Privacy

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Privacy

Postby Stu » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:15 pm

Recently, someone very generously bought me a well-known brand of electronic fitness tracker as a gift. I expressed due enthusiasm and gratitude as one might expect, but I quietly decided not to put it on and it still sits unused in its box in a drawer. The first reason for that is that I am not a fitness fanatic and really couldn't care less about how many steps I take or what my heart rate was at 3am etc. The second reason, though, was that I recalled reading somewhere just what a massive security risk these things are on so many fronts. To check I hadn't imagined that, I spent two minutes on a search engine and was shocked by what I found out. For example, you have to trust the manufacturers with your data - and that's a LOT of data they collect, some of which can be surprisingly intimate and personal. They may promise not to sell your data to outside agencies, but that data is accounted for as a company asset, meaning if they go into liquidation, the liquidators can sell it - and there are plenty of people very happy to buy it including ad companies and insurance firms and even employers. They don't promise at all not to divulge your data for free and they would do so on request by medical researchers or government agencies. Apart from the Apple iWatch, all the others have little or no security on the bluetooth, so anyone nearby with a mobile phone, tablet or laptop, with a suitable app, can gain access to the device and from there access your phone. The electronics are so sensitive that, if you are using an ATM, a hacker can calculate the PIN you have input by your hand movements, assuming it's on the same wrist, so long as they can get to within about three metres of you. Shopping centres have points where they pick up these devices and from that they track your movements, who you are with and so on, to direct advertising. Of course, that can be done with mobile phones, but not so easily, and I always have my smartphone bluetooth and location identifier switched off.

I discussed this with a much younger member of my family and the response I received was rather disturbing. It seems that the younger generation have little concern for privacy and will quite happily forfeit it for the sake of some electronic convenience. My pointing out of the real dangers of identity theft was met mostly with indifference.

So, am I right to be concerned about privacy and security? Or am I being an old stick-in-the-mud and worrying about nothing?
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Re: Privacy

Postby Stevie D » Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:08 pm

Stu wrote:So, am I right to be concerned about privacy and security? Or am I being an old stick-in-the-mud and worrying about nothing?

Yes - you are, and no - you're not.
With you all the way on this.
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Re: Privacy

Postby crfriend » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:23 pm

Stu wrote:So, am I right to be concerned about privacy and security? Or am I being an old stick-in-the-mud and worrying about nothing?

"Yes" on one and "No" on two.

At first blush, the data that these sorts of devices gather represents the statistical "noise" that we live our lives awash in; however, when it becomes individually identifiable if becomes a very real threat to our security, both economically and physically. The worst part is, as you observe, that there are no controls over the use of those data and whom they may be sold to.

So, there you go on the matter, and that's coming from somebody who is actually in the technology sector for a living.
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Re: Privacy

Postby Sinned » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:51 am

I have no intention of buying one either. The privacy issues do worry me - there is too much uncontrolled data out there about us without adding more. I don't even have a bank card with the contactless feature in it. My bank provides a card without and I asked them for that. Earlier this year they renewed my card and it came without.
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Re: Privacy

Postby Ralph » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:02 pm

Have you researched what specific data these devices collect? If it tracks your precise location, it could not only advertise where you live (long periods of time unmoving at a single location night after night) but also alert evildoers when you are NOT home, once they have identified where home is.
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Re: Privacy

Postby Darryl » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:28 am

Stu wrote:...that can be done with mobile phones, but not so easily, and I always have my smartphone bluetooth and location identifier switched off.

I discussed this with a much younger member of my family and the response I received was rather disturbing. It seems that the younger generation have little concern for privacy and will quite happily forfeit it for the sake of some electronic convenience. My pointing out of the real dangers of identity theft was met mostly with indifference.

So, am I right to be concerned about privacy and security? Or am I being an old stick-in-the-mud and worrying about nothing?


As Sun Microsystems chief executive Scott McNealy famously said nearly 15 years ago, “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.”

I've learned how to crack WiFi WEP, WPS and WPA in the lab and we're looking at cell phones and getting your location and turning on the microphones to listen in even if they're turned "off." It seems they aren't "off" if you just hit "Airplane Mode." Only if you go into Settings and shut them down individually do they go "off." Well...GPS may not...or GPS may be remotely turned back on so you can find your lost or stolen phone and so on. Eye openers....
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Re: Privacy

Postby Big and Bashful » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:03 am

As I work in an organisation were security is an issue, we regularly get briefed on security, the risks and precautions that should be taken. The last briefing warned that these PFTs and related phone apps are a major concern. It is easy to figure out where someone works just by monitoring their GPS locationas they travel to work by bike, or go for a lunchtime jog, while broadcasting their locations to any system monitoring. Many of these devices are designed, programmed and built in China (including IPhones) and China is one of the largest places who are into major espionage.

As a footnote, I have just realised that although I don't do any fitness tracking, I have a Tomtom navigator which broadcasts my vehicle movements back to Tomtom for traffic monitoring. So I can be tracked every time I use the navigator. Same difference I suppose.
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Re: Privacy

Postby Ralph » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:49 pm

Big and Bashful wrote:As a footnote, I have just realised that although I don't do any fitness tracking, I have a Tomtom navigator which broadcasts my vehicle movements back to Tomtom for traffic monitoring. So I can be tracked every time I use the navigator. Same difference I suppose.

Seems like that would be a problem for any GPS-enabled device -- phone, car, aftermarket add-on, whatever.
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Re: Privacy

Postby Caultron » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:05 am

At some point, you just need to look at how much benefit you get from a connected service, what kind of data they might be collecting, what kind of abuse of that data could occur, and how serious the consequences.

Also keep in mind that banks, the phone company, the electric company, your cable television provider, your ISP, the insurance industry, the credit bureaus, every business whose loyalty or credit card you carry, most Web sites, and the government have already been collecting and analyzing your personal information for years. So absolute privacy has been a fantasy for a long time.

Not that anyone should be careless...
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Re: Privacy

Postby Big and Bashful » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:58 am

Ralph wrote:
Big and Bashful wrote:As a footnote, I have just realised that although I don't do any fitness tracking, I have a Tomtom navigator which broadcasts my vehicle movements back to Tomtom for traffic monitoring. So I can be tracked every time I use the navigator. Same difference I suppose.

Seems like that would be a problem for any GPS-enabled device -- phone, car, aftermarket add-on, whatever.


Actually no, most GPS devices are only receiving and interpreting the signal, there isn't any broadcast to the satellites. Mobile phones are different, they are constantly handshaking with the network so that the network knows what mast to communicate through. As for in-car navigation systems, they vary a lot. I have had Tomtom navigators which linked to my mobile to obtain traffic information. I can't remember whether they also sent location and speed info back, I don't think so. The latest one I have has it's own vodafone SIM and if you let it, it broadcasts your speed and location anonymously to Tomtom so that they get real time traffic flow info. As it improves the traffic information Tomtom supply I let it do just that. The system works incredibly well and has kept me out of long traffic jams many times since I got the thing.

Back to general privacy, on Facebook I have always refused to enter my real address, date of birth etc. only my name is correct. ID theft is so common and if someone has your D.O.B. and address they are 90% of the way to your overdraft! Facebook is so eager to share your deepest secrets if you are stupid enough to put them on Facebook. The only downside is the amount of birthday wishes I get for my "Facebook birthday".
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Re: Privacy

Postby moonshadow » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:53 am

I acknowledge the fact there is very little, if any privacy in the modern world. I carry a smart phone which is a direct beacon to numerous prying eyes. There are advantages to being connected, it has been handy on many occasions, and generally I have nothing major to hide, so general privacy has been of little concern to me. Of course keeping my bank accounts secure is important, and so far I seem to have dodged any major cyber attacks. Ultimately I don't have a lot of assets or money in the bank.

I refrain from "oversaving" as one mishap with a hospital or the tax man could (and likely will eventually) wipe out everything I've ever worked for, which is why I tend to buy a lot of silly stuff and enjoy my life.

I do suffer from a lack of privacy in other matters. These damned drones that everybody and their brother is getting. You never know when one is peering over your yard snapping photos at the top of your head, you never know when one is looking in your window while you sleep at night. Additionally, these little cameras that sportsman use, the ones you put in a tree in the woods. You're walking along and think you're alone in the woods, you seek our a private place to pee, and little do your realize you've just exposed yourself to a deer camera that just snapped a photo of your penis...

A man in a skirt peeing in the woods... see it on facebook! :roll:

Back not long ago, you could leave the damned cell phone at home and walk in the national forest for an afternoon and be reasonably assured of privacy... not anymore!

There is no privacy.
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Re: Privacy

Postby Gusto10 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:27 pm

moonshadow wrote:I acknowledge the fact there is very little, if any privacy in the modern world. I carry a smart phone which is a direct beacon to numerous prying eyes. There are advantages to being connected, it has been handy on many occasions, and generally I have nothing major to hide, so general privacy has been of little concern to me. Of course keeping my bank accounts secure is important, and so far I seem to have dodged any major cyber attacks. Ultimately I don't have a lot of assets or money in the bank.

I refrain from "oversaving" as one mishap with a hospital or the tax man could (and likely will eventually) wipe out everything I've ever worked for, which is why I tend to buy a lot of silly stuff and enjoy my life.

I do suffer from a lack of privacy in other matters. These damned drones that everybody and their brother is getting. You never know when one is peering over your yard snapping photos at the top of your head, you never know when one is looking in your window while you sleep at night. Additionally, these little cameras that sportsman use, the ones you put in a tree in the woods. You're walking along and think you're alone in the woods, you seek our a private place to pee, and little do your realize you've just exposed yourself to a deer camera that just snapped a photo of your penis...

A man in a skirt peeing in the woods... see it on facebook! :roll:

Back not long ago, you could leave the damned cell phone at home and walk in the national forest for an afternoon and be reasonably assured of privacy... not anymore!

There is no privacy.


See 1984 by George Orwell, written in 1948.
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