Tim Berners-Lee calls Internet Privacy Rollback ‘Disgusting’

The inventor of the web isn’t happy about what’s happening to his baby. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world wide web, has hit out at lawmakers rolling back internet privacy laws in the US. Speaking to The Guardian after receiving the Turing award (often described as the Nobel Prize of computing), Berners-Lee said politicians’ attitude toward the internet was “really appalling” and that users were in danger.

Details may be found at: http://bit.ly/2nYOBC9.

Trump Administration Considers Far-Reaching Steps for ‘Extreme Vetting’

Big Brother is getting bigger. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, visitors from other countries visiting the U.S. could be forced to reveal their mobile phone contacts, social media passwords and financial data. Travelers who want to enter the U.S. could even face questioning over their ideology.

You can read the article at http://on.wsj.com/2nIEaSo although a Wall Street Journal subscription is required.

Continue reading

Facial Recognition Database used by the FBI is Out of Control

Yes, Big Brother is closely watching you, me, and everyone else, as if we didn’t know that already.

The House oversight committee claims the FBI’s facial recognition database is out of control, noting that “no federal law controls this technology” and “no court decision limits it.” At last week’s House oversight committee hearing, politicians and privacy campaigners presented several “damning facts” about the databases. “About 80% of photos in the FBI’s network are non-criminal entries, including pictures from driver’s licenses and passports,” reports The Guardian. “The algorithms used to identify matches are inaccurate about 15% of the time, and are most likely to misidentify black people than white people.”

Details are available on The Guardian at: http://bit.ly/2mN5iDi.

Banned in Germany: Kids’ Doll My Friend Cayla is Labeled an Espionage Device

my-friend-cayla“Cayla ist verboten in Deutschland,” says Jochen Homann, the president of Germany’s Federal Network Agency (the Bundessnetzagentur), announcing a ban on a doll called My Friend Cayla in Germany on Friday. His agency oversees electronic privacy as part of its telecommunications mandate; Homann also cites a special obligation to protect the privacy of children, calling them the most vulnerable members of society.

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

Russian Cyberspies Blamed For US Election Hacks Are Now Targeting Macs

A Russian hacking group, known under different names including Fancy Bear, Pawn Storm, and APT28, participated in last year’s interference in the presidential election. The group has long been known for its advanced range of tools for penetrating Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux devices. Now, researchers have uncovered an equally sophisticated malware package the group used to compromise Macintosh systems.

It is believed the Russians infected Macs by exploiting a known vulnerability in the MacKeeper antivirus software, according to researchers from Palo Alto Networks who investigated the malware. The vulnerability allowed attackers to execute remote commands on a Mac when users visited specially crafted web pages.

Continue reading

How to Opt Out of the Most Popular People Search Sites

I have written recently about Family Tree Now and Radaris.com, two web sites that claim to be genealogy services. In reality, these two sites and many others simply gather public domain information about you and everyone else, then sell your personal information to anyone willing to pay for it. Addresses, family members, and known associates are available for anyone to find.

You can demand these sites remove your personal information from their databases, however, by “opting out.” Writing in the LifeHacker web site, Patric Allan describes how to “opt out” from Family Tree Now, Whitepages, Spokeo, and other popular free people search engines. You can find his article at: https://goo.gl/ij7hhL.

Continue reading

Family Tree Website Reveals Personal Address, Family Information

Snopes.com reported on a family tree website that is causing a lot of alarm to the general public as it reveals a lot of personal information.

FamilyTreeNow.com claims to be a family history and genealogy web site but seems to be primarily a site that publishes public information about individuals. In fact, there are a number of other web sites that do the same (Spokeo, Intellius, BeenVerified.com and perhaps a dozen or so others) for a fee but FamilyTreeNow.com provides basic information free of charge.

The website allows anyone to enter a person’s name and then displays whatever personal information the web site knows about people of that name. In many cases, results show personal information along with the names, ages and addresses of people they are related to.

Continue reading