Google opens Glass Mirror API

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Date: Thursday, December 5th, 2013, 08:38
Category: Accessory, Consumer Electronics, Developer, Gadget, Google, News, Opinion, privacy, security, Wearables

google_glass_grey-580-90Last week, Google finally made the Glass API for Google Glass open to all developers. Previously, the API was only available to developers that actually shelled out the $1500 to own the Google Glass hardware and were added to a whitelist of approved owners. Now Google doesn’t care if you have the software or not. TechCrunch breaks down the methods for developers to write software for Google Glass.

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Amazon CEO announces plans for drone delivery fleet

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Date: Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013, 09:20
Category: Consumer Electronics, Fun, Gadget, News, privacy

amazon-experimenting-with-drones-that-will-deliver-packages-in-30-minutesI had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st (seriously, I usually can’t remember what month it is), but apparently Jeff Bezos has every intention of delivering packages using autonomous helicopter drones flown straight to your doorstep, or personal heli-pad, in 30 minutes or less. He does admit that it is a few years off, but Amazon engineers are hard at work perfecting the technology. In a detailed article, Bloomberg recounts the Amazon CEO’s plan which was unveiled on CBS’s “60 Minutes” news program. In it, Bezos shows interviewer Charlie Rose the flying machines, called octocopters, that can serve as delivery vehicles carrying as much as 5 pounds within a 10-mile radius of an Amazon fulfillment center.

 

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Apple retail to use iBeacon location technology

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Date: Monday, November 18th, 2013, 09:08
Category: Apple, Developer, iOS, Mobile, News, privacy, Retail Store, security, Services, WWDC

ibeacon2Earlier this year at WWDC, Apple introduced iBeacon, a technology that would be introduced as part of iOS 7 and new Apple hardware. iBeacon utilizes BlueTooth LE (Low Energy) to provide very precise location data to your device, which can either provide detailed directions inside a building, like a mall, or give you information about a particular item on a shelf that you are standing in front of. Yes, it’s that precise. Since it has to take a location measurement very frequently to provide that level of precision, it uses the BlueTooth LE radio (separate from the regular one generally used), in order to prevent excessive battery drain on your device. This opens up a lot of opportunities for all retailers, not just Apple.

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Four privacy settings you should enable in iOS 7 immediately

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Date: Thursday, September 19th, 2013, 00:11
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, privacy

Data backed up? Check.

iOS 7 installed? Check.

Data restored? Check.

Life is good and time to fire up your favorite iTunes Radio station, right?

Not so fast.

Before diving into the beautiful, parallaxy, candy-colored world that is iOS 7, you need to adjust your privacy settings on your iPhone or iPad. If you like your Privacy, that is. Installing iOS 7 is pretty easy and, even if you don’t back up your data ahead of time, it will usually put everything back right where it belongs.

Simple, right?

Well yes, that’s how iOS 7 is designed to work. But don’t let Apple’s thin Helvetica Neue and and serene, dynamic wallpapers lull you into complacency. A whole number iOS upgrade is a big deal and it resets a bunch of your settings and adds privacy and security settings that you should be aware of.

Apple hides its System Services settings all the way down at the bottom of the Privacy > Location Services panel. If you’ve owned your iPhone for more than a few months you’ll have dozens (possibly over one hundred) apps listed on this screen, making it a very long scroll. If you actually make it to the bottom of the list (most people don’t) you’ll see the fabled System Services setting and the explanation of what that little purple arrow icons means.

Again, the path is Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services:

Privacy settings you should enable in iOS 7 immediately - Jason O'Grady

Learn this screen and commit the meanings of the three little arrow icons to memory. Then notice when they appear in the top right of your iOS menu bar and come back to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to see which apps are using your location data. Audit this screen frequently to disable location access for apps that don’t need it.

Then touch System Services to reveal the most important privacy settings on your iPhone or iPad.

  • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services

Privacy settings you should enable in iOS 7 immediately - Jason O'Grady

I recommend turning OFF the following:

  • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Diagnostics & Usage
  • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Location-Based iAds
  • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations

Diagnostics & Usage

This setting monitors everything you do on your iPhone and “anonymously” sends it to Apple for “improving iOS.” Whatever. It’s just like when all the major software companies changed their install screens from “send usage data?” to “customer experience program” or some such nonsense. If you leave the “Diagnostics & Usage” option on, you’re giving Apple permission to monitor and record everything you do on your device.

Location-Based iAds

iAds created it’s own privacy uproar in June 2010 when a 45-page update to Apple’s privacy policywhich detailed how your location information could be used to allow the company – and their “partners and licensees” – to “collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device.” The privacy policy has been toned down quite a bit since then and Apple posted a knowledge base article titled “How to opt out of interest-based ads from the iAd network.” I turn this off and am happy with “less relevant” ads being shown.

Frequent Locations

Frequent Locations is equally bad, if not more so. There was a big stir about this when iOS 7 beta 5 was released, and the data it captures about your whereabouts can be downright creepy. For many it brought back memories of the Locationgate fiasco from iOS 4 in April 2011 when a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location known as “Consolidated.db” was discovered on iOS 4 devices — and the computers they’re backed up to. Note that the iPhone 4 (and earlier) do not support the “Frequent Locations” feature in iOS 7.

Advertising

Next navigate to the iOS Advertising Privacy settings (Settings > Privacy > Advertising).

Here, you should do three things:

  1. Turn ON “Limit Ad Tracking”
  2. Touch “Reset Advertising Identifier” (which I wrote about in January 2013), and
  3. Touch “Learn More” and learn about what an “Advertising Identifier” is

Privacy settings you should enable in iOS 7 immediately - Jason O'Grady

Safari

Navigate to the iOS Safari Settings (Settings > Safari) turn on the following:

  • Block Pop-ups
  • Do Not Track*
  • Block Cookies is set to “From third parties and advertisers”
  • Fraudulent Website Warning

*Apple’s one of the few companies that still supports the aging Do Not Track standard in its mobile Web browser. Even if it is considered dead (my ZDNet colleague Ed Bott called it “worse than a miserable failure,”) I turn it on anyway, for the few web servers that actually respect it.

safari-settings-ios7-iphone-320x568

While you’re at it it doesn’t hurt to touch “Clear History” and “Clear Cookies and Data” now and again.

If you found this article useful or important, please Share and Like it on Facebook, Google+ or your social network of choice. Please help get the word out about these important settings.

RIAA Wants to Limit Digital Radio Recording

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 11th, 2005, 16:00
Category: privacy

riaa.jpgThe EFF is following the new HD Radio Content Protection Act closely and encouraging members to take action:

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has seen the future of radio. And it would prefer to live in the past…
Last week, with a coalition of copyright holders, the RIAA sent messages to members of Congress requesting that the FCC be given new powers to hobble digital radios so they perform worse than the analog radios of yesteryear.

Read more at EFF.org.

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Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far

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Date: Tuesday, November 8th, 2005, 01:18
Category: privacy

sony-bmg-logo.jpgA reader sent me this excellent email from Alex Reynolds on Sony’s surreptitiously installing rootkits on unsuspecting PCs when a user plays one of their CDs:

To be clear, these are not CDs. These discs do not conform with the CD format and releases omit the CD logo on the packaging.
Here’s information about the Copy Control format that EMI and Sony uses, which includes Sony’s trojan horse. Copy Control discs carry their own Mac OS 9 player, apparently; iTunes cannot be used to play the disc’s music. No mention is made of an OS X or Linux player.
If you want to warn your users to help avoid trashing Windows
machines and incurring support demands, here is a list of releases using Copy Control.

Needless to say you should probably avoid buying any of the above CDs if you care about your privacy, and you should probably boycott SonyBGM and EMI entirely if you give a damn. -Ed

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