Amazon's Echo Show, FBI's iPhone Hack Price Tag - TMO Daily Observations 2017-05-09

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

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Amazon unveiled its Echo Show, and it has a display. Bryan Chaffin and the Maccast’s Adam Christianson join Jeff Gamet to share their reactions to Amazon’s newest Alexa device. They also have some thoughts on the unintended confirmation that the FBI paid $900,000 for the San Bernardino iPhone hack, plus Bryan coins “I’m gonna up that up.”

FBI Paid $900K for San Bernardino iPhone Hack

· Jeff Gamet · News

Cellebrite's servers hit with data breach

The FBI refused to ever share how much it paid for the hack into San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone, but thanks to Senator Diane Feinstein we now know the price was US$900,000. The Senator accidentally spilled the beans during a Judiciary Committee meeting on accessing encrypted data on smartphones and personal computers.

Senator Feinstein Revives Encryption Back Door Bill with FBI Support

· Jeff Gamet · Analysis

Senator Diane Feinstein pushes law requiring tech companies to give law enforcement access to our private encrypted data and communications

Senator Dianne Feinstein is dusting off her bill aimed at forcing technology companies to give the U.S. government access to the encrypted data on our smartphones, tablets, and computers. FBI Director James Comey is on board with her plan saying the inability to access our encrypted data is a major security threat to the country.

Meet the Man Who Wants to Use His Personal Tragedy to Screw Us All with Textalyzer

· Bryan Chaffin · The Back Page

An iPhone being used in the dark

Meet Ben Lieberman of New Castle, NY. He suffered a horrific tragedy in 2011 when his 19 year old son was killed by someone texting-while-driving. Powered by his personal loss, Mr. Lieberman is on a crusade to dramatically amp up the power of the police to search your smartphone without a warrant.

Textalyzer's Privacy Threat, Wi-Fi Security Tip - TMO Daily Observations 2017-05-01

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

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Tragedies can lead to a push for new laws, but sometimes that legislation leads to unintended consequences. Bryan Chaffin and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet share their thoughts on Textalyzer and giving police access to our smartphone activity for accident investigations. Dave also has a tip for easily improving Wi-Fi network security.

Use Google Without Tracking in StartPage

· Jeff Butts · Cool Stuff Found

I might have found my new favorite search engine. I like DuckDuckGo for its privacy, but folks have raised concerns about its US-based location. I’m also not happy that it doesn’t actually deliver Google search results. Instead, it serves up its own. StartPage, on the other hand, delivers actual Google search results in absolute privacy. It’s Google without tracking. They do this by submitting your query to Google stripped of identifying information. You even get a free proxy with every result. So, you can visit a third-party website without your internet service provider knowing about it. Even better, StartPage doesn’t track your searches or log your IP address. It’s such a privacy-minded search engine that it consistently meets or exceeds the requirements of EuroPriSe. Even Edward Snowden recommended it. Plus, StartPage offers many of the same tools as a normal Google search. This includes refining your results to only show images or videos. If a search engine can be sexy, this one sure is.

Use Google Without Tracking in StartPage

Twitter, Instagram, and Others Agree to Pay $5.3 Million for Privacy Obnoxiousness

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Several social media companies have agreed to a US$5.3 million settlement for being obnoxious about user privacy. The suit stems from 2012, when Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, Foursquare, Kik, Path, Gowalla, and Foodspotting all took advantage of the way iOS worked at the time. More specifically, these companies sucked up our Contacts without telling us. iOS later required user permission to access our Contacts. The settlement was reported by Law360, who said the $5.3 million would be used to pay out damages to people who downloaded the above-mentioned apps between 2009 and 2012. What that means is the attorneys in the case get a phat paycheck, the companies get a slap on the wrist, and the millions of users who downloaded those apps will get pennies. Yay!

Twitter, Instagram, and Others Agree to Pay $5.3 Million for Privacy Obnoxiousness

TMO Staff Share their Favorite VPN Services

· Jeff Gamet · News

The Mac Observer staff shares their favorite VPN, or virtual private network, services

Thanks to a new law green lighting ISPs selling our personal web browsing data, along with restrictions prohibiting the FCC from stopping the activity, there’s a lot of talk about VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks. With so many VPN services to choose from it’s hard to decide which is best for you, so I asked the TMO staff what they rely on.

Now Would Be a Great Time for an Apple VPN

· Bryan Chaffin · The Back Page

If Apple Operated a VPN

There are many things Bryan Chaffin wishes Apple would release. Streaming TV, a smarthome hub, new freaking Macs, the list goes on. But something new on his mind is an Apple owned and operated virtual private network (VPN). He explains why this would be a welcome port in the storm of surveillance capitalism.

5 Things to Consider when Evaluating a VPN for Privacy

· Andrew Orr · Deep Dive

Yesterday we explained what a VPN is and covered the benefits of using one. Today we’re examining how to figure out if you have a trustworthy VPN provider. In place of your ISP, your VPN provider receives your browsing data, and it’s good to shop around and compare privacy policies. Andrew Orr tells us what to look out for.

What Is A VPN, And How Can It Help You?

· Andrew Orr · Deep Dive

Now that Congress have chosen to allow ISPs to sell your data, many people are turning to VPNs to help. But you may not know how VPNs work, or how a VPN can help you browse the web safely. In this article Andrew Orr explores the technical details and gives you our VPN recommendations.

Internet Privacy and VPNs - TMO Daily Observations 2017-03-30

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

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The Federal law allowing ISPs to sell our browser history without our consent passed both the House and Senate and is on its way to the White House. Dave Hamilton and Bryan Chaffin join Jeff Gamet to look at what that means for our privacy and they explain why you might want to use a VPN.

Congress Says ISPs Can Sell Your Browser History on Party Line Vote

· Bryan Chaffin · Analysis

MacBook with a Spying Eye

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to sell you out to ISPs. More specifically, they voted to allow your ISP to sell you, your data, and your browsing history to anyone it wants. The House did so in a largely-party line vote that saw Republicans siding with large corporations against you.

Britain's Home Secretary Pushes for Encryption Back Door

· Jeff Gamet · Analysis

Cellebrite's servers hit with data breach

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd says it’s time for technology companies to give law enforcement a way to decrypt private communications because terrorists shouldn’t have a way to secretly chat. Her comments come in the wake of a terrorist attack in London where five people were killed.

UK Anti-encryption Push, Woz at Startup World Cup - TMO Daily Observations 2017-03-27

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

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There’s a new government call to for tech companies to let law enforcement bypass our security and encryption, but this time it’s from the United Kingdom. Bryan Chaffin and Jeff Butts join Jeff Gamet to look at the ramifications if the U.K. forces the issue, plus Bryan fills us in on Steve Wozniak’s presentation at Startup World Cup.

Breaking News: Google Home Users Upset when Google Does Google

· Bryan Chaffin · The Back Page

Google Home, Now with More Ads!™

Hey, are you a proud owner of Google Home who got all pissy when you found an ad inserted your morning summary? Well, suck it up, buttercup. Bryan Chaffin argues you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.

Google Home's Ad Responses, McDonald's and Mobile Ordering - TMO Daily Observations 2017-03-17

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

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Google Home owners are angry because yesterday they got an ad to go along with their morning schedule request. Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to share their thoughts on Google doing what it always does, plus they have some opinions on McDonald’s offering mobile app food ordering.

We-Vibe Tries to Buy Back Trust After Spying on Customer Vibrator Use

· Jeff Gamet · Analysis

We-Vibe paying $3.75 million to settle lawsuit over collecting vibrator use data without customer consent

“Don’t kiss and tell” is a lesson Standard Innovation learned the hard—and expensive—way. The company agreed to pay out a US$3.75 million lawsuit settlement for collecting personally identifiable information about its We-Vibe vibrator users without their consent.