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Submission + - Swype Android keyboard makes almost 4000 location requests every day

postglock writes: Swype is a popular third-party keyboard for Android phones (and also available for Windows phones and other platforms). It's currently the second-most-popular paid keyboard in Google Play (behind SwiftKey), and the 17th highest of all paid apps.

Recently, users have discovered that it's been accessing location data extremely frequently, making almost 4000 requests per day, or 2.5 requests per minute. The developers claim that this is to facilitate implementation of "regional dialects", but cannot explain why such frequent polling is required, or why this still occurs if the regional function is disabled.

Some custom ROMs such as Cyanogenmod can block this tracking, but most users would be unaware that such tracking is even occurring.

Submission + - Is it time to throw away your smart phone ? 1

An anonymous reader writes: Smart phones are designed to leak your private information — its a fact. The modern smartphone is no less than a spy machine. Its a micro satellite with just one target — YOU. It can listen continuously in your environment and record everything being said (and translate foreign languages on the fly or listen for keywords), has cameras pointed in two opposite directions you have no idea when they are filming, triangulates your position by satellite and transmits your location continuously to a government database server that permanently logs your movements, has facial recognition and fingerprint readers built in and you better believe its leaking any biometric identification information it gets, keeps tabs on who your friends are, their addresses and phone numbers, your communications with them, the websites you visit, the emails and texts you write. It sits in your wireless network behind your firewall and has a backup network connection.

Having seen the scope of the NSA's operations clearly this is a terrible piece of equipment for anyone who believes in privacy to own. Its obvious that smartphones are used for mass surveillance and so perhaps it is time to just throw your phone away ? What do you think Slashdot ?

Submission + - NSA's Role In Terror Cases Concealed From Defense Lawyers

Rick Zeman writes: "Confidentiality is critical to national security." So wrote the Justice Department in concealing the NSA's role in two wiretap cases. However, now that the NSA is under the gun, it's apparently not, according to New York attorney Joshua Dratel: “National security is about keeping illegal conduct concealed from the American public until you’re forced to justify it because someone ratted you out" as the first he heard of the NSA's role in his client's case was "....when [FBI deputy director Sean] Joyce disclosed it on CSPAN to argue for the effectiveness of the NSA’s spying.
Dratel challenged the legality of the spying in 2011, and asked a federal judge to order the government to produce the wiretap application the FBI gave the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify the surveillance.
“Disclosure of the FISA applications to defense counsel – who possess the requisite security clearance – is also necessary to an accurate determination of the legality of the FISA surveillance, as otherwise the defense will be completely in the dark with respect to the basis for the FISA surveillance,” wrote Dratel.

The government fought the request in a remarkable 60-page reply, some of it redacted as classified in the public docket. The Justice Department argued that the defendants had no right to see any of the filings from the secret court, and instead the judge could review the filings alone in chambers. “Confidentiality is critical to national security,” the government wrote.

Submission + - Free State Project, one decade later (reason.com)

Okian Warrior writes: About a decade ago Slashdot ran an article about the Free State Project: an attempt to get 20,000 liberty-minded activists to move to one state (they chose NH) and change the political landscape.

Eleven years on, and the project is still growing and having an effect on statewide politics. NPR recently ran an program discussing the movement, its list of successes, and plans for the future.

The FSP has a noticeable effect on politics right now — still 6,000 short of their 20,000 goal, and long before the members are scheduled to move to NH.

Given the direction the federal government is headed, people may want to check this out.

Submission + - New in-memory rootkit discovered by German hoster (heise.de)

einar2 writes: German hoster Hetzner informed customers that login data for their admin surface might have been compromised.
End of last week, a backdoor in a monitoring server was found. Closer examination led to the discovery of a rootkit residing in memory. The rootkit does not touch files on storage but patches running processes in memory. Malicious code is directly injected into running processes. According to Hetzner the attack is surprisingly sophisticated. (link in German)


White House Pressuring Registrars To Block Sites 569

An anonymous reader writes "While the Senate is still debating a bill that would force registrars and ISPs to block access to sites deemed 'infringing,' it appears that the White House's IP Czar is already holding meetings with ISPs, registrars and payment processors to start voluntarily blocking access to sites it doesn't like. Initially, they're focused on online pharmacies, but does anyone think it will only be limited to such sites? ICANN apparently has refused to attend the meetings, pointing out that they're 'inappropriate.' Doesn't it seem wrong for the US government to be pushing private companies to censor the Internet without due process?"

Submission + - SPAM: The risks behind 3D technology

Astromic writes: Recently, Samsung Australia released a document outlining some of the risks associated with watching 3D TV. At first glance, the document outlines how 3D television has effects that are not very much different, for instance, to the risks associated with gaming.
Link to Original Source

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