Passwords have been used for thousands of years as a means of identifying ourselves to others and in more recent times, to computers.
From internet-connected televisions, toys, fridges, ovens, security cameras, door locks, fitness trackers and lights, the so-called “Internet of Things” (IoT) promises to revolutionise our homes.
The recent questioning of the heads of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple in the US Congress has highlighted the threat their practices pose to our privacy and democracy.
As survey results pile, it’s becoming clear Australians are sceptical about how their online data is tracked and used. But one question worth asking is: are our fears founded?
Many people look for more privacy when they browse the web by using their browsers in privacy-protecting modes, called “Private Browsing” in Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Apple Safari; “Incognito” in Google Chrome; and “InPrivate” in Microsoft Edge.
In case 2020 wasn’t dystopian enough, hackers on July 15 hijacked the Twitter accounts of former President Barack Obama, presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian and Apple, among others.
Anyone familiar with George Orwell’s novel 1984 will relate to the menace of Big Brother watching their every keystroke and mouse click.
If you are a front-line worker or working from home, you must also consider how these adaptations will present opportunities for criminals wanting to exploit this crisis.
The biggest threat to an organisation’s cyber-security comes from within, according to a growing body of evidence.
While most of the world is trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems hackers are not on lockdown.
National constitutions and international human rights treaties often contain clauses that allow governments to temporarily suspend their obligations in a time of crisis.
Remote working can be a blessing. More time with family, less commuting, and meetings from the comfort of your living room.
The UK is currently witnessing a tug of war over facial recognition. On the streets of London and in South Wales, live systems have been deployed by the police,
Cybercriminals are on the prowl to infect your mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers and access your personal data, or install malware while you charge them.
Amazon Echo and the Alexa voice assistant have had widely publicised issues with privacy.
Ring promises to keep more neighbourhoods safe, but will smart surveillance systems really make you safer?
Whether you do your shopping online or in store, your retail experience is the latest battleground for the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning revolution.
A 2019 surge of gang-related shootings in Toronto motivated the Ontario government to commit $3 million to double the number of Toronto Police surveillance cameras in the city.
Researchers discovered that Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Home can be hacked by laser pointers and flashlights.
We give out our cell phone numbers all the time, but those 10 digits also give companies a ton of information about us and how we live our lives.
It is easy for those of us who have ignored emails from Nigerian princes or refused to transfer money on behalf of an online love interest to scroll past stories about scams, thinking it could never be us.
My recent research increasingly focuses on how individuals can and do manipulate, or “game,” contemporary capitalism. It involves what social scientists call reflexivity and physicists call the observer effect.
Individuals and businesses unknowingly expose themselves to security and privacy threats, as experts explain here.
Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook collect a staggering amount of data points from us, so much data that our social media activity can pretty accurately reveal things from gym habits to the state of our mental well-being.
If you run a business, you’re probably concerned about IT security. Maybe you invest in antivirus software, firewalls and regular system updates.
Mustafa loves good coffee. In his free time, he often browses high-end coffee machines that he cannot currently afford but is saving for.
Every day, often multiple times a day, you are invited to click on links sent to you by brands, politicians, friends and strangers. You download apps on your devices. Maybe you use QR codes...
For many years, the Apple iPhone has been considered one of the most secure smart phones available.
Citizens and policymakers around the world are grappling with how to limit companies’ use of data about individuals – and how private various types of information should be.
Not content with monitoring almost everything you do online, Facebook now wants to read your mind as well.
Living with two preteens, I get almost daily requests to approve new apps. My standard response is to ask my kids to describe the app, why they want it, and how it makes money.
A familiar scenario: as part of having your cholesterol checked, your clinician also orders a standard blood panel – a red blood-cell count, and then a breakdown showing the proportions of five types of white blood cells.
High-profile data breaches at companies like British Airways and Marriott get a lot of media coverage, but cybercriminals are increasingly going after community groups, schools, small businesses and municipal governments.
When the anonymous social media app YOLO was launched in May 2019, it topped the iTunes downloads chart after just one week, despite the lack of a major marketing campaign.
New proposed legislation by U.S. senators Mark R. Warner and Josh Hawley seeks to protect privacy by forcing tech companies to disclose the “true value” of their data to users.
In January 2019, Liberal MP Adam Vaughan argued that privacy concerns about the smart city proposed for Toronto’s waterfront should not be allowed to “reverse 25 years of good, solid work and 40 years of dreaming on the Toronto waterfront.”
Seventy years ago, Eric Blair, writing under a pseudonym George Orwell, published “1984,” now generally considered a classic of dystopian fiction.
France made headlines on Jan. 21 for fining Google US$57 million – the first fine to be issued for violations of the European Union’s newly implemented General Data Protection Regulations.
The notifications that companies send consumers about data breaches lack clarity and may add to customer confusion about whether their data is at risk, according to new research.
On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal its net neutrality rules, which critics say could make the internet more expensive and less accessible for Americans.
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called privacy the “right to be let alone.” Perhaps Congress should give states trying to protect consumer data the same right.
The number of cyber attacks is estimated to have risen by 67% over the last five years, with the majority of these data breaches being traced back to human error.
Facebook’s advertising platform was not built to help social media users understand who was targeting them with messages, or why.
Uber’s business model is incredibly simple: It’s a platform that facilitates exchanges between people.
In criminal justice systems, credit markets, employment arenas, higher education admissions processes and even social media networks, data-driven algorithms now drive decision-making in ways that touch our economic, social and civic lives.
Surveillance used to be expensive. Even just a few years ago, tailing a person’s movements around the clock required rotating shifts of personnel devoted full-time to the task. Not any more, though.
Microsoft has announced that it will close the books category of its digital store. While other software and apps will still be available via the virtual shop front, and on purchasers’ consoles and devices,
When it comes to car hacking, you should be more worried about dodgy dealers than one-off hackers with criminal intent.
Smart speakers equipped with digital voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa are now the fastest-growing consumer technology since the smartphone.
The political economy of digital capitalism is largely premised on a new exchange: individuals enjoy cheap or free services and goods in exchange for their personal information.
Advanced automatic dialing systems make it easier and cheaper for small operations to generate huge numbers of calls.
Sixty-seven percent of smartphone users rely on Google Maps to help them get to where they are going quickly and efficiently.
What can we do about looming threats to our privacy online and the theft of important personal information? Ari Trachtenberg has some ideas.
Anyone who’s watched “Bridget Jones’s Diary” knows one of her New Year’s resolutions is “Not go out every night but stay in and read books and listen to classical music.”
It’s tempting to give up on data security altogether, with all the billions of pieces of personal data – Social Security numbers, credit cards, home addresses, phone numbers, passwords and much more – breached and stolen in recent years.
Technology companies have been pummeled by revelations about how poorly they protect their customers’ personal information, including an in-depth New York Times report detailing the ability of smartphone apps to track users’ locations.
Data breaches, widespread malware attacks and microtargeted personalized advertising were lowlights of digital life in 2018.
New research digs into the behaviors—both obvious and subtle—that may put you at risk of falling victim to cybercrime involving Trojans, viruses, and malware.
If you have a smartphone, it probably is a significant part of your life, storing appointments and destinations as well as being central to your communications with friends, loved ones and co-workers.
Hackers are watching you this holiday season, so be as mindful of your phone as of your cash and credit cards.
Researchers have created a new method for keeping private the data that our many devices collect about how we use them.
In 2008, Newsweek published an article on then-presidential candidate Barack Obama titled “From Barry to Barack.” The story explained how Obama’s Kenyan father, Barack Obama Sr., chose Barry as a nickname for himself in 1959 in order “to fit in.” But the younger Barack – who had been called Barry since he was a child – chose to revert to his given name, Barack, in 1980 as a college student coming to terms with his identity.
Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg faced two days of grilling before US politicians, in April 2018, following concerns over how his company deals with people’s data.
There are several flow-on effects from the recent Facebook hack. Any accounts on other platforms that use Facebook verification are also at risk. That’s because it’s now a common practice to use one account as an automatic verification to connect to other platforms. This is known as single sign-on (SSO).
I recently predicted that health data from electronic sources could soon be compiled into a health or wellness report and shared with insurance companies to help them determine who they’ll cover.
The Trump administration is denying passports to U.S. citizens who live in Texas near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to news reports.
The administration is accusing applicants of having inadequate documentation of their birth on U.S. soil, and refusing to issue them passports on that basis.
If you have a mailbox, you probably get junk mail. If you have an email account, you probably get spam. If you have a phone, you probably get robocalls.
The smart device market is exploding. Smart home kits for retrofitting “non-smart” houses have become cheaper.
Imagine if a hacker shut down the baggage handling system of one of the world’s busiest airports.
We need a simple system for categorising data privacy settings, similar to the way Creative Commons specifies how work can be legally shared.
California law enforcement announced the possible capture of a long-sought serial killer. Shortly after, it was reported that police had used public DNA databases to determine his identity.
Whether or not you realise or consent to it, big data can affect you and how you live your life. The data we create when using social media, browsing the internet and wearing fitness trackers are all collected, categorised and used by businesses and the state to create profiles of us.
“Doxxing” is an old internet term that comes from the idea of collecting the documents, or “docs,” on a person. The effort to discover and reveal personal information, of course, long predates the internet. It’s worrying, and potentially dangerous, when someone peels back the curtain of another’s identity.
In late April, the top federal cybersecurity agency, US-CERT, announced that Russian hackers had attacked internet-connected devices throughout the U.S., including network routers in private homes.
As concerns about privacy increase for people using mobile apps, new research suggests that trust and engagement may hinge on perceptions about how the app uses personal data and whether it seeks user input before delivering services.
As a scholar of the social and political implications of technology, I would argue the internet is designed to be hostile to the people who use it. I call it a “hostile information architecture.”
Every time you open an app, click a link, like a post, read an article, hover over an ad, or connect to someone, you are generating data.
The dealings that have been revealed between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook have all the trappings of a Hollywood thriller
At a time when social network privacy is in the news, new research shows there are more ways than previously realized to reveal certain traits we might be trying to conceal.
Facebook announced last week it would discontinue the partner programs that allow advertisers to use third-party data from companies such as Acxiom, Experian and Quantium to target users.
Is it time to give up on social media? Many people are thinking about that in the wake of revelations regarding Cambridge Analytica’s questionable use of personal data from over 50 million Facebook users to support the Trump campaign.
The researcher whose work is at the center of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data analysis and political advertising uproar has revealed that his method worked much like the one Netflix uses to recommend movies.
It’s no secret that big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are increasingly infiltrating our personal and social interactions to collect vast amounts of data on us every day.
Smartphones store your email, your photos and your calendar. They provide access to online social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and even your bank and credit card accounts. And they’re keys to something even more private and precious – your digital identity.
As cloud storage becomes more common, data security is an increasing concern. Companies and schools have been increasing their use of services like Google Drive for some time, and lots of individual users also store files on Dropbox, Box, Amazon Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and the like.
The revelation that New Zealand children as young as six or seven are posting sexually explicit images of themselves online may come as a shock to many, especially parents. The reality is that for many teenagers today, engaging with explicit material is not uncommon.
Hundreds of the world’s top websites routinely track a user’s every keystroke, mouse movement and input into a web form – even before it’s submitted or later abandoned, according to the results of a study from researchers at Princeton University.
Have you ever wondered why your computer often shows you ads that seem tailor-made for your interests? The answer is big data.
If you are the owner of a credit or a debit card, there is a non-negligible chance that you may be subject to fraud, like millions of other people around the world.
Our mobile phones can reveal a lot about ourselves: where we live and work; who our family, friends and acquaintances are; how (and even what) we communicate with them; and our personal habits.
Fictional metaphors matter, and in the battle to safeguard our civil liberties few metaphors matter more than George Orwell’s 1984. Although first published almost 70 years ago, the lasting salience of this most archetypal dystopia is undeniable.
Harvard recently rescinded admission offers for some incoming freshmen who participated in a private Facebook group sharing offensive memes.
At least 40% of Australian households now have at least one home “Internet of Things” device. These are fridges, window blinds, locks and other devices that are connected to the internet.
Anyone who spends much time online knows the saying: “If you’re not paying, you’re the product”. That’s not exactly correct.
Think about what you shared with your friends on Facebook today. Was it feelings of “stress” or “failure”, or perhaps “joy”, “love” or “excitement”?
Recent reports suggest that terrorists can now create bombs so thin that they cannot be detected by the current X-ray screening that our carry-on bags undergo.
Disruptions reported in at least 74 countries, including Russia, Spain, Turkey, and Japan, with some reports of U.S. infiltration as well
What would it mean if you lost all of your personal documents, such as your family photos, research or business records?
Large-scale cyberattacks with eye-watering statistics, like the breach of a billion Yahoo accounts in 2016, grab most of the headlines.
We pay our monthly Internet bill to be able to access the Internet. We don’t pay it to give our Internet service provider (ISP) a chance to collect and sell our private data to make more money.