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    Google closes data loophole amid privacy fears over abortion ruling / ArsTechnica · 2 days ago - 14:15

Google closes data loophole amid privacy fears over abortion ruling

Enlarge (credit: Lari Bat | Getty Images )

Google is closing a loophole that has allowed thousands of companies to monitor and sell sensitive personal data from Android smartphones, an effort welcomed by privacy campaigners in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to end women’s constitutional right to abortion.

It also took a further step on Friday to limit the risk that smartphone data could be used to police new abortion restrictions, announcing it would automatically delete the location history on phones that have been close to a sensitive medical location such an abortion clinic.

The Silicon Valley company’s moves come amid growing fears that mobile apps will be weaponized by US states to police new abortion restrictions in the country.

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    Google hit with more privacy complaints for “deceptive” sign-up process / ArsTechnica · 5 days ago - 16:08

Google hit with more privacy complaints for “deceptive” sign-up process

Enlarge (credit: 400tmax | iStock Unreleased )

More than a billion people worldwide have signed up for Google accounts, clicking through screens promising that “your personal info is private and safe.” This week, Google’s sign-up process came under fire when European Union consumer rights groups issued new privacy complaints suggesting that the opposite is true—that Google intentionally designs default settings to deceive new users into granting permissions to harvest and share a broad swath of personal info.

"The language Google uses at every step of the registration process is unclear, incomplete, and misleading," the European consumer organization BEUC told Reuters . BEUC is helping to coordinate a potential civil lawsuit in Germany and several new complaints to data-protection authorities from consumer rights groups in France, Greece, the Czech Republic, Norway, and Slovenia.

The key issue in these complaints is how hard Google makes it for account users to choose privacy-friendly options. It’s much easier, the consumer groups argue, to set up an account to share personal info than to protect it. As Tech Crunch reported , Google designed a one-click “express personalization” option allowing data tracking, while “manual personalization” requires 10 clicks to turn off tracking.

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Android application for on-line privacy and security.

InviZible Pro. (Open source)
New version 5.8.0

Keeps privacy, prevents tracking, gets access to blocked and hidden on-line resources.

InviZible Pro uses DNSCrypt, Tor and Purple I2P to achieve maximum security, privacy and comfortable use of the Internet.

DNS is used by most applications to translate domain names into IP addresses to find a remote server with the site that you want to visit. But this communication is not encrypted and can be used by attackers. DNSCrypt encrypts and authenticates DNS traffic, thus preventing DNS tracking and spoofing.

Tor encrypts Internet traffic and hides your actual location. It uses thousands of computers around the world to mask your IP address and prevents activity tracking to preserve your privacy and anonymity. Tor also provides access to onion services. These are sites that are in a completely hidden network without censorship.

The Invisible Internet Project (I2P) is a hidden anonymous network. It includes thousands of computers distributed around the world. Purple I2P encrypts the traffic of your device and sends it through these computers to ensure privacy and anonymity. Start I2P to access i2p sites and other Invisible Internet hidden services.

InviZible Pro can use root, if your device has root privileges, or uses a local VPN to deliver Internet traffic to Tor, DNSCrypt and I2P networks.

- InviZible Pro does not support ipv6 at this time.

* No root required
* Hides location and IP
* Unblocks the restricted web content
* Prevents tracking
* Allows access to hidden networks
* ARP spoofing detection
* Built-in firewall
* Tethering supported
* No analytics
* No advertisements
* Open source
* Material design theme

Premium feature:
* Automatic Updates – Use the latest versions of InviZible Pro, and its modules such as DNSCrypt , Tor, and Purple I2P.
* Absence of reminder about the need to support the project.
* Priority technical advice.
* Material design night theme

What's New
* Updated Tor to version 4.7.8.
* Updated Tor snowflake bridge to version 2.2.0.
* Updated Tor obfs4proxy to version 0.0.13.
* Updated Purple I2P to version 2.42.1.
* Implemented real-time connection logs for Root mode.
* Improved real-time connection logs for VPN mode.
* Added a switch to enable/disable real-time connection logs.
* Improved firewall for Root mode.
* The "Run modules with Root" option is no longer supported and will be hidden in the Common Settings.

Please visit the project’s page:

Download from Google Play:


Take a look at source code:

#android #internet #vpn #anonymous #privacy #confidentiality #dnscrypt #tor #i2p #vpn #proxy #invizible #inviziblepro
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    Senators seek probe of Apple and Google for enabling sale of personal data / ArsTechnica · Friday, 24 June - 17:18

A Illustration of a smartphone at the center of a target.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Westend61 )

Four Democratic US senators today asked the Federal Trade Commission to "investigate Apple and Google for engaging in unfair and deceptive practices by enabling the collection and sale of hundreds of millions of mobile phone users' personal data."

"The FTC should investigate Apple and Google's role in transforming online advertising into an intense system of surveillance that incentivizes and facilitates the unrestrained collection and constant sale of Americans' personal data," they wrote. "These companies have failed to inform consumers of the privacy and security dangers involved in using those products. It is beyond time to bring an end to the privacy harms forced on consumers by these companies."

The letter cited the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade , saying that women "seeking abortions and other reproductive healthcare will become particularly vulnerable to privacy harms, including through the collection and sharing of their location data." It continued:

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    Facebook is receiving sensitive medical information from hospital websites / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 16 June - 14:53

Facebook is receiving sensitive medical information from hospital websites

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

A tracking tool installed on many hospitals’ websites has been collecting patients’ sensitive health information—including details about their medical conditions, prescriptions, and doctor’s appointments—and sending it to Facebook.

The Markup tested the websites of Newsweek’s top 100 hospitals in America. On 33 of them we found the tracker, called the Meta Pixel, sending Facebook a packet of data whenever a person clicked a button to schedule a doctor’s appointment. The data is connected to an IP address—an identifier that’s like a computer’s mailing address and can generally be linked to a specific individual or household—creating an intimate receipt of the appointment request for Facebook.

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    Tracking People via Bluetooth on Their Phones / Schneier · Tuesday, 14 June - 20:11 · 1 minute

We’ve always known that phones—and the people carrying them—can be uniquely identified from their Bluetooth signatures, and that we need security techniques to prevent that. This new research shows that that’s not enough.

Computer scientists at the University of California San Diego proved in a study published May 24 that minute imperfections in phones caused during manufacturing create a unique Bluetooth beacon , one that establishes a digital signature or fingerprint distinct from any other device. Though phones’ Bluetooth uses cryptographic technology that limits trackability, using a radio receiver, these distortions in the Bluetooth signal can be discerned to track individual devices.


The study’s scientists conducted tests to show whether multiple phones being in one place could disrupt their ability to track individual signals. Results in an initial experiment showed they managed to discern individual signals for 40% of 162 devices in public. Another, scaled-up experiment showed they could discern 47% of 647 devices in a public hallway across two days.

The tracking range depends on device and the environment, and it could be several hundred feet, but in a crowded location it might only be 10 or so feet. Scientists were able to follow a volunteer’s signal as they went to and from their house. Certain environmental factors can disrupt a Bluetooth signal, including changes in environment temperature, and some devices send signals with more power and range than others.

One might say “well, I’ll just keep Bluetooth turned off when not in use,” but the researchers said they found that some devices, especially iPhones, don’t actually turn off Bluetooth unless a user goes directly into settings to turn off the signal. Most people might not even realize their Bluetooth is being constantly emitted by many smart devices.

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    Tim Hortons coffee app broke law by constantly recording users’ movements / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 2 June - 16:50

Outside view of a Tim Hortons restaurant in Toronto shows the Tim Hortons logo and a maple leaf.

Enlarge / A Tim Hortons in Toronto in May 2022. (credit: Getty Images | Roberto Machado Noa )

Canadian investigators determined that users of the Tim Hortons coffee chain's mobile app "had their movements tracked and recorded every few minutes of every day," even when the app wasn't open, in violation of the country's privacy laws.

"The Tim Hortons app asked for permission to access the mobile device's geolocation functions but misled many users to believe information would only be accessed when the app was in use. In reality, the app tracked users as long as the device was on, continually collecting their location data," according to an announcement Wednesday by Canada's Office of the Privacy Commissioner. The federal office collaborated with provincial authorities in Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta in the investigation of Tim Hortons.

"The app also used location data to infer where users lived, where they worked, and whether they were traveling," the Office of the Privacy Commissioner said. "It generated an 'event' every time users entered or left a Tim Hortons competitor, a major sports venue, or their home or workplace."

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