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Congress Asks Google 10 Questions On Its Location Tracking Database

Congress Asks Google 10 Questions On Its Location Tracking Database
April 24, 2019Mohit Kumar
U.S. Congress has sent an open letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai asking for more information about its Sensorvault database that's reportedly being used by law enforcement agencies to solve crime cases. Last week, we reported a story based upon NY Times findings that revealed how using a "geofence" warrant, authorities obtain location history of all devices from Google's Sensorvault database that pass through a crime scene over a certain time period. For those unaware, Google maintains Sensorvault database over nearly the past decade which contains precise location information from hundreds of millions of smartphones around the world and shares it with authorities to help in criminal cases. However, Google does not share identifiable information on all devices after receiving a warrant. Instead, authorities have to first narrow down their list of suspects using the location history data, only after which Google shares further information about a few selected u

Google Helps Police Identify Devices Close to Crime Scenes Using Location Data

Google Helps Police Identify Devices Close to Crime Scenes Using Location Data
April 15, 2019Swati Khandelwal
It's no secret that Google tracks you everywhere, even when you keep Google's Location History feature disabled. As revealed by an Associated Press investigation in 2018 , other Google apps like Maps or daily weather update service on Android allows the tech giant to continuously collect your precise latitude and longitude. According to Google, the company uses this location-tracking features with an intent to improve its users' experience, like "personalized maps, recommendations based on places you've visited, help finding your phone, real-time traffic updates about your commute, and more useful ads." Moreover, it's also known that Google could share your location data with federal authorities in criminal investigations when asked with a warrant. Google 'SensorVault' Database Help Police Solve Crimes But what many people weren't aware of is that Google also helps federal authorities identify suspects of crimes by sharing locati

How to Stop Facebook App From Tracking Your Location In the Background

How to Stop Facebook App From Tracking Your Location In the Background
February 22, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Every app installed on your smartphone with permission to access location service "can" continually collect your real-time location secretly, even in the background when you do not use them. Do you know? — Installing the Facebook app on your Android and iOS smartphones automatically gives the social media company your rightful consent to collect the history of your precise location. If you are not aware, there is a setting called "Location History" in your Facebook app that comes enabled by default, allowing the company to track your every movement even when you are not using the social media app. So, every time you turn ON location service/GPS setting on your smartphone, let's say for using Uber app or Google Maps, Facebook starts tracking your location. Users can manually turn Facebook's Location History option OFF from the app settings to completely prevent Facebook from collecting your location data, even when the app is in use. However, unf

Telegram Calling Feature Leaks Your IP Addresses—Patch Released

Telegram Calling Feature Leaks Your IP Addresses—Patch Released
October 01, 2018Swati Khandelwal
The desktop version of the security and privacy-focused, end-to-end encrypted messaging app, Telegram , has been found leaking both users' private and public IP addresses by default during voice calls. With 200 million monthly active users as of March 2018, Telegram promotes itself as an ultra-secure instant messaging service that lets its users make end-to-end encrypted chat and voice call with other users over the Internet. Security researcher Dhiraj Mishra uncovered a vulnerability (CVE-2018-17780) in the official Desktop version of Telegram (tdesktop) for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and Telegram Messenger for Windows apps that was leaking users' IP addresses by default during voice calls due to its peer-to-peer (P2P) framework. To improve voice quality, Telegram by default uses a P2P framework for establishing a direct connection between the two users while initiating a voice call, exposing the IP addresses of the two participants. Telegram Calls Could Leak Your

Heat Map Released by Fitness Tracker Reveals Location of Secret Military Bases

Heat Map Released by Fitness Tracker Reveals Location of Secret Military Bases
January 29, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Every one of us now has at least one internet-connected smart device, which makes this question even more prominent —how much does your smart device know about you? Over the weekend, the popular fitness tracking app Strava proudly published a " 2017 heat map " showing activities from its users around the world, but unfortunately, the map revealed what it shouldn't—locations of the United States military bases worldwide. Strava which markets itself as a "social-networking app for athletes" publicly made available the global heat map, showing the location of all the rides, runs, swims, and downhills taken by its users, as collected by their smartphones and wearable devices like Fitbit. Since Strava has been designed to track users' routes and locations, IUCA analyst Nathan Ruser revealed that the app might have unintentionally mapped out the location of some of the military forces around the world, especially some secret ones from the United States. Wi

Google Collects Android Location Data Even When Location Service Is Disabled

Google Collects Android Location Data Even When Location Service Is Disabled
November 21, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Do you own an Android smartphone? If yes, then you are one of those billions of users whose smartphone is secretly gathering location data and sending it back to Google. Google has been caught collecting location data on every Android device owner since the beginning of this year (that's for the past 11 months)—even when location services are entirely disabled, according to an investigation conducted by Quartz. This location-sharing practice doesn't want your Android smartphone to use any app, or turn on location services, or even have a SIM card inserted. All it wants is to have your Android device to be connected to the Internet. The investigation revealed that Android smartphones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers, and this data could be used for " Cell Tower Triangulation "—a technique widely used to identify the location of a phone/device using data from three or more nearby cell towers. Each time your Android device come

Uber Now Tracks Your Location Even After Your Ride

Uber Now Tracks Your Location Even After Your Ride
December 09, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Uber was in controversies at the mid of this year for monitoring the battery life of its users, as the company believed that its users were more likely to pay a much higher price to hire a cab when their phone's battery is close to dying. Uber is now tracking you even when your ride is over, and, according to the ride-hailing company, the surveillance will improve its service. Uber recently updated its app to collect user location data in the background. So, if you have updated your Uber app recently, your app's location tracking permissions have changed, allowing the app to monitor your location before and five minutes after your trip ends, even if you have closed the app. A popup on the Uber app will ask you, "Allow 'Uber' to access our location even when you are not using the app?" You can click " Allow " or " Don't Allow " in response to this request. If you don't allow it, Uber won't track you. According to t

Techie Police Officer Builds a Sniffing Tool to Track Stolen Devices (based on War-Driving)

Techie Police Officer Builds a Sniffing Tool to Track Stolen Devices (based on War-Driving)
September 09, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Ever wonder, How can you Track your Stolen Smartphone , Laptop or any Smart Device? ...With IMEI Number? ...Or IP address? ...Or may be some special types of equipment? Well, Not required, because now it is possible to track stolen devices just by scanning their MAC addresses. Yes, Just MAC addresses, which is assigned to each device on a unique basis by the IEEE, but crooks can modify it in an attempt to hide the origin of the stolen device. But given the people's practice to never notice the MAC address of their mobile phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, smart TV, smart refrigerator, or broadband router, MAC addresses can be used to track stolen electronics. This exactly is what an Iowa City cop wants to do.  How Police Can Track Stolen Devices? According to Gazette, an Iowa police officer David Schwindt has developed a sniffing software that helps police find more stolen properties. The software, Schwindt dubbed L8NT (short for Latent analysi

Facebook Fired An Intern After He Exposes How to Track Users' Location

Facebook Fired An Intern After He Exposes How to Track Users' Location
August 14, 2015Khyati Jain
Previously, we posted about a privacy issue in Facebook messenger ; Aran Khanna , a Harvard University student, discovered ' A Marauder's Map ' that could sense and give the geolocations of your friends on the messenger. Khanna had received an opportunity to work as an intern for Facebook… …But destiny had planned something else for him, as after publicly stating the risk associated with the app; Facebook withdrew his candidature as a summer intern. Why Facebook Fired Him? Khanna himself confessed to be an avid user of the Facebook Messenger app , as it is an integral part of his social life. However, one day, while going through his chat history he found that a location is attached to each message he has sent and received from his device. Also, the location is shared with the ' power of default ' even if you choose to turn the location sharing option off. This made him look for the complete inside story, which brought him to a strange thing while writing the

Your Location has been Shared 5,398 Times in Last 14 Days

Your Location has been Shared 5,398 Times in Last 14 Days
March 30, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Do you realize how often your smartphone is sharing your location data with various companies? It is more than 5000 times in just two weeks. That is little Shocking but True! A recent study by the security researchers from Carnegie Mellon reveals that a number of smartphone applications collect your location-related data — a lot more than you think. The security researcher released a warning against the alarming approach: " Your location [data] has been shared 5,398 times with Facebook, GO Launcher EX, Groupon and seven other [applications] in the last 14 days. " During their study, researchers monitored 23 Android smartphone users for three weeks. First Week - Participants were asked to use their smartphone apps as they would normally do. Second Week - An app called App Ops was installed to monitor and manage the data those apps were using. Third Week - The team of researchers started sending a daily " privacy nudge " alert that would ping particip

Verizon Wireless Injects Identifiers to Track Mobile Customers' Online Activities

Verizon Wireless Injects Identifiers to Track Mobile Customers’ Online Activities
October 27, 2014Mohit Kumar
The Nation's largest telecom operator ' Verizon Wireless ' is tracking its customers' mobile internet traffic by adding a token to Web requests traveling over its network, in order to facilitate targeted advertising even if a user has opted out of their Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) options. The Precision Market Insights division of Verizon is collecting users' data from more than two years with the launch of the Unique Identifier Token Header (UIDH) under its Relevant Mobile Advertising program. The company also expanded its program to cover all Verizon Wireless subscribers. UIDH TRACKS CUSTOMERS' EVERY MOVE ON WEB When consumers visit certain websites or mobile apps, The Verizon network is adding cookie-like X-UIDH header tokens to Web requests traveling over its network with a unique value/identifier for every particular mobile device. This Verizon's solution is called the PrecisionID , which is being used to create a d

Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite Sends User Location and Safari Search Data to Apple

Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite Sends User Location and Safari Search Data to Apple
October 21, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Apple's latest desktop operating system, known as Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite , sends location and search data of users without their knowledge to Apple's remote servers by default whenever a user queries the desktop search tool Spotlight, which questions users' privacy once again. The technology firm faced criticism on Monday when users came to know about the company's About Spotlight & Privacy which clearly states that anyone who uses the Spotlight feature in either Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite or its newly launched mobile operating system iOS 8 will have their location and search information passed back to Apple's servers to process. APPLE COLLECTS USERS' DATA AND FORWARDS IT TO MICROSOFT AS WELL On one hand, where Apple decided to enable hard drive encryption by default, despite the FBI requests not to do so. But on the other, the company is itself putting its users' privacy on risk. The same data Apple collects from the users' searched te

Spying agencies tracking your location by capturing MAC address of your devices

Spying agencies tracking your location by capturing MAC address of your devices
January 31, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Again a top secret revelation from the Snowden's Desk! A new document retrieved by the whistleblower Edward Snowden shows that the Canadian spy agency is tracking airline travelers even days after they left the terminal, just by capturing their device identification from the free Wi-Fi service at a major Canadian airport. CBC News reported that the US Intelligence agency worked with its counterpart Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) in Canada, and slurped information from the free Internet hotspots to track anyone who passed through the airport terminal, and could be tracked throughout the country by cross-referencing it with the intercepted information from Wifi at cafes, libraries and other public places, although it is not clear that they were tracking only the users who logged-in to the WiFi services or not. But It is also possible that one can capture the MAC addresses of all the available devices within the range of a Wi-Fi device (using some special tools
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