21 Technology Secrets Revealed (Part 2)

Cell Phone: Your Location Tracker

Anywhere you go the cell phone that you carry would facilitate in knowing  where you are this is done through the call phone towers that permits your service provider to triangulate the  position in which you are within a distance of few steps of your position.

The government can approach the wireless service provider and use the data to known wherever you, if you are carrying a cell phone, says Jennifer Granick of Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The cellular phone tracking can also save life, cellular phone tracking facilitate in positioning abducted people and stranded victims in wilderness. But the law enforcement has used the facility of tracking people without any suitable reason. For example, New Jersey got hold of phone subscribers’ information or data more than 79 times between in the year 2002 and 2008 with no warrant.

Giving such powers to law enforcement unlocks various chances for the information gathering on the people who are not necessarily people of any interest in any investigation, says M. Granick.

Another instance is that police would be able to find out   names of everybody where was near the political protest location just because the police were examining an important person or something which happened there, as she says.

The Solution: If someone’s phone has got GPS chip and if you do want to be followed then you need to turn off the cell phone. Even in such instances, the carrier might be able to ring the phone to find out the nearest cell towers. Switching off your cell phone completely is the most excellent bet for dipping off grid, if only for the moment. The next time when you use your cell phone, you are likely to be back on the service providers’ grid.

Is Your Smartphone Really ‘Cheap’

The wireless company may make you think that the phone that you are using is locked to only one carrier for countless technical reasons, but there is really one cause: profits. Carrier want to lock the cell phone user to pay paying huge money that is few hundreds of the dollars in a particular month for data service and cell phone voice service, to achieve profits it would sell your subsidized smart phone for an amount that is very less than what the company would have paid for the cell phone.

In a long run if you spend more money then you are likely to save more money in long run. JR Raphael, contributing editor of PCWorld compared the $529 plan (unsubsidized) of Nexus One (in collaboration with T-Mobile), iPhone 3GS, and Droid from Motorola. Motorola Droid and 3GS from iPhone are available in a 2-year contract only, which are offered from Verizon and AT&T respectively. The $80 per month plan from T-Mobile offers unlimited data transfer, text, and voice services; above all you are not required to enter any contract. The total cost saving over a period of 2 year is $1350.

Another comparison from Ben Ferguson, Nosugrefneb blogger, compared a 2 yearly T-Mobile plan plus $289 Nexus One (subsidized) with a data plan of $40 T-Mobile (unsubsidized model) and a Skype account with a VoIP plan of $3 per month. The use of VoIP and data plan can eliminate $482 from cost-making

By using VoIP and data plan roped in an extra $482 off cost—by making the alternative $1800 cheaper than any subsidized iPhone.

The Solution: Do your calculations. As a number of vendors are moving towards an “open” cell phone model, therefore paying a higher up front amount could save you bunch in long run.

Your Webcam Can Spy on You

Two-ways video chatting is enjoyable. One-way chatting–where you are the only one being watched—does not have a great deal fun. But it is more widespread than one might think.

During February, the school officials in the southeastern Pennsylvania exposed themselves in the hot water soon after they had set up software on the school laptops which permitted them to make active undergraduates Webcams distantly. The school asserted that this software–that could snap the picture of who so ever was using Mac Book at anytime—this was done only for locating stolen or lost laptops. annoyed parents took legal action the district, the incident made global headlines.

About Two weeks prior, a woman had reported of being spied via her own Webcam by the Dell technician support that she found when she become conscious the technician had switched on the Webcam without asking her permission.  The Chinese cyber spying system Ghost Net had allegedly taken over than 1300 PCs universally, as well as the facility to function their own Webcams. In the year 2006, Spanish authorities had arrested two teenagers after they hacked Web cams in a local college they then tried to blackmail undergraduates caught in a compromising situation.

The Solution: If someone has an outside Webcam, unplug the Webcam when you are not using the Webcam. If the camera is fitted inside, wrapping the lens with some sticky memo should solve the problem.

Your Computer Can or has been Monitored by Your Boss

If you are employed in a big or medium-size organization, the colleagues in your information technology (IT) department may be keeping an eye on you. Software such as Barracuda Purewire or Websense Triton can look at the emails sent or received by you or watches the sites that you are visiting. They can also periodically take the images from your screen or capture your keystrokes using software. A recent survey carried out by the American Management Association, about 66 percent of employers monitor theie employees Internet activities. About 40 percent employers use keyloggers or spy on their employees’ files stored in their computer systems. And 25 percent of companies have fired their employees over Web-related offenses. Apart from increasing the productivity, firms are also trying to avoid the accidental loss or leaks of secret information, to shun malware infestations, and danger of sexual-harassment cases if they are exposed to Web based porn.

The problem is that companies use this data selectively. A California based labor-rights attorney, Jose Roe says that the companies collect this information selectively to fire the complainers, troublemakers, or people who cross management’s way including labor organizing.

The Solution: You should not use company’s system for personal use. If the company has provided you a Blackberry then buy your own phone, advices Roe. Even if you desire to check your personal email ID or send a personal email then use your own personal computer and network. Nearly in all cases, while at work your rights of privacy are at risk.

Fight with Recording Industry Association of America and Win

Some organizations including the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America can down your Website just by sending a mail to your service provider or Internet host even if you are not at fault. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, empowers the service providers to remove the materials that is claimed to violate the copyrights. This does not require any proof and they will not even inform the site owner in advance.

If the material on your Website does not breach the copyrights, then the DMCA counter-notification has to be filed with service provider. In case the copyright owner does not file a suit within fourteen days, then your service provider has to restore the deleted content. In case the owner files a suit then you can pull out. Otherwise, you have to hire a lawyer who can fight your case in the court.

Generally, site owners do not get a sufficient notice, after the takedown, from the Internet service providers. In few cases bloggers are not aware of the copyright files which are to be deleted. Recently, after receiving a DMCA notice from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, Google deleted 6 music bloggers MP3 files from Blogger.com. One site was restored; whereas others have started using different Web hosts and remaining are still in dark.

The Solution: Do not e-mail, fax or mail your Internet service provider a conter-notification at the earliest. A blank form can be obtained from the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse site.

Your Passport Might Make You the Target of Wireless Crime

A lot of American tourists are only vaguely aware of the radio frequency of ID chip implanted in last page of the U.S. passport. Mere signal as to the Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip’s being there is a tiny icon on its cover. The Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip allows the passport controlling officer to move the information on to the data page of the passport wirelessly to a particular terminal, but safety researchers have  in turn expressed  some concern that the frequency range from where any of the Radio-frequency identification (RFID) reader can draw data from the passport is more huge.

In 2006, Flexilis, security firm confirmed its capability to read Radio-frequency identification (RFID) information at a frequency several feet away, by using a particular antenna build up to make sure more precise

The Solution: Andrew Brandt, Research Analyst with Webroot states that radio frequency identification device allowed passports make a dumpster headfirst for the credit card slips appear like child’s play. If few hundred dollars value of mechanism is all that takes to connect in mass identity stealing, or to aim people of a particular country for offense, it does not seem too irrational to carry the travel credentials wrapped in an aluminum foil.

Social Web Does Not Forget

If someone had an unattractive come across with somebody in person, chances are that you both may not remember the greater part of it within week. Experience a similar thing on Internet, it would be conserved forever. Even Worst, lot of people have lost work, got sued, and even been under arrest, or undergo endless humiliation due to the things they had said in the e-mail or had posted on a Facebook.

Internet by no means forgets, Tadayoshi Kohno says from the University of Washington. In old days, if someone required delete data from the computer, one could take out hard drive and tack hammer to it. But today, lot of our personal data is in cloud. There is not even a solo hard drive to destroy it any more.

The Solution: Tadayoshi Kohno and few other UW researchers had developed the technology called Vanish that adds “self-destruct” ending device to the data that is shared across Net. The Vanish works by the encrypting text (it the procedure of change information by using an algorithm to make the information illegible to anyone apart from those having special information) and then allocate pieces of encryption keys across the dispersed network architecture. After a particular period of time, the Vanish begins to lose the keys, thereby making data not recoverable. It can also work with the e-mail or any another text entered in a Web shape, Tadayoshi Kohno says. Although the Vanish is only a research project, inquisitive consumers will be able to download open-sourced Firefox add-in.

One Can Get Away From Almost All the Service Contract without Paying Penalties

If you had contracted for a two-yearly service agreement then to get big discount on the broadband services or smartphone then you might be able to cancel the commitment

without paying the normal fee for early-termination—suppose if the service provider has altered the terms since the time you had signed the services up.

In December 2009, the Sprint has sent notice to their clientele warning them to a raise of 40-cent per month on all the lines and $5 raise on the accounts with the expenditure limits. That comprised of a significantly adverse modification of the contract, as per the Sprint’s terms and conditions; this was a window for discontented Sprint clientele to jump the service provider without incurring a premature termination fees, that amounted to a $150 or even more. Similar modification in the administration charges allowed the T-Mobile customers to switch during September 2009 and the Verizon users moved out in spring of the year 2008.

The Solution: If someone’s provider alters terms, and if he decides to opt out as a consequence, get in touch with company within its specified time period in the contract (usually within 30 to maximum 60 days). One should make it very clear that you are changing because of “materially adverse” environment of the alteration.

Your Data Stream Tapped by the NSA

Remember all that noise about Bush administration’s without warrant wire tapping? These days, National Security Agency still filters through petabytes of the information wandering along its nation’s fiber main framework or backbone.

Few quick background on this: In 2005, December, A report from New York Times, says that the National Security Agency (NSA) was involved in a domestic digital observation without the US courts support. In 2006, January, Mark Klein, former AT&T technician  made accessible  the credentials to Electronic Frontier Foundation verifying that the National Security Agency( NSA) had put in close watch equipments the most significant Internet center in the San Francisco.

During 2006 – 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed case against the AT&T and the federal government, correspondingly, over the warrant less wiretapping. Both the suits were rejected by the federal courts and they are at present on petition. In 2008, July, Congress approved a bill yielding retroactive protection to the telecom companies for their own contribution in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) wiretaps.

What citizens do not know that somebody is sucking up of all the connections so that the government can evaluate them, says Jennifer Granick. EFF’s AT&T is still steering all of the information traffic through NSA.

The Solution: Last September, the Retroactive Immunity Appeal Act was introduced by the democratic senators. The telecom companies will be held responsible for their function in warrant less scouting after the enactment of the Act. If you Google some terms, such as “explosive devices” and “Osama”, on a same day then government agents may visit you to understand the reasons for the same.

Facebook Applications Are Spying You

It really sounds crazy to take part in 2,345,678 app. quizzes available on Facebook or Playing war games on the Website. When any of such Facebook applications are installed on your computer then you get access to the information which is available to “Everyone.” If we go by Facebook guidelines, this gives a lot of information about you, such as your name, picture, job history, date of birth, location, opinion on politics, relationship, religion, favorite movies and books, etc. Most of the information has been shared with other users. It is boon for the data miners.

The Facebook necessitates all the applications to stick to the privacy preferences set by you and have their own privacy guidelines, but the guidelines doesn’t need applications to have the best policy. For instance Farmville’s guidelines are quite comprehensive; whereas others seem to be written by immature people.

The Solution: Facebook lately launched privacy controls which help limit data apps can contact. Use this to create, to log into and move to the Account, Profile Information, Privacy Settings. Change all the settings marked as ‘Everyone’ to Friends of Friends or Only Friends. After that go to Websites and Applications, Whatever your associates can contribute about you, uncheck all the boxes which you feel may get access of your personal information to outsiders. Despite all that, Facebook will not withhold some of the information such as your name, friends, profile picture, fan pages, your networks, and geographic position. Therefore give a thought before using such Websites or installing the Lover of the Day.

Your Geographic Location Data Is Public

A bunch of marketers are trying to prepare reports based on people’s habits and put up the services for sale on the basis of their location.

The telecommunications carriers preserve what is identified as customer proprietary network information (CPNI) that includes facts regards to individual rate plans, whom you had called, and what had been your locality. As per the law, the telecommunications carriers can not trade your customer proprietary network information (CPNI) without the consent, but how did they get hold of your consent can be fairly sneaky. Very often they will only send a letter or e-mail giving you an chance to move out ; if you do not act in response, they are open to trade your customer proprietary network information (CPNI )to whom so ever they want.

That does not essentially signify that they should do it right away. But as additional cell phones become aware of location and the geocentric services turn out to be more extensively used, and the temptation could be irresistible. Market for the location information is predicted to attain almost $13 billion dollars by 2014, as referred by the Juniper Research.

The corporation which has the geographic information could put up for sale in restaurants and stores in your region or tender to pass the sales promotions on the businesses’ behalf. A very typical example: You are walking by a shop when your cell phone gets a text message getting a discount of 20 percent — but if only you shop right away; or you may even receive an e-mail. As yet such scenes are merely hypothetical, but they are extremely frightening.

The Solution: At this writings, Congress is holding various hearings concerning geographical location information and privacy that might effect in new customer safeguards. In the period in-between, you may inform your provider not to disclose your customer proprietary network information (CPNI): study the privacy policy on the Website of the provider and follow particular instructions necessary for going out.

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