Apple Shares New Privacy Video About Over-Sharing

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Apple uploaded a funny privacy ad for the iPhone on Thursday. With the song “Diamonds Cutting Diamonds” by Lydia Ainsworth in the background, the commercial follows various people as they share private information to strangers, like their credit card number, “I browsed eight sites for divorce attorneys today,” and  “I hate Lee, puke emoji” (As he sits right behind her). Apple includes a link to its privacy page in the video description.

News Publishers Consider Abandoning iOS Over Privacy Feature

· Andrew Orr · Link

Over at The Verge, Casey Newton wrote about the increasingly heated battle between Apple and advertisers. There are a couple of tidbits I wanted to comment on.

If you believe that free, ad-supported news is beneficial to a healthy democracy, it’s worth noting that all these pro-privacy changes come at a cost.

Free is great, free news is greater, and transparency is greatest. I believe discussing a healthy democracy involves advocating for open source software, which would necessitate a stance against Apple. So I don’t disagree, and as Mr. Newton notes, we need strong privacy laws as well. He also shares an interesting link to Vox, in which some news publishers are considering abandoning iOS if they can’t monetize their users.

This ‘Clear Clipboard’ Shortcut Empties Your Clipboard Automatically

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Redditor u/SpamSencer created a Clear Clipboard shortcut that does exactly what the name says: It automatically clears your clipboard. With iOS 14 Apple introduced a feature that shows when an app accesses the clipboard, like TikTok and Microsoft. You could even set it up as an automation so that whenever you open any app of your choosing, the shortcut will run (an iOS 14 feature). You’ll just have to painstakingly tap on every app you have installed if you choose to automate it.

Instagram: Please Give Us Your Government ID

· Andrew Orr · Link

Instagram will start asking “suspicious accounts” to verify their identity with a government ID. Instagram claims this will help users understand when accounts are “attempting to mislead their followers” although it’s not clear what kind of behavior the Facebook-owned company thinks is suspicious. One reason is shared: If most of your followers are in a different country than you.

IDs will be stored securely and deleted within 30 days once our review is completed, and won’t be shared on the person’s profile as pseudonymity is still an important part of Instagram.

Secret Service Purchased ‘Location X’ Product to Track Phones

· Andrew Orr · Link

A Secret Service document reveals the purchase of “Location X” a product that uses location data harvested from apps. The product is from a company called Babel Street. If that name sounds familiar it’s because two employees left the company to form “Anomaly Six” another location tracking company.

“The purpose of this modification is to add 1 licenses [sic] to CLIN 0003 and incorporate the Master Subscription Agreement and Locate X Addendum as attached,” the contract document reads. Motherboard obtained the document through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

NSA Publishes Guide to Limit Location Data Exposure

· Andrew Orr · Link

The NSA recently published a guide on how to limit location data exposure on your devices. Direct link to the PDF here.

The guidelines are geared more for government officials, but the advice itself can be useful for those hoping to stop sending so much location data to tech companies, ad firms, or apps that may then expose it later.

It’s a useful guide, albeit strict.

Twitter Could be Fined up to $250 Million Over Privacy Violations

· Andrew Orr · Link

Twitter logo

Since October 2019 the FTC has been investigating Twitter over its use of personal data for targeted ads. Twitter has set aside US$150 million for the minimum fine amount but it could possibly reach up to US$250 million.

If it’s preparing for an unfavorable outcome, that’s probably because it’s not the first tech company that’s had to face the same allegations from the FTC. Facebook previously had to pay $5 billion for several privacy missteps, including the use of people’s phone numbers, provided for security purposes, for its ad business.

Companies Like Doordash Share Your Purchases With Facebook

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Thomas Smith dug into his Facebook settings and downloaded a copy of his data. In a section introduced this year called Off Facebook Activity, he found that companies like Doordash send data about your purchases to Facebook.

If you’ve bought an item on myriad e-commerce websites, made a donation to a political campaign, used any of several hundred participating apps, or, in my case, bought a wildly expensive bubble tea, there’s a good chance Facebook knows about it. What are they doing with this knowledge? Again, it’s pretty clear. It’s there so it can “show you more relevant ads,” “help you discover new businesses and brands,” and the like.

He also sounds incredibly guilty for buying bubble tea through Doordash.

TestFlight Beta for NextDNS iOS 14 is Here

· Andrew Orr · Link

nextdns logo

NextDNS for iOS 14 is now available as a TestFlight beta. It uses the encrypted DNS feature introduced with iOS 14.

The first beta of NextDNS for iOS 14 is now available at:

This version uses the new Encrypted DNS feature of iOS 14, removing the need for the fake-VPN trick used in iOS 13 and below.

The new iOS 14 feature means three things. First, DNS apps will no longer need to set up a fake VPN profile for you to use the service. Second, these DNS settings will work over cellular, whereas in the past it would only work over Wi-Fi unless you used said fake VPN profile. Third, this means that if you have a real VPN app, you can set it to use the OpenVPN protocol. Because of the fake VPN profile created by DNS apps, you had to use the IKEv2 VPN protocol if you wanted to use the VPN and DNS apps at the same time.