Saturday, December 3, 2011

For users of iPhones, Blackberries, Androids and/or Skype

We live in an age that's nothing short of Orwellian.

There's a new industry that secretly vacuums up your data and preserves it forever on high-end servers that hold many petabytes (a million gigabytes) of information.

WikiLeaks has just released the Spy Files – a trove of almost 300 documents from these companies that shine a light into this industry.

One, a brochure from SS8 of Milpitas, California, touts its Intellego product that allows its owner to see (in real time, if it wants) such things as your draft-only emails, attached files, pictures and videos.

State agencies have expanded their data-collecting to include data on water and sewage billing, visitor logs from parks and recreation facilities and much more.

To read more about this subject, click here for Wikileaks: The Spy Files 2011-12-01

NB: Several posts to this blog have been on the subject of security. I feel that The Spy Files need to be part of any consideration of this subject.

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It turns out that spyware is running on hundreds of millions of smartphones and tablets.

The carriers explain their use of this spyware program in a way that makes it sound harmless. However, it only sounds harmless until you see, among other things, that it is capturing your every key stroke.

With iPhones, which have the program in them, turning off the spyware program is sometimes easy.

If you’re running iOS 5.x, just head to:

Settings > General > About > Diagnostics & Usage

and click “Don’t Send” on.

If you’re running iOS3 or 4, however, I don’t know of any current way to disable the service.

With Android phones, it’s much trickier, but it can be done. The story on BlackBerries is a bit murky.

Hopefully, because this practice has received a lot of attention recently, the carriers will soon make it simple to disable this spyware for those of you who don’t want to share everything you do on your phones with your phone companies.