privacy

Google to Facebook: unlock your user data

Google gets in hot water over user privacy on a pretty regular basis, but it's nothing to the kind of scrutiny that Facebook gets over its 900 million users. To their credit, Google has been fairly straightforward, even allowing those who are dissatisfied to pack up and leave after downloading all the relevant files. Facebook... doesn't. In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Google CEO Larry Page expressed the sentiment that Facebook could be doing more to be open about how is uses the data it collects.

Security concept app steals Android info with no permissions

Android security nuts, get your tin foil hats ready. A security researcher at Leviathan Security Group has posted a proof of concept application that can steal massive amounts of personal data when installed on an Android phone or tablet. No big deal, right? We've known about this sort of thing for ages. Except that Paul Brodeur's app can grab a shocking amount of data with zero Android system permissions, something that isn't supposed to be possible. The security loopholes exist in both Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich, and can be presumed for other versions of Android as well.

Google granted creepy eavesdropping patent for keyword-based ads

Google is watching you. So is everyone else, of course, and it's not like Google is trying to hide the fact - their controversial new privacy policy was plastered over every single web service for the better part of a month. But the USPTO has just granted them a patent on a piece of technology that actually listens to you - and I don't mean in the helpful Voice Actions sort of way. United States Patent 8,138,930 lays the groundwork for a system that actually listens for keywords in phone conversations and stores the triggers in a database, to serve contextual advertisements later.

European Commission VP eyes Android for privacy violations

Data privacy has been in the headlines a lot lately, and thanks to the latest bit of news concerning its photo system, Android is right there with it. The increased attention has brought a flurry of media coverage, and even political types (who, for better or worse, are usually a step or two behind) are getting in on the action. The Vice President of the European Commission recently told Channel 4 News that Android's potentially harmful privacy policies are concerning... and may actually be illegal, at least by European Union common law.

HTC promises fix for WiFi security flaw, some phones already updated

Earlier this morning we reported that serious security issues had been found in a number of HTC phone running its Sense UI skin, which allow third-party applications to view the passwords of saved WiFi SSDs. The flaw was discovered by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team and reported on the Homeland Security website. HTC has responded to the issue on their support website, stating that some of the phones are already fixed through regular security updates. However, some of the phones will need a additional update to be made secure. The manufacturer did not elaborate on which phones are currently safe and which are not.

HTC software bug leaks WiFi passwords on some Android phones

The last few months have not been kind to HTC on the security and privacy front. First there was a bug in HTC's Sense skin that allowed for remote file access on a handful of smartphones, then the whole Carrier IQ debacle, which was demonstrated mostly on HTC's hardware. The latest snafu was uncovered by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, which states that a considerable amount of HTC phones are running flawed software that allows third-party applications access to encrypted WiFi passwords. The US-CERT team published their findings on the Homeland Security website yesterday.

O2 exposes customer phone numbers before plugging security hole [UPDATE]

UK citizens who use O2's wireless network got a nasty shock this morning, when reports around the web claimed that their phone numbers were being exposed to any website they visited from their mobile phones. While not a malicious attack, a setting in O2's network was broadcasting its customers phone number in addition to standard browser data like user agents, device type and screen size. This morning Android phones and other O2 devices stopped broadcasting mobile phone numbers, indicating that the security hole has been patched. O2 still hasn't spoken publicly on the issue.

Google updates their privacy policies and terms of service

Google has decided to update their privacy policies across all of their products, and condense them into a single policy. This updated document will better clarify how users information is stored and treated within their different services and products. Yes, this not only includes their web based services, but Android OS as well. Anywhere you login to your Google Account, this new policy will most likely apply.

Verizon and Rogers don’t use Carrier IQ, Vodafone and O2 “don’t collect info”

The media storm over Carrier IQ's implicit privacy and security violations continues. Yesterday we contacted Verizon Wireless about the intrusive logging software, and a representative told Android Community that the company does not use Carrier IQ software in any of its products. Canadian carrier Rogers joins them today, also stating that Carrier IQ is not present on any of its devices. A company spokesperson confirmed on Twitter that none of the phones or tablets in their lineup use the software.
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