Microsoft Is Using Cortana To Read Your Private Skype Conversations

Are you using Skype? If so, perhaps you should switch to something that is more secure.

Brian Fagioli shares a report from BetaNews:

“So, here’s the deal, folks. In order for this magical “in-context” technology to work, Cortana is constantly reading your private conversations. If you use Skype on mobile to discuss private matters with your friends or family, Cortana is constantly analyzing what you type. Talking about secret business plans with a colleague? Yup, Microsoft’s assistant is reading those too. Don’t misunderstand — I am not saying Microsoft has malicious intent by adding Cortana to Skype; the company could have good intentions. With that said, there is the potential for abuse. Microsoft could use Cortana’s analysis to spy on you for things like advertising or worse, and that stinks. Is it really worth the risk to have smart replies and suggested calendar entries? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have my Skype conversations read by Microsoft.”

Brian Fagioli’s complete report may be found at: https://slashdot.org/~BrianFagioli.

Security, Privacy Focused Librem 5 Linux Smartphone Successfully Crowdfunded

Purism’s Librem 5 security and privacy-focused smartphone was successfully crowdfunded recently when it reached and even passed its goal of $1.5 million, with 13 days left. Librem 5 wants to be an open source and truly free mobile phone designed with security and privacy in mind, powered by a GNU/Linux operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux and running only Open Source software apps on top of a popular desktop environment like KDE Plasma Mobile or GNOME Shell. Featuring a 5-inch screen, Librem 5 is compatible with 2G, 3G, 4G, GSM, UMTS, and LTE mobile networks. Under the hood, it uses an i.MX 6 or i.MX 8 processor with separate baseband modem to offer you the protection you need in today’s communication challenges, where you’re being monitored by lots of government agencies.

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Why We Should Never Let the Government Break Encryption

One of the dumbest ideas being voiced by politicians and bureaucrats these days is that all encryption should have “back doors” that allow various governments to break into the encryption and be able to read your private information, along with the private information of everyone else. This is sort of the equivalent of going on vacation and yet leaving the key to the front door of your house under the doormat. It will allow all sorts of miscreants to access your information, not just the government.

Should this idea ever become law, two things will (or won’t) happen:

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US Studying Ways to End Use of Social Security Numbers For ID

U.S. officials are studying ways to end the use of social security numbers for identification following a series of data breaches compromising the data for millions of Americans, Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity coordinator, said Tuesday. Joyce told a forum at the Washington Post that officials were studying ways to use “modern cryptographic identifiers” to replace social security numbers.

 

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Every Single Yahoo Account Was Hacked – 3 Billion In All

Really? Yahoo has (or had) 3 BILLION customers? That seems strange. But in any case…

An epic and historic data breach at Yahoo in August 2013 affected every single customer account that existed at the time, Yahoo parent company Verizon said on Tuesday. Yes, that’s a delay iof 4 years before telling customers that their accounts and passwords had been hacked.

That’s three billion accounts, including email, Tumblr, Fantasy and Flickr — or three times as many as the company initially reported in 2016.

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Privacy Implications of Email Tracking

“What happens when you open an email and allow it to display embedded images and pixels? You may expect the sender to learn that you’ve read the email, and which device you used to read it. But in a new paper we find that privacy risks of email tracking extend far beyond senders knowing when emails are viewed. Opening an email can trigger requests to tens of third parties, and many of these requests contain your email address. This allows those third parties to track you across the web and connect your online activities to your email address, rather than just to a pseudonymous cookie.”

You can read much more about this privacy invasion in an article by Steven Englehardt in the Freedom-To-Tinker web site at: http://bit.ly/2wvcuF6.

Feds Monitoring Social Media Does More Harm Than Good

Border screening and surveillance has become an increasing area of critical concern over the last year. Around the world, invasive governments have particularly threatened people’s digital privacy. That extends to the US, where Customs and Border Protection has expanded its demands and searches as well. And a fraught situation for travelers is even more so for US immigrants who are having more and more of their digital and social media footprint monitored by the Department of Homeland Security.

The agency’s recent initiatives came into focus last week, when DHS posted updated language in the Federal Register about collecting “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results” on immigrants, including naturalized citizens and permanent residents.

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