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ZEN & TECH 57: From NSA to cameras everywhere: Coping with privacy violations

ZEN & TECH is our mobile lifestyle podcast, focusing not just on our phones, tablets, and gadgets, but how we can use technology to help us live better, richer, happier lives. It's how we center our inner geeks! Since it's security week on Talk Mobile 2013, Georgia and Rene talk about everything from camera phones in the locker room to wiretaps on the internet and how we, as private people, can cope in an age of where everyone from friends to family to strangers to governments may be spying on us.

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Apple and other large companies coming together to call for more NSA transparency

An alliance has been formed of some of the United States largest companies, including Apple, that is calling for more transparency from the NSA and its surveillance efforts. The group which also includes Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook, will be publishing a letter sometime today calling for Internet, telephone and web-based service providers to report national security related requests with greater specificity. From AllthingsD:

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Stores using our phones to track our movement, behavior while we shop - clever... or creepy?

While online retailers like Amazon can collect and analyze an incredible amount of behavioral data via accounts, cookies, page-views and other web technologies, real world stores aren't so lucky. If you run in, pay cash, and run out, they're pretty much "blind". That is, until American fashion retailer, Nordstrom, decided to use our phones and their Wi-Fi signals to try and get in on the customer analytics game. Stephanie Clifford and Quentin Hardy writing for the New York Time:

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UK Border Police can take your phone, and everything inside it

What Governments are doing in relation to our phones is a hot topic at the moment, but a new report out of the UK claims that the Border Police can seize your phone and download all the data within it. The procedure can be applied under a domestic anti-terror law, with a blanket power so broad that reasonable suspicion doesn't even need to be established before hand. The report comes by way of UK newspaper The Telegraph:

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Apple releases public statement on customer privacy, over 4,000 requests in a six month period

Apple has gone public with a statement on how they handle requests for customer data from Government agencies. Reiterating their stance first and foremost that a court order is required for any data to be handed over, the release goes on to say that Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests for customer data over a six month period to May 31 2013.

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How to easily encrypt external drives in OS X Mountain Lion

OS X has long let you encrypt external drives, and even your Mac HD. Mountain Lion has actually made it even easier to encrypt external disks with just a few clicks. It's sometimes a good idea to do so on items such as backup disks. This way, if they ever fall into the wrong hands, no one should be able to access your data without the password you have set to decrypt it.

If you aren't sure how to encrypt your data, follow along and we'll show you how.

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How to disable website tracking in Safari for Mac

There are lots of reasons browsers use website tracking. There are also lots of reasons you would want to turn it off.

If you use Safari for Mac, you can do just that with just a few simple clicks.

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How Apple can stop Google from taking over the iPhone. Again.

Earlier today Google posted some iOS code aimed at helping developers use a combination of URL schemes and x-callback to basically set Chrome as the default browser from within their own apps, if it detects the user has Chrome installed. Call it a hijack, call it a take over, call it a 5th column, call it whatever you want, but it's a smart, strategic move on Google's part, and it's something Apple will have to address. Here's why...

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Apple keeps anonymized Siri data for up to two years for testing and improvement purposes

After privacy concerns were raised regarding data it gets from Siri, Apple has revealed that it keeps that data for up to two years. Apple generates a random string of numbers to associate with your voice data, rather than using your Apple ID, and any Siri data they collect from you goes under that number. Data, however, is decoupled from that number. According to Wired an Apple spokesperson explained:

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What the DEA really said about iMessages, and what it means to you

It was recently reported that iMessage had caused a snag in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to intercept text messages. Citing iMessage’s end-to-end encryption as the cause, the DEA stated that "iMessages between two Apple devices are considered encrypted communication and cannot be intercepted, regardless of the cell phone service provider." On the surface, this seems reassuring to iMessage users that their conversations can’t be intercepted. But is it possible that we’re giving a little too much credit to the DEA when they say iMessages are “impossible to intercept”?

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