Privacy Overview Updated May 26, 2022


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697 'Privacy' stories

February 2012 - May 2022

Privacy is a growing concern in today’s world. Follow along with all our coverage related to privacy, security, what Apple and other companies are doing to keep your information safe, and what steps you can take to keep your information private.

Privacy Stories Yesterday

Some state privacy laws use wording written by tech companies and their lobbyists, says a new report today. A formerly Apple-backed lobbying group has previously been cited as pushing for weaker privacy protection based on this wording.

Tech giants are aiming to push through weak privacy legislation in order to fend off more meaningful requirements, with one state senator admitting that the text of a privacy bill he put forward was supplied by a tech lobbyist …

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Millions of children who used remote learning apps during the pandemic have had their personal data – and even behavioral information – shared with advertisers, says a new report.

This includes apps which students were required to use by their schools, says Human Rights Watch …

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Privacy Stories May 25

Way back in 2017, a security researcher created a fake website where the URL looked completely correct. The trick was that the domain he registered used a unicode character that looks like an “a” but is in fact a Cyrillic character.

Browsers were updated to detect this kind of fakery, but it’s far from a simple process – as a new video (below) illustrates …

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Privacy Stories May 18

Privacy has been one of Apple’s main concerns for quite some time, and every year the company announces new ways to make its devices even more secure. This week, ELLE magazine published an interview with Apple’s chief privacy officer Jane Horvath, in which she talks about backdoors in iOS, GDPR, and more.

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Apple is launching a new worldwide ad campaign today that yet again emphasizes the company’s focus on privacy. This time, Apple is taking on the topic of data brokers wugs a new ad called “Privacy on iPhone.” In addition to a 90-second ad that will run on social and YouTube, Apple is also running billboards and other forms of advertising prompting “Privacy on iPhone.”

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Privacy Stories May 17

Ad tech companies share your online behavior and location with advertisers an average of 747 times a day in the US, and 376 times a day in Europe, according to a report by a civil liberties group. It describes the practice as the biggest privacy breach in the world.

The report says Google is the biggest offender, using a process called real-time bidding (RTB) to let advertisers target internet users by browsing behavior and locations …

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Privacy Stories May 16

Apple has released iOS 15.5, macOS 12.4, and more today with updates like new features for Apple Cash, the Podcasts app, and the Studio Display webcam fix. However, a bigger reason to update your devices is the security patches with today’s releases. iOS 15.5 includes almost 30 security fixes while macOS 12.4 features over 50.

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Privacy Stories May 12

We learned yesterday that a proposed new EU CSAM scanning law for tech giants would force Apple to revisit its own plans for detecting child sexual abuse materials. The company had quietly set these aside in response to a huge amount of controversy over its proposed approach.

Many had feared that the proposed law would involve yet another assault on end-to-end encrypted messaging, and this has now been confirmed by wording in the document …

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Privacy Stories May 11

Update: The EU has now announced the proposed new law. More details at the bottom.

Apple’s CSAM troubles may be back, after controversy over the issue of scanning iPhones for child sexual abuse materials led to the company suspending its plans.

A report today says that the European Union is planning a law that would require tech giants like Apple to detect, report, and remove CSAM, and that we’ll see a draft of the new law as early as this week …

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Privacy Stories May 6

App data could be used to prosecute women under anti-abortion laws

Pro-choice and privacy campaigners are warning that app data and other personal data pulled from smartphones could be used to prosecute women who have had abortions …

Privacy Stories May 5

A “massive” Facebook hiring freeze has been announced, which the company says will affect “almost every team across the company.”

Parent company Meta told employees that four factors were behind the decision, and that Apple’s introduction of App Tracking Transparency was the first of these …

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Privacy Stories May 2

The Spanish prime minister’s iPhone was infected by NSO’s Pegasus spyware, says the government. Defense Minister Margarita Robles’ phone was also hit. This is just the latest in a slew of high-profile Pegasus attacks revealed within the last few weeks.

While it is foreign governments who would most want to target phones belonging to most prime ministers, there’s another obvious suspect in the case of Spain …

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Privacy Stories April 29

A new study digging into how Amazon uses Alexa voice recordings from its customers has concluded that the company and third parties leverage the audio to deliver targeted ads directly on Echo smart speakers as well as the web. That’s in contrast to Apple not using Siri recordings for ads and sharing voice data being turned off by default on devices like HomePod and iPhone since 2019. However, Amazon contends the new research is based on “inaccurate inferences or speculation.”

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Cellebrite iPhone cracking kit allows the company’s clients to access virtually all of the private data stored on a phone – in some cases, even if the phone is locked.

But the exact capabilities depend on both the model of the iPhone and the version of iOS it is running. We managed to get access to the user documentation for a recent version of the kit to see what it can do …

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Privacy Stories April 27

We learned last month that Apple was tricked into releasing personal data to hackers, after they posed as law enforcement officials with emergency data requests. A follow-up report reveals that some of this data was used to sexually extort minors.

The latest report also sheds light on how the hackers were able to fool Apple and other tech giants, including Facebook, Google, Snap, Twitter, and Discord …

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Privacy Stories April 26

A new study funded by Apple and released today aims to show the impact that App Tracking Transparency has had on the mobile advertising industry. The study claims that App Tracking Transparency has not benefited Apple’s own advertising business, and “Apple offers greater privacy options in its own apps than is required under ATT.”

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Privacy Stories April 20

Last December, Apple launched its Communication Safety in Messages feature for kids in the US with iOS 15.2 that helps protect them from viewing or sharing photos with nudity. Now the opt-in feature that can be set up by parents will be arriving soon in the UK.

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Privacy Stories April 18

NSO spyware Pegasus targeted US iPhones indirectly, despite the company forbidding customers from infecting phones with American SIMs. Devices belonging to Catalan politicians and others were also infected, with the Spanish government suspected to be responsible.

Additionally, it was discovered that a device connected to the network at 10 Downing Street – the office of British prime minister Boris Johnson – was also infected …

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Privacy Stories April 15

Apple’s privacy focus is one of the company’s proudest boasts – but engineers and others involved in product development say that it comes at a cost.

Lack of access to usage data means product development teams can’t offer the kind of personalized features they would like to, and some things they want to do are completely impossible because a relatively junior privacy guardian says no …

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Privacy Stories April 12

As promised, Apple CEO Tim Cook’s privacy speech was the headline address to the International Association of Privacy Professionals, describing the fight for privacy as “one of the most essential battles of our time.”

His speech followed an earlier call by FTC chair Lina Kahn for a federal privacy law, alongside antitrust legislation to make tech giants less powerful …

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Consumers and tech giants alike favor a federal privacy law, rather than the piecemeal approach of individual states passing their own laws – and the chair of the Federal Trade Commission says that now is the time to create one.

She made her remarks at a global summit hosted by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, where Apple CEO Tim Cook is also set to speak later today. While the two may agree on privacy issues, they are likely to hold very different views on antitrust action …

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Privacy Stories April 11

It’s today been reported that Pegasus spyware hacked iPhones belonging to senior European Union officials, including that of the European Justice Commissioner.

NSO denies that its spyware was used, though the company’s past contradictory statements don’t lend the denial too much credibility …

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Privacy Stories April 7

Apple is dropping out of a privacy trade group that has shifted towards more “industry-friendly data privacy laws.” The news was first reported by Politico and Apple confirmed the decision through a spokesperson. The change comes ahead of Apple CEO Tim Cook headlining a global privacy summit next week.

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Apple offered key AirTag anti-stalking measures when it first launched its tracking devices, and has since offered two rounds of improvements. AirTags unequivocally offer better protection against misuse by stalkers and thieves than any other device on the market – and that’s something we’ve continually stressed.

However, it’s equally undeniable that AirTags have brought a whole new level of awareness to the very existence of small and affordable trackers, and that awareness has increased the risk. So I think it would be beneficial for Apple take additional anti-stalking measures – and here are a few of our ideas …

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