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submitted 2 days ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Netflix has managed to annoy a good number of its users with an announcement about an upcoming update to its Windows 11 (and Windows 10) app: support for adverts and live events will be added, but the ability to download content is being taken away.

Netflix must realize that it's a huge frustration for people who relied on offline downloads to watch content without internet access: on planes, trains, and campsites, and anywhere else where Wi-Fi is unavailable or unreliable.

There's a small chance that Netflix will change its mind if it gets enough complaints, but the streaming service seems determined to add as many money-making features as possible, while taking away genuinely useful ones.

submitted 3 days ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Microsoft is trying to restore Bing as the default search engine on users' browsers by spinning it as a "repair" through a utility app called PC Manager.

PC Manager is designed to boost a Windows PC's performance by freeing up memory and eliminating unused apps and files. It offers "Health check" and "Repair tips" buttons, which users can click on to see the recommended actions.

However, Windows Latest noticed the app pushing a curious recommendation: Both Repair tips and Health check nudge you to restore Bing as the default search engine on the Edge browser.

submitted 3 days ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
submitted 4 days ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

A feature Google demoed at its I/O confab yesterday, using its generative AI technology to scan voice calls in real time for conversational patterns associated with financial scams, has sent a collective shiver down the spines of privacy and security experts who are warning the feature represents the thin end of the wedge. They warn that, once client-side scanning is baked into mobile infrastructure, it could usher in an era of centralized censorship.

Apple abandoned a plan to deploy client-side scanning for CSAM in 2021 after a huge privacy backlash. However, policymakers have continued to heap pressure on the tech industry to find ways to detect illegal activity taking place on their platforms. Any industry moves to build out on-device scanning infrastructure could therefore pave the way for all-sorts of content scanning by default — whether government-led or related to a particular commercial agenda.

Meredith Whittaker, president of the U.S.-based encrypted messaging app Signal, warned: “This is incredibly dangerous. It lays the path for centralized, device-level client side scanning.

“From detecting ‘scams’ it’s a short step to ‘detecting patterns commonly associated w[ith] seeking reproductive care’ or ‘commonly associated w[ith] providing LGBTQ resources’ or ‘commonly associated with tech worker whistleblowing.’”

submitted 4 days ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Google’s AI model will potentially listen in on all your phone calls — or at least ones it suspects are coming from a fraudster.

To protect the user’s privacy, the company says Gemini Nano operates locally, without connecting to the internet. “This protection all happens on-device, so your conversation stays private to you. We’ll share more about this opt-in feature later this year,” the company says.

“This is incredibly dangerous,” says Meredith Whittaker, the president of a foundation for the end-to-end encrypted messaging app Signal.

Whittaker —a former Google employee— argues that the entire premise of the anti-scam call feature poses a potential threat. That’s because Google could potentially program the same technology to scan for other keywords, like asking for access to abortion services.

“It lays the path for centralized, device-level client-side scanning,” she said in a post on Twitter/X. “From detecting 'scams' it's a short step to ‘detecting patterns commonly associated w/ seeking reproductive care’ or ‘commonly associated w/ providing LGBTQ resources' or ‘commonly associated with tech worker whistleblowing.’”

submitted 4 days ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]
  • Arizona's Attorney General, Kris Mayes, filed two lawsuits against Amazon on Wednesday for allegedly engaging in deceptive business practices and maintaining monopoly status. The first lawsuit accuses the company of using dark patterns to keep users from canceling their Amazon Prime subscriptions, violating Arizona's Consumer Fraud Act. This is similar to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Amazon in June.

  • The second lawsuit alleges that Amazon unfairly maintains its monopoly status through agreements with third-party sellers that restrict them from offering lower prices off of the platform than they do on Amazon, violating Arizona's Uniform State Antitrust Act. This practice has also been targeted by other state attorneys general in cases filed against Amazon.

  • Additionally, the lawsuit accuses Amazon's Buy Box algorithm of being biased towards first-party retail offers or sellers who participate in Fulfillment By Amazon, leading consumers to overpay for items that are available at lower prices from other sellers on Amazon. This aspect is also reflected in the FTC's recent antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, which has been joined by more than a dozen state attorneys general.

  • Arizona seeks to stop Amazon from engaging in these allegedly deceptive and anticompetitive practices and award civil penalties and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.

submitted 5 days ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

The Federal Trade Commission's Office of Technology has issued a warning to automakers that sell connected cars. Companies that offer such products "do not have the free license to monetize people’s information beyond purposes needed to provide their requested product or service," it wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. Just because executives and investors want recurring revenue streams, that does not "outweigh the need for meaningful privacy safeguards," the FTC wrote.

In 2023, the Mozilla Foundation published an extensive report examining the various automakers' policies regarding the use of data from connected cars; the report concluded that "cars are the worst product category we have ever reviewed for privacy."

The FTC is not taking specific action against any automaker at this point. Instead, the blog post is meant to be a warning to the industry. It says that "connected cars have been on the FTC's radar for years," although the agency appears to have done very little other than hold workshops in 2013 and 2018, as well as publishing guidance for consumers reminding them to wipe the data from their cars before selling them.

The FTC says the easiest way to comply is to not collect the data in the first place.

submitted 5 days ago* (last edited 5 days ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

With the latest version of Firefox for U.S. desktop users, we’re introducing a new way to measure search activity broken down into high level categories. This measure is not linked with specific individuals and is further anonymized using a technology called OHTTP to ensure it can’t be connected with user IP addresses.

Let’s say you’re using Firefox to plan a trip to Spain and search for “Barcelona hotels.” Firefox infers that the search results fall under the category of “travel,” and it increments a counter to calculate the total number of searches happening at the country level.

Here’s the current list of categories we’re using: animals, arts, autos, business, career, education, fashion, finance, food, government, health, hobbies, home, inconclusive, news, real estate, society, sports, tech and travel.

Having an understanding of what types of searches happen most frequently will give us a better understanding of what’s important to our users, without giving us additional insight into individual browsing preferences. This helps us take a step forward in providing a browsing experience that is more tailored to your needs, without us stepping away from the principles that make us who we are.

We understand that any new data collection might spark some questions. Simply put, this new method only categorizes the websites that show up in your searches — not the specifics of what you’re personally looking up.

Sensitive topics, like searching for particular health care services, are categorized only under broad terms like health or society. Your search activities are handled with the same level of confidentiality as all other data regardless of any local laws surrounding certain health services.

Remember, you can always opt out of sending any technical or usage data to Firefox. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to adjust your settings. We also don’t collect category data when you use Private Browsing mode on Firefox.

The Copy Without Site Tracking option can now remove parameters from nested URLs. It also includes expanded support for blocking over 300 tracking parameters from copied links, including those from major shopping websites. Keep those trackers away when sharing links!

submitted 6 days ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Telemetry was added to create an aggregate count of searches by category to broadly inform search feature development. These categories are based on 20 high-level content types, such as "sports,” "business," and "travel". This data will not be associated with specific users and will be collected using OHTTP to remove IP addresses as potentially identifying metadata. No profiling will be performed, and no data will be shared with third parties. (read more)

The Copy Without Site Tracking option can now remove parameters from nested URLs. It also includes expanded support for blocking over 300 tracking parameters from copied links, including those from major shopping websites. Keep those trackers away when sharing links!

Release Notes

submitted 6 days ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

The study (PDF), published this month by University of Chicago and University of Michigan researchers and reported by The Washington Post on Sunday, says:

In this paper, we provide causal evidence that RTO mandates at three large tech companies—Microsoft, SpaceX, and Apple—had a negative effect on the tenure and seniority of their respective workforce. In particular, we find the strongest negative effects at the top of the respective distributions, implying a more pronounced exodus of relatively senior personnel.

Dell, Amazon, Google, Meta, and JPMorgan Chase have tracked employee badge swipes to ensure employees are coming into the office as often as expected. Dell also started tracking VPN usage this week and has told workers who work remotely full time that they can't get a promotion.

Some company leaders are adamant that remote work can disrupt a company's ability to innovate. However, there's research suggesting that RTO mandates aren't beneficial to companies. A survey of 18,000 Americans released in March pointed to flexible work schedules helping mental health. And an analysis of 457 S&P 500 companies in February found RTO policies hurt employee morale and don't increase company value.

submitted 1 week ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Microsoft's announcement: "We are introducing a new Game Pass recommendation card on the Settings homepage. The Game Pass recommendation card on Settings Homepage will be shown to you if you actively play games on your PC. As a reminder – the Settings homepage will be shown only on the Home and Pro editions of Windows 11 and if you’re signed into Windows with your Microsoft account."

submitted 1 week ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

The new open ecosystem of extensions on Firefox for Android launched in December with just over 400 extensions. Less than five months later we’ve surpassed 1,000 Firefox for Android extensions. That’s an impressive achievement by this developer community! It’s exciting to see so many developers embrace the opportunity to explore new creative possibilities for mobile browser customization.

What are some of your favorite new Firefox for Android extensions?

[-] [email protected] 28 points 1 month ago

the purpose of this post is not to endorse the use of Reddit (), but rather to inform users of a privacy-friendly approach in case they need to utilize the platform.

[-] [email protected] 11 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

i deleted the crossposts of this post from /c/[email protected] and /c/[email protected] (because protonmail is a faux-opensource snakeoil privacy product) and flagged the posts in other communities as spam.

I find your response discouraging, and your actions appear excessive. While Proton may not be flawless, it does offer superior privacy protection when compared to commonly used options like Google and Microsoft.

I volunteered my time and effort to craft the post, including citations, offering more background information, and incorporating reliable links to official resources. However, you made claims without substantiation, deleted the crossposts of my post from /c/[email protected] and /c/[email protected], and flagged the posts in other communities as spam. Your decision seems to be unsupported by members of the four communities I had shared my post to.

It's disheartening to see such actions taken without proper consideration, thereby causing harm to the privacy community at large. Avoiding hasty decisions that may stifle valuable contributions within the privacy community should be paramount. Consequently, I respectfully ask you to reconsider your initial reaction, abstaining from premature removals rooted in personal opinions devoid of solid backing.

By embracing a balanced stance that values both freedom of expression and responsible fact-checking, we contribute positively towards nurturing healthy debates and maintaining transparent communication channels. In light of this, I hope you will take the necessary steps to reinstate the removed posts, allowing for continued conversation on their merits.

Edit: You have now banned me from both of those communities.

Edit: You have deleted another post of mine from c/[email protected] that was titled "Chat Control May Finally Be Dead: European Court Rules That Weakening Encryption Is Illegal", with your reason being that it is "snakeoil spam" even though the community members do not think so (the post has more than 750 upvotes)

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joined 4 months ago