Apple took a dig at Facebook today with a new Safari feature that will prevent the social media giant from tracking your activities across the internet. The upcoming feature targets Facebook-powered Like, Share, and comment plugins that can appear on third-party websites. You've probably encountered them as a button or widget on a webpage; using one simply requires that you log into your Facebook account. The only catch? In its effort to serve targeted ads, Facebook can use the plugins to also learn what sites you've been visiting. For instance, anytime you load a page with a "Like" button, Facebook will know. "It turns out these fields can track you, whether you click on them or not," said Apple senior vice president Craig Federighi at the company's annual developer conference on Monday. "So this year, we are shutting that down," he added. To do so, Apple is introducing a new privacy safeguard to Safari that'll activate when the browser encounters a social media-powered plugin. A … [Read more...] about Apple Puts Up Facebook Web Tracker Roadblocks
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“Home automation" has become ho-hum. It’s a catchall term describing the idea of a futuristic, connected home; what’s essentially an array of Internet-enabled home devices hopefully working in harmony. Current home automation appliances employ wireless protocols so that they can all be operated by a single remote—or, more commonly, smartphone app. So many so-called “smart” devices come out every month, these days you can even smarten up your fireplace. However, there’s a dirty little secret to all this modern intelligence—individual smart devices do not get along with each other. Each device in this scenario—each light bulb, motion sensor, wall plug, thermostat, speaker system, and more—ships with its own separate means of triggering, app or otherwise. By default, you’re better off walking to your various devices than picking through a glut of icons (and worse, loading times) on your smartphone. I received a box full of … [Read more...] about In a world of me-first smart home gear, can smarthubs make them all play nice?
LAS VEGAS—In a one-on-one discussion with Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler implied that Title II of the Communications Act will be the basis for new net neutrality rules governing the broadband industry. Title II lets the FCC regulate telecommunications providers as common carriers, and President Obama urged the commission to use Title II to impose net neutrality rules that ban blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. ISPs have strongly resisted being subject to Title II, fearing that it could lead to rate regulation and other onerous provisions that apply to the traditional telephone network, which is also regulated under Title II.Further ReadingMaking the Internet a utility—what’s the worst that could happen? In thinking about how to regulate broadband, Wheeler told Shapiro on Wednesday that the FCC considered two sides. ”First you want to make … [Read more...] about Title II for Internet providers is all but confirmed by FCC chairman
(iStock / Getty Images Plus) What are the hallmarks of a modern, vibrant democracy? Free and fair elections, of course, but what about internet access? Bad actors have long used the internet to silence critics and spread disinformation, according to the Open Internet for Democracy Initiative, but they don't have to shape all online conversations, so the group is working to make sure everyone has access to a free and open internet. Next week, they'll head to Berlin for the UN-sponsored Internet Governance Forum (IGF). But this won't be all aging bureaucrats in headphones listening to interpreters. Young people from around the world will be there to plot the future of our online world and digital culture, including Kuda Hove, Legal and Digital Policy Lead at the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe (MISA). Hove is one of six fellows in the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program, an eight-month initiative intended to help future leaders learn how to protect internet freedoms … [Read more...] about In 2019, Can Democracy Flourish Without Internet Access?
Securing Macs against stealthy malware infections could get more complicated thanks to a new proof-of-concept exploit that allows attackers with brief physical access to covertly replace the firmware of most machines built since 2011. Once installed, the bootkit—that is, malware that replaces the firmware that is normally used to boot Macs—can control the system from the very first instruction. That allows the malware to bypass firmware passwords, passwords users enter to decrypt hard drives and to preinstall backdoors in the operating system before it starts running. Because it's independent of the operating system and hard drive, it will survive both reformatting and OS reinstallation. And since it replaces the digital signature Apple uses to ensure only authorized firmware runs on Macs, there are few viable ways to disinfect infected boot systems. The proof-of-concept is the first of its kind on the OS X platform. While there are no known instances of bootkits for OS X … [Read more...] about World’s first (known) bootkit for OS X can permanently backdoor Macs