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 Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature

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Peter
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PostSubject: Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature   Tue 19 Apr 2011, 17:39

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Cellphone users say they want more privacy, and app makers are listening.

No, they're not listening to user requests. They're literally listening to the sounds in your office, kitchen, living room and bedroom.

A new class of smartphone app has emerged that uses the microphone built into your phone as a covert listening device -- a "bug," in common parlance.

But according to app makers, it's not a bug. It's a feature!

The apps use ambient sounds to figure out what you're paying attention to. It's the next best thing to reading your mind.

Your phone is listening

A class of alarm clock apps uses your phone's microphone to listen to you sleep. One example is the HappyWakeUp app. If you're sleeping like a log, the app avoids waking you. When HappyWakeUp hears you tossing and turning near the scheduled time, it wakes you up with an alarm.

Of course, the use of your microphone with these apps is well understood by users, because that's the main purpose of the app.



Hmmm... that doesn't sound so bad, your phone is just getting to know you better and trying to be friendly. How helpful!

But that friendly phone may also be a gossip.

Quote :

The new apps are often sneakier about it. The vast majority of people who use the Color app, for example, have no idea that their microphones are being activated to gather sounds.

Welcome to the future.

Color uses your iPhone's or Android phone's microphone to detect when people are in the same room. The data on ambient noise is combined with color and lighting information from the camera to figure out who's inside, who's outside, who's in one room, and who's in another, so the app can auto-generate spontaneous temporary social networks of people who are sharing the same experience.

Shopkick works on both iPhone and Android devices. One feature of the app is to reward users for simply walking into participating stores, which include Target, Best Buy, Macy's, American Eagle Outfitters, Sports Authority, Crate & Barrel and many others. Users don't have to press any button. Shopkick listens through your cellphone for inaudible sounds generated in the stores by a special device.

IntoNow is an iOS app that allows social networking during TV shows. The app listens with your iPhone or iPad to identify what you're watching. The company claims 2.6 million "broadcast airings" (TV shows or segments) in its database. A similar app created for fans of the TV show Grey's Anatomy uses your iPad's microphone to identify exactly where you are in the show, so it can display content relevant to specific scenes.

Coming soon: A lot more apps that listen

That's why marketers love cellphones, which are viewed as universal sensors for conducting highly granular, real-time market research.

Of course, lots of apps transmit all kinds of private data back to the app maker. Some send back each phone's Unique Device Identification (UDI), the number assigned to each mobile phone, which can be used to positively identify it. Other apps tell the servers the phone's location. Many apps actually snoop around on your phone, gathering up personal information, such as gender, age and ZIP code, and zapping it back to the company over your phone's data connection.




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Last edited by Peter on Tue 19 Apr 2011, 20:24; edited 2 times in total
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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Re: Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature   Tue 19 Apr 2011, 17:51

I guess if you download the apps voluntarily, you are accepting this invasion of your privacy. Personally, I don't care for my phone listening in on my sleep, recording what I am watching on TV, recording background sounds in my life, etc. Just validates not having these types of smartphones!

And to think that GOOGLE mapping got into a bunch of hot water inadvertently picking up some private info while doing their surveys for their Street View!
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature   Tue 19 Apr 2011, 18:03

The alarm clock app is not so bad if it actually helps give you a more timely and friendly wake-up, it's a condition you accept when you use it and might be worthwhile to someone that would appreciate such an appliance. Those others that pass information off to marketers and gawd knows who else do so by perhaps informing you in their fine print of legalese but don't otherwise provide you a wake-up. Articles like this do that.

Read the whole article from the link though, it tells more. The apps claim not to be recording actual sounds but sound "patterns" as their means of getting away with this. Some also record image "patterns" with the built-in camera as well.

Now if you'll excuse me I will get back to editing my formatting in the OP as is needed. Being so quick to reply is fine, I'll just have to take the hit by having the edit displayed now.

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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Re: Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature   Sat 23 Apr 2011, 11:17

From the two links which follow, both the US and especially Europe (due to their strict privacy laws) are looking into the tracking features of both the I Phone and the GOOGLE Android phones. It appears that the major concern is that the unencrypted data is being stored where it is vulnerable to being hacked and used by third parties.

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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature   Sat 23 Apr 2011, 14:59

cheenagringo wrote:
From the two links which follow, both the US and especially Europe (due to their strict privacy laws) are looking into the tracking features of both the I Phone and the GOOGLE Android phones. It appears that the major concern is that the unencrypted data is being stored where it is vulnerable to being hacked and used by third parties.

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Hadn't read your links yet. This is a copy and paste fom what a member of our Yahoogroup board put up today about that. While you are reading it I will look and see if I need to do something about copyrights or if this is a general advisory posted for everyone's perusal. It looks like you have to use the links for getting the whole scoop and these are descriptions:

A Message from Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. - Publisher, the
Internet Patrol

Hello, Everyone!
As you probably noticed, this week's edition of The Internet Patrol
Digest is rather late. I apologize; one of our critters ended up
needing emergency surgery (we think he's going to be ok), and that
really threw our week for a loop. But here we are at last.
No doubt by now you've heard the news of the discovery that iPhones
and iPads are recording every location through which they pass, and
saving that information to a file. If you have one of those
devices, you'll want to pay attention to our article explaining what
it means for you. And if you don't carry an iPhone, you still
aren't in the clear, because Android phones are doing the same
thing, and there's no guarantee that other phones aren't as well.
On the other side of the security coin, however, we have finally
figure out how to password protect, and thus completely disable,
wifi on an iPod Touch or iPad! The reason for doing this is that so
many people want to be able to give an iPod Touch to a younger
person, but don't want the risk associated with giving a child a
device that can connect to the Internet. Now, at last, we can tell
you how to disable wifi, and put it behind a password so that once
it's turned off, it will stay turned off.
If this is what you've been waiting for, you'll also be happy to
know that Amazon has a great price on the iPod Touch right now,
including free shipping for Amazon prime customers.
Check out the iPod Touch on Amazon

<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FreRu&m=1eZGu.K3bsK295&b=zgSUQ.Qcc3reXyPAeMYeR\
g>

Also, check out our review of the new Android Sidekick, and our "how
to" for what to do if you've forgotten your parental restriction
code on your jailbroken iPhone, iPod or iPad.

Here are this week's stories:
Apple iPhone and iPad Spying On Users’ Physical and Geographic
Locations

<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FreRu&m=1eZGu.K3bsK295&b=qlBgHG5HNS1lvf3VL2pZT\
Q>
Researchers have discovered that Apple's newest operating system,
iOS4, is literally spying on iPhone and iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G users'
movements, using geolocation to create a file that records every
place that the user carrying the device passes through. At least as
bad, the file, called "consolidated.db", not only is on your iPhone
or iPad, but is /unencrypted/, meaning that anybody who can access
the file can read your every move. Click Here to Read Whole Story

<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FreRu&m=1eZGu.K3bsK295&b=qlBgHG5HNS1lvf3VL2pZT\
Q>

How to Password Protect and Disable Wifi on an iPod Touch and iPad

<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FreRu&m=1eZGu.K3bsK295&b=KoarP6T5VHJIeCzv4aYil\
g>
If you are a conscientious parent who wants to let their child use
an iPod Touch (or "iTouch") or iPad, but who wants the iPod Touch
wifi disabled before you give it to them, you may be frustrated at
the lack of any way to disable wifi so as to lock down the iPad or
iPod Touch internet access. You can't password protect the internet
access on an iPod Touch or iPad, as there are no passwords for iPod
iTouch wifi. In fact, natively, there is /no way to disable or
password protect the iPod Touch internet access/ (how stupid, Apple,
get on the ball here! Give us some iPod Touch wifi apps to disable
wifi!) Oh sure, you can put parental control restrictions on
individual applications (Safari, Email), but your child can still
turn the iPod Touch wireless internet on, and for some parents,
that's still too much of a risk (and we say "Bravo!" to them for
'getting' it). There /is/, however, an iPod Touch hack that will
allow you to disable wifi on your iPod Touch or iPad, by password
protecting the iPod Touch wifi on/off switch, and here it is. Click
Here to Read Whole Story

<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FreRu&m=1eZGu.K3bsK295&b=KoarP6T5VHJIeCzv4aYil\
g>

How to Reset the Parental Restrictions Passcode on a Jailbroken
iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch Without Having to Restore the Device to
Factory Settings

<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FreRu&m=1eZGu.K3bsK295&b=qTQNd1zgYUIPGPAPpwwOH\
A>
While we are talking about how to lock down the Internet access on
an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad so that you can safely let a child use
it without having to worry about what they may access on the
Internet, you may find yourself having forgotten the parental
restrictions passcode (that allows you to reset parental controls to
disable Safari, email, etc.), and wanting to reset it. If you
haven't jailbroken your iPod Touch or iPhone or iPad, then the
standard advice - to do a factory reset through iTunes - may still
be your best bet. But if you have jailbroken your iPhone or iPad or
iPod Touch, then you can actually remove and reset the parental
restrictions passcode /without/ having to reset your device! (Oh
happy days!) Here's how you do it: Click Here to Read Whole Story

<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FreRu&m=1eZGu.K3bsK295&b=qTQNd1zgYUIPGPAPpwwOH\
A>

The Other Review of the Android Sidekick 4G

<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FreRu&m=1eZGu.K3bsK295&b=gGcw3DuyJoTE_r4gTgPca\
A>
As promised, here are our impressions of the new Android Sidekick,
the first Sidekick with a touch screen, out this week from T-Mobile.
The first thing to know is that this is one sweet phone, with the
always-superlative Sidekick keyboard, which blows all other slider
QWERTY keyboards out of the water, and blazing-fast 4G. There are
already a few standard reviews out there - this review is the
'other' review, with missing tidbits and tips not found in those
other reviews, like why is Gmail not syncing on the Sidekick 4G? And
where is the flash on the 4G Sidekick? And does this version of the
Sidekick still have those auto text macros (automatic word
replacement) built in? Click Here to Read Whole Story

<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FreRu&m=1eZGu.K3bsK295&b=gGcw3DuyJoTE_r4gTgPca\
A>

We hope that you enjoy this issue of the Internet Patrol newsletter
and remember, I am always delighted to hear personally from any of
you for any reason - drop me a line! You can write to me directly
at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
You can also find me on Twitter: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
and Facebook: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
I look forward to hearing from you!

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.
CEO, ISIPP Publishing
Publishers, The Internet Patrol
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

**

****

*Know somebody who would like to receive these digests? Forward this
one to them and let them know that they can sign up for free by
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in the subject! *


*<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=FreRu&m=1eZGu.K3bsK295&b=.B.RHsgtVQPRQAp435Bj\
fQ>

The Internet Patrol,
302 W. El Camino Real, #411,
Sunnyvale, CA 94087, USA *



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Don Cuevas
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PostSubject: Re: Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature   Sat 23 Apr 2011, 19:27

That C&P post, complete with ad links, by a Morelia expat had me very worried.
I wrote to her to thank her, then I took my iPod Touch outside, dropped a big rock on it repeatedly, gathered the fragments, burned them, and will bury them in an undisclosed location.

She probably thought I was nuts.
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PostSubject: Re: Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature   Sat 23 Apr 2011, 19:51

Being the hard core Apple fan that you seem to be, those actions had to make you cry!
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PostSubject: Re: Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature   Sun 24 Apr 2011, 08:38

Me cry, Neil? No. The Internet as a whole tends to track and save info on our browsing habits.
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PostSubject: Re: Snooping: It's not a crime, it's a feature   Sun 24 Apr 2011, 11:10

Although there may be a few keywords that trigger an alert and call attention to someone there is usually not someone watching and monitoring our every move in real-time. If you watch in a of the cop shows you see how anytime a person is arrested for any major crime their computer(s) are confiscated and examined by investigators. Similar is applied when someone is suspect of something or becomes a subject of interest, then a search of the internet is done so that anything a person contributes to or sites visited all come out in a neat little package so that the investigators, prosecutors, etc., get a good look at them and what their interests are. I believe for those reasons we are all encouraged to go online and be active.

I would pity the poor fool that may have to investigate me as I am sure there are much more interesting people they could investigate. If it would help to find out what I ate for breakfast or what my favorite brand of mayo is I would be glad to tell them, but maybe they would find it more exciting to research me for those tidbits. My life really doesn't get much more interesting than that.




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