"Our research demonstrates that the mechanical components in magnetic hard disk drives behave as microphones with sufficient precision to extract and parse human speech," their paper, obtained by The Register ahead of its formal publication, stated. "These un-intentional microphones sense speech with high enough fidelity for the Shazam service to recognize a song recorded through the hard drive." - via Thomas Claburn, writing at El Reg
Three US Based Mobile Providers Still Selling User Location Data
The bad news was delivered to me on Tuesday afternoon by this outstanding post by Jon Brodkin, reporting for Ars Technica. Read it and weep my friends, as they will know you by your location... Think it's time to move to a dumb phone from your current leaky smartphone? Think again Binky, as your location can still be determined and sold (if only from triangulated tower geography when your phone mpves from cell to cell and registers with the tower).
"In June 2018, all four major US wireless carriers pledged to stop selling their mobile customers' location information to third-party data brokers. The carriers were pressured into making the change after a security problem leaked the real-time location of US cell phone users. But an investigation by Motherboard found that "T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T are [still] selling access to their customers' location data and that data is ending up in the hands of bounty hunters and others not authorized to possess it, letting them track most phones in the country." - via Jon Brodkin, reporting for Ars Technica*
via The Outline's author, Paris Martineau, comes this tale of opt-in/opt-out, GlaxoSmithKline 23andMe. and of course, The Goods - , your DNA. Of which, results in a nagging question: Why would I (or you for that matter), agree to hand over my uniquely identifying DNA data to a commercial enterprise (that only answers to it's shareholders, and only has it's best interests in mind) to use as they see fit? Oh, and a couple of other questions: Do you trust a big-pharma corporation with your own personal Map of Life? What about the future use of that data, once it's in the slipstream of artificially intelligent genetic-testing-reliant health insurance companies? Food for Thought or just Paranoia? You be the judge; after all, it's your DNA, right?
"In short, most — if not all — of the information 23andMe has on its users has probably been shared with someone that isn’t 23andMe itself, and money might have even changed hands. Which is all perfectly within the company’s rights to do, since they agreed to it (probably blindly) when they signed up." - via The Outline author Paris Martineau in the well crafted post 'How To Sign Away The Rights To Your DNA'
Well - dammit - I was wrong... Early last week I made the error in a post on Monday 2018/03/05, in which I managed to scribble this diatribe: To Wit, "Easily the most egregiously moronic idea I've heard this month (and it's only 5 days in(!)" ...
Well, that declaration has been overshadowed in our highly-read Observed-Stupidity-In-Security-And-Privacy-News-Department by a bottom-of-the-sea-deeply-ignorant statement uttered by MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe regarding his extraordinary pleasure at tracking users within the company's MoviePass iPhone and Android apps (see below).
'The update comes after CEO Mitch Lowe made comments at the Entertainment Finance Forum in Los Angeles last week, claiming that the company was tracking users’ locations. “We watch how you drive from home to the movies. We watch where you go afterwards,” commented Lowe, according to a report from Media Play News. - via Chaim Gartenberg, writing at The Verge
Bravado? Misplaced Confidence? Hairplugs too-tight? Too Much Campari before dinner? I think not, just simple, unmitigated and blatant stupidity...
Perhaps a leadership change is in order, eh MoviePass? At least, the company did manage to (allegedly) remove the tracking-bits from the product and resissue the apps in the apropos app stores. Of course, there is always bad news with this type of mea culpa: In a statement made to Engadget, the company claimed they are still planning to use location data marketing to enhance their revenue stream. Ah, yes, the old Give It To 'Em, Then Take It Away gambit. Oh Joy!
'“We have to be really careful as we have more devices capturing more information in living rooms and bedrooms and on the street and in other people’s homes that the public is not blindsided and surprised by things,” said Dave Morgan, the founder and chief executive of Simulmedia, which works with advertisers on targeted TV ads. “It’s not what’s legal. It is what’s not creepy.”' - via Sapna Maheshwari, writing at the New York Times
via gHacks author Martin Brinkmann, comes the astonishing tale of deeply flawed user data management at Mozilla Foundation. Along with the Foundation' Firefox browser Resource and Web Extension data leakage woes, now comes a highly user antagonistic decision to commence collecting user browsing data in an opt-out decision tree. Truly this weeks evidence that Blatant Stupidity still exists in the browser world.
"Mozilla's Georg Fritzsche published information on the plan to collect additional data yesterday on the Mozilla Governance group. In it, he describes the issue that Mozilla engineers face currently. While Firefox may collect the data when users opt-in, Mozilla believes that the data is biased and that only data collecting with opt-out would provide unbiased data that the engineers can work with. Questions that this data may help answer include "which top sites are users visiting", "which sites using Flash does a user encounter", and "which sites does a user see heavy Jank on" according to Fritzsche." excerpt via Martin Brinkmann writing at gHacks