Privacy

Understanding Apple and privacy

A lot of people are getting a lot of things wrong about Apple's stance on privacy and security, and what it means for the future.

Last week Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, once again reiterated the company's belief that people have a right to privacy and security, and that the cost of free-as-in-paid-for-by-your-data services isn't always clearly understood. Those for who believe the conversation about privacy and security is the most important of our generation appreciated someone as powerful and influential as Cook giving it the spotlight it deserves. Those who believe the advancement of technology requires the relinquishing of previously held beliefs about privacy and security, however, reacted harshly. The problem is, many of them also reacted in a way that's just plain wrong.

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Max out your privacy with Apple

These days Apple is one of the only (if not the only) global-scale consumer tech companies that seems to prioritize customer privacy.

Apple doesn't merely keep your personal data private, they increasingly make it harder for them (or anyone) to even collect it in the first place. Yes, even including those snoopy government agencies.

Although Apple deeply embeds privacy features across its products and services, many of them only work if you turn them on, and perhaps change a few habits. As an incredibly paranoid security professional who sometimes travels to more... hostile... environments, here are my favorite Apple-centric privacy tips and tricks.

Much of this advice comes from knowing how criminals, and even digital forensics experts, recover private data in the real world.

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John Oliver on government surveillance

Privacy is one of the single most important issues of our time.

Apple is making it a top-tier, customer-facing feature and hoping it becomes a major competitive advantage. Because 'privacy' can seem ephemeral, and doesn't have the obvious value of money, so many of us trade it away with little or no thought. Humor and satire can often covey truth in a way no other medium can. Such is the case with John Oliver and this overview of the U.S. Patriot Act and interview with Edward Snowden.

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CIA program sought to compromise security of Apple devices

More information has come to light on government surveillance, with new information revealing a campaign by the CIA to break through the security of Apple devices.

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Here's how to delete your prior destination history in Maps

If you'd rather not risk your prior destination history getting snooped on in maps, you can easily clear it out.

Whenever you search for a place in Apple's Maps app for iPhone or iPad, your search queries are saved. The next time you tap on the search field, you'll see all the locations and places you've searched for in reverse chronological order. In other words, most recent on top. What if you don't like your prior searches to show up? That's the issue we're going to tackle today!

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Switch to iPhone: For better privacy and security

There's never been a better time to switch to iPhone. Whether you're tempted for yourself or looking to help the Android owner in your life, the all-new, all-better iPhone 6 and iPhone-6-plus make the move more compelling than ever — especially when you add the value of privacy and security.

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Tech giants rally together to curb NSA spying

A number of big-name tech companies are teaming up to lobby the Senate to pass legislation that would limit the reach of the NSA's spying activities, Bloomberg reported today. The coalition of tech giants includes the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft, among others.

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Congressional committee meeting to discuss privacy in wake of recent nude leaks

A congressional advisory committee will be taking the initial step Thursday to discuss the legal ramifications of protecting Internet privacy. Prompted by the recent hacks resulting in the leak of nude photos of celebrities like the high profile case involving actress Jennifer Lawrence, the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will be discussing the topic of privacy and the legal remedies against hackers, websites, and those partaking in revenge porn.

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Apple's privacy push requires developers to disclose policies

Since the iCloud hacking attempts, Apple has taken a firmer stance on privacy and how it safeguards user information and data. With iOS 8, this is becoming more important as Apple is allowing third-party apps to tap into HomeKit for a centralized home automation hub, HealthKit for health and fitness tracking, Apple Pay for payments, and keyboard extensions. As such, Apple is requiring third-party developers to appropriately disclose privacy policies in the iTunes App Store when they list their apps and as required by law.

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What's really happening with iOS 8 MAC address randomization?

Normally when you're walking around with a WiFi-enabled device, if it's not connected to a network, it's broadcasting probes in order to try and find known networks. These probes would be sent using your phone's WiFi MAC address, which is a unique and normally persistent value. This means that anybody monitoring these probes, say in a department store for example, can persistently track you through a store and across multiple visits. This information isn't tied to your personal identity, but a lot of information about your shopping habits could be gleaned from this data by analytics companies, and some users aren't thrilled about not having a say in this. And remember, this isn't just an iPhone thing, this is a WiFi thing. This is what devices do. But Apple decided they could do better.

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