AirTags Are A Growing Headache For Apple Amid Disturbing Reports Of Tracking

The police are tracking you. The CIA is tracking you. But thanks to Apple’s latest technology, your local stalker can do it too.

Apple’s network, however, is particularly powerful. AirTags are able to use the Find My network, which uses Bluetooth technology and other people’s iPhones, MacBooks and iPads ― hundreds of millions of devices, according to Apple ― to ping location signals back to the person who owns it. The process is so efficient it barely touches a device’s battery power. And because the world is already blanketed in Apple products, the location data is generally very precise.

If we understand correctly, you might get a notification that you’re being tracked if you use an Apple device. But what if you’re on an Android device instead? You can download a handy Android app that will tell you if you’re being tracked by an Apple AirTag. Sounds like a win-win since presumably Apple and Google will now know your whereabouts 24/7.

Apple says:

If users ever feel their safety is at risk, they are encouraged to contact local law enforcement who can work with Apple to provide any available information about the unknown AirTag.

So what happens if you contact the police?

“They were just very dismissive,” Sam from Brooklyn said. The officers she spoke with refused to write anything down. “They were like, ‘There’s nothing to report. Nothing happened. We can’t just write a report. This isn’t like TV shows.’”

Source: AirTags Are A Growing Headache For Apple Amid Disturbing Reports Of Tracking | HuffPost Impact

More fun on the privacy front : Fitbit!

A nosy boss snooping on your off-the-clock peccadilloes may be the least of your worries. Fitness trackers can upload a nearly complete record of where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to …

If you want some privacy in the modern world, join us here in the Transbaikal away from civilization and off the grid. We’ll leave the light on for ya.

Source: Do fitness trackers pose a privacy risk?

Equifax data breach

You don’t need me to tell you about the recent scandal at Equifax, one of the Big Three credit bureaus. Their servers were hacked and the intruders got away with the personal data of nearly 150 million Americans — including full names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and, in some cases, driver license numbers and credit card credentials.

How do I plan to get back at the idiots at Equifax? By going into competition with them. Starting next week, I’m selling my PII (Personally identifiable information) on the dark web for only $1.

Equifax: watch out!

Border Agents Interrogate Muslim Americans, Ask for Social Media Accounts and Passwords

Customs and Border Protection agents have been invasively questioning Muslim-Americans at U.S. border crossings about their political and religious beliefs, asking for their social media information, and demanding passwords to open mobile phones, according to a set of complaints filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Source: The Intercept

These talking toys can tell a defense contractor everything your kid says

Yes, this holiday season, you can buy toys for your tots that record their voices and upload the recordings to Nuance (the nice folks who bring you Dragon Naturally Speaking). The terms of service basically allow them to do anything they want with the data they collect — presumably including selling it to the pedophile ring in the back room of Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C.

Fortunately, there are laws against this kind of thing. Specifically the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998. And several organizations such as the Consumers Union have filed a Complaint and Request for Investigation, Injunction, and Other Relief with the FTC.

As for the “defense contractor” thing, Nuance does have some government contracts but mainly it was RawStory’s clickbait headline. Hey, it worked on me.

How and Why to Delete Your Yahoo Account

So Yahoo! helped the gummint trawl through Yahoo! emails. And, presumably, not just the emails of Yahoo! users but all the emails you sent to friends with Yahoo! accounts and all the addresses (like that forward to Yahoo! accounts.

Of course, those of us who care about privacy are all bent out of shape.

But don’t forget that the original FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) was introduced in the Senate by Ted Kennedy, passed by a Democratic congress, and signed into law by Democrat Jimmy Carter.

Source: How and Why to Delete Your Yahoo Account

The slope gets slippery — polyamorous marriages to be the next civil rights frontier

A Montana man said Wednesday that he was inspired by last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage to apply for a marriage license so that he can legally wed his second wife. “It’s about marriage equality,” Nathan Collier, of Billings, MT, told The Associated Press Wednesday.

. . . and the Bitemaster predicts many more such fights, ultimately including efforts to force clergy to perform weddings for gays and others.

Source: Polygamous Montana trio applies for wedding license | The Gayly

And see Scott Stringer on transgender bathrooms

It’s a federal crime to delete incriminating evidence from your computer

Yup, you can be prosecuted under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for clearing your browser history. In other words, according to the feds, you have an affirmative duty to preserve evidence that could later be used against you.

Unless you have something to hide, this is not a problem. But it would make compliance much easier if the government would just provide cloud storage for all our data.

Source: You Can Be Prosecuted for Clearing Your Browser History | The Nation

Cf.: Call the NSA for email backup

More government spying

The Obama administration has stepped up the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program on U.S. soil to search for signs of hacking.

There once was a story that went something like this: A guy wanted to know how many submarines the Navy had, so he called the Navy and was told that the information was classified. So he called the Soviet embassy and they gave him the number.

The point of the story was that our enemies already knew the answer and the only point of keeping it a secret was to prevent American citizens from finding out.

So now Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, has revealed that the Obama administration has expanded a secret National Security Agency program of warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international Internet traffic, searching for evidence of malicious computer hacking.

The Chinese, no doubt, already knew all about the NSA’s surveillance of our Internet traffic, so the only possible reason that Obama didn’t reveal it to us was that he wanted to avoid the possibility that we wouldn’t approve it. And for that, he can Bite Me.

I really don’t want the Chinese hacking into my computer — or my bank’s — but I also don’t want the gummint rifling through my Internet traffic. I know I can’t have it both ways and there will have to be compromises but I’d like to be part of the debate and not just have the Executive Branch decide what’s best for me.

Source: New Snowden Documents Reveal Secret Memos Expanding Spying

Obama won’t let defendants cross-examine the tech used to arrest them

The Feds have given your local police department some nifty tech to track where you and your cellphone are at all times. However, the device, called “Hailstorm,” comes with strings attached:

. . . the Obama administration has aggressively tried to keep [details about Hailstorm] secret. Citing security reasons, the government has intervened in routine state public-records cases and criminal trials, and has advised police not to disclose details. . . .

The Hailstorm, made by Florida-based Harris Corp., can sweep up cellphone subscriber-identity data by tricking phones into thinking it’s a cell tower. That data is then transmitted to the police, allowing them to locate a phone without the user even making a call or sending a text message.

All I can say is that I want to get me one of these things! Installed in the BiteCastle’s Security Office, it will enable me to know where every BiteMe employee is 24/7.

Baltimore police use secret cell phone surveillance tech – NY Daily News.

[Edited 12-27-2017 to add:] NB: The first such product on the market was the Stingray from Harris Corporation (Remember Harris-Intertype? Same guys.). But other similar products can be found under names such as Kingfish, Amberjack, and Hailstorm.