Leo has Comcast at home and he got a warning that he has exceeded his bandwidth cap of 1TB. Leo says he hasn't done anything different than before, however, and he wonders if the metering is accurate. Additionally, Leo has discovered that Comcast uses a man in the middle scheme and can take over his screen if they so desired. That's bad news because privacy issues abound.
Telegram is an encryption system that many use to keep messages secure. The news is that Russians have cracked it, though. That could impact other apps like WhatsApp, but Open Whisper Systems says that WhatsApp, Signal, and even Facebook are still secure in encrypted mode. Leo also says that if you want to encrypt your email, PGP and GPG are still solid.
Read more at Mashable.com.
Chris doesn't know what to do since his Apple GPG tools don't work with macOS Sierra. Leo says that GPG is Gnu Privacy Guard, which is the open source version of Pretty Good Privacy email encryption. You can use any email client with it to encrypt your email. The other side has to be able to decrypt it, though.
Steven is concerned that facial recognition on Google Photos will be used to stalk people. Leo says that Google does limit the facial recognition to only the user's personal feed. Of course that doesn't stop law enforcement and other government entities from being able to do it. Leo suspects that the technology will eventually get out there, though.
Remember the legal battle that Apple fought against the US Government to prevent unlocking of the iPhone's encryption? The US Gov't ended up going to a third party company who had created a hack to do it. Now that hack is being used to unlock and peer into the mobile phones of dissidents and other undesirable elements that the government wants to keep tabs on. Even reporters. Leo says that Apple has pushed out a fix to block it, and everyone should install iOS 9.5.3 to stop it. Otherwise, you're vulnerable.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed anti-terrorism legislation, including increased electronic surveillance of Russian citizens. This effectively removes all privacy as telephone companies and internet providers will save and store private communications of its customers and make it available to the government upon request. Phone calls, text messages, and emails will be kept for 6 months, and all metadata will be kept for up to 3 years. This also will outlaw encryption.
Tim wants an email service that allows him to be anonymous. Leo says that ProtonMail is in Switzerland and they offer this service, but they will expect a secondary email address. Another option is Hushmail. It's not a free service, though.
Tim should remember that even with anonymous email, they still do have his IP address. And if someone really wants to find him, it's pretty hard to be invisible on the internet.
Saying that the federal government has demanded personal data of their customers over 2500 times this year, Microsoft has sued the federal government demanding that the court rule on how the company must provide the information. According to the complaint, Microsoft is not allowed to tell their customers of the action, nor is there any expiration on the demands, effectively tying up the company forever. Microsoft is asking the court to rule and provide a level of transparency, and to act as a hedge against an overreaching government.
If you're concerned about using your credit card online, the website Privacy.com will keep your personal data private and make the transaction more secure. This site will give you a new virtual card for every transaction you make. Privacy.com can be used everywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted.
Naomi has been helping a senior with surfing the net through a Chromebook. Leo says that Chromebooks are a great option for people that have limited uses like just checking your email and Facebook. It's a solid option, especially for retired people. It's more secure, reliable, and far less expensive than a general purpose computer which is really overkill for most people's needs. A Chromebook is fantastic in that regard.