We Are the Surveillance State

· Bryan Chaffin · The Back Page

A well-dressed man wearing a warning sign that says

For years, civil libertarians have fretted and worried about the eyes of the state encroaching on our privacy, but it turns out that we, the people, have opted to surveil ourselves.

Surveillance Video Shows Chaos Inside Apple Store During Last Year's Crossgates Mall Shooting

· Jim Tanous · Cool Stuff Found

So right off the bat let’s acknowledge that this isn’t cool stuff (darn predefined content categories), but it’s certainly interesting. Last November, a man opened fire inside the Crossgates Mall in Albany, NY. Now that the suspect has been convicted, police this week released surveillance footage from inside the Apple Store located near where the incident took place. The silent surveillance video shows the panic of holiday shoppers and Apple employees as they run for cover, something of which modern Apple Store designs unfortunately provide very little. Still, if you’re ever in a situation like this, try not to trample each other, especially those with strollers, OK? Check out the video and story over at ABC News.

Surveillance Video Shows Chaos Inside Apple Store During Last Year’s Crossgates Mall Shooting

President Trump Signs Law Erasing Broadband Privacy Protections

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

MacBook with a Spying Eye

President Donald J. Trump signed a bill into law that makes it expressly legal for your ISP to collect and sell anything about you it can. Your geolocation data, your browser history, information about your children…whatever they can. Bryan Chaffin explains.

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.

XKCD's Snarky Look at Home Surveillance Virtual Assistants

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Home virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and to a lesser extent, Apple’s Siri, are loved by some and feared by others. Here at TMO, our staff falls on both sides of that line. Most of us love Amazon’s Echo/Dot/Alexa, while I personally hold my nose at the underlying technology and fear its potential for home surveillance. I should add that most of our staff also think I’m flat out wrong. Note that I’m OK with that. Of all the virtual assistant companies, only Apple has a stated position of protecting our privacy, but the company also hasn’t released hardware like Amazon Echo or Dot. Online comic strip XKCD took a snarky, succinct— and yet oblique—look at the subject. I’d love to know what our readers think.

XKCD’s Snarky Look at Home Surveillance Virtual Assistants

Bob's Productivity Book, CIA iPhone Hacks, the Home Hub We Want - ACM 401

· Bryan Chaffin & Jeff Gamet · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Bob LeVitus joins Bryan and Jeff to talk about his new book, Working Smarter for Mac Users. They talk about why Bob wrote it and the things Bryan learned from editing it. They also talk about the CIA iPhone hacks leaked to Wikileaks and the home automation hub they wish they could buy.

Vizio Smart TVs Spied on You, and the FTC Settled with a Wrist Slap

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

Eye Spy on Your TV

Did you hear the one about the TV company that spied on its customers, sold that data to third parties, and got a slap on the wrist from the FTC? Bryan Chaffin has the details, and he’s pretty cranky about it.

Police Turn to Amazon Echo in Homicide Showing How Smarthome Devices Can Spy on Us

· Jeff Gamet · News

Amazon Echo recordings targeted in police warrant for homicide investigation

Police in Bentonville, Arkansas, obtained a search warrant for the audio captured by an Amazon Echo as part of a homicide investigation, raising concerns over just how much smarthome devices know about us. In the case of the Echo, Amazon says little is being recorded and stored, but that’s not much of a consolation for IoT device owners who’re worried their tech might be used against them by the government.

Amazon Echo, Police, and Privacy - TMO Daily Observations 2016-12-28

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

TMO Daily Observations Podcast Logo

With police getting search warrants for Amazon Echo recordings questions about personal privacy are on the rise. Dave Hamilton and Kelly Guimont join Jeff Gamet to look at what Amazon’s Echo hears and records, what our other smarthome devices may be logging, and what that means for our privacy and police investigations.

That Time Apple Patched 3 Zero Day Exploits in Just 10 Days [Update]

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

The Spying Eye Waiting in Every Device

Vanity Fair has a great piece about zero day exploits, the black market for selling them (to mostly governments, including repressive regimes), how they’re used to spy, and how the whole thing came to be. The story, which is quite long, is built around a particular piece of sophisticated spyware discovered by a couple of researchers, and Apple’s “engineering feat” that patched against the exploits in just ten days.