It’s a guide on… How to Keep Your Zoom Chats Private and Secure (WIRED)
I would recommend people consider safer and more private form of video conferencing, but if you are going to use Zoom, make sure you do it safely. A good way to do that is read and follow that guide.
Then read this: How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s On Tonight – The New York Times.
It’s a year old, but I highly doubt the problem has gone away. You may want to consider at least not buying from the brands listed. You may even go as far as having your TV unplugged when not watching it. For more tips, see this.
As you can see, this new drone (Micro Drone 3.0: Flight in the Palm of Your Hand, Indiegogo) is really small. Also relatively cheap. Like other IT, I expect personal drones will only get smaller and cheaper. The only limit will likely be how big they have to be in order not to get blown away.
I have heard people come up with innovative ways of using personal drones. For example, some home inspectors are using them to check out hard to reach parts of people’s house in order to see if they are in good shape or not. That’s great.
But there are going to be lots of other ways that people use them which may not be so desirable. The most obvious one is invading people’s privacy. It is one thing to inspect a house when no one is in it: it’s another to do so when someone lives there. Instead of prank phone calls, we’ll have prank drone visits.
How people protect their rights in such cases will be difficult. Drones will raise a number of legal questions. For example, what is your recourse if someone has a drone follow you around? Or if someone has a drone hovering in a public place outside your home? Can you fly a drone above an outdoor concert so you can record it? Can you attack drones that fly into your personal airspace? Will there be security drones that keep other drones off people’s property? If you post a video of a drone visit to a property on YouTube and someone uses that video to help them rob that property, are you an accomplice?
There has been some good work on drones being done by government agencies like Transport Canada, but I think the technology is going to challenge governments and courts to keep up. Expect to see more and more debate on drones in the coming months and years.
As far as this particular drone, Mashable has more on it here.
If you think this is alarming: Facebook also collects what you decide not to post, tech consultant warns – Technology & Science – CBC News, then I have more news for you.
Not only can Facebook do this, but they can do other things. For example, if they wanted to, they could track where you move your mouse, even if you don’t click on something, using technology like the kind mentioned here: web page mouse tracking – Google Search.
In fact, you don’t even have to go to Facebook to have them track you: Facebook Is Tracking Your Every Move on the Web; Here’s How to Stop It.
And if you use Facebook on your mobile phone, there’s potentially even more information they can track about you.
So, lots of reasons to be concerned. I all but avoid Facebook, but it is not an easy thing to do. In addition, I don’t think Facebook is the only one that does this. They seem to be just the most notorious.
Do you find it weird when you search for something, then go to other sites, and it seems like the product is following you around? Do you worry that sites are tracking information about you and you want to stop it?
I’d like to say there is an easy way to put an end to such tracking, but it doesn’t seem to be so. If anything, companies like Facebook, Google and others have a big financial interest in tracking you, regardless of what you think, and they are going to make it hard for you to put an end to it all.
That said, if you still want to take action, I recommend these links. They highlight tools you can use and steps you can take to limit tracking. You don’t have to be technical to read them, but you have to be comfortable making changes to your system.
- How to prevent Google from tracking you – CNET – this may be the best article that I read. Mostly focused on Google. There are useful links to tools in here and plugins you can use, like Disconnect and Ghostery. Somewhat technical.
- Facebook Is Tracking Your Every Move on the Web; Here’s How to Stop It – This Lifehacker article has more on how to deal with Facebook tracking you than Google, but it is also good.
- How to Stop Google, Facebook and Twitter From Tracking You – this piece from ReadWrite talks mostly about the Disconnect tool, but it does it in conjunction with discussion of some other tools. Seems less technical than the first two, if you found the first two links too hard to follow.
- How to Stop Google From Tracking You on the Web on NDTV Gadgets has tips that are more manual in nature, if you don’t want to download tools. Also some good information on how to deal with mobile phone tracking.
- Delete searches & browsing activity – Accounts Help via Google comes straight from the source of the tracking.
Some thoughts of my own:
- Consider using two browsers: one for your Google use (e.g. Chrome) and one for other uses (e.g. Firefox or Safari). The non-Google browser you can lock down with blockers and other tools, while the Google oriented browser could be limited to just what you need to integrate with Google.
- Avoid sites that track you, like Facebook.I know, it isn’t easy. If you have to go on Facebook — you get a call from a sibling asking why you haven’t commented on the new baby pictures there — limit yourself to a few thumbs up and leave it at that. (Knowing Facebook, they will still find a way to do something with even that data.)
- If you are really concerned, avoid Google altogether and use other search engines, like DuckDuckGo, and other email services, such as Outlook.com. There can still be tracking, but in theory this should make it harder.
- If you use any of tools, get into a habit of using them and keeping them up to date.
- Don’t forget to do the same thing on your mobile devices. Facebook can track your activity on your mobile phone, regardless of what you may be doing on the web. You can be tracked via apps just as easily as you can be tracked from your browser.
- If you do anything else, install the Disconnect plug in and then activate it and go to a newspaper site. You will be amazed just how much tracking is going on. (Also, you do NOT have to sign up for the premium version to get it working.)
Posted in advice, facebook, google, IT
Tagged advice, browsers, computers, Facebook, google, privacy, tracking, twitter
I’ve been seeing this showing up on Twitter alot lately:
And so I had two questions: 1) is this new? 2) and can Dropbox do this? I found the answers here: About that Dropbox DMCA thing … | Android Central. The short answers are 1) no 2) yes. (Click through the link for the details.)
Dropbox is a great tool for sharing files, provided they are yours. Always remember: the Dropbox folder is not “yours”, even if the files you place there are. (And if they are not your files, then you have another set of problems.)
If your files are important, I recommend you don’t make Dropbox your one and only place to store them. The more important files are to you, the more backups you should have.