privacy

Why does Microsoft need access to my data in Windows 10?

Episode 1209

Dave from Riverside, CA
Microsoft Windows 10

Dave wants to know more about Microsoft accessing user data in Windows 10. Leo says that Steve Gibson refuses to ever use Windows 10 because of the security features. But Leo has read the Microsoft EULA and it's no different than an ISP or any other online service. Microsoft is at least disclosing it. We have a 4th amendment right to privacy, but we also live in a dangerous time of terrorism and we have to make a provision for fighting it. There must be a balance and that's the debate that's raging.

How secure are smartphones?

Derek from Seattle, WA

Episode 1177

Derek wants to know how secure cellphones are today versus 20 years ago. Leo says that they are secure because of digital networks that are encrypted. Back in the 90s, cell phones were analog, making them really easy to eavesdrop and "snarf." It was even possible to clone them. But just because you have digital security, doesn't mean you're completely secure. Law enforcement can pay a small fee and get the meta data from your wireless company via a pen register request. Also, there's GPS data, super cookies, and social interaction.

Can someone find my home address from my email address?

Anthony from Depot Bay, OR

Episode 1174

Anthony wants to know if someone can track his email address to where he lives. Leo says no. It can list the servers it's been through, but not the physical location. If the server was in his house, then maybe. But if he's not running his own mail server, then he's OK. Unless he's broken the law and the authorities can find him through his internet address.

Radio Shack to Sell Off Customer Information in Fire Sale

Episode 1173

Although they promised customers that they would protect private information, Radio Shack has announced that they will be selling off customer information as part of the Fire Sale portion of their Bankruptcy. State governments and even AT&T have announced lawsuits to stop it. AT&T says that the privacy information should remain confidential through the sale and that Radio Shack should only sell to companies in the same business. But the lesson is clear, if you gave Radio Shack your information, they're now considering it an "asset." So much for privacy policies.

How can we get pictures taken off the internet?

Jan from Placerville, CA

Episode 1172

Jan has a friend who is a model and she's had some embarrassing private photos appear on the net. Leo says that could fall under the revenge porn law, and it could allow her to prosecute them. Most reliable places will take the images down if they had been contacted. If she's having trouble getting them taken down, the sites may be outside the US and it's hard to prosecute across international borders. But in time, that will change.

"Citizenfour," a Documentary on Edward Snowden, Has Been Released

Episode 1165

Citizenfour is an Academy Award winning documentary on the story of Edward Snowden. He was a contractor for the NSA as a systems administrator working out of Hawaii, and that's how he was able to obtain information. What he did with that information is what became so controversial. He went to Hong Kong, and contacted journalists to give them this information he had collected, but didn't want anything released that would risk the lives of government operatives. Instead, he wanted journalists to tell the world, Americans in particular, what the NSA had been up to.