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May 05, 2011

Apple patches iPhones to stop tracking their users

Here is how it looks to me: Apple was told that it had to help emergency personnel (911, etc) track people in case of an emergency. In a perfect world someone would flip a switch and ping your phone and GPS would tell them where you were and 911 would come racing over. But we all know that iPhones via AT&T have, let's say, spotty service. So if you're in a deadzone or in an over-active area (like, say, half of San Francisco or Manhattan) then the 911 tracking would fail. To fix this the engineers had the phones constantly ping GPS so if there was any need, they could say where you were with reasonable accuracy. They just sort of forgot to make the phone forget where you've been. It seems like an honest bug to me, but I'm sure others disagree. BBC News - Apple acts on iPhone tracking bug
Apple has released a software update after complaints that iPhones and iPads were secretly recording locations. The problem came to light when security researchers found a hidden file on the devices containing a record of everywhere they had been. Used with certain software, the file could generate a map of all a person's movements with the phone. Apple denied that it has used the information to track user location and blamed a bug in the software.

May 04, 2011

Judge rules that IP addresses are not enough evidence to go after someone

Sanity! IP-Address Is Not a Person, BitTorrent Case Judge Says | TorrentFreak
A possible landmark ruling in one of the mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the U.S. may spell the end of the “pay-up-or-else-schemes” that have targeted over 100,000 Internet users in the last year. District Court Judge Harold Baker has denied a copyright holder the right to subpoena the ISPs of alleged copyright infringers, because an IP-address does not equal a person. In the last year various copyright holders have sued well over 100,000 alleged file-sharers in the United States alone. The purpose of these lawsuits is to obtain the personal details of the alleged infringers, and use this information to negotiate a settlement offer ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Lawyers, the public and consumer advocacy groups have compared these practices to extortion, but nonetheless new cases are still being filed every month. This week, however, an interesting ruling was handed down by District Court Judge Harold Baker that, if adopted by other judges, may become a major roadblock for similar mass-lawsuits. In the case VPR Internationale v. Does 1-1017, the judge denied the Canadian adult film company access to subpoena ISPs for the personal information connected to the IP-addresses of their subscribers. The reason? IP-addresses do not equal persons, and especially in ‘adult entertainment’ cases this could obstruct a ‘fair’ legal process.

April 26, 2011

PlayStation network hacked, 75 Million people have credit card and personal data exposed

This happened a week ago, but Sony waited until now to warn people that their addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and so on were stolen by hackers. A week is far, far too long. Update on PlayStation Network and Qriocity – PlayStation Blog
Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained. For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your PlayStation Network or Qriocity user name or password for other unrelated services or accounts, we strongly recommend that you change them, as well.