Things You Don’t See Anymore

An article in the BBC News web site points out one major change in lifestyles in the past decade: the number of U.S. homes that have an old-fashioned, wired telephone obtained from the local telephone company has now dropped to less than 50%. That is a number that few people would have dreamed of ten years ago.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed thousands of Americans and found most American homes contain at least one cell phone; but, for the first time ever, fewer than half the homes have a wired phone obtained from the telephone company.

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Who Did You Say Is Listening to My Cell Phone Calls?

The Ooma Blog has a short article that explains how anyone who knows your cell phone number has the ability to hear your calls, read your texts, and track your location (even if GPS is turned off). I suggest this article be required reading for anyone who is concerned about privacy and does not want anyone listening in.

The article is obviously designed to promote Ooma’s VoIP telephone service, which is encrypted. However, I have used Ooma for several years and love the service so I don’t mind the advertising.

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Using an Android Phone? Watch Out! It May Be Spying on You.

Malware previously used to spy on activists using iPhones is now also targeting Android handsets, according to a Lookout and Google investigation.

A new version of one of the most sophisticated forms of mobile spyware has been discovered, and this time it’s being used to spy on Android users. Created by the notorious “cyber arms dealer” NSO Group, it forced Apple to release a security fix for iPhones and iPads in order to protect users. Now an Android version has appeared and, so far, there is no fix for it.

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How the US Secret Service Breaks into Smart Phones

There is an interesting article about cell phone privacy and security at https://goo.gl/JyxK0m.

One thing in the article surprised me: “A cheaper phone that might be less popular, it seems like it’d be easier for the vendors to get into it,” says Darnell of the Secret Service phone lab. “But it’s actually quite the opposite.”

I think I’ll go out today and buy a cheap cell phone.

Using a Cell Phone Number as Your Primary Contact Number Does Not Need to be a Privacy Risk

There is an article on the WAFF web site that claims using a cell phone as your only telephone number can be a potential privacy risk. I sort of disagree.

I guess I need to explain “sort of.”

no_landline_telephoneFirst of all, millions of Americans have only one telephone: their cell phones. They no longer have old-fashioned landline phones provided by the local Baby Bell company. I am one of those millions. I have a cell phone and I use it as my only telephone.

I used to have two phones: a cell phone plus an old-fashioned landline phone. One day I woke up to the fact that I didn’t need two phones. I can only talk on one phone at a time. I also have no need to pay for two phones, especially now that the cell phone service I use costs less per month than does a wired phone from the local telephone company and the cell phone provides better service to boot.

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Onion Browser (Tor) for iOS is Now Free

The Onion Browser allows for privacy when surfing the Web with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. It is an iOS app that is loosely similar to the popular Tor browser that is available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. The app has always been popular but recently exploded to thousands of downloads recorded every day. The results of the recent US presidential election might have had something to do with this decision.

Now the web browser is available to everyone free of charge.

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NSA Loosens Its Privacy Rules

national_security_agencyAs the privacy and civil liberty community braces for Donald Trump’s impending control of US intelligence agencies like the NSA, the Justice Department has signed off on new rules to let the NSA share more of its unfiltered intelligence with its fellow agencies—including those with a domestic law enforcement agenda.

The rules allow the agency to loosen the standards for what raw surveillance data it can hand off to the other 16 American intelligence agencies, which include not only the CIA and military intelligence branches, but also the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In short, your private information just became even less private than it ever was before. This is happening as most of the European countries are INCREASING the controls on privacy of personal information.

Details may be found at https://goo.gl/AIzHTQ.