If you use Alexa, Echo, or any other Amazon device, you have only 10 days to opt out of an experiment that leaves your personal privacy and security hanging in the balance.
On June 8, the merchant, Web host, and entertainment behemoth will automatically enroll the devices in Amazon Sidewalk. The new wireless mesh service will share a small slice of your Internet bandwidth with nearby neighbors who don’t have connectivity and help you to their bandwidth when you don’t have a connection.
By default, Amazon devices including Alexa, Echo, Ring, security cams, outdoor lights, motion sensors, and Tile trackers will enroll in the system. And since only a tiny fraction of people take the time to change default settings, that means millions of people will be co-opted into the program whether they know anything about it or not. The Amazon webpage linked above says Sidewalk “is currently only available in the US.”
So, this isn’t good. Your iPhone settings enable you to tell Facebook you don’t want your location tracked. It’s clear and non-ambiguous. Why then, if you tell Facebook “never” to access your location, is the data harvesting giant doing exactly that?
Apple’s iOS 14.5 is just a few weeks old, and the data already suggests it has delivered the expected strike against Facebook . Unsurprisingly, more than 80% of users do not opt in to being tracked. Millions of you have seen through the brazen warnings that Facebook’s free apps won’t remain free unless we surrender our right to privacy.
Facebook generates almost all its revenue from digital advertising—targeting ads by harvesting as much data from you and about you as it can. “Facebook marketing is generally dominated by iOS,” one ad industry article laments, “it’s pretty safe to assume Facebook has lost at least half their data, arguably the most valuable half.”
All of which means that Facebook will be doing ever more with the data that remains. And there’s a hidden danger in all the iOS 14.5 publicity—a false sense of security for iPhone users, thinking that the Facebook data issue is suddenly over, that everything has now changed. That would be very wrong—it really hasn’t.
Oregon has gone from a liberal hell hole to 1930s Germany overnight.
The Oregon Health Authority is now requiring businesses and religious institutions to enforce mask mandates by forcing people to show proof of vaccination.
The CDC last week updated its mask guidance and said fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors.
In order to prevent the unvaccinated from walking around unmasked, Oregon health officials are now creating a caste system by marking the unvaxxed lepers.
“Businesses, employers and faith institutions now have the option to adjust their masking guidance to allow fully vaccinated individuals to no longer wear a mask in their establishments,” OHA’s website said. “Businesses, employers and faith institutions doing so must have a policy in place to check the vaccination status of all individuals before they enter their establishment. Businesses, employers and faith institutions who do not create such policies will maintain the same masking guidance listed below, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.”
Amazon’s Ring doorbell camera ‘is effectively building the largest corporate-owned, civilian-installed surveillance network that the US has ever seen,’ it has been claimed.
The stark warning came from Lauren Bridges, a PhD candidate at University of Pennsylvania, who told The Guardian that one in ten police departments around the country have access to video from the civilian cameras after the company partnered with more than 1,800 local law enforcement agencies.
Bridges raises serious concerns that cops are able to request Ring videos from members of the public without a warrant, which she claims is deliberately circumnavigating the Fourth Amendment – the right not to be searched or have items seized without a legal warrant.
Last year alone, law enforcement agencies filed 22,337 individual requests for Ring videos, according to data compiled by Bridges.
A report in the California Law Review claimed that Amazon even assisted and coached law enforcement on how to circumvent legal requirements—such as the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.
The claims are supported by ‘scripts’, obtained by Vice in 2019 from the Topeka, KS police department, which tell police how to encourage users to share camera footage with police and encourage friends to download the Neighbors app.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, nonprofit organization for ‘defending civil liberties in the digital world,’ has even formed petitions calling on Ring to end its partnerships with law enforcement agencies.
Internet sleuths found Joe Biden’s secret Venmo account in less than 10 minutes and were able to identify it using his friends list, causing a potential national security issue.
Venmo is a mobile payment service owned by PayPal that allows users to transfer money to other users in their contacts list.
An aide recently revealed that Joe Biden, AKA, “The Big Guy,” uses Venmo to send his grandchildren money.
Internet sleuths immediately started searching for Joe Biden’s account by using the app’s features to look for his aides, friends and family.
Within 10 minutes cyber detectives at BuzzFeed News found Biden’s secret Venmo account, causing potential national security issues.
According to a new research report published by the nonprofit entity Me2B Alliance, around 60 percent of school apps are sending student data to a wide range of high-risk third parties without getting the permission of either the students or their parents.
The study audited 73 apps from 38 different schools spread over 14 American states. It involved almost half a million people, including students, their teachers, and family members. The organization warned that school apps must not include third-party data channels and that an “unacceptable amount” of school data was being shared with third parties through these apps, specifically with analytics and advertising platforms.
“The findings from our research show the pervasiveness of data sharing with high-risk entities and the amount of people whose data could be compromised due to schools’ lack of resources… The study aims to bring these concerns to light to ensure the right funding support and protections are in place to safeguard our most vulnerable citizens – our children,” Lisa LeVasseur, executive director of Me2B Alliance, said in a statement.
The study found that around 18 percent of the apps had links to very high risk third parties, meaning that such parties probably re-shared the data with hundreds of thousands of entities. 67 percent of public school apps were found to be sending data to third parties, which is 10 percent higher than private school apps.
Is there a connection between China, Bill Gates, YouTube, and DNA collection?
Recent reports reveal that a Chinese company with connections to the Gates Foundation is involved in COVID-19 testing and poses a potential threat to American privacy, particularly the medical and health data of those who have been tested for COVID-19.
In late January, CBS’ 60 Minutes reported:
“60 Minutes has learned Chinese company BGI Group, the largest biotech firm in the world, offered to build COVID labs in at least six states, and U.S. intelligence officials issued warnings not to share health data with BGI.
The largest biotech firm in the world wasted no time in offering to build and run COVID testing labs in Washington, contacting its governor right after the first major COVID outbreak in the U.S. occurred there. The Chinese company, the BGI Group, made the same offer to at least five other states, including New York and California, 60 Minutes has learned. This, along with other COVID testing offers by BGI, so worried Bill Evanina, then the country’s top counterintelligence officer, that he authorized a rare public warning.”
“Foreign powers can collect, store and exploit biometric information from COVID tests” declared the notice. Evanina believes the Chinese are trying to collect Americans’ DNA to win a race to control the world’s biodata.”
Evanina said a foreign entity could learn about a person’s current or future medical conditions by studying their DNA and using this information to gain a monopoly over necessary drugs and treatments.
BGI Group declined to be interviewed by 60 Minutes and said the idea that Americans genomic data has been compromised by BGI is “groundless”.
Concerns around BGI also arose in late January when Reuters reported that more than 40 publicly available documents and research papers show BGI’s links to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Reuters said the research dealt with topics as varied as mass testing for respiratory pathogens to brain science.
Back in April 2020, Big Tech firms Apple and Google released their frameworks for contact tracing in an effort to help governments track the coronavirus. When the frameworks were released, both the firms vehemently promised that user data, including their location information and data of whom all they’ve come in contact with, would remain private.
But the recent findings by a privacy analysis firm revealed otherwise.
Both Google and Apple stated that the data users share through their frameworks would be anonymized and shared with public health agencies only. Here’s what Google CEO Sundar Pichai said about the tool last year. “Our goal is to empower with another tool to help combat the virus while protecting user privacy.”
Banking on the promises made by the Big Tech firms, several million users ended up downloading apps built on the frameworks developed by Apple and Google.
The UK’s National Health Service app, Canada’s Digital Service COVID Alert app, and Virginia’s Department of Health’s COVIDWISE app were all built on the frameworks provided by Apple and Google.
While the NHS app has more than 15 million users, Canada’s COVID Alert app had over six million downloads in January alone.
Based on what the researchers at AppCensus, a privacy analysis firm, state, there was a privacy flaw in the Android version of contact tracing tools. What’s more, the researchers at AppCensus even ended up informing Google about it, but to no avail.