politics
Trump’s Crazy British Spy Scenario Actually Happened Once Before, in 1983

President Trump claims that the GCHQ were spying on him at President Obama’s request—a substantial charge to be making of an American ally, let alone a former president, without any proof. But do you want to hear a dirty little secret about Trump’s allegations? An identical scenario to the one Trump describes actually happened in the 1980s. Read More >>

politics
Experts Worry As Germany Tests Voice Recognition Software to Screen Refugees

Germany announced this week that it will begin testing voice recognition software in its screening of refugees seeking asylum. The approach may help speed up the processing of hundreds of thousands of migrants, but some experts fear that the imperfect technology could cause more harm than good. Read More >>

security
18 Ways to Make Your Online Accounts More Secure

Your existence is scattered across the internet. You likely have accounts at forums you haven’t been to in a decade, and social media services so bereft of users they resemble graveyards. And each and every one of those accounts is a potential avenue into your private life for a hacker. So you need to secure them. Read More >>

security
How To Protect Your Private Data When You Travel To The United States

On January 30th – three days after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order restricting immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries – an American scientist employed by NASA was detained at the US border until he relinquished his phone and PIN to border agents. Travellers are also reporting border agents reviewing their Facebook feeds, while the Department of Homeland Security considers requiring social media passwords as a condition of entry. Read More >>

privacy
Smart Sex Toy Maker Agrees to Pay Customers £8.2K Each For Violating Privacy

Smart sex toys have a single core idea: take one of the most personal and private parts of a someone’s life and hook it up to a network designed for blasting information out for all the world to see. Back in August, it came to light that one wired-up Canadian dildo maker had violated its user’s privacy and now it has to pay up, big time. Read More >>

surveillance
Facebook Swears It Won’t Let Anyone (Other Than Facebook) Surveil You

On Monday, Facebook updated its platform policies to prohibit mass surveillance on its platform by explicitly blocking developers from using “data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance.” The move came after sustained pressure from civil rights organisations to make it harder for police agencies to surveil Facebook and collect data on users without their knowledge. Read More >>

online
How to Delete Your Online Existence, But Save All Your Data 

Sick of Snapchat? Tired of Twitter? Fed up with Facebook? This is a great time to completely eradicate yourself from social media. All of these online services let you scrub out your accounts if you want a cleaner, leaner life online. Even better, plenty of them let you export your data for safekeeping before you do. So you can always remember that time The Rock answered your desperate tweets or your roommate plastered your Facebook wall with photos of your dog. Read More >>

privacy
The Snooper’s Charter Has Been Paused Thanks to That EU Court Ruling

Thanks to a ruling by the European Court of Justice back in December, the government has hit the pause button on the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill - better known as the Snooper's Charter. Read More >>

facebook
Zuckerberg Cut a Line About Monitoring ‘Private Channels’ From His Facebook Manifesto

On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg published an updated founder’s letter for Facebook, his first since the company went public in 2012. Largely summarising the CEO’s previous comments, the sweeping manifesto was newsworthy while containing little news. In at least one version of the text, however, Zuckerberg wrote about using artificial intelligence for online surveillance—a line stricken from the final draft. Read More >>

privacy
What Happens When the Computer That Keeps You Alive Can Also Put You In Jail?

When Ross Compton’s Ohio home caught fire last September, the story he told police was that he grabbed a few things and rushed out of the house, hurling essentials out a bedroom window he broke open with his cane before scrambling out himself. Read More >>

twitter
Twitter Is Stopping Suspended Users From Making New Accounts

Twitter is making some changes which the platform says are to ensure "the issue of safety is addressed from every angle." The changes include stopping the creation of "abusive" accounts, creating a "safe search" that removes "sensitive content" and "collapsing" abusive and low-quality replies. Read More >>

education
Teachers Test Body Cameras to Calm the Craziest Kids

A trial of body cameras is being operated by a couple of schools in England, with teachers using the threat of their behaviour being recorded and potentially used as evidence to try to calm down the most disruptive of children. Read More >>

privacy
US Judge Breaks Precedent, Orders Google to Give Foreign Emails to FBI

A potentially major blow for privacy advocates occurred on Friday when a US magistrate ruled against Google and ordered it to cooperate with FBI search warrants demanding access to user emails that are stored on servers outside of the United States. The case is certain to spark a fight, because an appeals court ruled in favour of Microsoft in a similar case recently. Read More >>

apps
6 Apps to Better Secure Your Smartphone

For many of us, our smartphones carry our whole world—contacts, messages, payment information, eclectic music collection—so it’s hard to understate the importance of keeping everything safe and secure. Certain apps can make a big difference—protecting your data and securing your communications. Here are six well worth installing. Read More >>

surveillance
The Government’s Chief Scientist Extolls the Virtues of AI – But Avoids The Scariest Application

Last week I headed down to the British Library to attend The Turing Lecture - named for Bletchley Park computing pioneer Alan Turing, and held by the national centre for data science which bears his name. Sir Mark Walport, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser was the esteemed speaker, and he delivered an interesting overview of some of the big opportunities and challenges for government and the public services with new machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. Read More >>