knowingly broke several privacy rules by operating a mobile app called Latitude which allows users to broadcast their location to friends.

Google has admitted to gathering computer passwords, email addresses and other private information from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks without the owners consent or knowledge as their camera equipped Street View cars roamed the streets. The French authorities said that Gogole did not inform its users that it tracked their movments to enhance the database of Wi-Fi information through the Latitude app.

Peter Fleischer, the global privacy counsel for Google made the following statement “As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks… As soon as we realized what had happened, we stopped collecting Wi-Fi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities. Deleting the data has always been our priority.”

French authorities are concerned over the increasing use of Google actions saying that if the French go to the USA they need to abide by the laws of the United Stated. By Google coming to France they need to abide by French law and they will continue to be watched for further violations.

So what is Google Street View? Launched in 2007, Google Street View has cars equipped with cameras that drive around almost every major city or town in the world mapping out streets, parks, bike paths etc and taking pictures of anyone in its path. Google has also added new technology by adding 3G/GSM/Wi-Fi antennas for scanning 3G/GSM and Wi-Fi hotspots and publising them on their popular search engine. Privacy advocates have long been screaming about the use of this technology as Google can legally publish images of people in less than desirable situations such as men leaving strip clubs and women leaving abortion clinics.

In 2010 Australia banned Google from using their street view services in the country and the Czech Republic has also done the same.

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Friday, March 25th, 2011 Privacy No Comments
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    If you are a user of Firefox and have the Ant Video Downloader add on installed than we strongly recommend you remove it ASAP. The app which has recently been removed from the Firefox website has been found to be secretly collecting data about every website you visit and combines it into traceable data even […]