Tech Friday with Dave Hatter - November 6th 2020 - SPONSORED BY INTRUST IT


  • Improve your privacy by switching to Firefox:
    • The modern web browser is the Swiss Army knife of software. Most of us use one every day for a variety of things including email, social media, messaging, news, music, etc.
    • Your browser can be a treasure trove of information for companies that want to track you thanks to cookies and other technology
    • Google Chrome is the world's most popular browser and it works well, but it's created by the world's largest advertising company
    • Google has little interest in making Chrome more privacy friendly, they make billions off data
    • Mozilla Foundation, makers of my favorite browser Firefox, has demonstrated a long-term commitment to privacy
    • Mozilla Foundation's Firefox is substantially more privacy friendly, for instance, it blocks third-party cookies and other tracking technologies
    • Firefox also continues to make improvements to its Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) which aggressively blocks data collection
    • Firefox is one of the first browsers to use a new version of the Do Not Track signal, in this case to automatically opt the user out of the sale of their data under the California Consumer Privacy Act
    • While Firefox is much more privacy friendly by default, this guide will help you understand the tweak the privacy options:https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/products/firefox/privacy-and-security
    • There are also browser etensions such as Privacy Badger, Facebook Container and HTTPS Everywhere that will add privacy and security:
    • You can install Firefox and import things like bookmarks and logins from Chrome to make the switch easy. This article will help:https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/switching-chrome-firefox
  • Being stalked with Waze:
    • Millions of drivers use Google's Waze navigation app to find the fastest route when travelling
    • Waze is designed to share users’ geolocation information with other Waze users, it shows you other Waze drivers on the road around you, along with their usernames and how fast they’re going
    • Unfortunately Waze users run the risk of having their movements tracked by strangers
    • You can ask the Waze API for data on a location sending latitude and longitude coordinates, the data returned contains coordinates of other drivers who are nearby
    • The research paper "Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility" says "four spatio-temporal points are enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals."
    • A researcher demonstrated that with enough time, a stalker could find determine a user's ID by stalking a person's known locations
    • He determined that when users report information such as obstacles or police patrols, the Waze API returns the used ID and the username
    • A stalker could select multiple locations with high traffic and regularly call the API and search the data for usernames. Many users use their actual name for their username
    • One more reason not to use your real name on these services and to consider the privacy implications of their use
    • Read the " Unique in the Crowd "research paper here:https://www.nature.com/articles/srep01376
  • Is Google’s Project Nightingale after your health data:
    • Google revealed a secret health data partnership,"Project Nightingale". with Ascension, the nation’s second-largest health system after an anonymous whistleblower provided details online
    • Ascension has with more than 2,600 hospitals and facilities in more than 20 states
    • The whistleblower said Google could have access to over 50 million patient records across 21 different states without the consent of patients or healthcare professionals
    • Based on what is known so far, Google gets access to what is essentially a complete medical history
    • HIPPA places very rigid guidelines regarding sharing of health data without patient's consent
    • Google says it signed an "industry-standard agreement" with Ascension confirming they will use the health data to improve health outcomes for patients and to optimize the overall health system
    • Dov Goldman, Director of Risk and Compliance at Panorays, said "Google and Ascension Health both stated that this initiative is designed specifically to improve healthcare. The armies of regulators, legislators and public interests scrutinizing Nightingale have thus far reported nothing illegal about the project. Nevertheless, we should be concerned. It’s reported that more than 150 Google staffers have access to data on millions of patients, and Google has other health information projects underway, such as the Fitbit fitness product line the web giant purchased recently. Only airtight privacy and information security controls will ensure that Nightingale data is truly safe within Google Cloud and used only for the stated purposes."
    • Privacy advocates are concerned that Google has been carrying out much of this Project Nightingale in complete secrecy
    • One major concern is that the data is available to more than 150 Google employees
    • It appears that Google didn’t take steps to encrypt or “de-identify” the health data
    • Google is a company that makes billions of dollars from data and their record in privacy is not good
    • Leaked documents revealed that Google was dismissing privacy concerns raised by Ascension executives
    • Do you really want Google to know which medications you are taking, or the intimate details of your health history without your consent?
    • Another reason why you should ditch all Google services