Google targets stalkerware in updated ad policy – CNET
Google will name stalkerware apps on its list of services banned from advertising on its platform, starting in August, the company said in an update this month. The move is designed to make it even harder to reach potential customers for the apps, which are also banned from Google’s and Apple’s stores.
Stalkerware or spyware apps are disturbingly common. Tens of thousands of the services are available by some estimates, and they let someone who has access to your phone or cloud passwords intercept your texts, call logs and location while having access to your microphone and camera., and often are used for illegal activity.
Google’s ad policies are one of many ways the tech sector and advocates have tried to limit the app-makers’ reach. Google and Apple have also removed many of the apps from their platforms. Additionally, a group of advocates, antivirus companies and legal experts, have formed the Coalition Against Stalkerware. Antivirus firms have researched the best ways to identify the apps and warn users when stalkerware might be on their phones. (CNET wrote a series of stories on these apps and their dangers earlier this year. They’re listed in the curated links box below.)
The apps have. The law lets app makers advertise the products as family safety apps, meant to keep track of kids’ phone use and locations. But because they often run completely in the background, with no icon or notifications to let the user know they’re there, the apps are useful for people who want to spy on partners or exes without their consent.
In a Harris poll conducted with NortonLifeLock, 1 in 10 people in the US saidto track an ex or partner.
Google’s new policy does allow app makers to advertise services “designed for parents to track or monitor their underage children.” This could prompt apps with secret spy abilities to use deceptive, family-friendly messaging when they try to advertise with Google. Under the hood, they may still act like stalkerware apps, as security writer Graham Cluley pointed out in a blog post Friday.
According to Google, the company takes enforcement action against companies that hide the true purpose of their apps with deceptive practices. The update will add spyware to the list of specific examples of services that can’t advertise with Google because they “enable a user to gain unauthorized access (or make unauthorized changes) to systems, devices, or property.” Other services currently listed by Google include “hacking services, stealing cable, radar jammers, changing traffic signals, phone or wire-tapping.”
In a statement, a Google spokesperson said the company makes frequent updates to its ad policies to make sure users are protected.
“We routinely updated our language with examples to help clarify what we consider policy violating,” the spokesperson said. “Spyware technology for partner surveillance was always in scope of our policies against dishonest behavior.”
MacBook Pro 13 and MacBook Air with ARM processors to enter mass production in Q4 2020; ARM-powered MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16 joining in mid-2021 – Notebookcheck.net
LinkedIn sued after being caught reading users’ clipboards on iOS 14 – 9to5Mac
LinkedIn was recently caught reading users’ clipboards on iPhone and iPad thanks to the new privacy features of iOS 14, as we reported last week. Even though the company claimed it was due a software bug, there’s now an iPhone user who’s suing LinkedIn for supposedly reading sensitive content from the clipboard without permission.
According to a Yahoo! Finance report, Adam Bauer filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco federal court arguing that LinkedIn collects personal information from iPhone and iPad users via the system’s clipboard.
Bauer complains that LinkedIn may not only have access to private data from the device on which the app is installed, but also from other nearby devices such as a Mac through Apple’s Universal Clipboard feature.
The class-action lawsuit lawsuit classifies the problem as an alleged violation of the law or social norms under California laws. LinkedIn hasn’t commented on the situation yet, but the company said a few days ago that the iOS app wasn’t intentionally reading the users’ clipboard, but due to a software bug.
iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 includes a new banner alert that lets users know if an app is pasting from the clipboard, which is part of a series of new privacy features Apple is adding to its operating systems this year.
This particular clipboard feature is already exposing the behavior of some popular apps like TikTok, AccuWeather, AliExpress, and now LinkedIn. Even after several reports on the web, this is the first time a user has filed a lawsuit based on the new iOS 14 privacy feature — and the update has been available to a restricted number of users for just two weeks.
We’re yet to know if the court will accept the user’s appeal against LinkedIn.
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