Tech Friday

posted by Brian Thomas - 

  • Stop Google location tracking:
    • An Associated Press report found that many Google services continue to capture mobile location data despite being disabled
    • This behavior is occurring on both Android and iOS devices 
    • Computer science researchers at Princeton confirmed the report. They found that billions of Android and iOS devices that use various Google apps collect location data even when users have "paused" the Location History feature
    • Google told AP it uses Location History, Web and App Activity, and device-level location services to "improve people's location experience"
    • The report found that even when users disable location history, Google continues to store detailed location data
    • When location services are enabled, Google constantly tracks your device using cell towers and Wi-Fi, and that data uses GPS to locate you
    • Your activity is stored in the Google Timeline, which allows you to view your history. You can try yours here: https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?pli=1&pb
    • If you've never viewed it, you might find it quite disconcerting
    • You can stop tracking and/or remove your history:
      • Go to myactivity.google.com
      • Click "Activity Controls. 
      • Disable "Web & App Activity" and "Location History"
    • To delete any past location tracking:
      • Go to myactivity.google.com
      • Choose "Delete activity by" either browse this list of activities or choose to delete everything
    • To stop tracking on an Android device:
      • Goto Settings
      • Scroll down to Google Settings
      • Choose Location
      • Tap "On" to toggle location tracking off
  • Facebook removes more pages:
    • This past week Facebook announced the removal of 652 pages, accounts and groups associated with Iranian and Russian influence campaigns 
    • This is the second time that Facebook has discussed the removal of accounts set up spread "fake news" and create discord
    • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the organizations behind these tactics are well-funded and include the Russian military
    • At least one survey has found that Facebook users don't seem to care about this issue
    • Piper Jaffray analysts Michael Olson and Maxwell Spaeth said a recent survey of roughly 1,300 Facebook users found about 67% say they log into Facebook the same amount of times if not more since Russia’s influence efforts and the Cambridge Analytica scandal were exposed
    • Facebook has also recently faced charges or censorship of conservatives
    • But even if Facebook is impacted by the negative press, they can fallback on WhatsApp and Instagram which they own
  • Apple removed Facebook’s VPN from the App Store for spying:
    • Apple has reported that the Facebook-owned app Onavo in violating its App Store policies and will be removed
    • Facebook purchased Onavo back in 2013, and it has been downloaded more than 33 million times
    • Onavo is billed as a Vitrual Private Network and anti-malware package
    • Onavo offers to "keep you and your data safe when you go online by blocking potentially harmful websites and securing your personal information”
    • Behind the scenes, the Onavo is collecting massive amounts of usage data and sending it to Facebook
    • Facebook admits Onavo collects usage data and according to Facebook, does so as a way to help to improve the service
    • Apple recently updated their App Store guidelines and Onavo now violates those guidelines
    • Apple said "We work hard to protect user privacy and data security throughout the Apple ecosystem. With the latest update to our guidelines, we made it explicitly clear that apps should not collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing and must make it clear what user data will be collected and how it will be used"
    • Apple gave Facebook the choice to modify Onavo to make it comply or have it removed
    • Facebook decided to remove Onavo rather than make it comply
    • Facebook said "We've always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used"
    • At this point, Google has not weighed in on Onavo, and the app is still available for Android
    • If you're not paying with money, you're paying with data


Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more

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