Disconnect files EU anti-trust complaint against Google

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation: Disconnect files EU anti-trust complaint against Google.

Disconnect Inc., a company that makes privacy protecting software, is fighting back after its Android apps were pulled from Google’s Play store.

Disconnect’s mobile app is designed to prevent non-consensual third-party trackers from collecting detailed profiles of how you use your Android phone (much like EFF’s Privacy Badger does in Firefox or Chrome). Additionally, whenever an app on your phone tries to download malvertising (malware distributed using advertising networks, including Google’s Doubleclick network and others), Disconnect intercepts the request and blocks it. Disconnect is even one of the few apps to protect against both Verizon’s injected IDs and Turn’s resultant ‘zombie cookies’. However Google has removed Disconnect from the Play store, claiming it violates their terms of service—specifically a section which forbids the distribution of apps that interfere with or disrupt the services of any third party.

As we’ve explained before, Google seems to be enforcing this clause in order to put its own profits ahead of the privacy of its users. By banning Disconnect Google has effectively said that users don’t get to control what data their phones transmit to third parties, if that control depends on apps distributed through the Play store. [continue]

I use and like Disconnect. Google’s behaviour here annoys me very, very much.

Factory re-set leaves your data on Android phones

How annoying is this? From ZDNet: Think factory reset wipes your data from Android phones? Think again.

Diligent Android users may have done the right thing and factory reset their devices before selling them, but researchers have shown personal information can still be recovered from dozens of devices, even after they’ve been wiped.

As many as 500 million smartphones running older versions of Android may still be carrying data including Google and Facebook account details, SMS and email content that users would likely assume would be deleted from their devices after a factory reset. [continue]

This is one reason that I won’t be selling my old phone.

Signal, an encrypted messaging app for iPhone

From The Intercept: You Should Really Consider Installing Signal, an Encrypted Messaging App for iPhone.

App maker Open Whisper Systems took an important step in this direction today with the release of a major new version of its Signal encrypted calling app for iPhones and iPads. The new version, Signal 2.0, folds in support for encrypted text messages using a protocol called TextSecure, meaning users can communicate using voice and text while remaining confident nothing can be intercepted in transit over the internet.

That may not sound like a particularly big deal, given that other encrypted communication apps are available for iOS, but Signal 2.0 offers something tremendously useful: peace of mind.

Unlike other text messaging products, Signal’s code is open source, meaning it can be inspected by experts, and the app also supports forward secrecy, so if an attacker steals your encryption key, they cannot go back and decrypt messages they may have collected in the past. [continue]

By the way: if you happen to be an Android user, check out the Wickr program.