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Google Is Tracking Your Purchases; See What Gmail Knows

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Google has tracking what you buy through your Gmail inbox and storing them in a Google Account page that was a secret. This purchase tracking has gone on for several years before being discovered. A list is created of your online shopping history that can stretch back five years. Google claims it is doing this to help its users keep track of everything they’ve purchased in one place — but people are seeing this as an invasion of privacy. Google says and has promised that you’re the only one who can see this data.

Here’s what you can do to delete the info Google has stored.

1. Google tracks multiple email types through Gmail, including purchases, payments, subscription services and reservations, say for hotels, cars and airline tickets. To view and manage them, start by navigating to https://myaccount.google.com/.

2. Select Payments & subscriptions.

3. From here, you can click into each grouping. You can view items here, which could include a subscription to YouTube or Google Photos.

4. Click into each item and tap “Remove reservation,” “Remover purchase” and so on to delete anything you don’t want stored in your Gmail account.

Manage your web and app activity

Your Web and App Activity includes searches through Google, Maps and Play. This is how you can update your settings. You’ll be able to pause activity from being recorded and delete anything that has been saved — especially private information.

1. Visit https://myaccount.google.com/.

2. Select Data & personalization.

3. Tap or click Manage your activity controls.

4. From here, you can turn off and delete activity being saved to Google. Even if you’re not online, Google is still able to keep track of your activity and will sync the data once you’re online, so keep your Web & App Activity off if you want to keep things private.

 

PRIVACY

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The first American Census was posted publicly, for logistics reasons, more than anything else. Transparency was the best way to ensure every citizen could inspect it for accuracy.

Privacy-conscious citizen did find more traction with what would become perhaps America’s first privacy law, the 1710 Post Office Act, which banned sorting through the mail by postal employees.

“I’ll say no more on this head, but When I have the Pleasure to See you again, shall Inform you of many Things too tedious for a Letter and which perhaps may fall into Ill hands, for I know there are many at Boston who dont Scruple to Open any Persons letters, but they are well known here.” ~ Dr. Oliver Noyes, lamenting the well-known fact that mail was often read.

This fact did not stop the mail’s popularity

Gilded Age: 1840–1950 — Privacy Becomes The Expectation

“Privacy is a distinctly modern product” ~ E.L. Godkin, 1890

“In The Mirror, 1890” by Auguste Toulmouche

By the time the industrial revolution began serving up material wealth to the masses, officials began recognizing privacy as the default setting of human life.

 

For the poor, however, life was still very much on display. The famous 20th-century existentialist philosopher Jean Paul-Satre observed the poor streets of Naples:

Crowded apartment dwellers spill on to the streets

“The ground floor of every building contains a host of tiny rooms that open directly onto the street and each of these tiny rooms contains a family…they drag tables and chairs out into the street or leave them on the threshold, half outside, half inside…outside is organically linked to inside…yesterday i saw a mother and a father dining outdoors, while their baby slept in a crib next to the parents’ bed and an older daughter did her homework at another table by the light of a kerosene lantern…if a woman falls ill and stays in bed all day, it’s open knowledge and everyone can see her.”

Insides of houses were no less cramped:


The “Right To Privacy “ is born


While architecture failed to keep up with society, it was during the Gilded Age that privacy was officially acknowledged as a political right.

“The intensity and complexity of life, attendant upon advancing civilization, have rendered necessary some retreat from the world, and man, under the refining influence of culture, has become more sensitive to publicity, so that solitude and privacy have become more essential to the individual; but modern enterprise and invention have, through invasions upon his privacy, subjected him to mental pain and distress, far greater than could be inflicted by mere bodily injury.” ~ “The Right To Privacy” ~ December 15, 1890, Harvard Law Review

Interestingly enough, the right to privacy was justified on the very grounds for which it is now so popular: technology’s encroachment on personal information.

However, the father of the right to privacy and future Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis, was ahead of his time. His seminal article did not get much press—and the press it did get wasn’t all that glowing.

The feelings of these thin-skinned Americans are doubtless at the bottom of an article in the December number of the Harvard Law Review, in which two members of the Boston bar have recorded the results of certain researches into the question whether Americans do not possess a common-law right of privacy which can be successfully defended in the courts. ~ Galveston Daily News on ‘The Right To Privacy’

Privacy had not helped America up to this point in history. Brazen invasions into the public’s personal communications had been instrumental in winning the Civil War.

A request for wiretapping

This is a letter from the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, requesting broad authority over telegraph lines; Lincoln simply scribbled on the back “The Secretary of War has my authority to exercise his discretion in the matter within mentioned. A. LINCOLN.”

It wasn’t until the industry provoked the ire of a different president that information privacy was codified into law. President Grover Cleveland had a wife who was easy on the eyes. And, easy access to her face made it ideal for commercial purposes.

The rampant use of President Grover Cleveland’s wife, Frances, on product advertisements, eventually led to the one of the nation’s first privacy laws. The New York legislature made it a penalty to use someone’s unauthorized likeness for commercial purposes in 1903, for a fine of up to $1,000.

Indeed, for most of the 19th century, privacy was practically upheld as a way of maintaining a man’s ownership over his wife’s public and private life — including physical abuse.

“We will not inflict upon society the greater evil of raising the curtain upon domestic privacy, to punish the lesser evil of trifling violence”~ 1868, State V. Rhodes, wherein the court decided the social costs of invading privacy was not greater than that of wife beating.


The Technology of Individualism

The first 150 years of American life saw an explosion of information technology, from the postcard to the telephone. As each new communication method gave a chance to peek at the private lives of strangers and neighbors, Americans often (reluctantly) chose whichever technology was either cheaper or more convenient.

Privacy was a secondary concern.

“There is a lady who conducts her entire correspondence through this channel. She reveals secrets supposed to be the most pro- found, relates misdemeanors and indiscretions with a reckless disregard of the consequences. Her confidence is unbounded in the integrity of postmen and bell-boys, while the latter may be seen any morning, sitting on the doorsteps of apartment houses, making merry over the post-card correspondence.” ~ Editor, the Atlantic Monthly, on Americas of love of postcards, 1905

Even though postcards were far less private, they were convenient. More than 200,000 postcards were ordered in the first two hours they were offered in New York City, on May 15, 1873.

Source: American Privacy: The 400-year History of Our Most Contested Right

The next big advance in information technology, the telephone, was a wild success in the early 20th century. However, individual telephone lines were prohibitively expensive; instead, neighbors shared one line, known as “party lines.” Commercial ads urged neighbors to use the shared technology with “courtesy”.

But, as this comic shows, it was common to eavesdrop.

“Party lines could destroy relationships…if you were dating someone on the party line and got a call from another girl, well, the jig was up. Five minutes after you hung up, everybody in the neighborhood — including your girlfriend — knew about the call. In fact, there were times when the girlfriend butted in and chewed both the caller and the callee out. Watch what you say.” ~ Author, Donnie Johnson


Where convenience and privacy found a happy co-existence, individualized gadgets flourished. Listening was not always an individual act. The sheer fact that audio was a form of broadcast made listening to conversations and music a social activity.

This all changed with the invention of the headphone.

“The triumph of headphones is that they create, in a public space, an oasis of privacy”~ The Atlantic’s libertarian columnist, Derek Thompson.

Late 20th Century — Fear of a World Without Privacy

By the 60’s, individualized phones, rooms, and homes became the norm. 100 years earlier, when Lincoln tapped all telegraph lines, few raised any questions. In the new century, invasive surveillance would bring down Lincoln’s distant successor, even though his spying was far less pervasive.

Upon entering office, the former Vice-President assured the American people that their privacy was safe.

“As Vice President, I addressed myself to the individual rights of Americans in the area of privacy…There will be no illegal tappings, eavesdropping, bugging, or break-ins in my administration. There will be hot pursuit of tough laws to prevent illegal invasions of privacy in both government and private activities.” ~ Gerald Ford

Justice Brandeis had finally won

2,000 A.D. and beyond — a grand reversal

In the early 2,000s, young consumers were willing to purchase a location tracking feature that was once the stuff of 1984 nightmares.

“The magic age is people born after 1981…That’s the cut-off for us where we see a big change in privacy settings and user acceptance.” ~ Loopt Co-Founder Sam Altman, who pioneered paid geo-location features.

The older generations’ fear of transparency became a subject of mockery.

“My grandma always reminds me to turn my GPS off a few blocks before I get home “so that the man giving me directions doesn’t know where I live.” ~ a letter to the editor of College Humor’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand” series.


Increased urban density and skyrocketing rents in the major cities has put pressure on communal living.

A co-living space in San Francisco / Source: Sarah Buhr, TechCrunch

“We’re seeing a shift in consciousness from hyper-individualistic to more cooperative spaces…We have a vision to raise our families together.” ~ Jordan Aleja Grader, San Francisco resident

At the more extreme ends, a new crop of so-called “life bloggers” publicize intimate details about their days:

Blogger Robert Scoble takes A picture with Google Glass in the shower

At the edges of transparency and pornography, anonymous exhibitionism finds a home on the web, at the wildly popular content aggregator, Reddit, in the aptly titled community “Gone Wild”.

Section II: How privacy will again fade away

For 3,000 years, most people have been perfectly willing to trade privacy for convenience, wealth or fame. It appears this is still true today.

AT&T recently rolled out a discounted broadband internet service, where customers could pay a mere $30 more a month to not have their browsing behavior tracked online for ad targeting.

“Since we began offering the service more than a year ago the vast majority have elected to opt-in to the ad-supported model.” ~ AT&T spokeswoman Gretchen Schultz (personal communication)

Performance artist Risa Puno managed to get almost half the attendees at an Brooklyn arts festival to trade their private data (image, fingerprints, or social security number) for a delicious cinnamon cookie. Some even proudly tweeted it out.

Tourists on Hollywood Blvd willing gave away their passwords to on live TV for a split-second of TV fame on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Info retreived from Medium Digest

Senators Say “Smart TV’s Are Invading Privacy

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Two Democratic US senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate privacy problems related to Internet-connected televisions.

“Many Internet-connected smart TVs are equipped with sophisticated technologies that can track the content users are watching and then use that information to tailor and deliver targeted advertisements to consumers,” Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote in a letter yesterday to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons.

It would be up to Congress to pass new laws for smart TVs. But the FTC can punish companies for unfair and deceptive business practices. Action was taken against smart TV manufacturer Vizio last year.

 

Facebook’s Bug Made Private Posts Public

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Facebook recently announced that a bug made the posts of 14 million users public without their knowledge. A small software bug with big consequences. When you make a post to Facebook, it always asks who should see the post: your posts can be public, only visible to friends, only visible to certain friends, or only visible to you. Usually, Facebook remembers whatever you last set this to, automatically publishing your posts to the same audience you did last time. This bug caused the setting to default to posting publicly, many Facebook users probably didn’t notice.

Although you could still manually change the setting so anything you posted was private, you would have to notice that the default had changed. And since no one knew Facebook was making privacy changes, it was easy to miss. That means you could have made some of your private thoughts public.

The issue only affected posts from May 18 to May 27, 2018, and didn’t affect posts made before or after. But that’s was still enough time for 14 million users to have made public posts — some of which were surely unintentional.

It’s a good idea to browse through your profile and make sure no posts in May were accidentally made public.

Hackers Want 2.6 Million Or Else

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Equifax was hacked and they have information on 143 million Americans. The supposed hackers have made their demands of Equifax. The hackers are asking for over 600 Bitcoin – that much Bitcoin amounts to $2.66USD million. The hackers claim that if Equifax pay up , they will delete all of the data. Equifax has until September 15th to pay up.

The hackers have told Equifax to request any part of the stolen data and they will show it to them to prove that they’re legitimate.The hackers have given Equifax until September 15 to pay the ransom or the data will be publicized.

A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed against Equifax Inc. late Thursday evening, shortly after the company reported that an unprecedented hack had compromised the private information of about 143 million people.

A complaint was filed in Portland, Ore., federal court, users alleged Equifax was negligent in failing to protect consumer data, choosing to save money instead of spending on technical safeguards that could have stopped the attack. Data revealed included Social Security numbers, addresses, driver’s license data, and birth dates. Some credit card information was also put at risk.

Spyware Apps That Sneaked Its Way Into Google Play & Spy On Users

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Soniac was one of the three apps found on Google Play, according to a blog post published Thursday by a researcher from mobile security firm Lookout. The app, which had from 1,000 to 5,000 downloads before Google removed it.  Soniac had the ability to record audio, take phones, make calls, send text messages, and retrieve logs, contacts, and information about Wi-Fi access points. Google ejected the app after Lookout reported it as malicious. Two other apps—one called Hulk Messenger and the other Troy Chat—were also available in Play but were later removed. It’s not clear if the developer withdrew the apps or if Google expelled them after discovering their spying capabilities.  The apps are all part of a malware family Lookout calls SonicSpy.

Once installed, SonicSpy apps remove their launcher icon to hide their presence and then establish a connection to the control server located on port 2222 of arshad93.ddns[.]net.

The researcher said SonicSpy has similarities to another malicious app family called SpyNote, which security firm Palo Alto Networks reported last year. The name of the developer account—iraqwebservice—and several traits found in the apps’ code suggest the developer is located in Iraq. Additionally, much of the domain infrastructure associated with SonicSpy has references to that country. The phrase “Iraqian Shield” appears constantly. Lookout is continuing to follow leads suggesting the developer is based in that part of the world.

FBI Alerts Parents On Toys With Cloud Backed Features

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The FBI say, many toys sporting cloud-backed features such as speech recognition or online content hosting “could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that may be unwittingly disclosed.

“Security safeguards for these toys can be overlooked in the rush to market them and to make them easy to use,” the FBI warns. “Consumers should perform online research of these products for any known issues that have been identified by security researchers or in consumer reports.”

This comes after a number of kids’ toys were found to be indirectly spying on kids by collecting and storing data, including audio conversations and personal information, without parents’ knowledge.

My Friend Cayla and i-Que robot

Germany’s Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur, has banned Genesis Toys’ Cayla doll as an illegal surveillance device.

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