AirGuard Lets You Detect AirTags on Android Smartphones

Android owners, this one is for you. AirGuard lets you detect AirTags on Android so you won’t get secretly tracked like we’ve been hearing about in the news. You can download it from Google Play, F-Droid, or straight from the GitHub page linked below. From the page: “With AirGuard you get the anti-tracking protection you deserve! The app periodically scans your surroundings for potential tracking devices, like AirTags or other Find My devices. If a devices follows you, you will get a notification in less than an hour. With the app you can play a sound on AirTags and find it easily. Afterward, you can view at which locations the device has tracked you. If no one is trying to track you, the app will never bother you.

This Decentralized Messenger Claims to be Quantum-Resistant

There’s a new decentralized messenger app on the market called xx messenger. Developed by cryptographic pioneer David Chaum, it claims to be resistant against quantum decryption. “The question is when, not if, quantum computers will enable governments to decode communications already collected from popular messaging apps. Messages sent from now on over any other messenger will be easily retroactively decoded and analyzed by artificial intelligence. However, xx messenger is built on the only quantum-resistant blockchain (xx network), so all of what you say in xx messenger will remain private.

Google Topics Will Categorize Your Browsing for Advertising

Google Topics will track your browsing and divvy it up into 300 categories for advertising. It replaces Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC).

When you hit upon a site that supports the Topics API for ad purposes, the browser will share three topics you are interested in — one for each of the three last weeks — selected randomly from your top five topics of each week. The site can then share this with its advertising partners to decide which ads to show you. Ideally, this would make for a more private method of deciding which ad to show you — and Google notes that it also provides users with far greater control and transparency than what’s currently the standard. Users will be able to review and remove topics from their lists — and turn off the entire Topics API, too.

 

ProtonMail Now Blocks Tracking Pixels and Hides Your IP address

ProtonMail now blocks tracking pixels and hides your IP address, the company announced on Wednesday. The web app is mentioned so these features may not be present in the mobile apps.

By default, ProtonMail on the web now protects your privacy by: Blocking tracking pixels commonly found in newsletters and promotional emails, preventing senders from spying on your mail. Hiding your IP address from third parties so your location remains private.

Update: A ProtonMail spokesperson confirmed that this is indeed only for the web app, and expanding it to the mobile apps is part of development plans.

Cloud Platform 'Cryptee' Now Warns You of Insecure URLs

The team behind Cryptee, an end-to-end encrypted platform for documents and photos, announced new features for 2022. One in particular caught my eye.

We’ve improved our URL boxes on mobile. Cryptee can now intelligently detect and warn you if your links are insecure. (i.e. using “http” instead of “https”) All insecure links are automatically highlighted yellow, and all secure links are highlighted green.

Mozilla 'Pixel Hunt 'Study Aims to Track Facebook Tracking You

Mozilla is launching a study called Facebook Pixel Hunt. The goal is to track Facebook tracking around the web.

According to its own privacy policy, Facebook may collect information about you across the web even if you don’t have a Facebook account. One way Facebook performs this tracking is through a network of “pixels” that may be installed on many of the sites you visit. By joining this study, you will help Rally and The Markup investigate and report on where Facebook is tracking you and what kind of information they are collecting.

T-Mobile Blocks iCloud Private Relay for Customers in United States

It appears that carriers in the U.S. and aboard aren’t happy with iCloud Private Relay. The setting, released with iOS 15, likely interferes with surveillance of customers. A report from 9To5Mac says that T-Mobile has begun blocking the feature.

The change does not appear to be network-wide just yet, but rather it appears T-Mobile is in the process of rolling it out. This means that some users might still be able to use iCloud Private Relay when connected to their cellular network – at least for now.

Very shady behavior. I haven’t been using Private Relay because it overrides my DNS. The good news is that carriers can’t prevent you from changing your DNS settings.

Swiss Army Seeks Private Messenger 'Threema' Over WhatsApp

Switzerland’s army told its soldiers not to use foreign messengers such as WhatsApp, due to privacy concerns. Instead, the recommendation is to use private messenger Threema, a Swiss app.

Army spokeswoman Delphine Schwab-Allemand, in an e-mail on Wednesday confirming reports on the issue in Swiss media, seemed to soften the army’s position, saying that there was a “recommendation” that troops use Threema. It took effect on Jan. 1. She added that the army cannot and does not want to tell troops to use a particular app on their private devices.