Edison Mail Uses Your Emails For Market Research

Popular Apple Mail alternative Edison Mail scans your emails for market research so companies can make “better investment decisions” among other uses.

On its website Edison says that it does “process” users’ emails, but some users did not know that when using the Edison app the company scrapes their inbox for profit. Motherboard has also obtained documentation that provides more specifics about how two other popular apps—Cleanfox and Slice—sell products based on users’ emails to corporate clients.

I did write about Edison Mail coming to the Mac last year, and noted that the company calls it “interesting research.”

Not Wanting Surveillance Competition, Facebook Tells Clearview AI to Back Off

Last month, we got word that a company called Clearview AI helped law enforcement with its facial recognition technology. Now, Facebook and Google, which also use facial recognition, told Clearview AI to stop scraping images from each one’s website.

Ton-That argued that his firm’s work is protected by the First Amendment and also that Clearview doesn’t do anything Google doesn’t.

“The way we have built our system is to only take publicly available information and index it that way,” he said.

Ton-That added, “Google can pull in information from all different websites… So if it’s public and it’s out there and could be inside Google search engine, it can be inside ours as well.”

Avast Probably Isn't The Only Antivirus Company Selling User Data

In today’s episode of The Mac Observer‘s Daily Observations podcast, Kelly and I did our Security Friday. We talked about two security articles this week, and answered a reader’s question about antivirus programs. I mentioned that people shouldn’t use Avast since it was revealed they collected and sold user data. Now, in the irony of ironies, I got an email today from someone offering me Trend Micro user data.

We have an updated contact list of Trend Micro Users, which can support your marketing campaigns. The database will have access to complete contact information of Trend Micro Users including Emails, Phone number, Mailing address and other relevant data fields. Please let me know your interest in acquiring the list and I will get back to you with counts and pricing. Also, let me know if you are interested in acquiring similar technology users contact list.

That’s a no from me, fam.

Wacom Tablets Track Your Open Apps, Sending the Data to Google

Software engineer Robert Heaton discovered that his Wacom tablet was tracking every app he opened and sending that data to Google Analytics.

I suspect that Wacom doesn’t really think that it’s acceptable to record the name of every application I open on my personal laptop. I suspect that this is why their privacy policy doesn’t really admit that this is what that they do. I imagine that if pressed they would argue that the name of every application I open on my personal laptop falls into one of their broad buckets like “aggregate data” or “technical session information”, although it’s not immediately obvious to me which bucket.

Kids Need End-to-End Encryption for Protection Against Corporations

In a report from the Financial Times (paywall), a letter signed by 129 non-profits, think tanks, and academics urge Facebook to reconsider encrypting its apps. They use the “think of the children” argument because encryption could enable more child sexual abuse. But Justin Myles Holmes says we should think of the children and enable end-to-end encryption for them, so their data isn’t used and abused by corporations precisely like Facebook.

If we fail to take action now, we risk a world in which unsavory actors – domestic and foreign – have built rich, comprehensive profiles for every one of our children, following the trajectories of their education, home life, consumer habits, health, and on and on.  These profiles will then be used to manipulate their behavior not only as consumers, but as voters and participants in all those corners of society which, in order for freedom and justice to prevail, require instead that these kids mature into functional, free-thinking adults.

Apple’s Commitment to Privacy is Going Down the Drain

Vicki Boykis wrote yesterday about Apple’s privacy, current flaws, and how the company should do better (I agree!)

So, here we are, in 2020, with Apple in a bit of a pickle. It’s becoming so big that it’s not prioritizing security. At the same time, it needs to advertise privacy as a key differentiator as consumer tastes change. And, at the same time, it’s about to get canclled [sic] by the FBI, China, and Russia.

And while it’s thinking over all of these things, it’s royally screwing over the consumer who came in search of a respite from being tracked.

FCC Unsure Whether to Punish Carriers for Selling Location Data

Two years ago we found out that US carriers were selling real-time location data of its customers. The FCC has wrapped up its investigation, and maybe it will punish the carriers…or maybe not. Who knows? Chairman Ajit Pai doesn’t.

Pai’s statement went on: “Accordingly, in the coming days, I intend to circulate to my fellow Commissioners for their consideration one or more Notice(s) of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in connection with the apparent violation(s). We are unable to provide additional information about any pending enforcement action(s) beyond what is stated in the letter.”

If that seems unusual vague: that “one or more” mobile operators “apparently violated” the law by selling location data, you’re not the only one.