The Hill has reported that American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is ramping up efforts to obtain records of the Trump administration’s reported purchase of cellphone data to track locations of immigrants.

The ACLU on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) demanding the agencies release the records. The group says it has waited for more than nine months for DHS, CBP and ICE to produce the records through the Freedom of Information Act.

The nonprofit alleges the government agencies bought access to databases containing “precise location information for millions of people,” gathered by apps running on smartphones. 

The Wall Street Journal first reported in February that the Trump administration was buying access to such data through a company named Venntel that was selling access to a database to DHS, ICE and CBP.  

“The agencies’ purchase raise serious concerns that they are avoiding Fourth Amendment protection for cell phone location information by paying for access instead of obtaining a warrant,” the ACLU wrote in the lawsuit.

Google’s actions amid workplace organizing efforts, including the high-profile firings of several employees, were illegal violations of the National Labor Relations Act, federal regulators said this week, Ars Technica has reported.

The National Labor Relations Board filed a formal complaint [PDF] against Google Wednesday, alleging that the company has been “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees” to interfere with their protected concerted activity—workplace organization rights that are protected by law.

Google fired several different workers late last year amid apparent efforts to organize company employees. Four former employees who were let go last November—Laurence Berland, Paul Duke, Rebecca Rivers, and Sophie Waldman—filed complaints with the NLRB almost exactly a year ago alleging that Google’s “draconian, pernicious, and unlawful conduct” was an unlawful attempt to prevent workplace organizing.

A few weeks later, another former Google employee, Kathryn Spiers, was fired after she developed a tool for the company’s internal build of Chrome that notified Google workers of their legal rights to organize. Spiers, too, filed a complaint with the NLRB claiming that Google’s retaliation against her was unlawful.

SWI has reported that Swiss public television, SRF, has found a second company besides Crypto AG was involved in manufacturing manipulated devices allegedly used for spying by foreign intelligence.

According to SRF sources, the Swiss company Omnisec AG had ties to US intelligence services. This follows revelations in February by SRF, German television ZDF and The Washington Post that Zug-based firm Crypto AG was at the heart of a huge international spying operation led by the CIA, and to a lesser extent by the German BND spy agency. Omnisec was one of the largest competitors of Crypto AG.

Swiss cryptologist and professor Ueli Maurer was a consultant for Omnisec for years and told SRF that in 1989 US intelligence services (National Security Agency) contacted Omnisec through him.

Of concern are the OC-500 series devices. Devices were sold to several Swiss federal agencies. However, Swiss authorities only noticed the devices weren’t secure in the mid-2000s.

This is the world we live in. Everything, everything can be dangerous to our privacy.

Business Insider has reported In a letter to pro-privacy nonprofits, including Human Rights Watch and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Apple accused Facebook of collecting “as much data as possible” while showing a “disregard for user privacy.”

Facebook shot back saying Apple is abusing its dominance to “self-preference their own data collection.”

Apple’s letter was defending the delayed rollout of a privacy feature that will require users to opt in to being followed by ad-trackers on apps. Facebook previously complained this feature would gut its advertising revenue.

This is good. A fight between two of the biggest violators of people’s privacy can be really good as more people now can understand how these companies are abusing their ability to collect people’s data and misusing this power.

Apple is a privacy hero in the mind of a lot of people while it’s just another one of the biggest privacy-violating companies in the world.

Facebook also accused Apple of sending the letter as a “distraction” from privacy concerns that emerged last week after a series of Mac computers had difficulties opening apps. Security researcher Jeffrey Paul claimed in a blog this was because macOS has started harvesting data from users.

“The truth is Apple has expanded its business into advertising and through its upcoming iOS 14 changes is trying to move the free internet into paid apps and services where they profit,” Facebook said.

“As a result, they are using their dominant market position to self-preference their own data collection while making it nearly impossible for their competitors to use the same data. They claim it’s about privacy, but it’s about profit,” the statement read.

“This is all part of a transformation of Apple’s business away from innovative hardware products to data-driven software and media.”

The Google’s decision about limiting people to 15 gigs of free storage and asking for money for more storage reminded me how terrible are these companies.

Before, they used to give people free (as in price) storage and products and in exchange, they collected, or better to say harvested, people’s data. Now, they’ll charge people but still use their personal data.

This should be an alert for people but sadly most people are dependent on these privacy-violating proprietary software products that they are afraid.

I can see that in future Google and other privacy-violating companies will charge people for everything and nothing would be free (as in price) and still people will get their privacy violated by these giants.

People should understand that Google and similar companies to it (like Big Tech) are not their friends and are using them. When you use something brought by Google (or similar companies), you’re not using a service, you’re the product and the service. It’s your data that is valued for them, not you as a human being.

I’ve talked about Apple’s definition of privacy before and explained how horrible it is but they took this to the next level. Apparently the new version of Apple macOS informs Apple every time a user runs a program on its machine.

Many Apple fans and/or developers including Apple Inc. itself have tried to justify this privacy violation by explaining how it is secure or is not a big deal but sadly they are wrong.

Apple is not a privacy hero. They are not keeping all data to themselves and even if they were, it does not justify stealing our data and sneaking in our machines and collecting our very personal data.

What they did is stealing. Exactly like a thief who sneaks into our homes and collects/steals our belongings.

I have explained about the ridiculous “data protection” and how companies are misleading people about their privacy by using this word. This is exactly how Apple is doing it. Apple claims that it doesn’t share data with others while we know for a fact that it’s a lie. Now with that claim, they suddenly decided to consider themselves entitled to control everything.

It’s a disaster. Imagine how insecure and horrible this is. Apple doesn’t even follow the terms of stupid data protection. Jeffrey Paul, a security expert who reported this, wrote:

  1. These OCSP requests are transmitted unencrypted. Everyone who can see the network can see these, including your ISP and anyone who has tapped their cables.
  2. These requests go to a third-party CDN run by another company, Akamai.
  3. Since October of 2012, Apple is a partner in the US military intelligence community’s PRISM spying program, which grants the US federal pigs and military unfettered access to this data without a warrant, any time they ask for it. In the first half of 2019 they did this over 18,000 times, and another 17,500+ times in the second half of 2019.

Vice has reported that the iOS version of the Zoom app is sending some analytics data to Facebook, even if Zoom users don’t have a Facebook account, according to a Motherboard analysis of the app.

This sort of data transfer is not uncommon, especially for Facebook. “That’s shocking. There is nothing in the privacy policy that addresses that,” Pat Walshe, an activist from Privacy Matters who has analyzed Zoom’s privacy policy, said in a Twitter direct message.

Upon downloading and opening the app, Zoom connects to Facebook’s Graph API, according to Motherboard’s analysis of the app’s network activity. The Graph API is the main way developers get data in or out of Facebook.

This is what you get when you use proprietary software, specially ones that are backed by corporations like Big Tech.

According to the FTC, Zoom lied to users about end-to-end encryption for years. This is one of the obvious perils of nonfree (proprietary) software: you can’t verify that the software isn’t abusing you, you just have to take their word.

Ars Technica has reported that Zoom has agreed to upgrade its security practices in a tentative settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which alleges that Zoom lied to users for years by claiming it offered end-to-end encryption.

“Since at least 2016, Zoom misled users by touting that it offered ‘end-to-end, 256-bit encryption’ to secure users’ communications, when in fact it provided a lower level of security,” the FTC said in the announcement of its complaint against Zoom and the tentative settlement.

Despite promising end-to-end encryption, the FTC said that “Zoom maintained the cryptographic keys that could allow Zoom to access the content of its customers’ meetings, and secured its Zoom Meetings, in part, with a lower level of encryption than promised.”

The Register has reported that Google on Thursday was sued for allegedly stealing Android users’ cellular data allowances through unapproved, undisclosed transmissions to the web giant’s servers.

The complaint contends that Google is using Android users’ limited cellular data allowances without permission to transmit information about those individuals that’s unrelated to their use of Google services.

Google, among other Big Tech, are heavy privacy violators. “Google designed and implemented its Android operating system and apps to extract and transmit large volumes of information between Plaintiffs’ cellular devices and Google using Plaintiffs’ cellular data allowances,” the complaint claims.