Fitness app Strava overhauls map that revealed military positions

Fitness app Strava overhauls map that revealed military positions

Fitness-tracking app Strava said starting on Tuesday it will restrict access to an online map that shows where people run, cycle and swim and remove some data after researchers found it inadvertently revealed military posts and other sensitive sites.

Il senso ultimo di No Rocket Science è mettere insieme casi come questo, o le innovazioni nel campo delle comunicazioni di massa, o le auto che si guidano da sole: metterle in fila e poi cercare di capire cosa succede.

Le funzioni di un fitness tracker sono utili, e su questo ci son pochi dubbi: e questa storia è interessantissima.

AdNauseam banned from the Google Web Store

AdNauseam banned from the Google Web Store

AdNauseam is an extension for Chrome, Firefox and Opera focused on privacy and security: it «protects users against online advertising surveillance».

Earlier this week, on Jan 1st 2017, we were informed by our users that Google had banned AdNauseam from its Chrome Web Store. We’ve since learned that Google now also disallows users from manually installing and updating AdNauseam, thus locking users out of their own saved data, all with no prior notice or warning.

Microsoft wins major victory in legal fight over data center access

Microsoft wins major victory in legal fight over data center access

After years of arguments, Microsoft has won a major victory in its legal fight over US access to information stored in a company data center in Ireland. In a decision filed today by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, judges ruled that US investigators can’t use the Stored Communications Act to compel access to the data, as it is physically located outside of US borders. As a result, the court found that Microsoft has “no remaining lawful obligation to produce materials to the government.”

I got hacked mid-air while writing an Apple-FBI story

I got hacked mid-air while writing an Apple-FBI story

This is so fucking scary.

“I don’t really need to worry about online privacy,” I used to think. “I’ve got nothing to hide. And who would want to know what I’m up to, anyway?”

Sure, I’m a journalist, but I’m not an investigative reporter, not a political radical, not of much interest to anyone, really.

That was last week, when the standoff between the FBI and Apple seemed much more about principle than practice to me. That’s when I thought I’d write a column on whether this legal fight matters to regular folk — people like my mother, a retired social worker; my best friend, who works in retail; or even my 20-year-old niece in college. That was before I found out — in a chillingly personal way — just why it does matter. To all of us.

A County Worker May Have Wrecked Law Enforcements’ Chance to Extract Data from San Bernardino iPhone

A County Worker May Have Wrecked Law Enforcements’ Chance to Extract Data from San Bernardino iPhone

A San Bernardino county worker may be responsible for a contentious battle now playing out between Apple and the government over data on an iPhone that belonged to suspected San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.
(…)
The government touched on this detail in a motion it filed with the court today but placed it only in a lengthy footnote at the bottom of one page. The government also didn’t acknowledge in the footnote that this was likely the best chance it had of retrieving the data it wanted from the phone.

«We fucked this up.»
«And now?»
«Now we force Apple to crack its phone and if they refuse we’ll say it’s a marketing stunt!»
«Sounds good!»

It’s not about an iPhone

Tim_Cook_WWDC_2012

Probably Tim Cook’s and Apple’s move against court orders and FBI pressures will go on for quite some time. I have no idea who will win (if anyone will win at all), but I believe that Cook chose the right battle to fight. This is no ‘isolated case’, this is not about that one iPhone 5C. And I too, among others, think that FBI is taking advantage of the particular situation (an awful crime committed by a mass shooter, and the need to find out the most information possible) to create a precedent. Once they force Apple to build a modified iOS version that can break into that iPhone 5C, there’s no way to guarantee us that they won’t come after some other smartphone maker. If there’s something that the NSA-Snowden revelations should have taught us, it’s that those in charge are indeed trying to keep the Western World at peace, but they won’t respect fundamental rights such as privacy or security, in this peace-keeping quest.

The point is: even if we want to believe FBI is in good faith (and in a way they are, because if in that iPhone there are information about the shooter’s plan or activities, they should be retrieved), they cannot be trusted. In the last few decades, political organizations or even underground branches of government or authorities have misused their duties and faculties, to the detriment of the citizens. In Italy this is acknowledged: for many years, there was an enclave that pressured our legitimate representatives and abused their powers to protect their own power and position, with an awful lot of means. Imagine if they can also pry on our phones.

Smartphones should be more secure, and as many have already said, they should be inaccessible for everyone but their owner. There’s no magical security unicorn, no magic security feature that can be capitalized on by the good guys only. And even if we say that the FBI are the good guy, what about other governments in the world? More so: if our phones have backdoors and other weak security systems in place, terrorists around the world will use some kind of security means and we’re back to square one.

Tim Cook chose the right path, although the most dangerous, politically speaking. The EEF, WhatsApp, and to a certain extent Google and Microsoft stand with Apple: I’m waiting for all the other internet companies to stand up as well.

(And for those of you who think that this is a commercial stunt: yes, speak loudly about security, privacy and protection of one’s own clients is surely good business, but it can alienate a good chunk of user. Probably it will. Let’s see.)

Tim Cook’s Open Letter on Security and Privacy

Tim Cook’s Open Letter on Security and Privacy

We’re going to look closely to this matter, but let’s start with Apple’s CEO letter to its customers – and to everyone, actually.

The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.