Connect with us

Tech

'Invasion of privacy': Watchdogs concerned about apps tracking COVID-19 patients – The Chronicle Journal

Published

on


VANCOUVER – Privacy watchdogs are voicing concerns over proposals across the country to implement smartphone apps to help track COVID-19.

New Brunswick, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan are among the provinces looking at or planning on creating smartphone apps that would track a user’s whereabouts.

Alberta is the first province to launch an app.

Known as contact tracing, the apps track those who the user comes in to contact with, commonly by monitoring a device’s Bluetooth signal.

The use of the technology, and the information the apps gather, has become a subject of debate in Canada.

“When we develop these sorts of tools or applications, we’re entering into a totally new class or form of surveillance,” said Christopher Parsons, a senior research associate at Citizen Lab, part of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Policy. “We’ve never had that level of surveillance in this country.”

Parsons, whose research focuses on data privacy and security, said governments may have good intentions but they need to be prepared for the long-term implications of collecting such data.

“If the government doesn’t communicate what government organizations can or can’t collect with any kind of tracing application, it will almost certainly disenfranchise individuals,” he said.

The reaction at various government levels to creating and implementing the apps has been mixed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government has received a number of proposals but understands that Canadians value their privacy and need certain assurances.

Alberta launched its app, called ABTraceTogether, on Friday. It uses Bluetooth signals to track users and if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19, it will contact those you may have come into contact with.

The province said no identifiable information is exchanged between the app users and geolocation data will not be collected.

A spokesman for New Brunswick’s Ministry of Health said its app would allow those diagnosed with COVID-19 to send an anonymous message to those they have come in contact with.

Other provinces are taking a wait-and-see approach.

British Columbia is not looking at contact tracing apps at this time, while a spokesperson for Ontario’s Health Ministry said no decision has been made.

Only Quebec has strongly pushed back against using contact tracing technology and apps.

“Geolocation cannot replace the contact tracing actions carried out by the public-health departments. In addition, it must not at any time make it possible to identify an individual, in particular, a person suffering from COVID-19,” the Quebec Health Ministry said in a statement.

The discussion prompted Canada’s privacy commissioner to release a framework for governments. It says collected data should be destroyed when the pandemic ends and that measures must be science-based and “necessary to achieve a specific identified purpose.”

“During a crisis, laws can be applied flexibly and contextually, but they must still apply. Our framework aims to focus on what we believe are the most relevant principles in context, without abandoning others,” said commissioner Daniel Therrien.

Dr. Peter Phillips, an infectious disease expert at the University of British Columbia, said privacy rights aren’t the only issue and Canadians need to make sacrifices based on the benefit for public health.

“Rather than just assuming this is an unacceptable intrusion on people’s privacy, there are potentially substantial benefits to be had by having public health response use technology,” he said in an interview.

Phillips agreed that privacy issues must be handled carefully.

“The rights of those people who are not yet infected with COVID need to be taken into account as well, because if we don’t do everything that we can to contain this by way of public health, then people are going to get sick and some of them will die.”

Other countries using such apps are promising to keep a close eye on how the data is used and shared.

Australia launched COVIDSafe and has promised to take only minimal data from its users. Italy has decreed that the information its app collects will remain anonymous and be destroyed by the end of the year.

The rise in popularity of the apps even prompted a joint effort from Google and Apple to allow programming interfaces to work together to share data. Those with Android or Apple smartphone products will both be able to better share data to allow developers to create tracing apps.

The plan, the companies said, is to launch Bluetooth tracing software in the coming months.

In Canada, there are concerns about oversight and guidelines on how the information will be shared.

“It really is an extraordinary invasion of privacy for a democratic state to request,” said Brenda McPhail, the director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s privacy, technology and surveillance project.

She said there would need to be an equally extraordinary level of oversight.

Geoffrey Rotstein, CEO of Toronto company EQ Works, said he’s aware of the concerns.

His company is developing an app that would track a smartphone’s Bluetooth technology but would keep a user’s data stored on their phone, not a server.

“We believe we could develop something that becomes a very proactive notification tool,” he said. “So, we can proactively identify people in places at risk and help protect people’s lives and help get life back to normal faster.”

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said this week that in addition to privacy concerns, the technology itself remains unproven and will need to be refined to ensure false positives and other issues do not emerge.

— With files from Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa and Brenna Owen in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2020

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Rumor: Alleged 2021 5.5-inch iPhone prototype shows notchless screen and USB-C port – 9to5Mac

Published

on


A new mock-up of the 5.5-inch 2021 iPhone has been shared by Macotakara today that suggests a notchless screen and USB-C instead of a Lightning port (or nor port at all) could be in the works. The prototype also shows what could be a different camera setup compared to what we’re expecting on the iPhone 12 later this year.

At the end of last year, we learned that Ming-Chi Kuo expects the highest-end 2021 iPhone to be a fully wireless device, ditching the Lightning port and also skipping the USB-C port. However, today’s alleged 5.5-inch 2021 iPhone prototype shared by Macotakara suggests that the entry-level model could make the switch to USB-C along with a notchless screen.

This 2021 iPhone mock-up was made based on data from Alibaba, so it’s worth taking this rumor with grain of salt.

A 5.5-inch 2021 iPhone likely means it would be the entry model based on what we’re expecting for the 2020 iPhone lineup, with the more affordable iPhone 12 models coming in 5.4- and 6.1-inch sizes and the iPhone 12 Pro landing with 6.1- and 6.7-inch displays. Macotakara does mention that this is just one prototype that Apple is considering so naturally, there’s no guarantee this design and features will make it to market.

Macotakara says the case dimensions of this prototype are the same as the 5.4-inch 2020 iPhone but with a slightly larger screen at 5.5-inches. However, one interesting part of this prototype would be the entry-level 2021 iPhone gaining what could be a 3 or 4 camera setup. One major way Apple has differentiated its iPhone lineup is with camera hardware and features, like the 11 Pro having an additional lens over the iPhone 11.

Apple has been working toward a making iPhone with a “single slab of glass” design for many years. The iPhone X display design is still seen today in the iPhone 11 lineup (expected in the iPhone 12 series too) so removing the notch totally that houses the Face ID components and TrueDepth camera would be a big step forward in the screen to body ratio and Apple evolving the iPhone display’s design.

The iPhone 12 lineup may feature slightly smaller notches but if this prototype does turn out to ring true, the entire 2021 iPhone lineup would likely go notchless if the 5.5-inch entry-level model did.

The Macotakara video below suggests that Apple could launch its first under-screen front-facing camera with the 2021 iPhone lineup to make this potential notchless design happen.

[embedded content]

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

[embedded content]

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Google Faces Privacy Lawsuit Over Tracking Users in Incognito Mode – Threatpost

Published

on


A $5 billion class-action lawsuit filed in a California federal court alleges that Google’s Chrome incognito mode collects browser data without people’s knowledge or consent.

Google faces a $5 billion class-action lawsuit over claims that it has been collecting people’s browsing information without their knowledge even when using the incognito browsing mode that’s meant to keep their online activities private.

The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, alleges that Google compiles user data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads, according to a report in Reuters.

Google uses this data to learn about private browsing habits of Chrome users, ranging from seemingly innocuous data that can be used for ad-targeting—such as information about hobbies, interests and favorite foods—to the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” that people may search for online, according to the complaint.

Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone,” the complaint said, according to the report.

The technology problem at the root of the report is a feature called incognito mode in the Chrome browser, which ironically is one that is supposed to protect people when surfing the internet. Chrome users can turn on incognito mode to protect their browsing history, sessions and cookies from websites that want to use this information for marketing or ad-targeting purposes.

Google Chrome incognito modeHowever, the feature has long had a problem in that even when using their mode, people’s activity has still been detectable by websites “for years” due to a FileSystem API implementation, Google Chrome developer Paul Irish tweeted last year.

Though Google said it implemented the FileSystem API in a different way in Chrome 76, released last year, the problem persists even in the latest version of Chrome 83, which was released last month, according to a report filed Thursday in ZDNet.

It is still possible to detect incognito mode in Chrome–as well as other Chromium-based browsers, such as Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave, which share the core of Chrome’s codebase, according to the report, which said Google still has not set a timeframe to fix the issue.

Developers even have taken the Chrome codebase scripts to expand the ability of websites to block incognito mode users from browsing, expanding it to other browsers that don’t use the same code base, including Firefox and Safari, the report said.

Ironically, the problem that’s put Google in legal hot water is nearly the same as the one the company accused browser rival Apple of having earlier this year in its Safari browser.

In January, Google researchers said they identified a number of security flaws in Safari’s private-browsing feature—called Intelligent Tracking Protection–that allow people’s browsing behavior to be tracked by third parties. Apple responded by saying it had already fixed the flaws in an update to Webkit technology in Safari.

Search-engine rival Duck Duck Go used news of the class-action suit as an opportunity to laud its own technology, which it offers as an alternative to Google search as a way to allow people to search and use the web privately.

“Incognito mode isn’t private. It never was.” the company said on Twitter. “DuckDuckGo is private. Will always be.”

Longtime Google critic, author, psychologist and researcher for the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology Dr. Robert Epstein also took to Twitter to reiterate his longstanding public opinion over Google’s privacy violations.

#Google #Surveillance & Advertising just got sued for $5 BILLION for lying about its bogus ‘incognito’ mode on its Chrome browser,” he tweeted. “As I’ve always said, you’re STILL being tracked when you’re in that mode.”

The current case against the technology giant is Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664. The New York-based law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner is representing the plaintiffs in the class-action suit, Chasom Brown, Maria Nguyen and William Byatt.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Apple must face U.S. shareholder lawsuit over CEO's iPhone, China comments – CANOE

Published

on


A federal judge said Apple Inc must face part of a lawsuit claiming it fraudulently concealed falling demand for iPhones, especially in China, leading to tens of billions of dollars in shareholder losses.

While dismissing most claims, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled late Tuesday that shareholders can sue over Chief Executive Tim Cook’s comments touting strong iPhone demand on a Nov. 1, 2018 analyst call, only a few days before Apple told its largest manufacturers to curb production.

“Absent some natural disaster or other intervening reason, it is simply implausible that Cook would not have known that iPhone demand in China was falling mere days before cutting production lines,” Rogers wrote.

The Oakland, California-based judge also said a decision by Apple to stop reporting iPhone unit sales “plausibly suggests that defendants expected unit sales to decline.”

Apple did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment.

The complaint, led by the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Rhode Island, came after Cook on Jan. 2, 2019 unexpectedly reduced Apple’s quarterly revenue forecast by up to $9 billion, in part because of U.S.-China trade tensions.

It was the first time since the iPhone’s 2007 launch that the Cupertino, California-based company had cut its revenue forecast. Apple stock fell 10% the next day, erasing $74 billion of market value.

Cook had said on the analyst call that the iPhone XS and XS Max had a “really great start,” and that while some emerging markets faced downward sales pressures “I would not put China in that category.”

By mid-November 2018, Apple had told the manufacturers Foxconn and Pagatron to halt plans for new iPhone production lines, and a key supplier had been told to materially reduce shipments, the complaint said.

The case is In re Apple Inc Securities Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 19-02033.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending