Privacy News Online | Weekly Review: April 2, 2021

Posted on Apr 2, 2021 by Chris Miller
Privacy News Online: Weekly Review | April 2, 2021

Featured: Privacy News Online – Week of April 2, 2021

smart phone app surveillanceAre smartphone apps that constantly monitor a person’s movements and actions the future of parole – and parenting?

A company called Shadowtrack makes it possible for parolee’s ditch the ankle monitor in favor of a simple smartphone app. The parolee simply checks in with the app rather than a probation officer, and its voice detection algorithms can confirm their identity, whether they have taken drugs and more. Similar systems are now emerging for parents to monitor their children — seeing what pictures they take, what apps they use, where they go and more. Privacy experts warn that allowing this much data to be collected about their child could potentially expose them to even more risk.

surveillance advertisingEverything you wanted to know about “surveillance advertising” – and how to avoid it

Surveillance advertising is the practice of extensively tracking and profiling individuals and groups, and then microtargeting ads at them based on their behavioral history, relationships, and identity. Check out the link in the description for an excellent guide to understanding and avoiding surveillance advertising and find out how industry giants like Google and Facebook use this data to curate everything you see, in order to keep you hooked, so they can serve you more ads and keep mining you for data.

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More Privacy News This Week:

Amazon sees record government demand for user data in 2020

Amazon responded to a record number of government data demands in 2020 according to their bi-annual transparency report. More than 30,000 demands were processed in total, with the report counting 3,222 US requests in the first six months and 27,664 global requests in the last six months. More than 40% of all requests came from Germany while 11% came from the US.

‘Missing from desk’: AI webcam raises remote surveillance concerns

TP Observer is a risk-mitigation tool that monitors and tracks real time employee behavior and detects any violations to pre-set business rules. At-home workers would have an AI-powered webcam added to their device that can recognize their face, record their location and scan for “rule breaches” randomly, such as being away from their desk, sitting idle, “unauthorized mobile phone usage” and more. If any breach is detected, a still photo is taken and sent to the supervisor automatically.

“System Update” app for Android is Malware in Disguise

There’s new Android malware on the loose that disguises itself as a “System Update” app. The Trojan horse can steal WhatsApp and SMS text messages, take pics with your phone’s cameras, record audio and phone calls, and lots of other creepy things. The fake System Update app was found in the wild, in a third-party Android app store.

“Fleeceware” on the rise in Google Play and iOS App Stores

More than 200 apps found in the Google Play and iOS App Stores have been identified as “fleeceware,” or apps that may have legitimate functionality but egregiously overcharge for recurring subscription payments. Subscriptions can in some cases cost in excess of $3,000 per year if the user doesn’t cancel them.

How to manage iTunes Store and App Store subscriptions

Deleting an app doesn’t cancel its subscriptions, so check out our guide, linked in the episode description, to ensure you don’t have any active subscriptions you didn’t know about.

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Special thanks to Intego

Thank you to Josh Long, our cybersecurity correspondent from Intego, makers of award-winning security software.

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