Google will now allow you to set your data history to self-destruct

Google has long allowed you to delete all the data it's stored on you, or to turn off collection, but turning off collection altogether made its services a lot less useful (for example, it made the auto-suggested locations in the Maps app of your phone worse, forcing you to do more typing on a tiny keyboard while on the go), and otherwise you had to remember to periodically open Google's privacy dashboard and delete your stored history. Read the rest

Son of Ghostnet: the mobile malware that targets Tibetans abroad

Citizen Lab (previously) is one of the world's top research institutions documenting cyber-attacks against citizen groups, human rights activists, journalists and others; ten years ago, they made their reputation by breaking a giant story about "Ghostnet," malicious software that the Chinese state used to convert the computers of the world's Tibetan embassies into spying devices. Read the rest

Turning to Android to fill in missing Mac OS apps in Windows 10

Around this time last year, I picked up a Surface Go. It's been a great piece of hardware. While it might not be the most powerful Windows PC going, it's got more than enough guts to power me through a day of writing, editing and photo tweaking in situations where hauling along my laptop isn't desirable. Better still is the fact that, at the end of the day, it's an absolute beast for consuming comic books and RSS feeds with. My only complaint is that most of my workflow is made possible by rocking a system driving Mac OS. While the situation has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years, a number of apps that I rely upon to get shit done aren't available as a desktop app outside Mac OS. Day One, a journaling app that I use to record my PTSD symptoms and travelogues is a big one. OmniFocus, a GTD project management app is another. Up until now, I've been getting by by using the iOS versions of these apps on my iPhone when I'm on the road with my Windows 10 machine. It's less than ideal. Happily, I think I can put a pin in this workaround, now. Today, I sorted out a more desirable workaround: Using Android apps in Bluestacks 4 inside of Windows 10.

The last time I took Bluestacks for a spin was a few years back. It was intriguing, but still too buggy and slow to be of much use to me. Read the rest

Android apps are tracking your every move and there's currently no way to stop them

I occasionally need to use an Android device to get things done for my day job. I like the flexibility of the operating system: I can tweak to my hearts content. An Android phone often runs cheaper than a handset from Apple and, in some cases, boast photo snapping capabilities that kick the bejesus out Apple's Designed in Cupertino camera app and optics. But when I read shit like this story from The Verge, I'm reminded, once again, about why I put up with the walled garden and stuffy familiarity of iOS.

From The Verge:

Even if you say “no” to one app when it asks for permission to see those personally identifying bits of data, it might not be enough: a second app with permissions you have approved can share those bits with the other one or leave them in shared storage where another app — potentially even a malicious one — can read it. The two apps might not seem related, but researchers say that because they’re built using the same software development kits (SDK), they can access that data, and there’s evidence that the SDK owners are receiving it. It’s like a kid asking for dessert who gets told “no” by one parent, so they ask the other parent.

...That’s in addition to a number of side channel vulnerabilities the team found, some of which can send home the unique MAC addresses of your networking chip and router, wireless access point, its SSID, and more. “It’s pretty well-known now that’s a pretty good surrogate for location data,” said Serge Egelman, research director of the Usable Security and Privacy Group at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), when presenting the study at PrivacyCon.

Read the rest

Run Android on your Nintendo Switch

Putting Android on things has become the new putting Linux on things.

XDA Developers:

The Nintendo Switch was never meant to run Android. It’s a portable game console with a 6.2-inch 720p display powered by the Tegra X1 chipset (which is also found in the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV), 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and a 4,310 mAh battery. It runs games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. Those specifications make for a pretty beefy handheld games console, but imagine an Android tablet with those specifications? That’s effectively what we’ve got here thanks to ByLaws and fellow developers, and while it’s certainly not perfect yet, it’s already pretty powerful.

One of the most appealing aspects of the Switch is the fact that it is a hybrid console. When you put it in the Switch dock and detach the controllers on the sides, it becomes a full-fledged console with 1080p output via HDMI and higher CPU and GPU clock rates. When you’re done, just re-attach the controllers, take the Switch out of the dock, and use it wherever. A similar idea was employed by the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, an Android gaming tablet that could output to a TV at up to 8K resolution. Android on the Switch works in the same way as it once did on the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. Dock your Switch and it will output the display via HDMI, where you can continue to use it as normal on a bigger screen.

Read the rest

In less than one second, a malicious web-page can uniquely fingerprint an Iphone, Pixel 2 or Pixel 3 without any explicit user interaction

In a new paper for IEEE Security, a trio of researchers (two from Cambridge, one from private industry) identify a de-anonymizing attack on Iphones that exploits minute differences in sensor calibration: an Iphone user who visits a webpage running the attack code can have their phone uniquely identified in less than a second, through queries to the sensors made through automated background processes running on the page. Read the rest

After retaliation against Googler Uprising organizers, a company-wide memo warns employees they can be fired for accessing "need to know" data

Last year, Google was rocked by a succession of mass uprisings by its staff, who erupted in fury after discovering that the company was secretly pursuing a censored Chinese search tool and an AI project for US drones, and that it had secretly paid Android founder Andy Rubin $150m to quietly leave the company after women who worked for him accused him of sexually assaulting them. Read the rest

Vulnerabilities in GPS fleet-tracking tools let attackers track and immobilize cars en masse

Itrack and Protrack are commercial devices for tracking fleets of commercial vehicles; they can be configured to allow for remote killswitching of the cars' engines, presumably as a theft-prevention measure. Read the rest

Larry Page approved $150M stock grant to Andy Rubin despite sex abuse allegations & without board's OK, lawsuit claims

Alphabet and Google co-founder Larry Page did not ask his company's board of directors for approval before personally approving a $150 million dollar stock grant to disgraced Android executive Andy Rubin, despite the sexual harassment allegations that led to Rubin's ouster. These are the claims in an investor lawsuit, which says the company covered up the sexual misconduct of Rubin and others. Read the rest

Google says it won't remove Saudi government app that lets men track and monitor their wives and domestic employees

Absher is a kind of Saudi equivalent to China's Weibo, an all-in-one service that manages payments, interaction with government services, and, key to the Saudi system of sadistic, totalitarian medieval patriarchy, it lets men track the whereabouts of their wives, daughters, and employees, sending alerts to "guardians" when women use their passports. Read the rest

Mobile apps built with Facebook's SDK secretly shovel mountains of personal information into the Zuckermouth

If you need to build an app quickly and easily, you might decide to use Facebook's SDK, which has lots of bells and whistles, including easy integration of Facebook ads in your app's UI. Read the rest

Ios and Android app stores both host Saudi government app that lets men track their spouses' movements

Senator Ron Wyden has publicly denounced both Apple and Google for hosting mobile apps that connect to Absher, a Saudi government service designed to allow Saudi men to track their spouses and employees' whereabouts at all times. Read the rest

Android malware uses accelerometer readings to figure out if it was running on a real phone or in emulation

Malware authors have a problem: they want their software to run aggressively when no one is looking at it, but to shut down entirely if the device it's running on is actually in some malware researcher's lab. Read the rest

'Verizon Gaming' cloud-based games service coming soon to Android

'Verizon Gaming' is coming soon to Android, and a beta is already running on the Nvidia Shield, per a report from Chris Welch at Verge. Read the rest

Moment is offering a new telephoto smartphone lens and I'm so there for it

I'm a big fan of Moment's lens system for Android and iOS smartphones. The company is staffed by folks who are just as passionate about mobile photography as I am. More importantly, they seem to understand that having to buy entirely new lenses every time you land a new handset is twelve different kinds of Bullshit. With Moment's second generation lens system, all you need to do when you invest in a new smartphone is plunk down some new cash for a new photo case and you're in business. Their business model makes me feel comfortable with fielding the relatively steep cost of their high quality smartphone accessory lenses and other kit.

Today, Moment announced that they're releasing a new 58mm telephoto lens. If you're using it with a single lens smartphone like the Google Pixel 3, it'll provide you with 2X optical zoom. Have a dual camera lensed phone like my iPhone 7 Plus? You can expect 4X optical telephoto zoom. That means better photos of far away subjects, portraits and landscapes without having to deal with the pixilation that comes from using digital zoom. Having this option makes me feel much less obligated, in many cases, to bring along an actual camera with me.

I've got one on the way to me and can't wait to try it out. I'm curious to see how it performs versus the last incarnation of their tele lens. I'll post a review with a few choice shots of the lens in action just as soon as I can. Read the rest

200+ Googlers plan company-wide walkout Thu. Nov 1 over alleged sexual harasser protection

More than 200 engineers at Google are said to be preparing a 'women's walk', in which people walk out of work, after claims that the company protected sexual harasser executives, and offered them generous payouts. Read the rest

Review: The Oneplus 6T is almost as nice as a flagship handset for a fraction of the price

When I need to futz with an Android device, OnePlus is the company that I typically turn to. For the money, you won't find a more capable handset in North America. The OnePlus 6, thanks largely to its zippy performance and Android Oreo's being a joy to use, was the first Android device I was able to live with as my daily driver. The OnePlus 6T is, with the exception of a few minor tweaks, very much the same handset as its predecessor. I'm very OK with this.

Under the hood, there's not much to see: OnePlus has used the same Snapdragon 845 processor. The version of the 6T that I took for a spin comes packing 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It's a speedy-feeling set of specs that served me well with the OnePlus 6 and now, the 6T. Apps, fly open, I've yet to see any interface lag and I've no complaints about how quickly either smartphone does anything.

With the OnePlus 6T, users get a 3,700mAh battery. Given that I've grown accustomed to the low level of battery that my aging iPhone 7 Plus leaves me with at the end of the day, I was pretty pleased with how much juice was still left in the 6T when I set it down for the night. While it might not come with wireless charging baked into it, the OnePlus 6T's Dash quick charging technology more than made up for its absence. I'll take a rapid charge over the simplicity of not having to plug a cord into my hardware any day. Read the rest

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