Chris wants to know if he uses the professional version of Microsoft 365 at home, can his company see what he does? Leo says only if you use the corporate One Drive. Courts have upheld that if you use company resources, they have every right to look at your data without warning. So they can spy on you. So it's always best to keep your personal and business stuff separate. So it's wise to use a personal version of Office, just to be sure. Or go with Google Docs or an open source office like Libre Office.
Ken wants to know if he should make Cortana his personal assistant in Windows. Leo says no. It's more hassle than it's worth and Leo turns it off on all his Windows devices. It's really only worth turning on if the user actually uses it. But it's a huge privacy leak because Windows sends data to Microsoft to make Cortana more useful - LOTS of data. So Leo isn't a fan of that.
Mark needs to prove where he was to someone. Leo says that you can see where you've been by going to google.com/dashboard. Click on maps, then more, then timeline. If it's enabled in the application settings, you will see a history of where your phone has checked in within the network. It should go as far back as 18 months at least. If that isn't good enough, you could contact your carrier as they will have that information available. But that information is only available to law enforcement as they can get access to that information without a warrant. So using Google is your best bet.
Relying on a policy that no app can duplicate a function that Apple offers, Apple has removed 11 of 17 screentime and parental control apps. Some app makers have been shut down. OurPact, with 3 million downloads, was pulled, eliminating 80% of the developer's income. Kids Locks and Custodio have filed a complaint with the EU as a result. But Apple claims it's a privacy issue as the apps take too much personal information. Or are they just protecting their bread and butter? Leo says it depends on how you feel about it.
Marie wants to know an alternative to Gmail. Leo stopped using Gmail because of their invasive ads, but the other side of the coin is that Gmail has the best spam filters of all. Leo moved to FastMail, so Marie can use Gmail to initially filter her emails, and then forward the rest to FastMail. Then she can run the secondary SPAM Sieve there.
If you are scanning important, sensitive documents with your cell phone and sending those files over the internet, make sure to use an app from a reputable, reliable company. Do not use apps from relatively unknown developers, where images could potentially be intercepted. On Android phones, use Google Drive's scan option. On iPhone, open the Notes app and hit the + sign, then tap the "Scan Documents" option. Evernote Scannable is also a legitimate high-quality (free) scanning app.
Christie wonders about Google Duo, the Google version of Facetime. Could Google be recording those? Rich says not likely. The video and audio are encrypted, so that would be difficult to do. However, the metadata is fair game. Who she called, how long she was on the call, where she is, etc. But the reality is, free services still cost "something", so it comes with the expectation that some monetization is going on to pay for it.
Mitch is concerned that uploading photos to a free service could be a privacy issue. What are the services doing with those pictures? Rich says that if consumers are using a free service, it's not surprising that they will look at the images and then suggest ads based on those images. It's all probably automated, which is why we get ads that are so tuned in.
Can he opt out of it? Rich says only if he gets rid of Facebook. Rich says he should only upload photos he wants to share to those services.
Sheldon hears about Amazon's listening in on commands with Alexa, but are they recording when users do a drop-in, or a phone call? Rich says that no, the system is designed to stop listening once the command is executed. Besides, if they were, that could kill the entire service if word got out that Amazon was recording the entire call/drop-in.
But an easy way to test it is to make a call, and then give Alexa a command, If it reacts, then it's not recording. If it doesn't ... well, there would be an interesting answer from Amazon about that.
Kyle is convinced Facebook is listening in on his conversations because he'll get ads showing up that is strangely related to conversations he's had within the last few hours. Are they listening in on him? Leo says that would a huge amount of data for a billion and a half users to process and then generate ads for. So it's likely not what Kyle think it is. The reality is, that Facebook already knows so much about him, that they don't really need to listen in on him.