Apple continues to resist a court order to alter iOS 9 in order to crack open the phone of a terrorist in the San Bernardino shooting. Leo says it's very important for Apple to make this stand because it sets a very dangerous precedent that can be abused, not only by the federal government, but any government that Apple does business in.
Michael says that the longer Apple can appeal and resist the court order, the better it looks for Apple. Leo says yes and no, because we now know that Apple's encryption isn't one way and that they can open any phone if they choose to give in to the FBI's demands. Leo suspects that Apple will eventually give in and when they do, there are encryption programs in 70 different nations that are uncrackable.
Janice is hearing that her school may be getting Chromebooks. But Janice is worried the school might not want to get them because of privacy concerns with all data being stored in the cloud. Leo says that the data will be in the cloud whether it's with Google or not. And it's understandable to be concerned. The EFF tells us that we should be. So it's a legitimate issue.
Before the holidays, Congress slipped CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, into a budget bill. It allows companies to share information with the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and NSA. And more importantly, it prevents companies from being sued by consumers for sharing information.
Read more at wired.com.
Starting Monday, anyone who operates a drone from 0.5-55 pounds will be required to register that drone with the FAA. Leo says that the problem is that everyone's personal information will be publicly available, which is not a good thing. And the Academy of Model Aeronautics is encouraging drone operators not to register until the privacy issues are addressed. That kind of civil disobedience will get attention, but the fines of up to $25,000 and 3 years in jail for failing to do so is a steep one.
Kevin is worried that the government is pushing to weaken encryption and that will make it far less secure. Leo agrees. He understands why the government is worried about encryption, but at the same time, weakening it helps nobody. Is it too easy to get encryption and use it? Leo says that's an interesting point. Especially since all mobile phone communications are encrypted now. Leo says that maybe the solution is that companies should hold the keys and have the power to decrypt if the law enforcement provides a warrant.
Juan is looking to use Tor for encrypted security. Leo says that Tor was invented by the US Navy and it works by making your traffic obscure. Tor is used for anonymity, and it's a bit difficult to set up, but using a Tor browser makes it a lot easier. If Juan is concerned about privacy online, Tor is a good option to look into.
There seems to be an increased amount of spam activity happening on Facebook lately, and you may have noticed an increase in the amount of bogus friend requests you've received. As a general rule, if you don't know the person in real life, they shouldn't be a Facebook friend. There is a way to at least reduce the amount of requests by making an adjustment in Facebook's settings.
Jack is a teacher and he uses Facebook to keep an eye on his at-risk students in case they post suicidal thoughts online. Now Facebook is questioning whether he is a real person or not. Leo says Facebook's new policy requires users to use the same name as is on their ID. This is to prevent bogus accounts from being created, or from identities being stolen. It's likely someone complained to Facebook that Jack wasn't using his right name, even though there's a very good reason not to. Jack could Google student names and then look at their Facebook page without logging in, though.
The EFF has released a new browser plugin called "Privacy Badger," which aims to block spying ads and invisible trackers. It will prevent advertisers from loading anymore content in your browser, even if they're tracking you across multiple websites.