Tag Archives | Apps

NewsCorp Blockers For Your Browser

rupert-murdoch-evil-hornAfraid that you or your family could unwittingly stumble into the tentacles of the NewsCorp empire? Murdoch Block for Chrome and MurdochAlert for Firefox claim to keep you safe:

MurdochAlert warns you whenever you visit one of the 100+ Murdoch Family-controlled websites. If you’re not ready to block them all, MurdochAlert can warn you instead. Also it’s handy for identifying news sources controlled by the Murdoch Family.

NewsCorp agents in multiple countries have been arrested for hacking into the phones and computers of at least thousands of innocent people. Since the Murdoch family controls 100+ high-traffic domains, it is difficult for average users to know which sites could potentially place them at risk.

MurdochAlert identifies the domains that may place users at risk for Murdoch-related hacking. MurdochAlert shows a bottom warning box whenever you visit a Murdoch-controlled sited.

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LulzSec Hack Revealed Cops’ Least Favorite iPhone Apps

CopRecorder[Site editor's note: Even though, they seemingly have called it quits, an intriguing swan song ... ] Andy Greenberg writes in Forbes:

… I noted a new suite of police-policing apps including OpenWatch and Cop Recorder, which turn your phone into a “reverse surveillance camera” for secretly recording run-ins with authority figures. Now it appears that police are well aware of those programs and others that complicate law enforcement, and at least some cops are none too happy about them.

That’s one of the revelations … by the hacker group LulzSec, which dumped a cache of files that it stole from the Arizona Police Department, calling Arizona a “racial profiling anti-immigrant police state.” A pair of documents among the hundreds leaked show concerns about how smartphones are being used for everything from recording interactions with police to evading speed traps.

One document labelled “Law Enforcement Sensitive” lists the following apps, and warns officers to “take the time to look at an arrestee’s cell phone to see what applications they have.”

For more information, see original article.… Read the rest

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Know Your Email Senders’ Political Donations

img_inboxCreepy and cool — an add-on tool from the Sunlight Foundation that, with a single click, gives you the hidden political allegiances of both companies or institutions and family, friends, and coworkers. Perhaps someday when you apply for a job or an apartment, your boss or landlord will use it on you:

Inbox Influence provides details on both the sender of the email and the company from which it was sent. With it, you can even see how your friends and family have given to political campaigns. Perhaps Uncle Joe has more mainstream views after all?

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Why Do Gadget Makers Wield A ‘Kill Switch’?

Photo: Stahlkocher (CC)

Photo: Stahlkocher (CC)

Mark Milian writes on CNN:

When you buy a video game from Best Buy, you don’t give the retailer the right to barge into your house whenever it wants. So why do we give that permission to software companies?

Most popular smartphone operating systems and other electronic gadgets include what security researchers refer to as a kill switch.

This capability enables the company that makes the operating software to send a command over the Web or wireless networks that alters or removes certain applications from devices.

Apple, Google and Microsoft include this function in their platforms, along with a few lines in their usage agreements describing the policy. Google and Apple executives say this feature is important in order to protect against malicious software.

“Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs told The Wall Street Journal in 2008.

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A Sensor System To Reveal When And How You Are Being Monitored

3279141121_4e76ac28dbA system called the sensor tricorder would allow individuals to scan locations with their smartphones to detect CCTV cameras and microphones, and receive information on how the recorded data was being used. Use would depend on manufacturers’ implementing the technology into their surveillance devices, however. New Scientist reports (in a dismissive-of-privacy-concerns fashion):

A new system designed to reveal when microphones, cameras and other sensors are recording could reassure those who are paranoid about their privacy.

Each device would carry a screen displaying a QR code, a kind of two-dimensional barcode that can be read by a smartphone camera. Every 5 minutes the tricorder system generates a new QR code that encodes a privacy report detailing the sensor’s activities, such as whether it is recording, where the material being stored and how long it will be kept. The report also includes a log of past sensor activity, so you can check whether you have been monitored before.

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Mom Kills Baby Over FarmVille

Tobias_20101028115309_320_240Hate to say it, but I’m surprised a “FarmVille-related family killing” hasn’t happened before — I’m calling it the start of a trend in American homes. The Florida Times-Union reports on a mother who killed her baby after its crying interfered with her playing the Facebook-based game:

A Jacksonville mother charged with shaking her baby to death has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Alexandra V. Tobias, 22, was arrested after the January death of 3-month-old Dylan Lee Edmondson. She told investigators she became angry because the baby was crying while she was playing a computer game called FarmVille on the Facebook social-networking website.

Tobias entered her plea Wednesday before Circuit Judge Adrian G. Soud. A second-degree murder charge is punishable by up to life in prison.

Prosecutor Richard Mantei said Tobias’ sentence could be less because of state guidelines that call for 25 to 50 years. Soud offered no promises on what he’ll order during a sentencing hearing scheduled for December.

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Sync Your Smartphone To Your Heart Implant

imedpicFrom a Dutch company comes a phone app that tracks your heart’s activity, and, one may assume, lets you pick a customized alert tone to sound when you enter cardiac arrest. Via Popular Science:

The new Human++ system adds one very powerful new peripheral to Android smartphones: your own body. It interprets electrocardiogram (ECG) readings, and can be used for medicinal or recreational purposes: Let your doctor know that you’re having a heart attack, or let your Facebook friends know that you’re playing basketball.

Created by Dutch research firm IMEC, Human++ is a type of wireless BAN (body area network). This particular version uses a dongle that actually plugs into your phone’s microSD slot (which is one reason it’s limited to Android–the iPhone, for one, doesn’t have a microSD slot) and receives data over a low-power radio system. Though Bluetooth is more popular, the nRF24L01+ frequency was chosen for its low power requirements.

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Are Apps The Online Equivalent Of White Flight?

AppStore_iconDoes anyone agree with Virginia Heffernan’s New York Times essay about the rise of apps being equivalent to “the online equivalent of white flight”?

The Web is a teeming commercial city. It’s haphazardly planned. Its public spaces are mobbed, and signs of urban decay abound in broken links and abandoned projects. Malware and spam have turned living conditions in many quarters unsafe and unsanitary. Bullies and hucksters roam the streets. An entrenched population of rowdy, polyglot rabble seems to dominate major sites.

People who find the Web distasteful — ugly, uncivilized — have nonetheless been forced to live there: it’s the place to go for jobs, resources, services, social life, the future. But now, with the purchase of an iPhone or an iPad, there’s a way out, an orderly suburb that lets you sample the Web’s opportunities without having to mix with the riffraff. This suburb is defined by apps from the glittering App Store: neat, cute homes far from the Web city center, out in pristine Applecrest Estates.

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