ZDNet: Google ‘formally’ bans stalkerware apps from the Play Store

ZDNet: Google ‘formally’ bans stalkerware apps from the Play Store. “Google has updated its Play Store rules to impose a ‘formal’ ban on stalkerware apps, but the company has left a pretty huge loophole in place for stalkerware to be uploaded on the official store as child-tracking applications.”

Citizen Digital: Bloggers, social media users with huge following to be ‘monitored by the state’- Ugandan gov’t orders

Citizen Digital: Bloggers, social media users with huge following to be ‘monitored by the state’- Ugandan gov’t orders . “The Ugandan Communication Commission has asked social media users and bloggers with a large following to ‘register for monitoring by the state’. Those who fit the bill are required to have registered with the commission before October 5, 2020.”

New York Times: Forget TikTok. China’s Powerhouse App Is WeChat, and Its Power Is Sweeping.

New York Times: Forget TikTok. China’s Powerhouse App Is WeChat, and Its Power Is Sweeping.. “For most Chinese people in China, WeChat is a sort of all-in-one app: a way to swap stories, talk to old classmates, pay bills, coordinate with co-workers, post envy-inducing vacation photos, buy stuff and get news. For the millions of members of China’s diaspora, it is the bridge that links them to the trappings of home, from family chatter to food photos. Woven through it all is the ever more muscular surveillance and propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party. As WeChat has become ubiquitous, it has become a powerful tool of social control, a way for Chinese authorities to guide and police what people say, whom they talk to and what they read.”

Reuters: Philippine police draw flak for plan to monitor social media on quarantine

Reuters: Philippine police draw flak for plan to monitor social media on quarantine. “Philippine police drew criticism from netizens and activists on Sunday for a plan to monitor social media to enforce quarantine rules, with critics accusing the authorities of authoritarianism and double standards.”

Motherboard: Amazon Is Spying on Its Workers in Closed Facebook Groups, Internal Reports Show

Motherboard: Amazon Is Spying on Its Workers in Closed Facebook Groups, Internal Reports Show. “Amazon is monitoring the conversations of Amazon Flex drivers in dozens of private Facebook groups in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain, according to an internal web tool and reports left on the open internet and viewed by Motherboard. According to the files left online, Amazon corporate employees are getting regular reports about the social media posts of its Flex drivers on nominally private pages, and are using these reports to diagnose problems as well as monitor, for example, drivers ‘planning for any strike or protest against Amazon.'”

Motherboard: CBP Now Has a Massive Searchable Database for Devices Seized at the Border

Motherboard: CBP Now Has a Massive Searchable Database for Devices Seized at the Border. “Every year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents seize tens of thousands of cell phones, laptops, and other devices from travelers at or near the country’s borders, often without charging them with a specific crime. Those seizures give the agency access to massive amounts of highly personal information—data that CBP will now upload to a searchable, agency-wide surveillance database and maintain for up to 75 years, according to a privacy assessment recently published by the agency.”

CNET: Secret Service reportedly paid to access phone location data

CNET: Secret Service reportedly paid to access phone location data. “The Secret Service reportedly paid for a product called Locate X, which allows the agency to access location data from apps on people’s phones. The agency was thus able to bypass measures like obtaining a warrant or court order to get that kind of information, according to [an August 17] report by Motherboard.”

Stockholm Center for Freedom: Turkey investigated 14,186 social media accounts, taking legal action against 6,743 of them in first 7 months

Stockholm Center for Freedom: Turkey investigated 14,186 social media accounts, taking legal action against 6,743 of them in first 7 months. “Turkish police investigated 14,186 social media accounts in the first seven months of 2020, taking legal action against 6,743 of them on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda, inciting the public to hatred and enmity, instilling fear in and causing panic among the public or containing provocative content, Turkey’s Interior Ministry announced in a statement on Friday.”

Mashable: Google smart speakers secretly updated to listen for more than wake words

Mashable: Google smart speakers secretly updated to listen for more than wake words. “The company admitted Monday, following a report by Protocol, that it had updated an unspecified number of Google Assistant-enabled devices to respond to auditory cues beyond the user-specified wake phrase. Google told Protocol this was a mistake that was quickly fixed, but did not appear to address the larger privacy concerns that such a mistake signifies. After all, how are users supposed to trust a live microphone in their home if someone can remotely update it to be even more invasive without their knowledge?”

Chicago Will Check Social Media to Help Enforce Travel Order: CDPH Commissioner (NBC Chicago)

NBC Chicago: Chicago Will Check Social Media to Help Enforce Travel Order: CDPH Commissioner. “Chicago health officials could check your social media if they believe you may have violated the city’s travel order. The city’s top public health official said Tuesday that social media could be used as evidence to help enforce a quarantine requirement for anyone visiting or returning to the city from a list of states seeing a rise in coronavirus cases.”

ZDNet: Fawkes protects your identity from facial recognition systems, pixel by pixel

ZDNet: Fawkes protects your identity from facial recognition systems, pixel by pixel. “In a paper (.PDF) due to be presented at the USENIX Security 2020 symposium, researchers Shawn Shan, Emily Wenger, Jiayun Zhang, Huiying Li, Haitao Zheng, and Ben Zhao introduce ‘Fawkes,’ software designed to ‘help individuals inoculate their images against unauthorized facial recognition models.’ In what could be considered the introduction of garbage code and data to images we share online, Fawkes works at the pixel level to introduce imperceptible ‘cloaks’ to photos before they are uploaded to the Internet.”

Gizmodo: DHS Is Spying on Social Media to Track Threats to Statues

Gizmodo: DHS Is Spying on Social Media to Track Threats to Statues. “While the DHS memo states that intelligence collection can only occur with ‘reasonable suspicion’ and not for the ‘sole purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment,’ it is unclear what types of actions an analyst might define as reasonably suspicious. For instance, if someone post a video to Facebook of a stranger spray painting ‘f*ck 12’ on a federal building, are they now guilty by association—implicating their entire network in this single act of vandalism?” Asterisk mine, added in the hope of having a snowball’s chance of getting this newsletter through corporate email filters.

Wired: How to Check Your Devices for Stalkerware

Wired: How to Check Your Devices for Stalkerware . “WHETHER IT’S A prying boss or a paranoid partner, no one should snoop on your phone or laptop. But that’s exactly what can happen if stalkerware somehow gets installed on your devices. These software tools are designed to be hidden and difficult to detect, but you can find them if you know how.”

The Guardian: Did you protest recently? Your face might be in a database

The Guardian: Did you protest recently? Your face might be in a database. “In recent weeks, millions have taken to the streets to oppose police violence and proudly say: ‘Black Lives Matter.’ These protests will no doubt be featured in history books for many generations to come. But, as privacy researchers, we fear a darker legacy, too. We know that hundreds of thousands of photos and videos of protesters have been recorded and uploaded online. They could remain there indefinitely, only to be dredged up decades later. It is for this reason that we must ask whether those photos could end up in a facial recognition database.”

BuzzFeed News: Data Collection And State Surveillance Put LGBTQ People At Risk Online And Off

BuzzFeed News: Data Collection And State Surveillance Put LGBTQ People At Risk Online And Off . “A new report outlines the minefield of online threats LGBTQ people have to navigate online, from overt state surveillance to tracking via facial recognition to dating app information that gets shared with data brokers and advertisers. Recorded Future, a cybersecurity company, released a detailed look at what queer communities outside North America have to grapple with. The idea, senior director Maggie McDaniel said, was to better understand where deeper security research is needed.”