Category: privacy

Big Sur-prise

[LAST UPDATED 11/28/2020: See the additional notes below the original article. This story evolved quickly and there were several important new pieces of information, including an official response from Apple.] Apple released a big update to its Mac operating system: macOS 11, aka Big Sur. While this release has several new and interesting features, including

Zoom: Now With Actual Privacy

Zoom went from an obscure teleconferencing company to a household word (a verb) when the pandemic hit. Zoom wasn’t the best videoconferencing app by any means. It lacked many key features like true end-to-end encryption and had some serious data oversharing problems. But Zoom was dead simple to use and kinda fun to say. For

Mind the Metadata

One of the major perks of modern smartphones is the built-in camera. When was the last time you actually carried (or bought) a separate camera? I used to love the little Canon Elph cameras because they were small enough to carry around on a belt holster. But it’s gathering dust now because my iPhone arguably

TikTok Boom

If you haven’t heard of TikTok, you’re probably not a teen. This relatively new social media service is very popular with the younger generation. It’s been downloaded 1.5 billion times. With this app, you can share short videos and … well, you know, goofy social media stuff. I’m old. I don’t get it, either. The

Privacy-Preserving Contact Tracing

Apple and Google have proposed a method of doing contact tracing using the Bluetooth on our smartphones. It’s done using fancy cryptography and such, but I wanted to explain the basic mechanics in a simple way. Skip down to the bottom if you just want that part. We are all now learning way more about

Secure & Private Zoom Alternatives

During our global COVID-19 self-quarantining, video conferencing usage has exploded. I’ve tried to find hard statistics, but they’re rising so fast that anything I post now will be stale tomorrow. That said, I’ve seen usage growth figures as high as 400%. And since we’re all staying home now (right?), video chatting is a great way

Data Privacy Day 2020

Your privacy is under assault. I don’t just mean online privacy, I mean every day, real world privacy, as well. In the name of “better” marketing, we’re being tracked not just by our browsers, but also by our smart devices and even by our faces. I used to worry that people didn’t care about their

2020 New Year’s Resolutions

2019 is almost gone and 2020 is upon us. You know what that means: New Year’s Resolutions! I’ll let you worry about signing up for a gym membership or quitting smoking or whatever… I’m here to give you concrete steps you can take next year that will significantly improve your computer security and online privacy.

Why I’m Dropping Dropbox

I’ve been a faithful Dropbox customer for many, many years. Their service solved a very real problem for me: sharing files between multiple computers. As a software engineer (and just a generally geeky person) I have several computers. I have three at home (not including my file server or several Raspberry Pi project boxes) and