Does Google have the right to scan user emails?

GoogleScansEmailsJohn Henry Skillern, 41, has been charged with possessing child pornography, after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip from Google. While it’s clear that the end result of this is positive – he’s being prosecuted for the heinous crime he’s committed – we have to ask, do email platforms have the right to scan user emails if it helps to combat crime? 

Technically, whether or not they have the “right” depends on the terms of service between the user and that service as well as the laws governing that country. In the US, this is a complicated issue due to other US Federal laws that compel ISPs to help combat child pornography.

But that’s the technical legal point of view. The bigger picture is around society’s expectations around the privacy of their use of the Internet. Despite the horrific nature of these specific crimes, I don’t think Google has the “right” to scan user’s information. Read More



Over One Billion Passwords Served

stolen_loginsIt was recently reported in the New York Times that a criminal gang in Russia has a massive collection of usernames, passwords, and email addresses.  It’s truly a massive collection of user information, over one billion usernames and passwords and over 500 million email addresses.

Let’s dig into the details… Read More



That shared family tablet could end up costing you (and your boss) plenty

tablet securityThanks to generous “BYOD” policies, portable and convenient tablets are widely used to access work-related information. Almost 70% of those who own a tablet or smartphone use their device to access corporate data, according Ovum’s 2013 Multi-Market BYOD Employee Survey.

But bringing your own device comes at a steep cost to your company. The risk to users’ information and to their company information goes through the roof when tablets are used to connect to WiFi hotspots. That’s because tablets aren’t any more secure than smartphones. According to Javelin’s 2014 Identity Fraud Report, less than half of tablet users use security software, leaving them open to malicious downloads.

And when families share tablets the risk becomes even greater. What happens, when a child, for example, connects to a WiFi hotspot – the vast majority of which are not secure – using the family device? Your child may just be motivated to get on the Internet quickly and may be more likely to ignore warning signs or choose unknown wireless access points because they’re free. That could spell trouble, not only for your family’s tablet and the personal information stored on them, but also for your company’s confidential data.

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Canvas fingerprinting: new feature, same old story

stop_canvas_fingerprintingBy now you’ve probably heard about Canvas fingerprinting. In a nutshell, this whole story is about analytics and advertising companies abusing a new feature in order to try and track your browsing behavior. And in a way that is harder to stop.

The good news is that DoNotTrackMe has always blocked AddThis, the US company known to have been doing this. In the end, as Internet technologies evolve to be increasingly rich user experiences, the potential for abuse also increases. Individual users are increasingly hard-pressed to stop this kind of tracking on their own.

Let’s dig into what Canvas Fingerprinting actually is…

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Living By Design With Privacy By Design

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 4.03.27 PMAs technology merges with almost every aspect of our daily life, it’s important to consider: How can we live more mindful lives through the intelligent use of technology?

Living “by design” is the practice of taking intentional and deliberate actions so that we can lead a more purposeful life. A major part of living by design when it comes to technology involves embracing our privacy choices. When we do, we empower ourselves to use technology to benefit our lives rather than allowing technology to use us (or our data). Living by design includes cultivating privacy awareness and developing a privacy practice to make mindful choices when we share information online.

Let’s dig into what exactly Privacy by Design is…

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