DuckDuckGo Publishes List of Privacy Tools for Remote Work

Earlier this month I wrote an article covering five private Zoom alternatives. Today DuckDuckGo published a similar list, although it’s not focused on Zoom. I think it’s a good list.

As a remote-first Internet privacy company, we firmly believe that working outside of a traditional office setting should not compromise your privacy. To that end, we’ve rounded up some useful privacy-respecting tools and important settings that you can confidently utilize while working remotely.

Zoom Meetings Aren’t Encrypted End-to-End, Despite Marketing

Along with recent news that Zoom sent your data to Facebook (although it stopped) now we learn that its video calls don’t use end-to-end encryption, despite the company marketing it as such.

…But despite this misleading marketing, the service actually does not support end-to-end encryption for video and audio content, at least as the term is commonly understood. Instead it offers what is usually called transport encryption, explained further below.

It just keeps getting worse for Zoom. It’s unfortunate the company has chosen such tactics, because it really is one of the better video calling apps out there.

Why is Zoom Sending Our Data to Facebook?

As people are required to work from home, apps like Zoom help us with video conferencing. But why is the iOS app sending our data to Facebook?

Upon downloading and opening the app, Zoom connects to Facebook’s Graph API, according to Motherboard’s analysis of the app’s network activity. The Graph API is the main way developers get data in or out of Facebook. The Zoom app notifies Facebook when the user opens the app, details on the user’s device such as the model, the time zone and city they are connecting from, which phone carrier they are using, and a unique advertiser identifier created by the user’s device which companies can use to target a user with advertisements.

I’ll add this to my #DeleteFBSDK endeavors.

The FBI is Collecting Your Data Through its ‘FitTest’ App

The FBI has been promoting its fitness app called FitTest to help people exercise at home. It’s also collecting your data.

…an FBI spokesperson reiterated the app’s privacy statement, adding that “the app does not gather or save any personal information other than what you select for your profile.”

But the app’s privacy statement makes room for some tracking: When FitTest accesses pages from the official FBI website, it says, “fbi.gov’s privacy policy applies.” The fbi.gov privacy policy states that “individuals using this computer system are subject to having all of their activities monitored and recorded.”

I can’t wait for the FBIPhone and FBIMessage apps.

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited Adds DNS Firewall for Customers

KeepSolid’s VPN Unlimited added a new feature for its customers. This DNS firewall can block domains associated with malware, porn, drugs and alcohol, gambling, games, and more.

This benefit of KeepSolid DNS Firewall is closely connected with the previous one. If you don’t open a malicious website, you won’t get infected with malware. Better prevent than cure, agree? And there is really much to avoid, as malware attacks are exponentially increasing over time.

Great news for KeepSolid customers. And if you’re not a customer, I recommend reading my roundup of DNS services to use.

Lawyers: Turn off Alexa and Google Home Before Confidential Meetings

Lawyers who are working from home are encouraged to turn off devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home because these products may eavesdrop.

“Perhaps we’re being slightly paranoid, but we need to have a lot of trust in these organizations and these devices,” Hancock said. “We’d rather not take those risks.”

The firm worries about the devices being compromised, less so with name-brand products like Alexa, but more so for cheap knock-off devices, he added.

It’s definitely not just cheap knock-offs.